My friend Juliann Barbato is in dire need of financial help in order to leave an untenable situation related to her health.
Juli is a 64-year-old woman who lives with her two dogs in a shed; yes, a shed she has tried to make a home on a remote mesa, without running water, in northern New Mexico. Juli hauls her own supplies, including water and propane tanks, more than 20 miles, many on unpaved, primitive roads that are often impassable.
In mid-January 2020 Juli suffered an acute saddle pulmonary embolism that nearly killed her. She had otherwise been healthy, productive, and energetic and had not needed to see a doctor for 10 years—but as luck would have it, she was still 9 months away from being covered by Medicare. (For freelancers, the cost of private insurance is prohibitive.) Per doctors’ orders, unless Juli moves to a low elevation and warm climate—and to a dwelling with the amenities many of us, understandably, take for granted—the prognosis will be grim.
Prior to moving to New Mexico, Juli was the sole caregiver for her developmentally disabled younger brother, John, until he died unexpectedly in 2012. Care giving duties prevented Juli from commuting to NYC and working full-time in book publishing. Thus she resorted to freelancing. Taking care of John for 7 years by herself caused Juli to deplete her retirement savings. She moved to remote New Mexico by necessity, not by choice. Since then, she has lived from hand to mouth. Because there’s no direct rural delivery, publishers needing quick turnaround found it harder to utilize her services for projects requiring the delivery of hard copy.
Everyone who knows Juli can tell you that she has always stepped up to the plate and given selflessly to others. Despite her own legitimate need now, she feels embarrassed to set up a Go Fund Me page, so I am doing that for her.
She deserves this help more than almost anyone I know. I am setting a goal of $47,000 to cover her substantial hospital and medical bills and get her relocated cross-country to the Southeast, where she can live a quality of life that is healthier than what she has endured for the past years and receive freelance work easily and promptly.
Juli still has much to offer and many ideas that can improve the quality of life for her favorite beings: adults with Down syndrome, their sibling caregivers, and stray dogs. It would be a shame to allow her to deteriorate. Whatever you can contribute will get Juli closer to the self-reliance she knew before depleting her savings and becoming ill, and you will give her the opportunity to continue to contribute to society in a meaningful way—to pay it forward.
Thank you in advance for your kind consideration and generosity.