My name is Neal Bryce and I am 69 years old. Ten months ago I miss stepped at the top of a stairway and tumbled to the bottom breaking my collar bone. This happened because I have developed ‘wet’ Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).’Wet’ AMD is a very severe and fast moving condition that leads to blindness.
It has impaired my eyesight by destroying my central vision resulting in a hazy bleariness in both my eyes. Straight lines are now wavy and broken-up making each eye perceive a different distorted image, which has also resulted in double vision.
Treatment can only slow my vision loss, but it cannot be stopped. Reading is almost impossible and soon I will not be able to read at all or do most things that we need our eyes for. Driving is out of the question and I will become more and more dependent on other people. It will also be necessary that I am familiar with my immediate surroundings so I can safely move about when alone.
In 2009 I was working in custom home remodeling and repair when I first began to develop AMD. By October of 2014, I could not see well enough to keep working. Eventually I had to sell my work truck and tools for cash. And now the last several months have drained my finances.
As of today I have less than $40 in my bank account. My only income comes from Social Security benefits of $717 that I receive on the second Wednesday of the month. I rent a room at $375 plus $50 for utilities due on the 1st, leaving less than $10 a day to survive.
Adjusting to this whole situation has been formidable. I lost my dear wife, Linda,19 years ago and we did not have children. Therefore, I have no family and I could easily be left to the mercy of the county and state. But, through faith and prayer, I have remain strong and refuse to feel sorry for myself.
Still, I got to where I just didn’t know what to do next. But prayer is powerful and with that how quickly things changed by just one phone call.
I live in Ontario, California and my life long and best friend since grade school, Don Cosner, lives in Deland, Florida. He knows my circumstances and called 3 days ago to tell me he and his beautiful wife of 43 years, Sharon, would like me to come back to Florida. They have a home on a large lot with a 28 foot house trailer that has water, power and sewage hook-ups next to their house. Because of their love, friendship and generosity they have decided in making it my home. I only need to pay for water and power.
I have stayed in it few times when visiting. It’s well kept, clean, and big enough for one person yet small enough to safely move around in as my AMD progresses. But like I told Don. I don’t have the funds to make the move.
Sharon then talked to me and told me about websites like this one. How generous contributors from all over give donations for causes and new hope in peoples lives. She said to get on the internet and see what I think. I told her I didn’t want a free handout. She told me to swallow my pride, call U-haul for the cost of a rental truck from California to Florida, cost of gas and how much I needed to get by until my next Social Security check. And then go to one of these sites and tell your story.
Sharon also said, when I am ready, Don will hitch a ride with an over the road, 18 wheeler truck driver friend of his to California and would be there within a week. Then Don will help load the U-haul truck and drive us back to Florida.
(because I cannot see good enough, my landlord talked to U-haul, helped me locate this site on the web, and is also typing this for me.)
So here I am. Asking for your help. First something I must to say. I have worked my entire life without asking for a handout. But this, just outright asking for money that I will never be able to pay back. To do this makes me feel hopeless and helpless and pains my heart in a way I cannot express. Yet, I don't know what else to do. If I cannot get to Florida, I’ll have no one in California to turn to as my eye sight continues to fail.
So we got some numbers from U-haul. The 10 foot van is their small one but has enough space to move what I have. The price of fuel is an estimate because it varies from state to state.
U-haul’s 10 foot box van from Ontario, California to Deland, Florida
U-Haul says their 10 foot van gets 13 miles per gallon. Distance is 2,491 miles divided by 13 equals 191 gallons. Figuring average fuel cost at $2.30 a gallon times 191 total gallons, fuel cost
It is 22 days until the 2nd Wednesday of January when I receive my next Social Security check. I can manage until then with $12 a day.
Christmas is only a few days away and I know how that can be financially difficult for many people. If you can help I thank you for any amount you can help with. Your gift would be so much more than money. Getting to Florida will be freedom for me and a way to keep some independents. It will make the road ahead a lot less difficult. I sincerely carry that in my heart with the greatest regard.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to read this and caring about those you do not know. Have a glorious Christmas, God bless and if you would, please mention my name in your prayers.