Over four years ago, I landed in Japan as a bright eyed and very nervous high school exchange student. As I got to know my host family I felt so lucky that was being welcomed into their folds. My family consisted of a single mother, her daughter in middle school, and her son Itsuki, who was attending a private high school as he had cerebral palsy. As I lived with them, learning to communicate with Itsuki became equally important to learning Japanese. “Itsuki-go” as my mom called it became an everyday study and we became close friends, singing and watching movies together, making jokes. My favorite memory was singing along to an Arashi album with Itsuki just a week before I returned to The States.
Since my time in Japan, his condition has gotten worse. Unable to swallow, and therefore unable to eat or drink, Itsuki’s quality of life has changed drastically. Recently it changed again and my mom informed me that on December 15th he would be entering surgery, and coming out on a ventilator and unable to speak. Broken hearted I stood in my kitchen thinking about that singalong and afternoons spent learning to communicate, and I don’t want my family going into this surgery alone. I anticipated this and began saving on my own, but a recent ER visit of my own has kept me from being able to fully fund my own trip. All I need is $500 to get me on a plane and I can figure out the rest.
If you’re able or willing to help, or even unable to and sending your thoughts and prayers, please know I’m very grateful from the deepest part of my heart.