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A Birthday Wish

  Posted by J. Lea Lopez , 21 February 2012 · 711 views

The day is barely half over and I've been happily surprised at the number of people taking a moment to wish me happy birthday on Facebook and elsewhere. It has been very sweet, especially since a number of these people are folks I know only through social media and networking as a writer. I've spoken often about my love of the writing community, sites like Agent Query Connect, and all the fun and support I get on Twitter. It amazes me every day how well I can get to know and care for people whose faces I only know from their online avatars. And I'm touched by your birthday wishes for me today.

I have just one birthday wish, and that's for everyone in my extended "family" - my network of writers, readers, and friends - to support a young man in the fight of his life. Let me tell you Joshua's story.

Just one month ago, Maxwell Cynn shared a very personal revelation on his blog: His 21-year-old son, Joshua, was diagnosed with acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia. Two days later, his heart stopped. Thankfully, the ICU doctors and nurses were able to bring Joshua back and he is currently undergoing chemo and treatment for his cancer. Read Max's heart wrenching post here.

Many of Max's friends were touched by the news and one in particular, Eden Baylee, sprang into action to help. She set up an IndieGoGo campaign, Indies Unite for Joshua, to help raise money for Joshua's treatment and other expenses. At the time of his diagnosis, Joshua was half a semester away from graduating with a degree in philosophy, with a 4.0 GPA. He had to leave school to enter treatment. The Indies Unite for Joshua campaign is seeking to raise $10,000 by the end of May to help Max and his wife offset the cost of Joshua's treatment and school loans.

Now back to my birthday wish, and all of you. Max is one of those online-only friends of mine that I mentioned above. He's always been exceptionally sweet and kind, and he's a long-time supporter of my writing endeavors. He's a writer as well, and his books are a great read (thought-provoking, smart, and sexy on top of all that!) My wish is for all of you do one small thing to help Max's son Joshua.

How can you help? The obvious answer is donate. You can claim lots of great perks for different donation levels (starting at just $10), ranging from ebooks to guest blog spots to professional manuscript editing. Eden also recently secured the support of Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Janis Ian, and you'll be able to see those contributions on the campaign page starting Monday, February 27th.

If you are unable to contribute financially, or would like to do more, there are plenty of options. Emotional and moral support is just as important. Here is what you can do:
  • Purchase one of Max's books.
  • Snag the widget from the Indies Unite for Joshua page and display it on your blog or website (like I have in my sidebar here). Click "embed" on the campaign home page for the code for the widget.
  • Share the campaign on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and any other social network you belong to. Please use the hashtag #IndiesUnite4Joshua when tweeting. It'll help IndieGoGo see who's sharing the campaign and hopefully get more exposure that way.
  • Re-tweet, re-share, re-post as often as you feel comfortable! If you see me (or someone else you follow) tweeting about it, re-tweet it for us!
  • Visit Max's blog to read more about his brave son Joshua and leave a comment of support and encouragement.
  • Tweet Joshua and let him know you're pulling for him!
  • If you would like to help in some other way that I haven't mentioned, contact me and I can put you in touch with the appropriate people.
If every one of my blog followers, Twitter followers, and Facebook friends shared this story, and even just two or three of their friends/followers/readers did the same, that would be a few thousand new people who would hear Joshua's story. Somewhere in that few thousand, I know there are plenty of people who would like to help, and with that help, I know we can reach our goal.

Keep fighting, Joshua!


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