No blog post this week. I’m preoccupied with my friend Shelli, who is in critical condition. There is a fundraiser tonight at Platform Beer Company. I’ll be there after 7pm. Shelli loves micro-brews and the micro-breweries love her back.
I keep checking and checking facebook for updates. (All updates are copied to the gofundme page which emails me automatically, but I’m impatient.) It’s obsessive and I should stop because there’s nothing I can do, but…
So, Shelli is this stupidly awesome person. Since August second she’s been biking from Cleveland to Seattle and posting the most wonderful things on instagram.
We met back when I worked at the Help Desk (some time between 1998-2001 this would be?) She had been working Dispatch for campus security before that, so she knew EVERYONE on campus. It was handy. Also, after working dispatch, dealing with frightened and angry people in real emergencies, she could deal calmly with people frightened and angry at their computer. We needed that at the help desk.
Working a help desk is not just a job, it’s a battle. The five of us against the world. Me, Shelli, Grace, Tom and Jerry. We’re the Classic HD core. This school didn’t HAVE a help desk before us. We opened our doors with 10,000 open tickets. I kid thee not. It was brutal.
When CWRU laid off half its IT staff, (I wanna say 2002? 2001?) Shelli was there, taking calls and updating a website to inform our IT community of who was let go. Shelli left the help desk to work IT for the Nursing School, where she stayed until August 1, when she left to begin her epic journey to Seattle, to move in with her long-distance boyfriend and start her nonprofit management career.
After moving over to Nursing, Shelli lost a crazy amount of weight on weight watchers. She rewarded herself every milestone (was it 25lbs? 50?) with a massage. It was inspiring to watch her make a goal and attack it. She’s like that. “I realized, I love being active. I love biking and hiking and skiing… why don’t I do it more? I need to lose weight, so I will, by doing what I love.”
She just kept getting more active. She co-founded Bike Cleveland, which I didn’t know – I knew she was active in the organization but she never bragged about founding or anything. I found that out through the articles now airing about her like this one from WKYC. (Credit where credit is due – Scene Magazine was first to post about Shelli, followed by Cleveland.com, but I love the WKYC piece because they show you who Shelli is.)
She’s in this skiing club, the Fagowees. She was crowned Queen one year. She camps on glaciers and snowboards and does lots of things that sounds intimidating. And she takes apart computers and puts them back together. And she can DECORATE. You should see her “Nightmare Before Christmas” decor for December. It’s sensational. And her Halloween costumes! She floors the Nursing School party every year. Her degree is in art. Her first degree I should say. (She graduated the Mandel School’s Master of Nonprofit Management program last year. Her dream is to found a nonprofit that helps adventurers like herself.)
The last time I saw her was to have a beer with her on her porch on the West Side. She had so many going-away parties. I attended two: the Nursing School’s ice cream social and the Help Desk Alumni’s night out at the bar. Shelli means a lot to me.
On Sunday, she was struck from behind by a car going 60 mph. She was on her bike, of course, and most of the way from Cleveland to Seattle, in North-Western Montana. She’s in a medically-induced coma and all I can do is watch Facebook for updates from her best friend who is with her.
There is a gofundme set up to raise money for her medical expenses. It raised $20,000 in one day! But it seems to have slowed down. They’re planing on flying her back to Cleveland via Metro Life Flight, and that’s not cheap.
Part of me is thrilled she’ll be recovering here, so I can see her and be there for her. But she was so close to her new life in Seattle! Her cat is there with her fiance and all her stuff.
She’s going to be so pissed to have to start over.by