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This fundraiser ended on 01/15/13

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Please help me to rid myself of this medical burden so I can be free to create love, joy and beauty with my art and music. Mary Kay

I am Mary Kay, a jazz vocalist, caricature artist, lindy hop (swing) dancer and lover of life. I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids over 10 years ago. These are benign tumors that grow in the uterus and affect as many as 1 in 3 women.  Some may have no associated symptoms and may never need treatment, while others may develop into a serious condition requiring attention.  In my case, after "watchful waiting" for a few years, the time came when they finally did, unfortunately, start to interfere with my day-to-day activities - and my livelihood.

I make a joyful living as a caricature artist - at the theme parks around Orlando, Florida as well as fairs, festivals and events around the country.  I get to interact with people young and old from all around the world and connect during the fleeting moments of creating a sketch. Additionally, I am a professional vocalist who has sung with some of the great jazz, blues and gospel musicians in the country! I do this in clubs, at swing dances, and also in church as a ministry. I am lucky to have these  talents that I can share with others, and I am grateful for them every single day.  For the past three years, however, my declining health has been slowly taking a toll on my performance.  Until recently it was manageable, but the discomfort and weakness have now reached a level that make it more and more difficult to simply leave the house for work, much less sing or dance or feel inclined to enjoy the company of others.  The "watchful waiting" has evolved into "stressful navigation" within the healthcare system.

After prayerful and emotional exploration of my options, I found a really great surgeon who I trust to perform a sub-cervical hysterectomy. I do have health insurance.  Although expensive and limited, my plan would cover this surgery in order to treat my condition - but not without significant out-of-pocket costs, in addition to the loss of income associated with a devastating recovery time of 3 to 8 weeks. Since I am self-employed, this results in a significant hardship.

(Update: I had a successful surgery on Dec. 10. See update section for details. Funds still requested to continue to pay medical costs and living expenses while recovering.)

My illness is progressing, and I need help.  I would love donations, or I would also love to receive commissions for artwork. Let me draw you! Your child! Your pet! (I draw from photos!) Or, hire me to sing at your wedding! To draw at your party! Or you can download my music! Please spread the word to your friends and family, anyone you know.

My soul still has so much to share, but my body needs to release this illness it has been holding onto for so long.

Love, Mary Kay

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