Tag Archives: Go Fund Me

Paying It Forward: Uber Eats Assault Victim Can Now “Help Santa!”

The story last March was grim. One Saturday night, a 64-year-old Westport woman supplementing her income by driving for Uber Eats picked up an order at Golden Pizza, in Westfair Plaza.

Inside the restaurant, she saw someone enter her unlocked car. When she went outside to prevent the theft, she was brutally assaulted. She suffered a serious head injury, and was intensive care for days.

Westporters were outraged. Quickly, a GoFundMe campaign was created. It raised over $33,000. The money paid for medical bills — she had no health insurance — and her long rehabilitation, as she learned to walk again.

The outpouring of support was “life-changing,” the woman says.

But that’s not the end of the story.

The woman’s name is Katherine “Pearl” Miller. She’s a watercolor artist, whose paintings and prints of richly detailed whimsical character hang in kids’ rooms throughout the US and Italy.

Katherine “Pearl” Miller

In 2020, she wrote a book. “Help Santa!!!” is a clever, light-hearted and rhythmic story about kindness, in which children get a chance to help St. Nick with a chimney problem.

Each book includes a “Magic Key” that — when young readers hold it in their hands and think “magical thoughts,” then hang on their door on Christmas Eve — can help them “help Santa.”

Each book comes with a “magic key.”

But this is not a story that suggests you buy “Help Santa!!!” for your child.

It’s far better than that.

Pearl has agreed to sell 250 of the books for $12.99 each. (The price on her website is $19.95; on Amazon, they’re $16.95.)

Right now, the books are in a storage unit. They can be distributed this Friday at 5 Bridgeport elementary schools: Curiale Elementary, Geraldine Claytor Magnet Academy, Barnum, Skane and Luis Muñoz Marin.

Bridgeport school administrators are thrilled. Usually, donors offer used books. This will provide brand-new hardcover books to 250 children, right before Christmas. And they’ll feel empowered “helping” Santa get down the chimney.

The book — and the magic key.

This is where “06880” readers come in. The books can only be distributed if we cover the cost.

That should be easy. As noted, each book is just $12.99. Ordering one (or more) for a Bridgeport child could not be easier.

Venmo $12.99 (per book) to @katherine-miller-177.

A year ago, Westporters banded together to help a woman. We did not know her name. We knew only that she’d been beaten on a Saturday night, while delivering meals to supplement her income.

Now we know her name. We know her back story. We know how far she’s come — and how eager she is to help others.

The next step is easy. Once again, here’s the Venmo: @katherine-miller-177.

Happy holidays!

Rachel Doran’s Journey

This month, Rachel Doran should be completing a summer internship in New York. She should be looking forward to her senior year at Cornell University, as a fashion design major with a minor in business.

Instead, the 2015 Staples High School graduate — a National Merit Commended Scholar, talented Players costume designer, and founder of “Rachel’s Rags,” a company that makes intricate cotton and fleece pajama tops and bottoms — is in critical condition at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital’s Center for Acute Respiratory Failure and ECMO Program.

Last month Rachel was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, a rare reaction to common medications that resulted in severe burns to 95% of her body.

Rachel Doran

She was treated at Bridgeport Hospital’s Connecticut Burn Center for 2 weeks, before being transferred to New York for the treatment of Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome — another rare and life-threatening syndrome. She is in the ICU, on a special lung protocol called ECMO and dialysis.

Her skin is slowly beginning to heal. But Rachel has a collapsed lung and renal failure. She is being kept as comfortable as possible, and is supported by a superb hospital staff.

Rachel’s family has been by her side for 3 weeks — and faces a long road. She could be at Columbia Presbyterian for months.

Her parents are staying in a New York hotel, while their extended family tries to maintain a sense of normalcy for Rachel’s sister Ellie in Westport.

Between hospital bills, the hotel and loss of wages, the financial ramifications will be vast. Friends created a GoFundMe page to lighten the load.

Everyone who knows Rachel calls her “amazing.” Now is the time for Westport to offer her and her family some amazing help.

Click here to contribute to the Dorans’ GoFundMe page.