Fabamy's Blog

Crazy life of a CenPho comedian & socialite

So long, #kidneychat! It’s been real. February 8, 2015

Last week was the last formal #kidneychat. After two years, I feel it’s run its course. But, real life is a priority right now, and I have a few businesses to run.

Over the past two years, I’ve met some awesome people! I’ve seen people get kidneys. I’ve seen people donate. And, most of all, I’ve seen a culture of kidney people, with an outlet to communicate, learn about each other and make new friends.

People have stumbled on #kidneychat from all over the world! Some don’t even have anything to do with kidneys, but they still show up because that’s what Social Media is all about.

Make friends. Build relationships. Learn about people.

It’s been real, folks! You know how to stay in touch. 🙂

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“A tank of gas…and a sandwich.” April 28, 2013

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 10:36 am
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My mom donated $100 to the documentary the other day. $50 of that was from her neighbor, LaVon. A couple days later, I got this awesome card in the mail. I bawled like a baby when I read it. A future donor donated (again) today, and her comment for her donation was “For a tank of gas and a sandwich,” because she had seen the card when I posted it on Facebook. So, it’s been kind of a motto the past few days.
LaVon is 82. She took the time to send this to me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

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The podcast I did yesterday is setting records for downloads! March 15, 2013

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 10:27 am

My friend Chris, who I’ve known for about nine years, set me up to do a podcast called “Positively Speaking” yesterday. It was a great experience and the host, Bill Poett, was very easy to talk to.

For the first 45 minutes, it was me telling my story. Things blew up, though, when we started to get callers. Grab your Kleenex and have a listen!

 

Positively Speaking 3/14/12

 

Sometimes I vent & don’t expect it to hurt people’s feelings. Ugh. March 9, 2013

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 1:17 pm

I had the pleasure of being a guest at a nephrology conference last week. I had no idea what to expect going in there, but I wanted to make connections with people and, of course, share my story. My heart sank a little when I saw the itinerary of talks, as I didn’t see anything given BY a donor. As everyone knows, live organ donation has become my life’s cause. I didn’t choose this path. It chose me.

I tweeted my frustration at the lack of the point-of-view from a donor. I often use Twitter to do so, and my words were taken out of context. That breaks my heart, because I wasn’t targeting any one person or organization. I remember crying as I left the conference, because I had just left a presentation that included people on dialysis speaking about their illness.

Kidney disease is an epidemic. I don’t think enough people talk about it, which is why I do. I’ll die before I ever stop telling people our story, about my donation, and the problem right now in the USA. (I just don’t know much about other countries and kidney disease.)

There are almost 100,000 people on a list, waiting for an organ. Roughly 94,000 of those sick people are waiting for a kidney. 94%. It truly breaks my heart.

I just wish everyone could work together to spread the gospel.

I just wish I hadn’t seen those sick people, but it gave me more fuel on my journey.

I just wish my words didn’t offend anyone.

I just wish my tweet hadn’t been taken out of context, and that I explained myself better.

I just wish that 94,000 people will come forward to donate.

Is that so much to ask?

 

Crunch time & the word is spreading! February 24, 2013

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 5:50 pm

If I had to make a guess, I’d say about 5000 people know about this film so far. That’s because of Social Media. It could be more, could be less, but that’s what I’m guessing.

Here’s what 5000 people means to me. Think of that Humane Society poster from many years ago, with how many cats come from one coupling of unspayed/neutered cats.

That’s 5000 people who may be hearing about kidney donation for the first time.

That’s 5000 people who may know their own TinyMom.

That’s 5000 who may change their driver’s license to be a donor when they die.

That’s 5000 people who will tell everyone they know. Even if it’s just a few, that’s still 5007 more people.

That’s 5000 people who will know, through all the interviews in the film, living kidney donors. They will feel with us. They will laugh and cry with us in this film. They will see that we are just normal people.

We are not heroes. We are people who saw a dire need and responded. We are people that truly believe in love for others. We are people that would do anything we could to help. We are people who did something that everyone SHOULD be doing.

What happened to society? What happened to people simply caring for their fellow man? Why have we become so selfish? I had a long conversation about this last night. I don’t like being called a hero. It makes me uncomfortable. If you could see what I got in return, you’d understand. Well, you’ll see it in the film.

(Oh, and change your driver’s license!)

 

What’s your legacy? February 8, 2013

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 12:41 pm

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To most people, it’s having and raising amazing children that go on to be amazing people. I don’t have kids. I will be 42 next week, and it’s not likely I will ever have them. It just wasn’t in the cards for me. So, this film will be my legacy.

I’m angry. Anger sparks my passion. I’m angry at the lack of awareness of live organ donation. But what I’m lacking in even more is the failure of awareness of donors. I don’t mean we need a trophy. I mean nobody talks about the donors.

There’s no foundation to mentor donors. There is nothing out there as an organization of donors to help raise awareness. To educate the public on what it’s like to donate. To give more attention to something that is so easy and will cut the number of people on dialysis. Yes, dialysis is there, and it works. But how about ending it for more people with a kidney?

I’m angry that I didn’t know how easy this was, or I would have done it long ago. Of course, I’m quite happy with my kidney being inside TinyMom, because I adore her. It’s an unbelievable connection!

I’ve always been the “Well, if it’s gonna get done right, I’d better do it” person. That’s why I’m making this film. I’ll never shut up about it, either. I’m going to get emails from around the world from people who are testing to donate. Or already have. Because of a movie. Because of all these donors who have agreed to be in the movie. They’re agreed to talk about something so personal, but we love to talk about it.

My legacy? Opening up people’s minds, which will open their hearts, and then their guts. To donate a kidney.

 

I never knew this would be so much work!!! Love it, though! February 3, 2013

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 12:31 pm

This whole concept for this film was created on a ride to a gig (I’ve been a comedian for ten years) with two others in the comedy circle. I offhandedly mentioned making a documentary with a cross-country trip. Then a few ideas got shot around. I was going to the Ice House that night, where I bumped into Jimmy Piertragallo. I had known him for about 8 or 9 years, but I hadn’t seen him for 7. His wife had a baby, so his job was to be there for his family. He came back out last Spring to do comedy again. I was so excited to see him!

So, We were sitting on a bench outside the show and I started telling him about it. I don’t think I even got through the whole explanation when he said “I’ll do it!”

That conversation was in August. Since then, we’ve met at least once a month, but usually it’s twice, to get the wheels in motion. We had to come up with not only a name for the film, but a name for us as a company. I then had to come up with an itinerary.

That was the tough part: Choosing which donors I would visit. Since this whole kidney crusade started with a tweet, Social Media played a big part in it. I’m in a couple living donor groups on Facebook. I’ve become friends with some of them and some are even on Twitter. I’ve spoken to a few on the phone. They are my friends. My kidney sisters. (there aren’t a lot of men who are active in the groups for some reason.)

We finally started to raise funds at the beginning of the year. We had comedy shows. We had shirts made. (http://socialmediastolemykidney.wordpress.com/donatebuy-a-shirt/) I’ve made a trip to the post office every day this week! They are really awesome and you should buy one, too. Everyone loves them and I wore mine every day last week. I wear it everywhere, because I need to spread the word!

It’s coming together. It’s becoming real. I just wish it were May 1st already! I’m working 20 hours a week on this, plus running my own business and attempting to have a life. I’m so glad, though, that we started everything 6 months ago. I like that I can have the time to think things through while working on it. I’m getting a LOT of help from a couple of people. I’m posting this page EVERYWHERE.

It’s happening. Soon!!!

 

Nervous, excited, scared, humbled December 30, 2012

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 10:36 pm

The past week or so has really sucked. On Friday the 21st of December, I woke up with a sore throat. I went out to a comedy show that night, and didn’t feel sick. I just had a sore throat. I woke up the next day with the full-blown flu.

My parents were already at my sister’s house in Orange County, and I was to drive there the 23rd or 24th. It never happened, as the flu got worse. I felt like I had been run over by a steam roller. I was just exhausted and my neck hurt for a day. I took really good care of myself by sleeping a lot. I had an appetite, so I just kept eating. I used my neti pot every day and gargled with warm salt water. I think all of that is what helped me. Though I was sick for 7 days, I didn’t feel like I was on death’s door. I was just SO tired and a little weak. I missed Xmas with my family, which sucked. I love my niece, Olivia, so much! She’s almost 10 now and she stayed with me for a week this past summer. It’s the first time she’s ever flown here by herself and came to stay with me. We had a blast and it just broke my heart that I couldn’t be there. The drive would have killed me.

I woke up the other day to a comment on one of my posts here. Someone else is offering us a place to stay on our trip. I do not know this person, and she is the second one to offer. I’m so touched! Every day I see more and more likes on the Facebook page  (https://www.facebook.com/SocialMediaStoleMyKidney) and I got messages the past few days from people I don’t even know. The other donors are incredibly supportive and they comment and share some of my posts. As a Social Media person, this page is doing what it’s supposed to!

Some time this week, I get to talk to firemen in NYC. A friend of mine told me about a kidney donation between them and knows a couple of the guys. How cool would it be to sneak in some NYC firemen???!!! That’s America right there! My father was a volunteer firemen, so it will be pretty cool to see them. I will, of course, get pics with them because we all know how sexy they are. Hahaha!

Tomorrow, Jimmy and I work on the script. I’ve got a meeting on Wednesday with Dr. Jean Robey. She is TinyMom’s doctor and has given me a lot of advice, feedback, and motivation the past few weeks. I definitely need it!

I’m a bit overwhelmed, but I’m ok.

I’m a bit nervous, but I’m ok.

I’m excited, too, to share all of these stories with everyone.

Most of all, though, I’m humbled beyond words at the help and support I am getting.

 

Staying inspired & motivated isn’t easy. December 22, 2012

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 7:48 pm

Last weekend, I spent 6 hours working on the itinerary and budget for the film. It’s a daunting task. I keep forgetting about things that will be needed. Thankfully, Dr. Robey has been there to help me and hear me vent. She’s got some great ideas!

January is going to be the big month. I’ve got a weekend of fundraisers lined up. I’ll be starting a Kickstarter campaign on the 1st. They give you 30 days (you can set it for more time, but statistically 30 days gets the best results.) I never really looked at the cost of this. In the beginning, I just figured we would raise enough to pay for gas and see what else we could get. I’m also hoping that my comedian friends in some of the cities we are visiting can hold a benefit show for us to be a part of the night we are in those cities. I’m excited. I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed.

I just watched “Craigslist Joe” on Netflix. I’m not feeling too well today, so I spent the day on the couch. It’s a cold/cough thing, and I know I got it from being run-down the past couple of weeks. It’s been pretty crazy with holiday parties, special events, and a little comedy thrown in. Anyway, this movie is about a guy who travels cross-country, relying solely on the kindness of Craiglist users to help him along the way. He got rides. He got places to say. He was fed. He met amazing people (and some crazy!) along the way. All I kept thinking about was what our trip will bring. Who we will meet. How each donor will impact my life. What the end product will look like. I cried.

I can’t wait to make this film to change the world’s perspective on live organ donation. I can’t wait to hear from people who donated because of seeing our film. I can’t wait to hear about the lives saved!

But most of all, I can’t wait to meet the other donors. I feel like I already know some of them. From Facebook, Twitter, phone calls and emails, I know these people. We haven’t met face-to-face yet, but it really doesn’t matter.

 

Helping new donors December 12, 2012

Filed under: The kidney donation — fabamy @ 10:01 pm

While I was testing to donate, I had a lot of personal “interviews” with many people on my team at Mayo. You get a Social Worker, and Advocate, a psych test (hahahaha yes, I passed! ), and all of the medical people. Those people kept me very well-informed, but they were lacking one thing: None of them were donors. Though they’d witnessed donations and performed them, they’d never donated. So, they don’t know what things *feel* like.

I don’t remember how long it was after my donation that I found the Living Donors group on Facebook. My donation had pretty much taken over my life, but I never had anyone who KNEW how I felt to talk to. It would have been nice to have such a network for myself.

So, what I’m getting at is that if all goes well with this film, I will make some money. I’d like to be able to start a foundation that mentors donors, before and after surgery. I love giving people information and sharing a very intimate experience with someone who’s been through it.

I talked to a woman tonight who donated on November 9th. I left a voicemail with another  woman after getting a message on the Facebook page. Her husband needs a kidney.

This has to continue to be talked about.

 

 
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