Geeks With Blogs
Lou Vega a thump to the brain

As some of you may already know this has been a roller-coaster year for me starting with the hospitalization and near death of my son in February. Between the subsequent hospitalizations, (July marked the first calendar month he didn't get admitted to the hospital at all!), a pretty bad car wreck that left me with a concussion and associated post-concussion problems, and then additional extended family issues (one sister-in-law nearly died of a mix-up with prescriptions she was given at the ER, another sister-in-law lost all 4 of her children to foster care but that's an extended story below) it's just gotten to the point where my wife and I are just trying to catch up and breathe to get everything sorted out and we're rapidly running out of money ourselves.

The sister-in-law who's children we took in, has at this point essentially abandoned them and us. We bought her a bus ticket to come down here from Scranton, PA after she took care of some things she needed to and were ready to welcome her into our house to get a new start down here. Her ex-husband had never been good at paying child support and she wasn't getting any help up there so we stepped in to try and help her. That backfired on us the other night when she walked out of the house saying she was "going back to Scranton" and eventually she made her way to the bus station and caught a bus. Not sure how she paid because she left her purse, wallet, ID, everything in our house. None of us have heard from here since despite repeated attempts to reach her.

We were very fortunate that our local church donated bunk-beds for the 4 kids we took in. They also donated a lot of food. So now that their mom walked out we're left asking South Carolina Children's Services for any kind of help and their answer is simply "Send them back to PA".  Not exactly the answer we were thinking we'd get from a place that is supposed to have children's interest at heart.The PA Children's services folks have been as helpful as they can be but they're not technically responsible for those children anymore.

Because of this I'm turning to the geek/dev community at large knowing that there are a ton of really great people out there who might just be able to get this family through this after all. All the money that's donated is going to go towards paying down medical bills from my son's hospital stays, paying down unpaid bills that were missed and run up with late charges during the hospital stays, more food since our family doubled in size from 4 to 8, new clothes for the kids (the 4 came down with basically a suitcase and not much else), and also to help pay for other costs associated with providing for such a large family on such short notice. Most of our prior emergency savings were wiped out during previous hospital stays due to increased fuel costs (driving back and forth between hospital, school when it was in session, and home) and food costs (eating out a lot since we weren't home) and direct medical costs.

As for our part, we've contacted our bank to ask that they suspend our car payment for 6 months, and I've contacted my student loan company to ask them to do the same. We also took our 7 year old out of the private school she was in and put her in public school. Even with those changes we're still running short of cash. If it so happens that all our needs are met and more we're going to donate the excess to both the church which has so graciously helped us out and the children's hospital playroom where my son has spent a good amount of time when he wasn't on contact precautions at the hospital. In the event that my sister-in-law returns to us we'll gladly give her the excess also towards her new start at life.

I couldn't figure out how to get the PayPal donate button to integrate into the blog entry so I've posted it on my skeleton of a web site at

There's basically just the "Donate" button there and it's all handled through SSL on PayPal. I didn't set a minimum amount because truthfully I'm grateful for any amount anyone can give.

Thanks in advance to all who are able to help in any way.

- Lou

Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 7:20 PM Non-Technical | Back to top

Comments on this post: This geek is asking for help...

# re: This geek is asking for help...
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How old are the children and/or what size do they wear?
Left by Tara on Aug 12, 2008 5:07 PM

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Hey Lou,

First off, i'd like to say that what you're doing is beyond any doubt the most charitable you could possibly ever do in your life.

providing for our children is something which will always stand as the #1 responsibility in life.

I'm glad to hear that you've not sent the kids back. Obviously this will leave a mark on the kids and being rejected once more will only contribute towards the damage that can come from this.

I've emptied my paypal account (only $9.55) but as soon as i figure out how to transfer some more from my own bank account then i'll be happy to contribute a bit more.

I wish you, your wife and all of the children the best of luck in the future and hope you will overcome this hurdle thrown at you.
Left by Brian H. Madsen on Aug 13, 2008 7:24 PM

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Hey Lou,

You are a real hero for stepping up and taking care of those kids. I know it's been such a rough run lately for you and your family.

Things will turn around. They always do for good people with good hearts.

I don't have any money in my PayPal account, but that's only temporary. I just initiated an account transfer. 3-5 days and it's there. I would be happy to help out. If you don't see a donation in 5 days, please ping me.

I'm finishing up my week vacation at the moment. Once I'm back at the office, the transfer should be complete.

Keep your head up. We geeks take care of our own :-)


Left by Murray Gordon on Aug 13, 2008 9:08 PM

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Brian & Murray - thanks for the encouragement! Tara - I think I sent you some info yesterday, thanks!

Everyone - thanks again. It's a huge encouragement to see the show of support the community has shown us.

Left by Lou on Aug 14, 2008 9:10 AM

# re: This geek is asking for help...
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Sizes/Age as follows:
10yr Boy: Size 6 shoe, 8 shirt, 10 pants.
12yr Boy - size "10-12", shoe 6-8.
16yr girl 7 pants, "small" shirt.
Still waiting on sizes for the 14yr old girl.
Left by Lou on Aug 14, 2008 12:43 PM

# re: This geek is asking for help...
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Wow, I did not read about this until a while ago. I've sent a small donation, I hope this helps somewhat and I will contribute some more soon. Hope things get better soon.
Left by Karl on Aug 15, 2008 10:10 PM

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Hi Lou,
We're working on sending you some things. Do you yet know the sizes for the 14 year old girl? And shoe size for the 16 year old girl?
Left by Doug and Janet Turnure on Aug 19, 2008 7:26 PM

# re: This geek is asking for help...
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Updated sizes for the girls:
The 16 year old wear size 9 pants. Medium to Large for shirts.

The 14 year old wears size 0 (junior) pants. X-Small (junior) Shirts. She's tall with a long inseam.

Shoe sizes for all:
10yr Boy: Size 6 shoe
12yr Boy - Size 8 shoe
14yr Girl: - Size 8 (girls)
16yr Girl: - Size 9.5(girls)

Thanks again to all who have helped!
Left by Lou on Aug 19, 2008 10:46 PM

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In addition to clothing how about if you make a list of items you might need as well? I'm thinking that there's probably folks who have stuff they could send as well.
Left by jeffa00 on Aug 29, 2008 4:17 PM

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I'll talk with the kids this weekend and see if there's anything else they need. Thanks everyone for all your help!
Left by Lou on Aug 29, 2008 6:26 PM

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I admire your courage to take over the responsibility of caring four more children. You are a great man. And your wife is a heroine, too.

Just put in $50 from Paypal account. Hope it can help a little with the food and others. Please keep us posted and I will get more to the account later.

Left by Edward on Sep 02, 2008 5:16 PM

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