Category Archives: Get Well

Day 243: Dave Samples


Dave and his daughter

I have never met Dave Samples, but he is a close friend of relatives of mine. They shared Dave’s story and I was compelled to help.

Dave needs a new heart. And if that wasn’t difficult enough, before he can get the new heart he needs a device called a Left Ventricular Assist Device. To get one of these he and his family will have to temporarily move to Nashville, TN for two to three months for him to have the surgery and recover.

As you can imagine, this means a lot of added expenses. He and his family live pay check to pay check. In order to help get Dave his new heart, a crowdfunding page was created and I’ve contributed to his campaign. I hope that you will consider making a donation as well, every little bit helps. Dave’s life truly depends on it.

Day 243


Just a note to say hello to you and your family and let you know that I’ve made another donation to your Go Fund Me page. Also, I’ve linked your page on my Year of Letters blog and hopefully some of my followers will read about your story and consider making a donation. I wish you the best with the LVAD surgery.

Stay strong and stay in touch,

Day 239: Jo Ann

Day 239-2My friend Danielle’s mother suffered a terrible fall earlier this summer and was hospitalized until the insurance company stopped paying for her stay. I’ve heard Danielle talk about her mother several times over the years and know that she is a beloved dance instructor in Frederick, MD.

She’s improving, but it’s a very slow process and she still hasn’t regained use of the right side of her body. I thought a letter might brighten her day.

Jo Ann requires 24/7 care right now which is not being paid by insurance and a fundraising page has been set up to assist with expenses. If you would like to help, I know Jo Ann and her husband Bill would be very appreciative.

Day 239

Dear Jo Ann,

I’m friends with Danielle – we used to work together at the American Heart Association. I am so sorry to hear about your fall. Danielle has been sharing your progress – I know it takes a long time, but hopefully it helps to know so many friends and family are thinking about you.

Stay strong,

P.S. I love the Take Them a Meal app. If I lived closer, I’d make you something. Instead I made a small donation to your recovery fund.

Day 234: Michael

You may remember earlier this summer (Day 160) a friend of mine suffered a severe stroke. Michael, a long-time community advocate here in DC, suffered a stroke in the brain stem and has been battling back ever since. He was finally discharged from the hospital and is now in an assisted living center up in Maryland.

I visited Michael last weekend. He looked a lot better than the last time I saw him, but he still couldn’t speak at all. Communicating with him was very frustrating – I just couldn’t understand what he was trying to tell me. It must be so hard for him.

I can’t visit him as much as I used to since he’s now much further away, so I thought I would send him a letter today.

Day 234

Dear Michael,

It was great to see you last week. You looked great – you’ve improved a lot since I last saw you on the day that you were being released from GW.

As I was leaving I realized you were probably trying to signal me to give your roommate back his chair. I wasn’t really aware that he was using it, I thought it was for visitors. Sorry.

You’ve got some good strength in your right arm, that was impressive. I imagine they are providing you some physical therapy, which is good for you.

I stopped by the nurse’s station to try to get a little more information about your care. Unfortunately I had a hard time getting someone who know enough about your situation – several new people were on duty. I will be back to see you, it’s a little harder now given your new location.

Stay strong and keep working hard on your recovery. You can do it.

Day 222: Steve

A good friend of mine found out last week that he has stage 4 lung cancer. He’s 44 or 45, a nonsmoker and in great shape. He’s been extremely active all of his life playing competitive lacrosse, football, hockey – you name it. You cannot find a nicer guy and I was stunned when I heard the news.

While this is a devastating blow and his health has been in the most precarious of states this last week, he manages to fight. A loving husband and father of four, he’s got a lot to fight for.

He’s still got his sense of humor though. I saw him Sunday night and even though he was under heavy meds and had breathing tubes in his mouth preventing him from talking, he tried to get the nurse to go out on a date with me. You gotta love’em.

Steve can beat this – he’s a champion at heart and physically is as strong as they come, but if you have a minute today, I ask you to send him and his family some positive thoughts.

Day 222


It was great to see you on Sunday. I thought I’d send you a little old school mail today. So many people are praying for you and sending their love and support to you and your beautiful family: Forlenza, Herman, Sasse, Richie, Hubbard, Kristy & Val Windom, Bubbles, Tobey, St. Amour, Landon, UNC …the list goes on.

You’re doing great and I heard they took you off the ventilator today. That is awesome news. Stay strong, keep fighting and know that TEAM MUIR is all in this together.

Keep fighting brother!

Day 160: Michael

I received terrible news that a friend of mine and leader in the community suffered a stroke on Sunday and was hospitalized. I went over to see him at the hospital. Unfortunately he is in a coma, they lower his sedation a few times a day and he does respond to commands. The medical evaluation concluded that the stroke took place very close to the brain stem and that it could have severe implications. And while the gravity of the situation was clear, I find some hope in the words of Dr. Richard Harvey, director of stroke rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

“Dramatic recovery from a brain stem stroke is possible because brain stem strokes do not usually affect language ability, the patient is able to participate more fully in rehabilitation therapy. Most deficits are motor-related, not cognitive.”

I sat with my friend, held his hand and spoke to him. I told him how much we all love him and are hoping for his speedy recovery.

Keep fighting Michael – we need you brother!

Day 160


I stopped by to see you and let you know how much all of us at Street Sense are thinking about you. You are an inspiration to me on how to effectively work with the community to help our less fortunate neighbors. We love you and wish you a speedy recovery.

Reed Sandridge