Final Raffle for the Crystal Marie Support Fund
Monday, September 19th, 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM CDT
Using a random wheel spin with all the raffle entries, the final raffle winner is Jamie Sells!!! Congratulations, Jamie. We'll be in contact about shipping this gorgeous encaustic collage, Clearning Her Name by Crystal Marie. And a huge thank you to every single one of you for your support in this fundraiser. This was absolutely life giving.
All supporters are automatically entered with one raffle ticket unless you choose to Opt Out. Those who purchased additional raffle tickets had more chances to win!
The CRAM Collective (Crystal Marie, Rebecca Stahr, Amanda Jolley, & Melissa Hall) minus Crystal plus Lisa Visel equals the conglomerate behind the Crystal Marie Support Fund, a life-giving fundraiser. This CRAM - C + L Collective bows at the generous offerings made by our larger artist community. We are not only able to request monetary donations for this fundraiser, but also able to offer gifts for purchase provided by the artists listed below with the money going fully to the support fund.
To select items for purchase or to donate, click the Donate & Tickets button.
And a reminder that ALL the funds go directly to support Crystal.
The items are grouped by category with the following options. These categories are listed in the title of each item:
Scroll through the items and make your selections OR if you'd prefer, make a cash donation. Keep scrolling to select more than one direct buy.
The list of items is long. We've created a page for easier view ability, but the actual selection will need to be made on this site. For an easy on the eyes view, go here: Crystal Marie Support Fund Items
Encaustic artwork will be shipped once it can be insulated against temperatures under 40°F and over 80°F. We are estimating mid September.
Note: you may notice some of Crystal’s work has been included. All her work represented here is part of the CRAM Collaboration as part of our Transcend:Distance project.
Details of what the fundraiser is all about:
One of our dearest artist sisters, Crystal Marie, is currently in a deep state of physical/emotional burnout and is in that paradoxical place of needing life-sustaining deep rest but having to work continually to survive. This fundraiser is likened to tossing a lifebuoy to a person who has been treading water so long, she is ready to go under. The funds raised will allow Crystal to receive the support she needs to rest and recover. “Recover from what?” you ask. Let us tell you a story about a disabled person whose rare diagnoses slipped through so many cracks that the whole story still has not fully been determined even in her mid-50s. And our society is not structured to support disabled people well. We, as a global community, must come together for one another for our own sur-thrive-al.
First let’s go way back. Crystal was diagnosed with Lupus as a young adult, but the diagnosis never fully explained all the symptoms she experienced, which continued to escalate from that time. In 2018 Crystal contracted a serious bout of food poisoning from a store-bought bag of produce. This was the triggering event for a cascade of symptoms that led to losing a third of her body weight and an eventual diagnosis of Systemic Mastocytosis. This unlocked one part of the mystery of Crystal’s chronic illnesses. Deemed to be at a life-threatening aggressive stage at first, the diagnosis was later downgraded to Indolent after working with a specialist and beginning a course of treatment, but Crystal is still working to find more viable treatment options specific to the symptoms she experiences.
From that point forward, Crystal’s health continued to decline. Eventually the remaining pieces of the puzzle were identified when Crystal entered a deep state of burnout and was subsequently diagnosed as Autistic. This diagnosis came as a surprise to many, but to Crystal it was a relief to better understand her life through this lens. And it was through this lens that the final piece of her medical issues was found, a diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is, though a rare disease, prominent in the ASD population, along with Mast Cell Disease, and a EDS related issue called POTS. Crystal has what is known in the ASD community as the trifecta.
EDS has 13 different known subtypes. Crystal has been diagnosed with late stage hEDS-hypermobile type and is currently undergoing testing to determine whether she also has vEDS – vascular type, after genetic testing revealed a variant related to her heart symptoms and family history.
EDS is considered a connective tissue disease affecting how collagen is made. Collagen is present in every cell in the body and serves to hold it all together. People with EDS experience damage to their muscles, joints, organs, and bones, teeth, gums, and nervous system. It is an incurable disease with debilitating symptoms, managed by a team of specialists.
Crystal is currently under the care of a cardiologist specializing in EDS, an endocrinologist specializing in mast cell diseases, and has an upcoming appointment with a neurologist who understands the dysautonomia symptoms caused by EDS. She will be seeing a geneticist later in the year and is working her way through a list of tests her primary doctor has ordered. Specialists who understand EDS and Mast Cell Diseases are in high demand with lengthy wait lists and often out of network, in private practices, and require travel to be seen. As she manages her current schedule of tests and medical care, Crystal has had to forgo necessary related dental care including a broken tooth, root canal, and receding gums. She also is in need of car repairs that she has been unable to afford and that limits her ability to travel to some of her appointments.
While Crystal has received so much life-saving help, information, and (costly) medical care AND the wonderful gift of a GoFundMe organized by a fellow artist and friend in 2019, what she has not received is a time to really rest in her bones. This deep rest is essential for continued healing and recovery of the deep burnout that robs those in its clutches of executive function of the brain, of the exhaustion and pain that lives daily in her body.
Crystal’s long term plan is that of shifting towards depending more on her writing as a source of revenue. She is working on her 2nd book about the intuitive voice and has an established substack blog, Crystal Marie, Deeper. She has also applied for disability. This is a lengthy process and from her understanding from others with EDS can often take several attempts before being accepted, so disability assistance is a future prospect. This fundraiser is designed as a support for the interim, a lifebuoy that will pull her onto steady ground.
As artists, we know how it works. The money to live day to day doesn’t come without hours of creation both of artwork and workshops. When one is in a physical state of debilitating burnout trying to continue to produce life sustaining work, the quality of everything diminishes as the vitality is leached from the artist. (This is a sidenote from Amanda, fellow autistic artist and one experienced with autistic burnout, I want to clarify that autistic burnout, which is what Crystal is experiencing currently on top of all the diagnoses, is not your typical burnout. It is a physically debilitating experience often leaving the person bedridden or with an extremely limited capacity.) Our personal hope for Crystal is that this fundraiser will allow her the space to offer what she is able on her own timing and that sabbatical feel of deep rest to rejuvenate her creative wellspring.
List of contributing artists with website links. Go check out their amazing work!
Bridgette Guerzon Mills
Lisa Tarbox Visel
CRAM Collective - Crystal, Rebecca, Amanda & Melissa
Melissa T. Hall