Two people who have done as much as anybody to shape and define Flagpole need our help. Friends have set up fundraisers for Patrick Dean and for Ort Carlton.
Eleanor Davis, who, along with Melissa McBride, is organizing Patrick’s gofundme.com campaign, explains Patrick’s situation as follows:
“Three years ago our friend Patrick Dean was diagnosed with ALS, a terminal, neurodegenerative disease. For almost two years he’s needed 24-hour care and now is receiving additional inpatient hospice care. He and his family are having to pay for these expenses out of their own savings.
“Patrick is the dad of two young children (the amazing Eloise and Julian) and husband of total badass Erin Josey. He’s a son, a brother and a friend to all. As co-organizer of the FLUKE mini-comics festival, he’s always been a champion of everyone in the small-press community, and he’s a truly extraordinary cartoonist. Although he’s now completely immobilized and unable to speak, Patrick still stubbornly manages to make his incomparable—hilarious, sweet, sad, scary, goofy, profound—art, now through the use of eye-gaze technology.
“The only way Patrick can get the complex care he now needs is through continuous skilled nursing care, which is very costly and not covered by his insurance. His family is paying for this enormous expense with the savings they were counting on for their parents’ elder care and for Eloise and Julian’s futures. Let’s help Patrick get the palliative hospice care he needs without having to be afraid it will deny his family the future he wants for them.”
I can only add that for years, Patrick’s zany, otherworldly comics welcomed readers into Flagpole each week from their perch on p. 3, where he constructed an alternate Athens peopled by monsters with soul. Through Patrick’s genius, wit and skill, Flagpole readers had an exclusive entrée into a shadow town that gave depth and meaning to the everyday Athens they inhabited. Helping Patrick and his family now is a great opportunity for payback—thanking him for enriching our lives and enhancing the mythos of our Athens.
Lesley Ganschow is organizing the fundraiser for Ort, aka William Orten Carlton, and here’s her message:
“Dearfolk: Ort has been reluctant to let us know, but he is in a very difficult spot, and we know Athens will be eager to show him how much his kindness, stories, yarns and astonishing memory of anecdotes and history have meant to generations of Athenians. For many of us, a beer with Ort was bragging rights. Even those who watched from afar feel like he is a link to the intangible character that makes Athens far more than a town. We recently found out that he is not eligible for Social Security. He has always kept busy and helpful to many and has been an astonishingly gifted writer. But it has all fallen under the category of [nontraditional] income. He also spent most of his life caring for his mother, who left him a modest inheritance which is now exhausted. Your contribution will help us get him through this current rough patch. He will be able to pay his most basic bills and some property tax and figure out the next step.”
Limited space allows me to add only that our friend Ort has led a sort of Walt Whitman-like life, roaming his hometown of Athens in bearded eccentricity since high school, deeply delving into every aspect of our communal life—embracing its music, its food and its beer, almost single-handedly waking Athens up to the wonders of craft beer. He wrote for the old Athens Observer, and he wrote for Flagpole from the beginning, giving this publication a plethora of personality as a guidebook to alternative Athens.
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