Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ivan's Trip

Ivan is 2 years old and has retinoblastoma - cancer of the eye.

He lives with his mom, Rosa, age 25, in Santa Maria, CA.

I don't know how she's paying for Ivan's treatment, but she can't afford transportation to/from the specialized treatment necessary, which is at UCLA Medical Center.
Ivan, Rosa, Dwights

Fortunately Angel Flights West coordinates transportation for people with serious medical issues but insufficient means to get to the treatment.

I volunteered for the flight - Ivan and Rosa were perfect passengers. They'd done this before.

Volunteerism takes many different shapes and forms.

I can't change Ivan's retinoblastoma. I can't ease Rosa's fears for Ivan's future. But I do what I can, and in this case I was able to fly Ivan and Rosa from Santa Maria to Santa Monica so they could make their chemotherapy appointment.

Look at Ivan in the picture - looks like a normal 2 year old to me! And he acted like one - full of spunk, energy, and that smile... he loves flying.

We can look at others in the same way.

Rosemary helps injured workers in Australia get their dignity back first by providing sustenance, then providing, essentially, occupational therapy by getting them to "work" at her volunteer center.

She does more for the injured worker population in Australia than anybody simply by showing that there's people who care, and providing a path to return to society.

Some find fault in Rosemary's actions. She's not militant enough. She's just supplying groceries. It's just a waste of time...

Wrong - Rosemary, at once an injured worker herself, understands the deep emotional damage that a work injury can have, and how hard it is to return to dignity, to find that new path in life.

When I got back to my home airport the line guys fueling Forty One Mike asked about my Dwight Johnsons.

Dwight, as you likely know, is a double amputee, the result of two separate industrial accidents 18 months apart, who decided to give people something to look at other than his prosthesis, and has made a business out of his shoes.

The line guys were delighted to get Dwight's contact information. Maybe Dwight will make another sale, maybe not. But for sure, there's a couple more people that have a little more education about the work injured, about a return to dignity and a new path in life.

There are countless other stories of people thrown a curve in life, others stepping in to assist (volunteers or professionals) and new lines in the map of life drawn, and followed.

Sometimes it is the system. No doubt there are times when the system lets people down and there is misdirection.

But more often it is the person.

The person can't always choose the system.

But the person does have a choice how to react within the system.

One last thing - if an injured worker needs transportation, there are volunteers who will provide it, and they're only a phone call away...


  1. I have read about what Rosemarie has done in Australia and it is wonderful!Providing needed food for those in need and also providing an avenue for injured workers to volunteer is a great idea.

    1. Thank you, I am humbled at you know of my work.

      Yours in service

  2. It's awesome that you helped some one today. And it's great what Rosemarie is doing for folks, all though injured workers should not have to be relying on charity, or Federal aid, if their grand bargain was just being honored to start with, they would not need the charity. But it's a good thing that she's there for folks, and I'm sure she gets satisfactions out of helping others as well. They must not have Food Stamps or missions in Australia? So Im certain the folks receiving her needed help is much appreciated. And she does not just help with donated items, she fights for the injured workers in the system, and is trying to do so on a national level as well. Besides her weekly muses she put's out, which help bring life to the injured workers saga, some what like you do.

    None the less, if you think injured workers having the courage to voluntarily share their struggles and stories, are not also contributing to helping injured workers, then your sadly mistaken.

    Were not all made from the same cloth, and help others in our own ways, they don't all have to be the same. Like not all of us fly planes, but that does not mean that others do not help others in different way's as well, that do not fly planes. It may just be that those doing those good deeds, do not seek out acknowledgement for the good deeds they have done.

    I know I have been helped by knowing that others are going through the same struggles, and I feel validated by them sharing their stories. There are over 5000 of them on the NAIDW web site alone. I would say they are all great folks for being willing so share their stories publicly. Some times one injured worker helps another by just being there and sharing and listening to each other, with no judging, just acceptance. Not unlike alcoholics in AA. I would also add that the man who runs the NAIDW web site, is also doing a great job for others, by volunteering his time, resources, and efforts, in getting the voices of injured workers heard and shared as well. He's created a very nice site for injured workers to share and educate one another. Helping many injured workers,Nationally,everyday.

    And let's not forget the folks who had the courage, and volunteered to have their stories, and struggles, told in the national NPR/ProPublica reports. Nor those reporters that were willing to buck the system, and go out on a limb, to bring out the facts and open up a national discussions on workers comp. When the rest of the mainstream media just ignored the injured workers plight.

    Maybe it's possible we all help injured workers in our own ways? And no one has a monopoly on being of service to another.

    It just may be that others are also doing good in our World for others one on one, but they just don't feel the need to report on it, for others to see. Or to have their good deeds used as a measuring stick against those deeds, or lack of deeds, of another.

    No two injuries are the same, or at least their claims are not they say. So is it really reasonable to expect that all those injured, not only by their jobs, but by the broken systems as well, will all react and deal with the bad hand their dealt in the same ways? Is it reasonable to assume that all will over come the bad hands they have been dealt in the same manner?

  3. Not every artist is a Michelangelo, not ever one who plays foot ball becomes an NFL player, and not everyone one who plays music, becomes a star. Does that make the artist any less an artist, the football player any less an athlete, or the musician any less a musician?

    Not every injured worker will become successfully self employed, run a volunteer charity, or even become a pilot. Some may simply just become re employed at a lighter less strenuous jobs, or retired, or even just continue to struggle to survive. Does that make them any less than?

    You your self are a businessman, but I'm sorry to say, your no Bill Gates, or Warn Buffet. Why is that, is it because you did not have what they had? Did you not have the same internal drive and will for success that they did? Or were their circumstance just different than yours? Who knows, but I certainly do not judge you and what you have become, or not become, with what they have done. Like none of us should be doing with injured workers. Just because one injured worker has over come their circumstance in a better manner than that of the others, does not make one more right or better than the other. Were all supposedly equals, but not our circumstance and outcomes, in this broken systems as it is today.

    Expecting all injured workers out comes to be the same, and that all should be held to the same measuring stick of the one's who have overcome the odds, is just not reasonable, nor really compassionate and fair towards our fellow human beings.

    If we use our accomplishments and our good deeds in life, to judge and chastise, those of another's life. Do we do more harm than good? Just asking as always, peace and thanks for helping your fellow man, or child as it was in this case.

    “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.”
    ― Dalai Lama XIV

  4. ON that note, wish me luck with my job search tomorrow.

  5. Providing support and a safe place for injured workers is what I do it is who I am.
    The Bags of Love emergency food project is about providing support and encouragement for injured workers, it is about returning dignity and hope and offering an understanding.

    There are so many positives for the wider workers compensation industry held within the walls of the Centre that I started 4yrs back.
    The wider industry for the most part just ignores the opportunities to learn and to grow and that is so very sad because the Centre and as I call them the A Team has much to offer that will never be found on the pages of a university degree.

    Injured workers learn to laugh again, they learn to trust, and they learn to look forward and to believe again.
    Once self-belief is returned to an injured worker they will never succumb to the tactics used to control and contain them.
    Once injured workers know that they have the right to have a conversation and their voice can be not just heard but truly understood and listened to everything changes.

    I know that there are people who seek to belittle the work that I do and say it is disgraceful that injured workers should be reduced to relying on food hampers. I know it and it hurts me beyond any other pain I live within.
    It hurts me because to stop the Bags of Love emergency food project would be to allow families to go hungry and quality food to be wasted. It would mean that the injured workers who had a solid dinner last night would instead have been eating soup and toast. It would mean instead of paying the other day to day living costs they would be juggling funds and trying to sustain the food budget or not paying the power bill or selling the family car because the cost of running it was beyond them.

    1. What the detractors do not see is the endless struggle I have every week to keep the doors of the Centre open.
      I work in a thankless meaningless job 15 hours a week to ensure that the doors of the Centre remains open. There is no sponsor to cover the real costs involved in ensuring the safety net for injured workers and their families.
      The is just my small income and the funds that come from the Bags of Love Op Shop.
      Just recently I had to purchase a van in order to be able to home deliver Bags of Love emergency food hampers to injured workers who are unable to drive and to be able to collect donations for the Op Shop, the purchase of the van came out of funds I had worked very hard to put together- I pay the registration and the insurance and the petrol costs for the van so that other injured workers don't go without.

      I know all too well what it is like to raise children in a home that is filled with love but the pantry and the fridge is all but empty.
      What I am doing now and what I am ever hopeful others will follow is paying homage to my children.

    2. One of my sons had grown up and had left home to start a family of his own- one afternoon he came around to help me do a few things.
      A call came in asking for a Bags of Love food hamper.
      My son who is 6'2" tall, a quiet man, a man of inner strength and great courage stopped what he was doing to come help me pack the food.
      I noticed that he was even quieter than normal and I noticed he had tears in his eyes.
      I asked him what was wrong.
      My son fell to his knees and wept great sobs.
      "Mum no body came, nobody helped, no one cared we were all hungry and nobody saw it or cared."

      The detractors have to know as long as I am able work, as long as I am able to provide real help in ways that are not found anywhere else within workers compensation I will keep going because my children deserve to know that they did not suffer for no reason.
      No one came to help us, but that is no reason to not go to help others.

      Yours in deepest respect and service

    3. Speaking for myself, I applaud your efforts and all you do for the injured workers.

      Im just tired of the industry using other injured workers stories and success's, as measuring stick's for other injured workers to be compared to. An then told they have to learn to just "accept" the "injustice" they have been dealt by insurance companies and bad players, and learn to roll with the punches the broken one sided system has dealt them, just because a few other "cherry picked" injured workers have prevailed with their wc saga's. Instead of folks working towards stopping the folks from throwing the punches at the non catastrophic injured workers to start with. No matter what our injuries are big or small, we should all be being covered, and not cheated out of our Grand Bargain, on the non catastrophic OJI's. For many in the industry feel our grand bargain should only cover the major injuries, and not the non catastrophic one's, and so it's OK that the non catastrophic OJI's, are being wrongfully denied, delayed, and defended against for years, with no attempt at any RTW options for many of us. Im tired of this belief by many in the industry, that were helping "SO MANY", that it's OK that were harming a "FEW", here and there. That's not OK. And for folks in the industry to use only the positive story's and good that a "FEW" successful injured workers have done, to negate the efforts other injured workers are doing trying to expose the injustice being done to many of us, is just not fair, and is the industry's way of putting it's spin on things and using smoke and mirrors, to "DETRACT" from the "HARM" and "INJUSTICE" that is being done to many of us. IT's not just a FEW being harmed as the industry would have us believe.

      Because one injured worker half way around the World is doing some "VERY AWESOME WORK" on behalf of the injured workers, is great, but it should not be used to "DETRACT" from the "Harm" and "injustice" that is being allowed to go on in many of our claims here in America. Just like another injured worker being able to start their own company, or another injured worker working to get folks off pain meds with their experience, strength, and hope, working in the industry now. Should not be being used as an excuse, or to belittle, other injured workers who are working,and trying to expose the injustice dealt them, in a system that has been stacked against them intently by conservative corporate America. Economically and legislatively locking out their voices and avenues for civil remedies.

      Im tired of the industry focusing on only "The GOOD" that they do, while using that "GOOD", to try and DETRACT, from the "HARM" that it is doing to the "FEW".

      An injury to one is an injury to all, and a FEW being injured is just not acceptable way to do business today,nor does it constitute a GRAND BARGAIN.

      It allows one class to oppress another class, all through legislation, and to only share the "GOOD Stories", and the positive outcomes, is only a broken corrupt system, using smoke and mirrors, to continue doing business as usual.

      Injured workers in America, don't need a kick in the ass, or to be told to pick yourself up by the boot straps. We need JUSTICE, and our Grand Bargain to be honored to start with, and for our oppressors to be held to account when we prove they have done us wrong. And that is just not happening. Injustice and oppression by one class onto another breeds not just anger, but wars.

      No matter how much GOOD the industry does for a FEW, it does not make up for the injustice it is intently dealing out to the MANY. The fact that a FEW injured workers have been able to prevail and become successful, does not make up for the HARM of the many who have not.

    4. America does not need to hear about "The Good" the industry is doing, or how a few injured workers have been able to over come their oppression. What we need to hear about is the OPPRESSION, so as it can be addressed and stopped to start with.

      Its great to hear that some folks do prevail and over come the injustice, but that does not stop the "injustice" that continues to harm many who may not adapt and prevail as well as the cherry picked select few.

      Telling American's that they have to learn to get over the INJUSTICE and OPPRESSION, one elite conservative class is bestowing upon them, in their employment and health care needs, because a select few of the victims,have been able to do so, just seems like Fascism wrapped in Capitalistic Socialism to me. We harm a few, for the many that were helping, so just get over it and suck it up. Right.

      Because a few have endured their oppression and prevailed, therefor all the rest of you should do so as well. Don't complain about the injustice or the oppression, just suck it up and learn to make lemon aid out of what your oppressors have left you with, which is no Grand Bargain, or Justice, for many in the end.

      Like I say, I applaud your efforts, and commend what your doing, but that should not "be used" to "distract" from what other injured workers are trying to expose and fight against here in our broken system. Just saying, as one injured worker to another. My hat's off to your efforts on behalf of the injured workers, just don't allow those effort's to be used to belittle nor distract from other injured workers trying to have their voices heard in a system that has locked their civil voices out here. Peace as always to all at the table, even those who may not "prevail" like the select few.

      We should not all have to learn to endure and prevail our oppression, just because our leaders do not want to address the oppression and injustice, by one class unto another, that does exist. We should all strive to stop the oppression and injustice to start with, rather than having to learn and find ways to prosper with in it.

      Yours in services as well, Darren Fonzseau

    5. You have to understand that here in America, our conservative Republicans along side corporate Democrats, would have us do away with all government programs that help the needy.

      That includes our grand bargain and workers comp. They would rather the poor, injured, and infirm, rely on themselves, true grit, or on charity, rather than having our government programs be their for people. They believe were all put here to compete against one another, and it's survival of the fittest. And those who do not win the fight, need to just rely on charity and the mercy of others, not have the government or any of it's programs be there for the people.

      IF we're to have a GRAND BARGAIN? THEN it needs to be there for us, not just the illusion of one, while having the injured rely on charity.

      But seeing how our "Grand Bargain" has been eroded away and now become null and void,not just here in America, but it sounds like in Australia as well, I can see where your services and charity are very VALUED and very NEEDED. Im not "detracting" from you great endeavors, just wishing that they were not needed and that our Grand Bargain and social contract were being honored to start with, so as the need for your service would not come to be. Not that it still could not be done as a complement to the grand bargain.

      The bottom line is if the Grand Bargain was being honored to start with, none of us injured would have to rely on charity or inner strength and will to start with. Im not distracting from what you do, just stating that the need for it would not be there, if not for conservatives eroding away the Grand Bargain to start with. I actual complement you on you endeavors on behalf of our fellow injured workers, and think we can complement each others efforts, by working together, to expose, one of the root causes,(ALEC, Republican, and Corporate Democrats) that lead to the erosion of the Grand Bargain to start with. And we do that by sharing with each other, as we are here, out in the open for others to see and learn from. Peace once again, and thank you for listening, and THANKS for all you do.

    6. Darren one brick is all it takes to start to build a Cathedral, one pebble is all it takes to lay a cobblestone road, one seedling to grow a forest. Everything starts with one.

      You call it the Grand Bargain here in Australia we just call it what it is; workers compensation.
      It was the CEO of one of the Regulators who told me that if I didn't like what was happening, then I could change it.
      One person against the international workers compensation industry.
      America does not own workers compensation it is an international process.
      Injured workers in Australia face the same challenges that injured workers in Canada, in England, in Germany, in France, in, Sweden, in America face.

      But throwing stones at the system is not going to change it.
      I have achieved everything I have done by stepping away from the short sighted focus and looking at the widest possible view, I learnt the system from all angels of it.
      I dared to stand and to stand alone, there were times when the only thing that kept me standing was the knowing that if I fell many other injured workers would also fall and that was not tolerable for me.

      Now my voice carries far and wide, when I speak people in the workers compensation system don't like it.
      I write Monday Muses, I am told it has a circulation of between 15 and 20 thousand around the world.

      Life as an injured worker is not easy, I know that I have been an injured worker for 22yrs.
      The difference is when given the choice between walking away and just complaining or accepting the challenge that was given to me, I took the challenge because as David said- the system does let people down but it comes down to the person how they react how they take the challenge and how they grow.
      It is not for me to know how much of an impact my presence has- clearly I have upset a particular injured worker- but in doing what I have done I have saved a great many other injured workers from the isolation and from the poverty and the stigma.

      I have many more things to do, every thing I do is aimed at bettering your life and the lives of millions of other injured workers around the world.

      Thank you Darren for just being you.

    7. Thanks, and Im reminded of a funny video that kind of exemplifies, what I feel the oppressors, or ALEC conservatives, who have helped to stack the system against us here in the USA, and all around the World would like many of us injured workers to be like. To just accept our fate, and look on the brighter side of life. Throwing stones may not change the system, but asking folks to change them selves and how they look at the system is not changing "The system" either. It's changing the individual person to conform to what the oppressors are dishing out to them. It's not stopping the oppression that leads the injured workers into needing to seek out the mercy and charity of others to start with. It for me, is like trying to put a band aid on a gushing societal wound, that never stops bleeding. We need to find a way, to stop the oppressors from wounding us and making us bleed to start with.The band aids are great and very needed but they do not stop the bleeding. Many of the injured workers are not just complaining but have solutions, that many in the industry just do not like to hear. And so they lock many of us out and belittle our efforts as just being complainers, who don't have solutions. Just, we do have solutions, that our oppressors and those that support them don't want to hear. We have solutions, like Federal Intervention for one, or single payer, that the oppressors just do not want to hear about, and label us crazy for even suggesting such notions as regulating the Giants from a Federal level. The system is still harming folks all around the World, despite any one persons efforts to help injured workers one at a time, on a case by case basis. Not that is not a noble and needed cause.

      Im not a real religious man, but Im also reminded of a story where one child, who takes on the giant, with only a sling shot, does change his World with only casting out stones. It's not the oppressed who need to changes their views and perceptions of the World, it's the Giant that needs to be stopped from oppressing folks to start with. If any of us is to truly help the over all plight of the injured workers, we need to first stop the Giants from creating the gaping wounds to start with. Not just triage after the initial onslaught.

      Triage is still very needed, but if the War the giants created to start with, were stopped, then the triage would not be needed to start with, is all Im trying to point out. If were to truly help the injured workers, we not only need triage, but to stop the war which is being imposed upon us as well.

      The answer is to stop the war and stop the giants, not to have the oppressed just look on the brighter side of life. Just in my humble opinion of course. IF we truly want change for injured workers, it's not the injured workers who need to change, but the system itself that needs changing. Its a WAR on Workers the World over, and sticks, and stones, and even pitch forks and shovels, are what many of the oppressed are calling for, if the war and the giants are not stopped. Allowing the status qou and things to continue as they are, is just not acceptable to the masses today. Peace to all at the table one day, and here is that funny video I feel depicts what many folks would have the victims, of this war be like, as the war is being waged upon them.

      Look On The Brighter Side Of Life

      And thank you for being the triage nurse the injured workers need, I just wish we were striving to make a World where the triage nurses services are not needed to start with. That's not detracting from the need nor the value of the triage nurse, just wishing and hoping for the day, when those service are not needed.

      Just wishing for the WAR on Workers to end.

      Life would not be a competition or challenge to get over or take on, if the conservative were not stacking the deck and waging the war on workers to start with.

    8. We should not have a system that intently knocks people down, forcing the person to react, and have to take on the challenge and grow. The System should not be challenging the injured workers to start with.

      People can grow and prosper without being intently beat down to start with, by our oppressors.

      It's not supposed to be a competition once your harmed or inured on the job. We may have to compete with our inner selves to over come our injuries, but we should not be having to compete against the broken system itself, that has been stacked and designed by conservative to be just that, competitive and adversarial against the very folks the systems was supposed to be there for to start with.

    9. Darren you are correct, the system needs to return to balance and that requires equity to be in place.

      I realise that you don't know the depth or the width of the work that am doing.
      However as I said everything I do is outcome focused for you and every other injured worker.

      It occurred to me after I pushed the publish button that even songs start with one note and one emotion and oft time just one tear drop.

      It is time for me to get some dinner it is all but 9pm here and as yet I have not stopped working long enough to get my dinner.

      Be kind to yourself Darren.

    10. Thanks Rosemary, and YES, you eat and take care of yourself as well. I know you do good in this World. And that your trying to fight for us on a bigger stage. Peace and as I type this this morning, I came across this leader who supports ALEC's war on the People. It's leaders like this, form both parties, that have sided with ALEC, to wage the war on injured workers, who I cast my stones at. It may not help much, but I do educate my fellow injured workers and other leaders, as to who it is I see is working to wage this war upon us all.

      So if folks don't know who ALEC is by now? It's because they choose not to, and agree with what ALEC is doing. Peace and take care, and thanks for having an open mind and open heart.

      She supports the #WAR on #Injured #WORKERS. McMorris Rodgers Applauds ALEC Model Legislation via #cathymcmorris

      Darren Fonzseau, Working to expose those who conspire to stack the deck against the working class. Peace