Fire, Fundraising, and Organ Donation!

As you likely know, it’s been a very uneasy week here in Northern California with the dramatic wildfires engulfing large sections of several North Bay counties. My husband, a Battalion Chief with the city of Petaluma, went into work Sunday evening, October 8, just to cover the night end of a fire shift for another firefighter, expecting to be home again first thing in the morning. Already tired from a long day after returning from a camping trip 5 hours away, he remained awake and in full gear fighting fire for several days as they expanded and threatened so much and so many. I was able to sneak a minute with him as he returned to the fire station to swap out vehicles.

In the meantime, my daughter and I packed two vehicles with the most important tangible things we could think of. That exercise in itself was a very taxing and emotional experience. We are heartbroken for those who never had that chance, but either had to evacuate their homes immediately, or tragically, never made it out. We already know several close friends who have lost everything. This story has yet to end as the fires are still raging, but as of today there seems to be some handle on them. 

The air quality in our area is at dangerous levels and many of us are wearing breathing masks just go go outside. Thankfully, we seem quite safe here in our area near Petaluma, so my neighbor Susan and I have been able to host firefighting crews from Petaluma and Lompoc at our home this week for rest and meals.

The outpouring of help in our community is simply amazing. There are so many needs that will need to be met for thousands. I am donating 100% of all sales from now until November 30, 2017 from any of my Etsy digital download house template kits to the North Bay Fire Relief. Please share this fundraising effort with your friends. Maybe even put together a fun workshop to raise even more to help. Every single bit helps. The fund I’ve chosen donates 100% to the effort. So please craft houses to help those who’ve lost theirs.

In other news, yesterday, October 15, was my one year anniversary to the day I started my weight-loss program. I combined diet with daily exercise and workouts to loose 70lbs and gain strength. One of my big goals throughout this year has been to become healthy enough to donate a kidney. So, in two days, “Lefty” (as I lovingly call it) will be removed, packed up, and flown out for transplant into a gentleman in the Washington DC area.

Though I don’t know the recipient, I would sincerely appreciate any prayers and good wishes you can spare that the organ is received safe, transplanted smoothly, and working right away towards his good health. My recovery includes lots of rest, sleeping, and loads of walking. No lifting over 10lbs for 6 weeks. Please follow me on Instagram for updates!

Thank you for all your wonderful support through my many ventures and journeys.


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42 Responses to Fire, Fundraising, and Organ Donation!

  1. #1 - Helen Smith says:

    My prayers are with you and “Lefty” as you begin a successful kidney donation; I will keep your husband in my prayers as well.

    A big SHOUT OUT to all firefighters!

  2. #2 - Linda Dresselhaus says:

    So many big things going on in your life right now! I will surely be lifting you all in prayer! xoxo

  3. #3 - Dorothy Walker says:

    God bless you for all you do for others. Being a donor is the ultimate gift. Praying that everything goes smoothly and that you’re able to get plenty of rest for an untroubled healing.

  4. #4 - Vicky Beier says:

    My prayers and thoughts are with you, your family, and the receipient of your precious kidney. And my prayers to all the firefighters in California, who are heroes beyond imagination. We battle wild fires in Oklahoma, but nothing on the scale that your husband and other firemen are tackling.

  5. #5 - Elaine Richard says:

    Thank you for your donations to the fire effort. I’m saying a prayer for the kidney donation, both of you.

  6. #6 - Jill Ruskamp says:

    Thank you for all of your generous work, help, and sacrifice! I will pray for a successful outcome for all.

  7. #7 - Linda Mirth says:

    Way to go Cathe!! So inspiring

  8. #8 - Michelle Milne says:

    You are in my prayers. Also to thank your husband and wish him safely home. I was in Kenwood & got out with just the clothes on my back. Everyone in this county has been generous.

  9. #9 - Shari James says:

    Cather my prayers are with you and your recipient for a great recovery! What a generous thing for you to do! Thank you for your donations also. I live in Lakeport and we have had lots of smoke too. It is better now however. Some day I hope to come down to your barn for one of your classes.
    Warm regards and prayers,
    Shari James, Lakeport

  10. #10 - Anna Corba says:

    You inspire me to be a better person, a giver of beauty and creativity.
    Recovery from kidney removal takes time and gentle patience with youself; i send you light and love.

  11. #11 - penny says:

    I have admired your talents and artistic abilities for a long time, but this is a wonderful selfless act. Someone’s life is about to change because of your generosity. Sending prayers and gratitude to both you and your husband.

  12. #12 - Jackie P Neal says:

    Such wonderful gift to give <3
    Prayers & love,Jackie

  13. #13 - Patricia Schmidt says:

    Although I live in an area in Northern California (Folsom) that has not been ravaged, I empathize from the deepest part of my heart for all those who have been touched in any way from the fires. We know too many people who have lost everything. I am wishing you all the best in your kidney surgery and for the lucky man who will receive yours. You have a generous heart in many ways. May you and your fireman husband be blessed abundantly.

  14. #14 - Jane Carney says:

    What a week this has been, so sad for so many people. There has been so much loss but seeing the community pull together has given strength to those in need. Keeping you and your family in my prayers. hoping for you a healthy quick recovery.

  15. #15 - Amy Locurto says:

    I can’t imagine what you all went through!! So happy your home and family is safe. Praying for your community and for your transplant. You amaze me! My dad lived an extra 15 years from a heart transplant. I’ve always been a huge supporter of donating organs. You are a blessing. Love you Cathe!

  16. #16 - Sandy Frankel says:

    Thank you for your gift of life. What an inspirational post. I lost my son almost 4 years ago-and we choose to donate his organs. The day we mourn his loss-many many others celebrate a life they feared that they would never have.
    So-BRAVO. What a gift.
    We just went through the Canyon Fire 2 just a few miles from my home. It was a scary few days. I am so sorry for Napa/Sonoma/Santa Rosa.

  17. #17 - Kimmothy says:

    As a prior resident of Sonoma and as one who rebuilt the town of Windsor, it breaks my heart what is happening up there. I pray for you all. I have so many friends up there and so many on the fire department. Please stay safe. I have just moved to Houston because of my husband’s job and we went through Harvey. My parents live in Tampa and went through the other hurricane. Our poor country has been through so much this year.

  18. #18 - Sandy says:

    Congratulations on your accomplishment of losing 70 pounds! Way to go. When I discovered you online, it was because of your fabulous creative spirit but you continue to inspire me in so many other ways. Many Blessings to you and thank you for being an organ donor!! XOXOX Love from Portland, Sandy

  19. #19 - Last Minute Lynn says:

    Thank you for doing all you can do to save the life of this gentleman. I pray that everything will go smoothly for you both!
    Congrats on your fabulous weight loss! That is a huge accomplishment.
    Thank you to all the firefighters and to you for giving them a respite place.
    You are obviously a very giving, caring person. May God bless you.

  20. #20 - Christine A. says:

    Cathe, ours prayers are with you and Jeff and the rest of the Zpetaluma crew there. We are thinking of all of you. Wishing you all positive results with your organ donation.

    Christine A.

  21. #21 - Pam says:

    Thoughts, prayers and hugs….

  22. #22 - laura says:

    HI Cathe
    I just shared a post over the weekend about the fires and asking if anyone was reading my post and from the area to share details on how to help.

    And, then I read you are donating a kidney! That’s amazing! Please post links when you are laying low on where/how we can donate.laura

  23. #23 - Greg Bakes says:

    You are such an inspiration!

  24. #24 - michelle says:

    What an amazing, beautiful, loving human being you are.

  25. #25 - Becky Smith says:

    Congratulations on your wonderful story of gaining control of your health. Blessings as you go through the process of donation!

  26. #26 - Betsy Phillips says:

    Hi Cathe. I have attended a class at your lovely studio. Sadly my house in Glen Ellen burn down but my husband and I are in good spirits. We are so appreciative of men such as your husband and we know how tired they all are.
    My husband donated a kidney to my brothers wife several years ago. We are proud of you! Wishing you the best of luck. Hope to make it to another class one of these days. We now have a place in Sonoma will be staying.

  27. #27 - Jody says:

    I have a 3 piece living room furniture set that is almost brand new. Has been covered the whole time I have owned it. Reclining couch, love seat and chair( all 3 pieces recline). I’m resizing my life. I would love to donate it to someone who needs furniture. Could you please help me connect with someone in need.

  28. #28 - Linda M. Lubovich says:

    Wow, what an extremely generous thing you are doing. Best wishes on your recovery and prayers for the recipient of your kidney as well. Your husband and the brotherhood and sisterhood of firefighters and other emergency personnel have been bravely tackling these treacherous fires and my heartfelt thanks to all of them.

  29. #29 - Marcia says:

    Through a mutual friend liking a Facebook post of yours back in March, I too joined the Weight Loss Program through Kaiser. I began back in April and have lost 65 pounds! Thank you for being so open about your weight because you motivated me to change my lifestyle too!
    Now you are donating “lefty”. Wow! I hope to someday take a class at your barn so that I can meet you and give you a thank you hug! (I missed the class where you spoke to my Petaluma group.
    You and your recipient are now on my prayer list for safe surgeries and transport to get “lefty” where he is needed.

  30. #30 - Sarah L says:

    I’m a kidney transplant recipient celebrating 10 years since my surgery- if I’m ever fortunate enough to meet you, I’ll give the hug that I know your recipient would give you if he lived closer! Thank you.

    My heart breaks for the North Bay, I’m so grateful to every person who is putting their life on the line for others, those in uniform and those not in uniform. Thank you to your husband, and you.

    I’m considering setting up a workshop to make your little houses at a local book store, ok with you if I crib your line- “craft houses to help those who’ve lost theirs”

  31. #31 - Elisa Burroughs says:

    You are amazing Cathe and obviously your husband too…your kindness for others is remarkable❤️

  32. #32 - Kathy says:

    You’re amazing! A real hero!


  33. #33 - Eileen Alexander says:

    Way to go, Cathe! So glad you’re all safe. May God bless everything you’re doing!

  34. #34 - Berta says:

    Cathe, the fires have been unbelievable 😢 I am hoping we see the rain in the forecast! Thanks to Jeff for his dedication ❤️ All the first responders have been wonderful!
    Good luck on your donation surgery, hope you recover super fast and the receipient does as well!

  35. #35 - Lanny James says:

    Sending my thoughts to the residents affected by the fire and all the amazing firefighters. And all the best to you and your kidney recipient. Wishing you a swift and smooth recovery. xo

  36. #36 - Jeannie Delamater says:

    Bless you and a giant hug to your husband!

  37. #37 - Dolores Brown says:

    You are truly an amazing person. An inspiration to all in more ways than one. I just love your artwork. It takes a very special person to want to donate a kidney to someone they do not even know. Your being a donor touched my heart. Twenty years ago I donated a kidney to my son. After 20 years, the kidney started to fail so 3 months ago his older brother donated the next kidney. It feels so wonderful to give life to someone. Thank you for what you are doing. I wish more people would be willing to donate their organs. Prayers and good wishes to both you and the recipient.

  38. #38 - Rupa says:

    I rarely comment here but this post touched me deeply. I think you are a true hero for donating an organ. How many of us are willing to make that kind of a sacrifice? 70 lbs weight loss? Wow! Amazing!! I send my prayers and best wishes for the safety of your family/fire fighters and all those who are in such a difficult predicament. Wish you and the recipient a safe surgery and speedy recovery.

  39. #39 - Mary Wolf says:

    What a generous loving thing to do, Cathe, to donate your kidney to someone you don’t even know. Thank you to both you and your husband for being such bright shining examples of goodness in this world. Fred Rogers has a beautiful quote about telling children to focus on looking for the helpers when bad or scary things happen, and that would certainly be you and your husband.
    I will also pray for you both as well as the lucky man who receives your kidney. May God bless and protect you all.

  40. #40 - Amy Bauer says:

    Cathe, Thanks for all you have done / are doing for the fire fighters and folks who have suffered such devastating losses. I bought a digital house kit, and really like it. I believe you are just about or have just donated your kidney. What a wonderful thing you are doing. Sending out prayers for you, the recipient and all affected by the fires! – Amy Bauer

  41. #41 - Coriander says:

    You are such an amazing human being! I’m glad your husband is ok. He and his firefighters are amazing, too! Take it easy.

  42. #42 - Sean Mahan says:

    Wow, what an incredible decision. Congratulations for making such a hard decision! You’re so inspiring!