Gary Briane Tuttle
( As the Observer was going to press in August we received a remarkable e-mail from Gary Tuttle asking for our help. Unable to fulfill his request, we decided to do the next best thing and directly share Gary’s e-mail with Observer readers. Gary’s love of Waterbury, and of life itself, are awe-inspiring. Take a moment to read about Gary and see if you’d like to help. We think you will.)
My name is Gary Tuttle, and I am part of what I think could be a pretty compelling story for the Observer. From my (admittedly inexperienced) viewpoint, it seems to me that there are a lot of very interesting angles to this story that could be fleshed out, or even turned into more than one story.
The “as short as I can make it” version is:
I work at the WOW/NRZ Community Center in the summer, and at the Carrington Elementary school, in grant funded positions. My jobs with these kids are, to me, nothing short of an opportunity to contribute to the world, starting right here in the oft-maligned city that I have called home for most of my life. One of the “non-official” lessons that I work to teach the kids is summed up by the phrase “Don’t be hatin’ on Waterbury, now.”, which gets a laugh, but also hopefully plants a seed in their minds.
This past March, I was diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, which is a pretty scary type of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma (Non Hodgkins being the worse of the two major types, Mantle Cell being one of the more aggressive sub types of that.).
As far as treatment, I am “going the natural route”. One reason for that is that the “mainstream” route did not offer me very good chances of long term recovery at all (In the words of the Yale Oncologist what I have is “The worst of both worlds”. of Lymphoma).
I started this process with no benefits at all, and through Leslie Swiderski at Waterbury Health Access (which, by the way, is also funded by grant monies, and is in perpetual danger of not being funded from one year to the next), got on State benefits. Essentially, I partially qualify for these benefits, which are the same benefits that someone on “Welfare” would get.
All indications are that the natural treatment I am undergoing is working (YAY!!!!), though it is likely to be a long journey. Even if I had a really good benefits package, instead of the State benefits that I have, however, what I am doing would not be covered at all, even though it is, by all accounts, far less expensive than the therapy that would be paid for by taxpayer dollars.
I am paying for the natural therapies out of pocket, and there is no way I could have paid for them myself, so my family has organized a series of fund raisers. two flower sales, and a tag sale, all of which were very successful. We are also currently planning a “Family Music Festival” at Cheshire Park on August 27th, I will be performing with one of the bands at this festival. Saturday, August 27th, from noon to 6, rain or shine.
1000 Highland Avenue
I expect that this will be the last time we can realistically hope to make a significant amount of money via fund raisers, so this one is of utmost importance, especially since I am very nearly out of money, and my “normal” bills are hot on my heels at this point as well.
I see this whole process as a blessing for me, though. The lessons and gifts that continue to come from it are more than I ever would have imagined. For example, when I am fully recovered and in a stable financial position, I plan to help lobby for funds for Waterbury Health Access, and also plan on helping to lobby for changes in laws that will enable people to have a greater choice of treatment modalities, in regards to which are covered by insurance. This will save a lot of taxpayer money, and I believe it will also contribute to the slowly emerging shift in public perception as to people taking charge of their own health care.
So, there you have it. What I hope to get out of this in the short term for me is publicity for the festival, maybe even a picture of me at the WOW Center with some of my kids (who, by the way, I %1000 believe are in no small part responsible for my continued well being and improvement)
As I mentioned earlier, I really feel that there are a lot of potentially compelling angles to my story; the “alternative” medicine angle, the insurance angle, the fact that I see my whole diagnosis and this process as a blessing (I often refer to it as “A Big Scary Messenger”), the medical angle (the increase in cancer rates now, as versus, say 1900, for instance is very, very, alarming). My relationships with the kids and how the diagnosis has become an opportunity for me to teach them some lessons that go way beyond the school curriculum (sadly, cancer statistics suggest many will need some of these lessons). Leslie Swiderski and Waterbury Health Access worthy of a story all by themselves, it seems to me.
There is more I could say, I could really go on for hours, and I hope I don’t offend you with my pointing out of what I, a layperson, see as story worthy, but I am hoping that what I present here is compelling enough to someone at The Observer to want to talk to me at greater length.
Whatever the outcome, thanks so much for your time and attention,
(The Observer responded to Gary telling him we wanted to run his e-mail in the newspaper and was he okay airing out his e-mail address. He responded moments later with...)
That is incredible!
You, sir, absolutely ROCK!
Yes, it's ok to put my email out there!
That is so awesome, it moves me to jump around the house and yard for a bit.
Thank you SO MUCH, MAN!!!
Thanks Again!!! I am now off to jump around in my yard.....
If you’d like to help Gary out send a check to -
The Gary Briane Tuttle Fund, C/O Tony Andrade,
Naugatuck Savings Bank, 910 Wolcott Street,
Waterbury, CT 06705
Gary’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary’s phone # is (203) 364-4349