A chance to finish life: UPDATE
August 31, 2012
UPDATE 8/31/2012 10:15 a.m. EDT:
This just in from Shannon Vyff: “We have raised $27,000.00 in just a week, we were at $17,000.00 Thursday when a generous $10,000.00 donation from Life Extension Foundation come in. Our minimum goal is $35,000.00 to cover transportation and cryopreservation costs — if additional funds are raised Kim is hoping to be able to cover standby as well. I’m very thankful to our cryonics community and to all our donors who have come together to raise funds so quickly. We just need a little more, and Kim will be able to have all her paperwork in order — all the small donations really add up quickly, we very much appreciate donations of any amount.”
We’re posting this again as a reminder and also to thank KurzweilAI visitors and subscribers. Shannon Vyff at The Society for Venturism, representing leading cryopreservation organizations, tells us they had a huge uptick in donations when we announced this earlier this week. Let’s push this over the top! Watch this space for updates….. — Ed.
The following was provided by the Society for Venturism, a credible 501(c)(3) charitable organization. — Ed.
Kim Suozzi is 23, and about to die from a fatal brain tumor.
She has already lived far longer than expectations. Kim is seeking donations to help fund her cryosuspension. She has been a supporter of cryonics but had not yet signed up. The Venturists have created a charitable fund for all donations.
During her Senior Year in college, Kim Suozzi had been maintaining excellent grades even while experiencing as she phrased it, “odd headaches.” This didn’t worry her so much, she stayed focused on school- until one day while traveling to school she had a seizure that lasted 30 minutes and caused disassociation from her right arm and difficulty speaking. She ended up at her local hospital that same day where a large mass was seen in her brain.
In March 2011, two months before she was set to graduate, at age 21, Kim Suozzi was told that she had a highly aggressive form of brain cancer and that she had 14 month to 2 years to live. While her peers were finishing their degrees and pursuing job leads she was thrown into a world of seeking medical opinions, treatments and searching for some hope she could beat the Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) tumor. She didn’t have time to go back to classes after her diagnosis, none-the-less, in the Spring of 2011 Truman State University invited Kim to walk with her peers across the stage at graduation.
After graduation instead of job searches, Kim searched treatment options for fighting GBM. Her entire tumor was removed by Washington University’s Teaching Hospital. Unfortunately despite a clean MRI after surgery, pathology indicated the tumor was a highly aggressive form that would come back.
A second opinion from a top pathologist at M.D. Anderson revealed devastating news, the diagnosis was an even more aggressive subtype of GBM that had been originally thought and she was given even less time to live. After her surgery she started on endless rounds of radiation and chemo. Even during the treatments she didn’t give up on having a career some day, she was able to maintain a job assisting with cognitive neuroscience research in an EEG lab at the University of Missouri.
Nearly a year of cancer treatments passed and in April of 2012 Kim found out that instead of conquering her brain tumor with some of the best doctors and researchers in the world, the tumor had returned and was growing, the experts were shrinking the time she had left even further. Through her persistence and research she was able to enroll in a clinical trial at Dana-Faber but sadly after responding well initially, the tumor began to grow again.
She is currently taking radiation rounds at Duke University to, as she puts it, “buy a few months of time.” She is progressively loosing function on her right side, can’t use her hand or arm and is already walking with a limp. Her tumor will cut off her air and kill her before it gets to her brain and “who she is” that is one thing she felt helped her odds with cryonics. Already her speech is affected.
After the tumor was discovered that day on her way to school she has lived with fighting cancer, a year and a half. Currently she has been told she has 3-6 months left, and she is still trying to find ways to beat it while at the same time trying to wrap her brain around accepting that she is dying at such a young age.
On June 10th 2012 Kim posted an article on Reddit titled, “Today is my 23rd birthday and probably my last. Anything awesome I should try before I die?” In just a few weeks the article had 1697 comments with everything from beautiful places to travel to suggestions to max-out her credit cards on luxury items. A cryonicist saw her article and commented that maybe she would want to look into cryonics.
Kim had taken a Cognitive Science class during her time studying neuroscience at Truman State. When she read the comment about cryonics under her article on Reddit she remembered a book she’d read in Cog Sci her Sophomore Year, Ray Kurzweil’s Age of Spiritual Machines. She’d enjoyed it so much she picked up another book of his, The Singularity is Near, she said.
“I had always planned on establishing cryopreservation plans through life insurance, I was caught off guard when I was suddenly diagnosed during my last month and a half of college.” So when she wrote that comment on Reddit, Kim knew about cryonics and started to look into the current cryonics organizations and the level of science in the field.
Kim decided she wanted to be cryonically preserved, knowing it was only a chance and at the current state future technology is required to repair damage — but she felt it would give her some comfort knowing she may have a chance to finish life. As she said, “I wish I could give a particularly compelling reason why I deserve another chance at life, but there’s not much to say. I’m still just a kid…Unfortunately the most interesting thing I have yet to do is get a terminal disease at a young age.”
Within days of Kim deciding she wanted to try cryonics, she had many leaders within the cryonics community contacting her to see how they could help. Someone sent her story to the Society for Venturism and her story was looked into. She sent her pathology reports and identification to the Venturist board, after talking with her as well as C.I. and Alcor to verify her memberships she was chosen as a recipient of the Society for Venturism’s Cryonics Charity Fund.
Kim said that she was excited to hear from the cryonicists and was impressed with the coordination within the cryonics community. She had been raising money on her own and so far has raised a few thousand dollars but the donations stalled after the first few days she had her fundraiser going.
The Venturists, a cryonics advocacy organization, provides a third-party way to have donations given for her suspension and ensure that all donations go to a cryonics organization. Having the cryonics community coming together to help her gave her hope that the funds, a minimum of $28,000 that is needed, will be raised in the short time she has left.
Kim had been worried about breaking the news to her family that she wanted to be cryonically preserved; she didn’t want to be seen as “giving up.” Kim signed up as a member of the Cryonics Institute and an Associate member of Alcor Life Extension Foundation, saying, “The only thing that I can think to make me feel a little more at ease with my death is to secure cryopreservation plans on the off-chance that they figure out how to revive people in the future. The way I see it, it’s a better bet than decomposing or getting cremated.”
Kim started conversations with her family, friends and people online about her wish to try cryonics. There were various reactions online and within her family, but her mother and her boyfriend of four years are strongly behind her. Kim is hoping the cryonics community and others will enthusiastically support the Venturist Charity Fund, as it has successfully helped two other people get cryonics arrangements in the past. It is set up to help those who are unable to get life insurance, the normal source of funds for cryonics, and have had a desire to be cryonically preserved.
Please consider donating any amount, large or small — all donations are needed. All donations will go to Kim’s suspension. If for any reason Kim is not preserved the donation can be refunded to you (you will be notified and asked) or it can be left in the Venturist Charity Fund to help the next person in need, or you can give it to the Venturist’s Cryonics Outreach Fund.
The Venturists have had three Cryonics Charity Cases in the past decade since starting the program in 2001. Only the second was unable to be preserved; the others were successful. (The first case, a paralysis victim who was unable to earn a living or afford arrangements, is still animate, with fully funded arrangements in place.) Many who donated to the second case had their donations refunded when the suspension didn’t go through so you can safely donate large amounts.
The Society for Venturism is a 501-(c)(3), tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible. A receipt will be given to you for your donation.
Donate to the Venturist Cryonics Charity Fund for Kim Suozzi through the button on this page or checks can be mailed to:
The Society for Venturism
11255 SSR 69,
Mayer AZ, 86333,