Giving Mike a Permanent Home at the Philadelphia Theater Company's New Theater

So, I have a wonderful idea I’d like to share with you, in the hopes that you’ll consider helping out as we approach the charitable holiday season. I am sponsoring a seat in the name of Mike Young at the Suzanne Roberts Theater - the new home to the Philadelphia Theater Company – and would love for you to help me in this effort.

Mike and his dear friend, Cara, were subscribers at PTC for years… starting in the late 90s. They maintained their subscription up until Mike got sick. One play Mike saw there, “The Last Five Years” (at right) became one of Mike’s absolute favorites. He bought to CD and we listened to it on “repeat” as we painted 841A South American Street’s living room “goldenrod” and “cashew," singing along to "Summer in Ohio" and being very very dorky.

I remember the morning that Mike passed away. Many people came to sit with us there at the hospital. Cara stopped by first thing that morning. She sat down next to me and I remember telling her that I wanted to resume the PTC subscription with her. I wanted to take Mike’s seat and accompany to each show of the season. So, we have. It has been an amazing way to connect with Cara, and to stay connected to Mike.

So, the Philadelphia Theater Company has moved to its new home: the Suzanne Roberts Theater. And they have a program that enables individuals and groups to sponsor seats in the name of (or memory of) an individual. With a sponsored seat, Mike’s name will appear on a brass plaque on the back of his seat at the theater. Forever. He will see every show. More than almost any of the ideas I’ve had to honor him, this one has a sense of permanence and appropriateness that I haven’t felt before. An orchestra seat is $5,000. A Mezzanine seat is $2,500. I have placed one Mezzanine seat on hold – but if I am able to raise the funds, I’d love for his seat to be in the orchestra section. I am going to be putting a sizable contribution towards the seat, and will be paying towards it over the next two years. But I would love your help. Donations are tax deductible. PTC also has a section on its website where it identifies companies that have matching programs...

If you are interested in putting some money towards Mike’s seat at PTC – any amount at all – you can donate online through their secure server.

Down below is the link to the Campaign Support page that you can use to contribute to Mike’s seat.

But first, a couple of instructions:

  • Don't go to the Seat Campaign page as it only registers gifts at the full seat levels of $2,500, $5,000, $7,500 and $10,000.
  • Instead, on the "Support" page, you can fill in the amount you wish to contribute.
  • Under “Apply,” you should note “Other.”
  • Then, in the “Comments” section, you should say "Gift in support of a seat in memory of Mike Young."
  • That will enable your gift to go towards Mike's seat. PTC will let me know of donors as you participate and will keep me apprised of the total funds raised.

DONATE TO MIKE'S SEAT HERE: https://id209.chi.us.securedata.net/%7Ephiladelphiatheatre/support/giving_form.html

From PTC: “Danna, Your husband sounds like he was an amazing individual, and we are honored that you would consider the Theatre as a place in which to keep his memory alive.”

About the program, FROM PTC’s website:

As PTC takes center stage on the Avenue of the Arts, you're invited to take your seat in our dazzling new Suzanne Roberts Theatre as a Seat Donor. With your Seat Campaign gift of $2,500 to $10,000, you'll become a permanent part of one of the most awarded and exciting theatres in the region.

  • As a Seat donor, the name of a loved one you choose to honor will be engraved on a permanent brass plaque on the back of a luxurious, custom-designed seat in the new Suzanne Roberts Theatre.
  • Your name (or the name of your loved one) will be permanently listed in PTC program books, and you will also receive recognition on the digital display in the Lobby during our inaugural year.
  • You will be invited to two exclusive events: The VIP Seat Unveiling in October 2008 and the End-of-Campaign Celebration in 2009.


Photos, vids n stuff

(at left: Beth, Kevin, Susan, Danna, a late-morning tantrumming Baxter, Cheryl and Matthew and Randy in strollers)

Busy times, all around. Faculty search = on campus each day. Many meetings and interviews. Giving an exam. Getting ready for Chicago conference of the National Communication Association conference (next thursday). Making a speech for the communication honor society tomorrow night. Undergrads are scheduling their classes for winter session, and looking for guidance and input. lots n lots of stuff. All good stuff.

Brain tumor walk for hope was something else. Cheryl, Kevin, Beth, Susan, and three stroller-bound toddlers joined us. It was sad and beautiful. Together, we raised over $1000.00 for the Brain Tumor Society. But it was sad. Mike should have been there. And unlike breast cancer race for the cure, in which many many survivors participate... brain tumors are not quite so survivable it would seem. Most people were wearing numbers on their backs that said "In memory of"... NOT "in celebration of." Kind of heavy all around.

Saddest thing ever was when I pinned Bax's tag on him. His little tiny cuteness wearing a tag that said, "In memory of DADDY." I couldn't put everyone in this race through that horrific sight. I made him a new one that just said "dad" and left him in the stroller most of the race. Cheryl suggested I leave the first one on a strap a can to his back with a "Donations" sign. I'd make a freaking mint!!

At right: Kevin's ode to Mike... "In memory of: Some Jerk." As he said, "I HAD to!" So true. For years, mike gave kevin birthday cards and simply signed the inside, "F*ck you. Mike" Ah, boy humor. Who gets it?

NEXT: Bax in a velvet suit!! looking all AC/DC, right?

Scott took this great video of Baxter at the kitchen table...


Baxter: What rhymes with B?

Scott: G.

Baxter: What rhymes with I?


Last Chance to Donate: Brain Tumor Society's Race for Hope

The Brain Tumor Society Race is coming up this Sunday, November 4th. Come join us! We'll be meeting at the Art Museum steps at 7:30 am. And...DON'T Forget to put your clock back one hour Saturday night, Nov 3rd!!

Thank you so much to the many people who have made generous donations to my team. It brings me a feeling of purpose when I can use this blog to help raise money for research on Stupid F*cking Brain Tumors.

to my team online with a secure server. By clicking on that link, you'll also get to see a photo of the fantastic Mike Young dressed as the "Worst Dad Ever" Halloween 2004.



All events will occur by the steps of the Art Museum unless otherwise noted.

7:30 AM - Registration/Packet Pickup (Race day registration is $30)

8:15 AM - Pre-Race Warm Up

9:00 AM - Race Start (Start line at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive)

10:30 AM - Awards Ceremony

Perhaps with the race coming up, it makes sense that I had the dream I did last night. I dreamt that I was snuggling with Mike, face in his floppy hair and all was good. BUT it was in the month after his first surgery.

I panicked, knowing what was to come. Remembering how there was a little window there when I think we might have been able to do radiation treatment and get that f*cking tumor frozen in time.

"Smoosher, did you contact them about getting the radiation started?"

"I emailed them last week to see about their schedule, and haven't heard back."

And in this dream, Mike was SO Mike that he even jokingly pronounced "schedule" as "SHED-due-uhl"

When I then suggested that he follow up with a phone call, I could see he was annoyed. He was finally on the other side of the surgery. The last thing he wanted to do was start weeks upon weeks of radiation. He was going to do it, but he wasn't banging down their door to get started.

For all I know, this little exchange happened in real life. I remember talking to him about it numerous times.

Dr. Andrews has told me that one of the big contributions of Mike's unfortunate case concerns the speed with which neurosurgeons need to get post-op craniopharyngioma patients into radiation. Plus, if you recall, once the f*cking tumor grew a cyst, we had to get the catheter put in there and then that mother f*cker got infected. Andrews has even told me that Mike's case has changed his thinking about going forward with radiation in cranio patients even if infection may be present. I'm not sure he's completely jumped the fence on that, but it's certainly changed the certain rule about "no radiation if there's a chance of infection."

Anyway, I am careful to not dwell on regrets. They are so damaging to the psyche. Mike was an adult. He made decisions as he saw fit. Perhaps getting radiation earlier would have prolonged some horrible brain-damaged existence... And, as I've said before, THAT would have been his nightmare.

The thing with regrets is that they place all bets on a false premise: Had x not happened, y would be different.

But you know what regrets don't account for? The chaos of the universe. The "z" variable that you're not even freaking thinking about.

It has taken a lot of thinking to get me to this point, but I've even spent time meditating on the flawed logic behind the thought that "had Mike not died, life would be perfect."

Would it really? I wouldn't have the benefit of this perspective I have now. And who knows what other obstacles we may have encountered along the way.

The only fair thing to say: "Had mike not died, life would be different."

That's it.

As you can see, I am actively trying to keep myself in a functional forward-moving direction. We'll see how that works. I'll let you know.