Performer/Cyclist Hollis Hawthorne Needs Our Help


Performer/cyclist/activist Hollis Hawthorne. Photo by Alicia Sanguiliano.

There’s this awesome, beautiful gal I only kinda sorta barely know through our many mutual circus friends here in the bay area; her name is Hollis Hawthorne. She’s a founding member of a cycling dance troupe called The Derailleurs, a fabulous velocipede-inspired dance team active in a bunch of bay area-based critical mass stuff. Their goal:

To educate and entertain audiences with the possibilities of alternative transportation. Our performances embrace critical inquiry that reaches beyond conventional thought and action. We promote radical self reliance and mine local talents to unearth their strength.

They’re wonderful and vibrant folks leading adventurous lives who are trying to affect some sort of positive change in their community. They smile and laugh a lot; they are very shiny people. To be honest, I rather envy them, most days. But not today:

Late last month, Hollis was traveling by motor scooter in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India when something terrible happened. Some sort of freak hit-and-run accident that wasn’t her fault left her bleeding out on the side of the road with her boyfriend Harrison frantically performing CPR for 20 minutes before a van of German tourists picked them up and drove them to a hospital. According to her best pal Eliza, Hollis was wearing her helmet and driving very slowly at the time of the accident. I’ll spare you the gory details, but it sounds really bad. Now she’s in a coma in a rural hospital with a serious brain stem injury. (You know, that part of the brain that controls, um, everything?)

According to Harrison, who has been with her from the moment it happened, “there are huge rats scurrying around on the [hospital] floor. I am sleeping on the ant-covered floor outside her room as I am not allowed in and the water they have used for many procedures is not even purified.” When Hollis’ mom flew in from Tennessee a couple of days ago with emergency support from the US consulate to see her own daughter, the orderlies were dismissive and curt. “They are not observing her brain pressure and have done nothing to alleviate the swelling in her brain. These are things that can make or break her early on in her recovery and healing process.”

Through a series of fortuitous connections, Hollis’s case has been reviewed and accepted by Stanford Medical; one of the best hospitals in the world. As a charity case, even. (Just like me and most other starving artsy fartsies I know, Hollis has no insurance.) All we need to do is get her there. The friends and family of Hollis are reaching out to everyone they can to raise funds to get her on an I.C.U. plane (aka air ambulance) to fly her back to California.

This is truly a matter of life and death. They need move her quickly as possible.

Before that can happen, Friends of Hollis must raise $150,000 dollars. They’ve already raised approximately $40,000. Can you spare a dollar, or five, or ten?

Yes, I know, life is risk, and life is uncertain. Life is also precious. If, in some small way, we can help someone in our community to come back from the brink, we really should. Click here to help.

EDIT, MARCH 6TH: According to The Hindu, Hollis has been moved to Apollo hopsital in Chennai, where she is receiving the best possible medical care in India. While still in a coma, she is off the ventilator. But she still need help:

“Stanford has offered us free care and Hollis has no insurance,” says [Harrison] Bartlett. Ms. Allison is currently paying for hospitalisation expenses. She hopes that the fundraising effort, which is gathering momentum in the United States, would be able to help them make the trip back home as soon as Ms. Hollis is ready to go.

37 Responses to “Performer/Cyclist Hollis Hawthorne Needs Our Help”

  1. kc Says:

    Done! Who knows – if this kind of thing ever happened to me, I’d hope for the same generosity…

  2. Nadya Says:

    Donated… thank you for posting this.

  3. Chris L Says:

    Donated. Jeez, a motoring accident in India is not a pretty thing. Let’s get her home.

  4. foxtongue Says:

    I gave what I can, which isn’t very much, but I’ve re-posted, and hopefully that will help too.

  5. Zoetica Says:

    Gah, what a terrifying ordeal. Donated. Here’s hoping.

  6. sascha Says:

    Donated what I could, hopefully lots of other people will do the same!

  7. What's in a name anyways? Says:

    Roger dodger…

  8. whittles Says:

    Thanks so much for reposting this, Mere. The whole thing is heart breaking and terrifying.
    Here’s hoping she gets back soon.

  9. Mer Says:

    Thanks, guys. This is what the internet is for! And every little bit helps.

    I really hope she comes back and heals up soon. Such a radiant person:

    Hollis Hawthorne

  10. Dan Says:

    Donated. I lived in India for 6 months. Road accidents are part of everyday life there. Between our office and home, there were several guys who deliberately walked into the road jsut to try and get cyclists to fall off. Fingers crossed for Hollis.

    Wonder if there are any cyclist troupes like hers in the UK?

  11. SteamPunk Strange Fiction Fantasy Fine Art Illustration by Myke Amend : Blog Archive : Bring her Home Says:

    [...] You can read more here: Coilhouse [...]

  12. Indians Blog » Blog Archive » Performer/Cyclist Hollis Hawthorne Needs Our Help Says:

    [...] More here:  Performer/Cyclist Hollis Hawthorne Needs Our Help [...]

  13. Tequila Says:

    Makes only sense to donate what one can as soon as one can…I’ll pass the word along as I’m sure we’re all doing.

    The “hospital” conditions are infuriating by the way…many good vibes her way and more.

  14. Shay Says:

    Donated.

    I have to say this though: India is a miraculous and amazing place; Don’t go there without insurance.

    This isn’t the first, second, or third person I’ve heard of that needed to be rescued from India.

  15. Angela Hunt Says:

    Donated. Also reposted and retweeted.

    I had a horrible car accident when I was 19 and only got better because of the help of friends, family and total strangers. Here’s hoping my total recovery and health karma can be sent to her.

  16. Jake von Slatt Says:

    Donated, for a fellow cyclist.

  17. Jessica Says:

    Donated. I am happy to see that she is making some hopeful progress. *knock on wood* She’s lucky to kinda sorta barely know folks like you, Mer.

  18. Bean Says:

    Thanks for reposting this. These are much better pics than I had. I’ll probably replace the one I used with that 1st.

    <3

  19. Myke Amend Says:

    Donated. Reposted everywhere I could. I hope everything comes together soon – ‘good to read her condition has improved.

  20. Andrew Says:

    “Donated.
    I have to say this though: India is a miraculous and amazing place; Don’t go there without insurance.
    This isn’t the first, second, or third person I’ve heard of that needed to be rescued from India.”

    I was there over the summer my friends and I all laughed at the Helicopter Airlift clause in our travel insurance. I too have heard of people needing rescuing form there one way or the other. I’ve donated but everyone else buy insurance when you travel abroad, if only so you can replace your camera if it gets stolen.

  21. choklit Says:

    Donated, re-posted, re-tweeted. Only wish I could do more… but I’m glad to hear she is hanging in there.

  22. Nick Says:

    I did the music for a show with Hollis this summer. Here’s hoping this force of nature can come back to us soon!

  23. cappy Says:

    I’ll help — damn shame, they actually have some good hospitals in parts of india.

    And please, I know it’s just hindsight by this point, but like others have said _don’t_ go overseas without some sort of travelers insurance. I’ve bought it before — it stings, but factored in with the price of the trip, it isn’t so bad.

  24. Trystanthegypsy Says:

    Donated a fiver. Its not much but it’s what I’ve got right now. Going to re-post in my local bellydance/performance community.

    Unfortunately, especially from canada, traveler’s insurance usually can’t be bought for longer than six months. I was also in a motorbike accident in Cambodia, and my partner’s insurance turned out not to be valid because he didn’t keep up with his payments on our lovely local Alberta healthcare system. Luckily we only had to spend about $500.

  25. Amesly Says:

    Donated. Photos remind me of a co-worker who was tragically killed in a river rafting accident last summer, they share the same kind of radiance. Thinking good thoughts in her direction.

  26. Mer Says:

    Yes, we know. Traveler’s insurance is important. She made a mistake. But keep in mind that if you don’t have a primary health insurance carrier to begin with, it can get prohibitively expensive.

  27. Stuff You Need to Know: Hollis Needs More Friends » Needcoffee.com Says:

    [...] in India. The Lady Porphyre mentioned this first, then I saw The Neil and Uncle Warren both do so. The full story is at Coilhouse. She’s got clearance to get treated at Stanford Medical here in the States as opposed to where she [...]

  28. Mer Says:

    Field Day Wearables for Hollis

    Field Day Wearables is selling a ton of SUPER cute stuff right now to help fund Hollis Hawthorne’s trip home:

    http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5089502

  29. Jay Says:

    http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/06/stories/2009030658910100.htm
    ———–

    CHENNAI: To those who are taking care of Hollis Hawthorne, an American bike dancer, injured in an accident on February 24, it seems as if she is finally turning the corner.

    Ms. Hollis is being treated in Apollo Speciality Hospital in Teynampet. She is off the ventilator, breathes on her own, and responds to deep pain stimulus. Her neurosurgeon M. Balamurugan is confident that there will be slow improvement over a period of days or months.

    “She is a strong, young lady (31) and all she needs now is good nursing care. I hope with good physiotherapy and rehabilitation, she will be restored to about 90 per cent of normal activity in six to eight months’ time,” he told The Hindu on Thursday. He says she may not need an air ambulance; that she can fly back home in a passenger aircraft.

    It was the full-face helmet she was wearing that saved Ms. Hollis’ life, says Dr. Balamurugan. That, and the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that kept her alive all the time she was struggling to breathe after a horrific accident on Kollidam Bridge in Chidambaram.

    On the narrow bridge, a bus tried to overtake a lorry and Ms. Hollis riding a motorcycle suddenly found herself trapped in the middle. Her boyfriend, Harrison Bartlett, who was riding ahead could see her lose control and hit the road with tremendous impact. As the bleeding Hollis struggled to breathe, he did CPR on her. The crowd that gathered around them found ways to help them: someone called for an ambulance; others offered water.

    A van of German tourists stopped by, picked them up and dove them to a small clinic south of Chidambaram. They were sent to the Rajah Muthiah Medical College Hospital, Annamalai University, and then, to JIPMER in Puducherry. JIPMER Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery Rupesh Kumar said Ms. Hollis had suffered brain stem injury and was in coma. Since there was no spontaneous breathing, she was put on ventilator support.

    Meanwhile, her mother Diane Allison, a qualified critical care nurse, and aunt Joy Willis flew to Chennai and drove down to Puducherry. They took the decision to shift Ms. Hollis to Apollo in Chennai. “We’ve had angels all the way,” says Ms. Allison, “We are so grateful to everyone in India who helped us right through.”
    Best medical care

    Both she and Mr. Bartlett are confident that Ms. Hollis is receiving the best medical care in India. “We only want to fly her back because that would mean going home. Besides, Stanford has offered us free care and Hollis has no insurance,” says Bartlett.

    Ms. Allison is currently paying for hospitalisation expenses. She hopes that the fundraising effort, which is gathering momentum in the United States, would be able to help them make the trip back home as soon as Ms. Hollis is ready to go.

  30. eve Says:

    donated. i was in a hit&run car accident in India a year ago, although I was not seriously injured, thankfully – it’s totally terrifying traffic, even for skilled drivers/scooters/cyclists.

  31. harry Says:

    “According to Harrison, who has been with her from the moment it happened, “there are huge rats scurrying around on the [hospital] floor. I am sleeping on the ant-covered floor outside her room as I am not allowed in and the water they have used for many procedures is not even purified.” When Hollis’ mom flew in from Tennessee a couple of days ago with emergency support from the US consulate to see her own daughter, the orderlies were dismissive and curt. “They are not observing her brain pressure and have done nothing to alleviate the swelling in her brain. These are things that can make or break her early on in her recovery and healing process.”

    Before anyone jumps at the quality of medical care, the hospital mentioned is the rural hospital in which she is not there NOW.

    She is currently in the Apollo Speciality which is the best treatment any one can get. So the situation has since changed. but agreed. she would still need atleast a 100000$ if she is to finish treatment at Apollo.

    “Both she and Mr. Bartlett are confident that Ms. Hollis is receiving the best medical care in India. “We only want to fly her back because that would mean going home. Besides, Stanford has offered us free care and Hollis has no insurance,” says Bartlett.

  32. David Forbes Says:

    Donating. Thank you for posting this, Mer.

  33. BlueAnchorNatasha Says:

    Will donate, this must be terrifying for those closest to her.

  34. Eliza Strack Says:

    Thank you for all your support.
    We have had a generous offer from an anonymous donor called Mr. Dragon. He has offered to match any donation received today!!!
    His limit is $3,000, but he will match it by 6pm.
    The amount of “pay it forward” going on here is astounding.
    This event has shown us that the invisible web of community support can be seen clearly if you look at it in the right light.

    How many artists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    One to be in a coma and thousands more to give her some of their own light.

    It’s not funny, but it’s beautiful!

  35. B u r n l o g » Hollis Hawthorne: Performer and Friend in Need » By stache Says:

    [...] Coilhouse has a critical post about Hollis Hawthorne, a bicycle dance troupe member of The Derailleurs (which is related to The Sprockettes I happened to see last year). Please visit Friends of Hollis to read more and help. [...]

  36. Mer Says:

  37. Motorbike helmets Says:

    Will donate! This is really sad especially for those who suffer the most. Remember, accidents happens and we should all be protected.