Inspired Fire Victim Creates Apparel Line For Fundraising Mission To Return Her Family Home
After losing everything to fire, just one week before giving birth to her son, and a bad faith insurance company not compensating enough to rebuild, Sherrill Rees of Port Perry, Ontario is on a fundraising mission to get her family home. She is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign not only to rebuild her family home, but also to create an organization for other victims suffering hardships due to similar tragedies. “My goal is to alleviate the financial and emotional strains for others that my family has suffered after losing everything. We will turn this website into a platform for others to share their stories and to fundraise to get their lives back too,”explains Sherrill. “Paying our entire premium for the year up front and being left hung out to dry by our insurer, has been a tough pill to swallow. You never think it would happen to you but since taking my story online, I’ve come to learn this happens a lot. Far too often actually. The insurance industry is big business. Too big for most victims to take on. Insurance companies just have too much money at their disposal. My family is living proof that corporations have too much power.” Sherrill adds, “But I’ve never been one to take things lying down. I will fight with everything I have until we are home. Our tragedy will become triumph for others. We are all in this together and we must take a stand for one another. If we don’t, who will? I pray that the coming election will bring positive change for the average citizen.”
Unlike most traditional charitable fundraising campaigns, Sherrill will be offering many exciting rewards for your pledge. She has created an extensive line of inspiring t-shirts, hoody sweatshirts and bracelets. “I’ve always had a fascination with sacred symbols, faith, spirituality, conspiracies and the universe. All of these things inspired my apparel line,” she says.
“When I began this journey, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I just knew what I wanted to do,” explains Sherrill. “I knew how to use Facebook and upload pictures from my camera to my laptop,” she laughs. “I just kept telling my story anywhere I could online. I connected with so many incredible people, many of whom gave me great tips and led me in the right direction where I needed to go. And there were many people who really encouraged me and cheered me on along the way!” Sherrill says, “I feel the need to give back to contributors for their donations. I know people work hard for their money. I feel so blessed to have readers take interest in my cause. I really want to thank them for their effort to help us to return home. Simply asking for donations always seemed like online panhandling to me.”
Sherrill continues, “And so, I studied everything I could about crowdfunding and how to use social media. I think I’ve completed the equivelant of a few years in college, ” she laughs again. “I taught myself how to create and edit videos, how to create digital media, how to design apparel and created most of this website myself. I learned by reading online tutorials and watching Youtube videos.”
“I create a lot of motivating posters on my facebook page. Most of them reflect how I was feeling on a particular day or time. I want to inspire others to never give up when faced with adversities. Now that I am beginning to master digital design, I’m offering to share a poster with a $1 contribution to my campaign. Some of my facebook posters have had over 1500 shares! So, I’ve taken the time to re-create many of the most popular ones, in fantastic quality without all of the social media logos, so that the focus is more on the poster itself. I’ve also included a few from my business page as well,” explains Sherrill.
Sherrill, her husband Dave, their son Tyson and their two cats have been staying with Sherrill’s parents, approximately half an hour from their property, since the date of the fire. “In a situation like this, you have no choice but to grow. I’ve learned a lot about myself. You never know how strong you are until you have to be. This has by far, has been the hardest road and most difficult journey of my life. Some days all I have is my faith to help me get through the day,” says Sherrill. “My faith and spirituality reflect in my apparel line”.
“Dave and I have known one another for more than half our lifetimes,” explains Sherrill. “We’ve always been best friends, but I’m not going to lie,” she continues, “a situation like this can take it’s toll on the best of relationships. It causes a lot of emotional and financial stress. It can also cause PTSD nd can trigger other mental illness. I know it weighs heavily on Dave’s pride to be in a position as this. We’ve been stripped of everything; all at once. Dave works hard to support Tyson and I but there is little he can do to get us home. Dave has experienced a lot of darkness in his life. So, he doesn’t always have the same optimistic view on life as I do,” she says further.
We are grateful to my parents, more than they will ever know, for opening their home to us. However, it can be hard some days living with other people, no matter who they are. My parents are aging and they need their privacy and lives back too,” says Sherrill. “I can’t explain the sorrow that you feel through something like this. We lost everything we had and our unborn son lost everything he was to have, a week before he came into the world. You feel robbed. Everyday, you feel deeply homesick but it’s worse because you never have that reassurance that you will return. We all want nothing more than to go home and begin private family memories. Tyson has asked Santa the last three years to get us home. Last year after learning about raffles at school, Tyson insisted on raffling his Toronto Maple Leafs tickets for our cause. Not knowing how to use social media properly at the time, we didn’t have a large turnout and barely covered the cost of the tickets.
“Of course there’s many days I can’t hold the tears back but I have no choice to keep trying. I want to show my husband that there is light through his darkness and I want to to be an example to my son. I want to prove to them both that when you persevere through the worst of times, believe in yourself and focus on your goals, anything is possible. I want to show them that dreams do come true and there is still good in the world,” Sherrill explains.
Sherrill is also “Paying It Forward” to anyone who would like to get involved in her fundraising efforts and help generate contributions to her campaign. Just Prevail is currently taking registrations for our Affiliate Program. Earn commission for hosting a banner on your website or by simply sharing links on any social media platform! ” We miss our home and it’s our dream to return. I hold the deepest gratitude for those who help us get there. Again, I know everyone’s time is valuable. I feel the least I can do, is compensate them for that,” says Sherrill.