A Little Help From My Friends (Guest Post)

Dear Readers,

Hello, everyone. This is Ilana, Chris’s wife. I always thought I might do a guest post at some point about something fun, like what it’s like to be the spouse of a deeply committed (um, obsessed) artisan like Chris, what I have learned about carpentry and sustainable design from him, or something more humorous. It never occurred to me that I would be writing because Chris has a terminal cancer diagnosis.

As you may have guessed, Chris is a highly independent person who doesn’t like to burden other people. However, during the course of his illness, we have both learned a lot about accepting help. We have been deeply touched by the wonderful support we have received. Friends and family have helped to take care of our son when Chris was in the hospital, brought us meals at home, sent us encouraging notes, weeded our garden, and some have spontaneously given us money to help cover the significant additional expenses and income loss during this time. 

Although the latest scans gave us some good news, the news is temporary because the cancer is in his lungs cannot be completely eradicated, and it will eventually spread. What we don’t know is whether he has months or years left. As you can imagine, this is heartbreaking and also makes planning very hard.

In the past week, some friends of Chris’s from a project he worked on over 15 years ago created a GoFundMe campaign for our family, and we are incredibly grateful for their unexpected generosity. They asked us to post it on the blog, so here it is:


Of course, there is absolutely no pressure or expectation, but they thought that readers of the blog would like to be included. 

Also, here are a few photos of Chris that show another side of him – like many of you, he is not only a passionate designer and maker but also a devoted father of our 3 year-old son, Ryden. The first two photos are from after the treatment turned his hair grey but before he got really ill and lost a lot of weight.

Whether or not you contribute to the GoFundMe campaign, thank you for reading Chris’s blog and for helping to keep craftsmanship and the pursuit of excellence alive. We are so glad you are out there.

Please feel free to contact me directly via email if you have questions or thoughts at ilanamartha1 “at” gmail dot com. (Spelling it out so I only get mail from humans).

With gratitude,

2 thoughts on “A Little Help From My Friends (Guest Post)

  1. Thanks for the post Ilana, us guys are notorious for not asking for help. I think we get to involved with trying to sort out our own stuff. If it wasn’t for our nearest and dearest we would probably miss out on a whole lot of the world. I hope the small contribution I made helps a bit. My wife and I have a seven and five year old, this is hard to read and harder to write I imagine but worth it.

    1. Hello Gav, this is Ilana. Thank you so much for your comment and your contribution (now I realize that Gav and Gavin are the same person!). I now know that asking for and accepting support is a skill that I hadn’t practiced much – I have also had a bit of learning curve – but it turns out that vulnerability opens a lot of doors. Thank you for being out there and our best wishes to you and your family. ~ Ilana

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