Hero Initiative helps Keith Champagne get back on his feet—literally
Almost three years ago now, I (literally) slipped and fell off a mountain while hiking with family and friends in New Hampshire. It was the kind of split second accident that no one could see coming and I’m lucky all I did was break my left leg.
One mountain rescue team, five or six days, and a bunch of Percocet later, I’m immobilized and waiting for ORIF surgery (Open Reduction plus Internal Fixation, basically the plates and screws needed to put my leg back together again), which got delayed when my EKG threw up a red flag that needed to be cleared. I get an email from the Hero Initiative out of the blue. “Hey, we heard about your accident, wanted to check in and see if there was anything you needed.”
Long story shorter, I was immobilized for two weeks before surgery and for a month after. It didn’t take long to burn through my savings and not being able to work for six weeks is a nightmare for a freelancer.
Now a ball of stress and worry, I reached back out to the Hero Initiative and they went to work. I had a check within a few days that kept the lights on and my kids fed but, more importantly, the organization bought me time to heal. To get back on my feet. And when that took longer than expected, both literally with my recovery and figuratively in terms of lining up new projects, they were right there for me again. Smoothing things over, keeping my house out of foreclosure. Buying me time. Saving the day.
Hero Initiative is not just important to this industry. They’re vital. They help, no strings attached. Those of us who work in the comic book industry, often paycheck to paycheck with little security past the job we’re working on now, are blessed to have someone looking out for us.