Cough Link

ShariAnne and Daved Fischer's Web site asks, "Brother, can you spare a cyber dime?"

NT: It could be.

Fischer: But it isn't! My brother and sister set up the Web site, and we put bumper stickers on our car that just say "www.HelpMyHusband.com." And we have friends and family all over the country who put the bumper stickers on their cars. We get donations from all over the country. Everyone who makes a donation gets an e-mail from me, thanking them, and we add their names to our Thank You list on the Web site.

NT: But how do we know what you're spending our donations on?

Fischer: Where else would it go?

NT: You could buy groceries. Or a new tube top.

Fischer: (Glancing down inside her blouse.) No. Hardly. I mean, yes, we could spend the money on ourselves, but we don't. We report what comes in, and when we make payments going out, we'll post those on the Web site. If the attorney general has a question, I'll be more than happy to answer it. I'm not using it for anything else. I want my husband to live.

NT: You need $100,000. How close are you to that goal?

Fischer: We're just a hair shy of $10,000. Which is amazing! We started this in January, and we're going, "Oh my gosh! We never thought we'd make this much!" People all over the world are helping. Eddie Basha wrote us a check for $1,000. A total stranger, and he sent us $1,000.

NT: What about the notion that we're all responsible for our own well-being?

Fischer: Are we alone here in this world? I don't think so. Daved and I have spent the majority of our married lives -- 14 years -- helping other people. We've donated furniture. We've let people live with us for free. Okay? We're constantly doing coupon shopping, and if it's food we don't like to eat, we donate it to a food bank. We've pulled onto the side of the road to help people with flat tires. We have been there for so many people, and what goes around comes around. If everyone who reads this sends a dollar, we'll be okay. Okay?

NT: Can I start a Web site to raise money to get my cat neutered?

Fischer: There are lots of people who need help. Okay? People who've suddenly lost a loved one and they have to pay for a funeral. Or people who have had tragic accidents.

NT: My car needs a paint job.

Fischer: Well, there are people who are starting to do the same thing we're doing. There was a lady on the news the other day, and she needs $100,000 for her husband, who has cancer.

NT: A copycat cyberbegger!

Fischer: Well, if it helps her. But, yeah, she's copying us. She's only had one garage sale, though. She's only been on one TV show, and her Web site is linked to Channel 12's Web site. Which doesn't seem fair to me, since we've been on a lot more TV shows and we're not linked to any TV Web sites.

NT: It's a war of the cyberbeggers!

Fischer: Speaking of wars, we were supposed to be on the Today show, and on Dateline in March. And we got a phone call from both shows saying, "Due to the impending war, you've been bumped."

NT: You were pre-empted by the war!

Fischer: Which was really too bad. Because what we need is some national publicity, and we would really be on our way. I think that's what will get us the money we really need.

NT: How long does Daved have?

Fischer: Well, I told our doctor what we were doing to raise money, and that I planned to buy Daved his operation by next summer. The doctor said, "It needs to be sooner than that." (Weeping.) I take that to mean he doesn't have much more than a year.

NT: What happens if you don't collect enough?

Fischer: We don't know. Right now we're just focusing on collecting donations. We really believe that people will do the right thing. It's our only hope.

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