Stacy Eastman shows off the medal she won at the Bremerton Half Marathon. Olympic Community Action Programs has helped the Port Angeles woman as she strengthens her health. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Peninsula Home Fund helps budding photographer as she grapples with health issues

By Diane Urbani de la Paz

For Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Ask Stacy Eastman how things are going, and she’ll answer “Really well!” with a girlish smile. Then she’ll change the subject to how you are — in a tone that says she actually wants to know.

Pleasantries taken care of, a reporter inquired about a recent surgery Eastman had. It was the latest in a series of operations that, as she puts it, are helping her get her life back.

When Eastman was 15, she was seated in the front passenger seat of a Toyota Corona traveling up Kitsap County’s South Kingston Road. The driver was blinded by a delivery truck, she remembers, and the car plunged off a high embankment and crashed into a tree below.

“I hit my head so hard that it was knocked out of alignment,” Eastman said.

Recovery was difficult. Compounding this was the fact that she was a teenager, going through “a rebellious stage,” she said, adding that her family relationships suffered.

In the years since, Eastman, who is from Suquamish, has confronted more than her share of health problems. Among the six surgeries she’s had in the past two years are a full hysterectomy and the removal of a breast tumor.

Then Eastman found another lump, a fatty mass in her lower back. After surgery this fall, she reported that her gnawing back pain, along with the tumor, were finally gone.

“It’s been a long road,” she said.

For a time, before coming to Port Angeles, Eastman lived in her car.

“I didn’t have the support of family or friends,” but she did have Shylow, her beloved dog. But Shylow got sick in fall 2014. Eastman couldn’t afford veterinary care, and she lost him the day after Thanksgiving. She carries his framed photograph with her.

By early 2015, Eastman had applied for housing assistance, and one day that summer, out of the blue, she heard from Peninsula Housing Authority. There was a place for her in Port Angeles, so off she went, to move into a snug studio apartment a few blocks from Swain’s General Store.

But earlier this year, Eastman, who lives on her meager Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, was struggling to pay rent, buy groceries and drive to and from her doctor appointments here and in Kitsap County. She also suffered from chemical sensitivities and needed new, hypoallergenic cleaning supplies.

Last spring, she sought help from OlyCAP, which administers the Peninsula Home Fund. Thanks to the fund, Eastman received help with the basics of life: $216 for the rent to keep a roof over her head, $25 for personal hygiene products, $25 for laundry supplies and $54 for an all-zones bus pass.

At that point, things started to turn around. Wanting to be outdoors and around healthy people, she volunteered at the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in June and began working out. This September, Eastman ran and finished a race of her own: the Bremerton Half Marathon.

But the tumor in her back, with its attendant pain, slowed Eastman down after that. She gained weight — but did not lose heart. She made plans to stay with family before and after her October surgery. Her relationship with her parents is getting better, she said.

With her operation behind her now, Eastman means to keep strengthening her health. She pedals the old stationary bicycle she has set up beside her couch. She loves fresh fruit and marvels at the produce available at the Port Angeles Food Bank.

To further nourish mind and body, Eastman takes walks — and photographs. These range from sunlit images of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to self-portraits posted online.

“I’ve been sharing my story on Facebook. A lot of people started following that,” she said.

“I fell in love with the idea of therapy through photography.”

For this artist, bodies of water also have healing powers. She recalls one particularly bright day.

“I went down at the beach and asked God for an extended time here. I stopped fighting,” she said, “and started listening.”

In November, Eastman took a drive to the Elwha River bridge and beheld a stunning sight: a herd of elk crossing from bank to bank.

“There were maybe 50,” she said. She recorded the crossing with her phone’s video camera.

Eastman would like to attend Peninsula College one day and study photography. In the meantime, she wants to find local places to volunteer. She’s hanging back a little, though, in the wake of her health troubles.

“I’m afraid to take on anything,” Eastman said. “I don’t want to let people down.”

There’s no shortage of interests here, however.

“I want to help veterans. I know how it feels,” she said, “to fight for benefits and medical care.”

She also has experience building saltwater aquariums and wants to volunteer at an aquarium shop.

“Working with Stacy was a pleasure. Her positivity was truly inspirational,” said Marki Lockhart, OlyCAP’s community services director.

Eastman is an example of how a fairly small amount of money can make a big difference in a life, she said.

“This community has been amazing,” Eastman said, adding that the people in her apartment complex have been welcoming to her.

“I’ve learned so much on my journey,” she said.

Peninsula’s safety net

The Peninsula Home Fund — a safety net for local residents when they suddenly face an emergency situation and can’t find help elsewhere — is seeking contributions for its annual holiday season fundraising campaign.

From Port Townsend to Forks, from Quilcene and Brinnon to Sequim and LaPush, money from the fund is used for hot meals for seniors; warm winter coats for kids; home repairs for a low-income family; needed prescription drugs; dental work; safe, drug-free temporary housing; eyeglasses — the list goes on and on.

• Assistance usually averages less than $100. The average amount of help this year has been $68.17 per person.

The maximum allowance per year is $350 per household.

• All instances of help are designed to get an individual or family through a crisis — and back on the path to self-sufficiency.

Home Fund case managers often work with each individual or family to develop a plan to become financially stable — and avoid a recurrence of the emergency that prompted aid from the fund.

As needed, Peninsula Home Fund contributions are often used in conjunction with money from churches, service clubs and other donors, enabling OlyCAP to stretch the value of the contribution.

The goal again: “a hand up, not a handout.”

• No money is deducted by the Peninsula Daily News for administration fees or any other overhead.

Every penny goes to OlyCAP.

The money goes to help the most vulnerable members of our community, from infants to families to seniors.

Please note: Because of heavy community demands, the loss of grants because of the economy and recent cuts in government funding, OlyCAP beginning in 2012 was permitted to use 10 percent — 10 cents of every dollar donated — to pay for the vital programs and services for Home Fund clients. (Previously there were no deductions.)

OlyCAP has kept it in the area of 8 percent, a fraction of the average overhead of other nonprofits.

• All contributions are IRS tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.

Your personal information is kept confidential.

PDN and OlyCAP do not rent, sell, give or otherwise share your address or other information with anyone or make any other use of it.

Since its beginning in 1989, the fund has relied on the support of Jefferson and Clallam residents.

Using the $255,468 contributed to the Peninsula Home Fund in 2015, OlyCAP had helped 2,994 individuals — 1,045 households on the Peninsula — through the end of October.

The remaining funding of $51,361 will continue to help your friends and neighbors on the Peninsula through the middle of January — when 2016 donations will begin to offer a lifeline in 2017.

How to apply for a Home Fund grant

To apply for a Peninsula Home Fund grant, contact one of the three OlyCAP offices:

• OlyCAP’s Port Angeles office is at 228 W. First St., Suite J (Armory Square Mall); 360-452-4726. For Port Angeles- and Sequim-area residents.

• Its Port Townsend office is at 823 Commerce Loop; 360-385-2571. For Jefferson County residents.

• The Forks office is at 421 Fifth Ave.; 360-374-6193. For West End ­residents.

Leave a message in the voice mail box at any of the three numbers, and a Home Fund caseworker will phone you back.

OlyCAP’s website: www.olycap.org; email: action@olycap.org.

If you have any questions about the fund, phone Terry Ward, PDN publisher, at 360-417-3500. Or email tward@peninsula dailynews.com.

Contributions

A number of generous individuals and organizations have been donating money to the Peninsula Home Fund since the first of the year.

While most of the money is raised between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31, the fund itself never closes.

Donations of any amount are always welcome.

To donate online by credit card, please click on www.secure.peninsula dailynews.com/homefund.

Below is a list of donors whose contributions were processed between Nov. 30 and Dec. 8:

Name and amount

• Larry and Sandy Davidson, Sequim, $50. In memory of Nancy Harlan.

• Marie Cauvel, Port Angeles, $200. In memory of The Ladies of Unclaimed Treasures Group. So many strong, older women to learn from. I miss them all.

• Earl and Becky Archer, Sequim, $200.

• T.A. and Fredda Burton, Port Angeles, $100.

• Ron and Judy Priest, Sequim, $100.

• Kathryn Hofer, Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Dale Hofer.

• Jeanne and John Skow, Port Angeles, $1,000.

• Carol Lee and Robin Moses, Carlsborg, $500.

• Jay F. Burcham, Port Townsend, $150. In loving memory of my wife, Shirley “Shirl” Burcham.

• Ray and Jane Erickson, Port Hadlock, $50.

• William and Jeanne Manzer, Sequim, $200.

• Raymond Bentsen, Sequim, $100.

• Dorothy A. Hutt Wilson, Sequim, $100. In memory of Roy J. Wilson.

• Stephen and Linda Falcone, Sequim, $50.

• Xi Iota Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, Port Angeles, $500.

• Barbara Cushman, Seattle, $22,200.

• Joyce Chiasson, Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Jack Chiasson.

• David and Patricia Meyers, Sequim, $250.

• Paul Howard, Port Angeles, $100.

• William and Carol Peet, Port Angeles, $200.

• Karen Blessing, Port Townsend, $100.

• Steven McCreary, Port Townsend, $250.

• Barb and Mack Boelling, Port Townsend, $25.

• Nydia Levick, Sequim, $100. In honor of Dal Kilmer.

• Mr. and Mrs. R. Worley, Sequim, $5,500.

• David Bednarski, Snohomish, $500. In memory of Ron Bednarski.

• Mick and Allie Quigley, Port Townsend, $100.

• Yvonne Dillon and Daniel Zimm, Port Townsend, $100.

• Doris Prince, Sequim, $100.

• Fred and Georgine Sullivan, Walnut Creek, Calif., $100.

• Bill and Lynnette Baughman, Sequim, $150. In memory of Bill’s son, Craig Baughman.

• Cliff and Corky Schadler, Sequim, $200. In memory of Lee and Janet Squier.

Name only

• Paul Schwabe, Carlsborg. In honor of war veterans. Please remember all of our veterans. Pray for them.

• Stan and Sally Garlick, Port Angeles. In memory of Peter Drobka.

• Cynthia Johnson, Port Townsend.

• Michael Turner, Port Townsend.

• Dale and Nathalia Doran, Port Angeles. In memory of all family and friends who have passed on.

• Bob Walthers and Nancy Johnson, Port Townsend.

• Bob and JoAnn Thompson, Sequim.

• Barbara and John Cameron, Sequim.

• John and Nancy Jost, Sequim.

• Nancy and Ed Grier, Port Angeles.

• Jim and Cathy Hinz, Sequim.

• John and Rosemary Forster, Port Angeles.

• Sue and Bob Erzen, Sequim.

• Bob and Jackie Partridge, Port Angeles.

• Keith and Lisa Dekker, Port Angeles.

• Mary Pat Minor, Sequim. In honor of my dear family.

• Cheryl and Jim Coulter, Sequim.

• Ben and Ann Nilsson, Sequim.

• Steven P. Sahnow, Sequim. In memory of Rusk Sahnow.

• Roy and Marilyn Brown, Marquette, Mich.

• Brando and Christina Blore, Port Angeles.

• Gary and Geri Braun, Port Angeles.

• Steve and Gloria Ricketts, Port Hadlock.

• Robert B. Hutchison, Sequim.

• Al and Jane Bloomquist, Port Angeles.

• Carolyn A. Crane, Sequim.

• Robert and Sheila Becker, Port Angeles.

• Dianne Williams, Port Angeles. In memory of Jeannett, Steve and Ron — my departed siblings.

• Janet Nickolaus, Port Angeles. In memory of Jim and Winnie Nickolaus.

• Richard and Connie Thorson, Port Angeles.

• Russ and Linda Mellon, Sequim. In honor of Ken and Louise Sadilek.

• Doug McClary, Sequim. In honor of American law enforcement.

• Barbara Hughes, Sequim.

• Stephen Conner and Weezie Jenkins, Port Townsend.

• Richard and Andrea Dexter, Port Angeles. In honor of Ann.

• Kathleen Balducci, Port Angeles. In memory of Bal and Mom and Dad.

• Jill Blake, Sequim.

• Jim and Jane Ratliff, Sequim.

• Jerry Macomber, Sequim.

• Paul Hanway, Sequim.

• Kerry and Marilyn Perkins, Port Angeles. In memory of Jeannie Rawley.

• Mark and Pat Lewis, Sequim.

• Dan and Patricia Nellis, Sequim. In memory of Martha Lohr.

• Rosalyn Young, Sequim.

• Dr. and Mrs. Edward A. Hopfner, Port Angeles.

• Francis (Doug) Platten, Port Angeles.

• Sue Priddy and Allen Herlyck, Port Townsend.

• Ron and Karen Coles, Port Angeles. In memory of Irving Jensen.

• Loreen Matsushima and Richard Ball, Port Angeles.

• Arthur and Ruth Dewey, Sequim. In honor of our Britt Pit Family.

• Dan and Eve Farrell, Port Angeles.

• Richard and Karen Grennan, Sequim. In memory of all our loved ones who remain in our hearts.

• Tom and Sandi Shields, Sequim.

• Penny Ervin, Port Angeles. In memory of Doug and Carole Cudd.

• Jon and Lori Jacobs, Port Angeles. In memory of Harold, Gladys and John Whitman.

• Barbara Baker, Sequim. In memory of Cy Oden.

• Suzanne Orr, Port Angeles.

• Dan and Vicki Pierson, Port Angeles.

• Deborah Willis, Port Angeles. In memory of Mom, Dad and Derek.

• Ruth and Norbert Karr, Chimacum.

• Lew and Nora Polizzi, Sequim.

• Gary and Shirley Haubold, Port Angeles.

• Kris Ecklund, Sequim. In honor of Fire District No. 3’s dedication to CERT programs.

• Russell and Arlene McClelland, Sequim.

• DeDe Juliussen, Sequim. In memory of Bud Deitz.

• Bob and Berit Cole, Sequim.

• Mark and Patty Hannah, Port Angeles.

• Karen L. and Steve Anderson, Port Angeles.

• Joseph Cress and Elaine Peaslee, Sequim. In memory of Jenny Cress.

• Dixielee and Stan Sayles, Port Townsend.

• Jay and Alicia Crawford, Sequim. In honor of Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club, a happy and generous-to-the-community group.

• Inge Magrs, Sequim.

• Virginia Woolf, Carlsborg.

• Viki Kocha, Sequim.

• Rich and Carol Norseen, Sequim.

• Olympic Electric Co. Inc., Port Angeles. In memory of Henry and Jane Burkhardt.

• Peter Bulkeley, Sequim.

• Mel and Vicci Rudin, Port Angeles.

• Steve and Sandy Munger, Port Angeles. In memory of Matthew.

• Robert Vreeland, Port Angeles. In memory of Fidel Castro.

• Leslie Menia, Sequim. In honor of Theresa Simmons and The Z Judys.

• Barbara K. Miller, Port Angeles.

• Cathy and Ron Grant, Sequim.

• Donald and Barbara Reidel, Port Angeles. In memory of our parents, Arthur and Armada Dixon, and Max and Sylvia Reidel.

• Don and Faith Knowles, Sequim.

• Fred and Carol Royce, Port Angeles.

• John and Pauline Gepner, Port Angeles.

• Roger and Kay Paynter, Port Angeles.

• Bruce and Gerri Ferguson, Port Angeles.

• Lon and Sherrie Puggs, Port Angeles.

Amount only

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Port Angeles, $200.

• Port Angeles, $25. In memory of L&L Springer.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Port Angeles, $100. In memory of Bob Dalton.

• Port Angeles, $400. In honor of Bal and Jack.

• Sequim, $25.

• Forks, $200. In memory of Liz Brown.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Sequim, $10.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $150.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $50.

• Port Townsend, $100. In memory of Gerald Thorsen.

• Sequim, $200. In honor of Kathe Smith. For all the times you have helped many folks behind the scenes.

• Sequim, $25.

• Sequim, $100. In memory of Smudge.

• Port Angeles, $250.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Port Townsend, $100. In memory of my husband.

• Port Angeles, $20.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Nordland, $20.

• Port Angeles, $50. In memory of Irene Rexroat.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Port Townsend, $200.

• Sequim, $50.

• Chimacum, $200.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $30. In memory of Bill Lawson.

• Sequim, $100.

• Sequim, $65.

• Port Angeles, $250.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Port Angeles, $200.

• Port Angeles, $500.

• Port Hadlock, $30.

• Sequim, $50.

• Port Angeles, $100.

• Sequim, $25.

• Sequim, $100.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Sequim, $25.

• Port Angeles, $500.

• Port Angeles, $50.

• Port Angeles, $25.

__________

EVEN THE BEST handwriting can be hard to decipher at times.

Please report any errors in this list to 360-452-2345.

We’ll rerun the listing correctly.

Our sincerest appreciation again to our donors.

^

Give voice to your heart

A GIFT OF any size is welcome.

Peninsula Home Fund has never been a campaign of heavy hitters.

If you can contribute only a few dollars, please don’t hesitate because you think it won’t make a difference.

Every gift makes a difference, regardless of its size.

From children’s pennies to checks for thousands of dollars, the generosity of Peninsula Daily News readers makes a positive difference.

All contributions are IRS tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law for the year in which the check is written.

Your personal information is kept confidential.

PDN does not rent, sell, give or otherwise share your address or other information with anyone or make any other use of it.

To donate, write a check to “Peninsula Home Fund” and attach it to the coupon that appears in today’s PDN.

Mail both items to Peninsula Home Fund, Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

You can also contribute online using a credit card: Just click on https://secure.peninsuladaily news.com/homefund.

^

To delay may mean to forget.

Between surgeries earlier this year, Stacy Eastman of Port Angeles finished the Bremerton Half Marathon. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

More in News

EYE ON JEFFERSON: County to consider 2018 budget

The three Jefferson County commissioners will consider adopting a final 2018 budget… Continue reading

EYE ON CLALLAM: County to hold Shoreline Master Program hearing

Clallam to hold hearing on shoreline plan

Discovery Bay closed to shellfish harvesting

Discovery Bay in Jefferson and Clallam counties has been… Continue reading

Most Read