Update: Our good friend Toby Hemenway has passed away. Our hearts are with his wife Kiel.
I'm very saddened to share that our good friend Toby Hemenway, one of the world's leading pioneers in permaculture, is fighting for his life.
Last year when I invited Toby to join the event I produced with Joel Salatin and the folks from Singing Frogs Farm, he privately shared with me that he was battling pancreatic cancer. At the time, he felt well enough to participate in the event, and was even feeling a little optimistic — his oncologist had recently praised his progress, calling him her "star pupil".
But sadly, he learned over the summer that the cancer had spread to his liver. After more aggressive treatment this fall, he and his wife have made the difficult decision for him to begin home hospice care.
Toby is hands-down one of the nicest people I know; extremely friendly and giving of his time, which is rare for someone of his level of celebrity in his given field. I'm heartbroken for him and for Kiel (his wife), who is preparing for a possible future without him. They have thrown all of their resources into this fight, and I know how difficult it has been for Toby to put his pride aside and ask for help.
Yesterday, a grassroots fundraising link was circulated, asking those who have been touched and/or inspired by Toby's work to donate to a fund for his hospice care. When I received the link, less than 10% of the funds requested had been raised. Now, less than 24 hours later, the fund is several thousand dollars above goal.
The swift and emphatic response is wonderful to see, and a testament to the deep respect this man of goodwill has earned. But it's clear that additional donations will still make a tremendous difference for Toby and Kiel. They live a very simple, modest life (they rent a small house not far from me, so I speak from first-hand knowledge).
If you have the means and the willingness, please add a contribution to the hospice fund by clicking the button below:
Chris and I think there's something overly coincidental with our recent podcast on death and dying with Stephen Jenkinson, given Toby's situation. Perhaps the universe is sending us all a message to focus a bit more on living in the now and simply appreciating where we are, wherever that may be.
In honor of Toby's teachings, here are the previous podcasts we've recorded with him on the site. His wisdom speaks for itself much more eloquently than I can:
Thanks in advance for any support you may be able to offer Toby at this time. Well-wishes can also be left for him by clicking the button below. I know he is reading them and the good thoughts and prayers he's receiving mean the world to him. Even if contributing money is not in your budget right now, a kind word will go a long way: