the national kidney foundation

I am a YouTube fanatic, no doubt about it. I always enjoyed watching YouTube as a child and even more so now as a young adult. When I tell people that Markiplier literally helped me through the hardest time of my life, they think I’m being over dramatic, but I’m not.

My first Markiplier video was the original How to Pole dance video. September 17, 2013, my sisters twenty-first birthday. I was a senior in high school and we were just welcoming my mom home from another two week stay in the hospital. For those of you who don’t know, here’s a little backstory to this.

When I was a sophomore in high school, in February 2012, my mom got sick and got sick fast. She was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis where it took them a week to figure out what was wrong - her kidneys were failing. Three months of kidney dialysis, and therapy, and my mom got to come home right around Mother’s Day that year. She was there for my sisters graduation at the end of the month. That was the last time I would take a picture with my mom when she was (Semi)healthy. In July, we found out by some miracle of god that her kidneys had started working again. However, after discussions with the doctor, she continued to go to dialysis on tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays. Then she started to get sick again, and we knew she wasn’t going to come out of it this time. By this point, on September 17, 2013, we knew my mom was dying.

So it was on this day in 2013, when the oh-so clever Markiplier uploaded his poledancing video, that my sister comes out and says “Hey you need to watch this, it’s hilarious.” It was, but I was also taking 12 online classes on top of a 7 class day at my high school to graduate on time, so I kind of put it out of my mind. I did graduate on time, I got my diploma May 31, 2014 and enrolled in college in the next town over to get a degree in Early Childhood Education, and then it happened.

July 30, 2014, I went to my moms hospital room and told her “I love you, I’ll see you when I get back from Baltimore on Tuesday.” I was going to Baltimore because my aunt and cousin (Known on tumblr as BronyMom) were doing a panel at Bronycon 2014 and it was my life goal to go to Baltimore, as I’m a diehard Ravens and Orioles fan, and they had already purchased their tickets to the convention when they received comp’d tickets for being on a panel. My aunt was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma in her leg just a couple weeks before and was recovering from cancer surgery (cleared to go to Baltimore just the day before!) and so her daughters and I would take the tickets. The weekend was great, I had a blast.

August 3, 2014. Roughly 4 pm, my uncle calls and tells us that my mom is not doing good. The last good day is a very real thing, because she was laughing and talking and joking with my sister the night before, and my sister went home that morning to shower only to return with my grandmother about 1:30 and be told that she wasn’t doing well at all. My mom had made it clear that she didn’t want any measures to extend her life, she didn’t want to live on a machine. My grandmother made the decision to keep her comfortable. We got the call, we speed-packed our hotel room and headed towards home. 8:20 pm. My aunt gets the call, my mom passed away six minutes earlier. Neither of my sisters were in the room, I was roughly 800 miles from home. It destroyed me.

Now I know what you’re all thinking. What the hell does this have to do with Markiplier? Well here’s where the goof comes into this situation. We stopped at a McDonalds on the Maryland/West Virginia line. My cousin, a whole 13 months younger than me, shoves his phone in my hands. I asked him what he was doing and he told me that I needed to smile, so here, watch this video. I can’t tell you what video it was, but I can tell you the first thing I thought was “Hey! That’s the guy from the dumb pole dancing video!” And it worked, I smiled even though my world was coming down around me. I watched Markiplier videos the rest of the drive home. I was supposed to start college a week later, but I physically couldn’t do it. We hadn’t even had my mom’s funeral yet, so I decided to take a semester off. A semester has turned into six now. The depression I had struggled with in high school came back fast and the insomnia was crazy. My sisters didn’t have these problems, and told me to simply get over it. Well, they were home when my mom died, and I was on a highway hundreds of miles away. The medicine didn’t help. They upped my antidepressant three times in six months, then started me on a new one that caused me to have absence seizures. Of the past three years, I am probably missing a total of 6 months. I finally decided to stop using that medication but they wouldn’t switch me to a new one. I use CBD Oil now and haven’t had a seizure in almost six months.

During the time that I was struggling so bad, Mark because a constant in my life. I struggled to communicate with other people and while everything was around me crashing down and changing so fast, he was the one thing that stayed constant. I could count on this giant goofball to make me smile everyday even if it was just for about ten minutes.

I actually got to attend the You’re Welcome tour in June, when they were in Indianapolis. It was the single best night of my life. I work a full time job now, but I still make time to watch a Mark video every day.

The chances of him ever seeing this is very slim but if he does, this is a thank you. Losing my mom was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. Thank you for making me smile when I was sure I never would again. Thank you for being you. Just thank you in general. Thank you to not only Mark, but Ethan, Tyler, Bob, Wade, Sean, etc. I feel like I belong in a community of awesome people because of these guys.

And to you guys reading this, March is Kidney Disease Awareness Month. The National Kidney Foundation runs free screenings during the month of March and I can not tell you enough how important it is to have at least one working kidney. Kidney disease runs in my family, it killed my mother. I honestly think people forget how important your kidneys are and how quick they can destroy your life if something goes wrong.

Thats all I have to say for now, so once again. Thank you.

- Tori

Listen up, followers. I’m asking you all personally to attend this comedy show I’m co-hosting. If you could make it, I really would love for some of you to attend. Special guests (very well known people) will be attending! Plus, it’s a charity event for The National Kidney Foundation, so you know, it’s good for your soul and stuff. SURE. Just please try to make it. I think you’ll be entertained!