Jay Kallio was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in his life, his doctor gave him six months to live, and he was ready to be done.
“You run out of emotional steam. I’ve never been like a weak-willed person. So for me to end up running out of steam, that’s kind of what cancer does to you,” Kallio told DNAinfo.
Kallio knew that his life was slowly coming to an inevitable end, so as his apartment fell into disrepair, he didn’t want to bother the NYC Housing Authority with the repairs.
“I basically said, ‘Look, I’m not long for the world here, so you might as well just wait until I die and then go in there and do everything,’” he said.
With a spirit of kindness that led him through his entire life, he began giving away his belongings, for free, on the Queer Exchange Facebook page. Ella Grasch was one of the folks who came to pick something up from Kallio.
When she arrived, she asked if she could come into the apartment. Kallio told her that it was in too awful of a condition, and eventually revealed that he had no working toilet. Ella couldn’t believe what she was hearing, and felt she couldn’t let another human being live like this.
Grasch asked for permission to post about Kallio’s situation in the same Queer Exchange page that he had been giving away his possessions on, and an immediate response blew up.
More than $6,000 has already been raised for Kallio, and a group member who worked for NYC made sure that the NYCHA followed up with him for the necessary repairs. Offers for support and assistance have poured in.
“That makes a huge difference in my life, A night-and-day difference in my life. I’m used to surviving on $800 a month.” Kallio said.
Kallio, only hopes that the spirit of charity endures after he has gone.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to me that they’re doing [this for me]. My hope is that they’re going to do it for each other.”
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