To All The Cast & Creative Team Ever Involved In Dear Evan Hansen
This may be long, but I truly hope you all can read this.
Now I may not be your biggest or most die hard fan but I have a story that is worth being told. My name is Sean Smith, I’m twenty-eight years old from a little town in Michigan named Holt. I am not like most people on the outside and that’s where my story starts. I am in a wheelchair because I was born with the disability Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which is a brittle bone disorder. This disability causes my bones to be very fragile, also shorter in stature, softer and somewhat deformed. I also have (connected) restricted lung disease, scoliosis, asthma, sleep apnea and recently to add to the list, Epilepsy. Needless to say this makes life a bit difficult.
School for any child can be incredibly rough. Like Evan, I felt like a completely invisible person except for the barrage of incredible bullying I faced every day. I was treated like a second rate citizen, ignored or shredded apart for things I could never change. I can’t change my bones, how I look or my disabilities. I didn’t have any mental problems, it wasn’t like I couldn’t talk to someone and show them I wasn’t something to fear or make fun of. I didn’t get that chance and I developed severe depression. Without going into too much detail, I will say I attempted suicide a few times in high school but I’m so lucky I’m still here today. As an adult now I’m struggling with keeping the depression and self harming thoughts at rest. I go out in public and I’m laughed at, pointed at, treated like a second rate citizen. I’m talked to slowly or just completely ignored. I lost work, can’t find a new job and am facing new life threatening illnesses.
The potentially life threatening thing I spoke of is new and started when I lost my job at the Michigan Senate, lost my health insurance and then in March of 2017 I suffered two grand mal seizures. These seizures, mixed with my brittle bone disorder, caused 4 bone fractures in which two were so bad I had reconstructive surgery on my left forearm. I was on life support and now I have lost most functionality in my left arm. I’ve already spent my life in a wheelchair and now all that I could do was mostly stripped from me as I have only one hand I can use. My passions I developed such as playing guitar, acting and most of my independence is gone.
I had an MRI that found spots of bleeding in my brain and a small growth. I have spent months of my life working to find answers and assistance. I have a lawyer and advocates still trying to get me disability payments and I’m still trying to find orthopedic doctors who will look at someone with my disorder. I don’t know what my prognosis is yet, what definitively caused my seizures and if I’ll regain the use of my left arm completely. Then, Monday, February 5th 2018, I went into the hospital via an ambulance after having a petite gran mal seizure from having influenza A. I was admitted with a severe blood co2 level among other things like being observed for neurotic reasons. On that night, at 2:04 in the morning, I coded and was in complete cardiac and respiratory arrest. My family was pulled away and were told I had no pulse and the nurse wasn’t hopeful.
I miraculously was revived after 8 minutes lifeless on the hospital bed. I woke up two days later with a breathing and feeding tube. I had multiple bone fractures as well and was being kept sedated by propofol and under heavy pain medication. Doctors worked hard to figure what if anything could bring me back to normal or if I’d even be able to speak again. Now I am off life support and breathing on my own and just returned home today. Somehow, I am on the mend it appears. I am broken, sick, confused and frankly I’m feeling depressed and disgusted with the cards of my life but I am still here. With my brittle bones, any seizure could be fatal and with all last year, it doesn’t look good.
Then I saw/heard Dear Evan Hansen and my entire life has changed. The story of someone struggling with what Evan does connects with me so well, even though it isn’t the same, the feelings are very similar and resonate within my heart. The notion of being invisible, loving someone and not feeling worth the time of day to someone is something I felt everyday. I used to make fun of myself all the time and just shut myself off to the world just so no one would do it to me.
Dear Evan Hansen hit me like a ton of bricks. Music and theater have always been a huge passion of mine but every lyric and note in this show was exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve changed since I heard it in a way I didn’t know possible. I have found inspiration to be somebody, to be proud of who I am and to actually want to live. Each person involved should be proud because I know I’m just one person out of millions that was helped by this show.
Now because of my disability – traveling to New York is not possible. I don’t have the funds or even a reliable vehicle to get me there. I fear I’ll never fully see the show nor can I even afford to own a shirt or cast recording. However I’m saying thank you, to you all for saving my life. The first time I heard Waving Through A Window my depression was at an all time high and after that night, I was alive.
I owe you all so much – my dream is to see the show or own an autograph but let’s be realistic, I’m just wanting you all to know my story. You save lives every day on that stage and I can’t believe this world is blessed enough to have what you do available.
I send you thanks for your talent and for saving my life, literally. With a sincere heart, I give you all I am and know that I will push on and live for what I dream, all because you do what you dream.
Me. (Sean Anthony Smith)
P.S. – If anyone wants to help via my GoFundMe or contact me, I’ll put both things under this
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter/Instagram – @SeanDoesComics