Beeping | A Mental Journey

As it beeps, you reach over, for what seems to be the hundredth time today, to silence it’s incessant calling.  It seems to realize it’s own strength. Just as you slip away into a state of deep thought. Thoughts maybe of a place where touches aren’t painful and liquids aren’t poisonous. It just knows. It knows that exact moment to scream at you and pull away from any peace or moment of day dreaming.

What do you want this time? You wonder if it’s calling you to bring you back into it’s little claustrophobic prison. Or, does the call mean that the poison is complete and you are free. Regardless, it is this nagging sound that reminds you of your connection. Your bittersweet ties to this machine. You are stuck. It maybe for a few hours, it may be for a few months.  Nevertheless, it has become your “lifeline” and your world. And, the very thought of it makes you want to curl up and hide.

It is the I.V. pole. It is the PICC or the Port. It is this connection to the fact that you are not “normal”. You are not free. And it cries without warning to strip your freedoms.

As many of you know, we have spent many hours and days in the hospital at UCLA, Santa Monica. And, we hate it. (My mom always said not to use the word hate, but really I think it works well in this instance). It is not the people, for they are priceless, loved and forever appreciated.  And, it is not the care of UCLA, for it is fierce and prized….   For it is the noise, the smell, the little room, the lock down. And, to escape is forbidden. Sometimes you don’t even have the energy to try and escape.  You are not allowed until that controlling machine grants you freedom.

Sometimes we try to flee into another person’s written worlds, but alas there are times when reading is too tiresome. For many patients they are unable to focus, physically see, keep their eyes open that long or make the effort.

So, it is my mission to bring a small moment of mental freedom for those traveling this journey. This departure arrives in the form of the arts; film & music.

You know that feeling you get when you sit through a film and you forget your physical location. You are swept away in a kiss, a battle, a touch, hope. As Roman Polanski said, “Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater”. I think it should make you forget you’re tied to that machine, confined to a bed or room.

My goal is to supply the 26 beds at UCLA Santa Monica Oncology floor (a place that has saved Steve’s life this far) with the items below AND, if we can do really do it, the 26 beds at UCLA Reagan where Steve will receive a stem cell transplant and be literally confined to his room for 3-4 weeks without fresh air or open doors (we have our own PS3, so steve’s got plenty to do if we can just figure out how to hook it up to the worldwide web… sorta)

  • 26 (or 52 including westwood) DVD players. (the hospital will probably buy in bulk)
  • 8+ Nintendo Wii Consoles (the hospital believes the benefits of getting some people – as long as they are doctor allowed – out of bed and playing Wii fitness will be priceless)
  • Wii Fitness Games
  • Wii Trivia Games or any Wii games at all
  • DVDs of all kinds: comedy, romance, action, documentary
  • Music CD’s
  • Cables
  • Batteries
  • I know you’d like a monetary goal. If we can at the very least get the DVD players and a substantial movie library… It’d be around $3000-$4000. BUT I’d love to get the Wii’s as well. So that could be up to $7500.

    How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special?
    How many people can make you feel extraordinary?”
    -Marley & Me
    Steve can!!

There are 5 ways to donate. Unfortunately, UCLA has yet to jump on the ever so effective way of online donations (sorry UCLA). So sorry it’s a tiny bit complicated.


Check payable to:  UCLA Foundation and they would need to reference 4SW Oncology/SMUCLA Steve Dickter DVD Fund

Send to:

Becky Mancuso-Winding
Medical Sciences Development – UCLA
10945 Le Conte
Suite 3132
Los Angeles, CA  90095

They will send you a tax deduction letter at your request.


Call Rosemary Chiaverini directly at (310)206-0500. Please reference your donation to:  4SW Oncology/SMUCLA Steve Dickter DVD Fund

They will send you a tax deduction letter at your request.


OK. REVISED – this is now tax deductible.

Follow link:


You can mail or drop off the following items to Kathleen LaPlaca or Pattie Jankel

  • DVDs
  • Nintendo Wii Games
  • Music CD’s
  • or brand new DVD or Nintendo Wii


Kathleen LaPlaca
Unit Director Solid Oncology 4SW Unit
SM-UCLA Medical Center & Orthopaedic Hospital
1250 16th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404

***if you’re in hollywood, let me know. you can drop them off at Biscuit Filmworks or I can come get them!

***if you’re in santa monica, you can drop off at GARTNER, contact:  Michelle Grassmeier. Email me jenberry(at) if you need the address.

***items can be used


If you’re finding yourself upon hard times, I’m so sorry. You can still help by just passing this link to 10 of your friends that may be able to even donate $5 will be much appreciate. Hey that’ll buy some batteries or a cheap used DVD.


We learn how to kiss, or to drink, talk to our buddies–all the things that you can’t really teach in social studies or history–we all learn them at the movies.

~ Jack Nicholson

Thank you again. I know we often post about donating, but this is for a specific fund raising that will bring much mental relief to, not only us, but other people close to us.

And look at this little guy who has shown his support

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fran chelico your writing always grabs my heart strings … you are so gifted with your words :). xoxo to you & Steve

Sue & Neil Venart Of course we want to help any way we can. Please give our love to Steve. We are thinking of you both.

Marilyn & William Gutierrez What a wonderful letter and cause. We will certainly do what we can to contribute and will pass this along to anyone we know.
Love to you both,
Marilyn & William

Dana DiTrani Awesome idea Jen!! The story really hits the heart and is necessary to help with healing. I would love to participate and will certainly pass the information along. Much love and strength to you both! xo

Kimmer Go Jen! We’re behind you from across the pond.

Roberta, Ira and Logan Brenner Hey Steve, I saw Jen’s idea about the DVD players etc for the oncology unit…what a great idea, plus I see that you married one terrific writer. We are thinking of you and sending you our best. What’s the best way for me to share this goal with others? (You can tell I’m not that technologically savvy) xo from Roberta, Ira and Logan Brenner (Lisa’s Fam, of course)

brianna phelan We’re trying to help over on our blog. We hope to be able to send as much as we can to help. xoxooxoxx

Krys De Scribner You can count on The Scribners for donating by means of #1 and #5!!! I am gonna repost it to my wall and talk to my family and friends!! You two are amazing people who are thinking outside of yourselves and it is inspiring!!

my. :)

Susan Dear Another inspired and practical idea. A fine use of film and facebook, Jen.
Sending love to you both and a donation in the mail.

Betsy and Tom Rehling This is such a totally awesome plan! Think of all the people who will benefit from something fun to do that has nothing at all to do with why they are in the Med. Center. Inspired, Jen!

barbara dieppa Sending you a hug…. I would love to help spread the word, and help with funding. Let me know what I can do to help.

tracy mccubbin I was passed your blog from a dear friend who is unfortunately spending many hours at UCLA oncology floor. I own a company that helps people de-clutter their lives. Many many times my clients are getting rid of some of the items you’ve listed. I will happily collect as much as I can and drop them off to you in Hollywood. If you can send me your contact info so we can coordinate drop-offs. Thank you for doing this. I know how much it will means to the folks on the floor and I know my clients will be thrilled to know their de-cluttering will help others.

Rachelle Hi Jen! We had a bake sale in front of our house today to raise money for this project. Our neighbors send their good wishes to you and Steve. We’ll be sending the money (+ a little more…it was a bake sale, afterall) pronto. xo

Tweets that mention Beeping | A Mental Journey » jenberry photography — […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jenberry7 and Ewan Phelan, Franchelico. Franchelico said: good cause … pls read! RT @jenberry7: sdonation requests .. this time it's directly for steve's hospital floor: […]

More of the same | Me and Mr. Hodgkins […] Jen Berry DVD Drive @ Jen Berry […]

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