Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our Story

I work for a non-profit organization in New York City.  On the afternoon of April 12, 2011, I rushed home after getting a call that firemen were at my apartment. I had no idea what to expect. When I arrived, I discovered that the small apartment I shared with my fiance was gutted. Parts of the ceiling collapsed, a wall heavily damaged, all the windows smashed and smoke and soot everywhere.  Our beloved rabbit Olivia died from the impact of the ceiling falling on her pen.  

Only two duffel bags of items were salvageable from the apartment. We have almost nothing. I have not been allowed in for the past two weeks, as it has been deemed "unsafe." We were able to find a new place, but it's empty except for a second-hand mattress donated to me by a coworker, and a few pieces of clothing.

The cause of the fire was electrical, but the exact source is unclear.  The management company shows no interest in assisting us.  We were unable to afford renter's insurance, so we are really on our own.

My fiance, Ron, is finishing graduate school and we're getting married in just four months.  Along with everything else we lost, we now have no savings to pay for the simple wedding we had planned.

I'm just overwhelmed by all that needs to be rebuilt. We have no savings, no wedding and almost no possessions. And I'm devastated by the loss of my rabbit Olivia, as well as by the loss of many special personal mementos, books, and other things I'd brought from my childhood in Maine and collected in the past eight years in New York.  I know that I am fortunate to be alive, and friends and family have been kind.  But I'm in a state of inner panic.

I am here humbly asking for help.

Please visit my Etsy Store
Please visit my Etsy store, Chickatey.  The items in the shop were in a storage closet, and were not affected by the fire.  I will be working to add new items, and would be thrilled to do custom orders.

If you don't see something you'd like or can't buy anything, please consider sharing the link wherever you think it would be welcome.

In kind donations are greatly appreciated

We are looking for any of these items:
  • Household electronics to replace what was lost: computer, camera, dvd player
  • Household items: pots and pans, cooking utensils, cutting board, tea kettle, bath mat
  • Wedding needs 
    • For bride: hair accessories, shoes
    • For groom: suit, shoes, tie
    • For the ceremony: Wedding invitations and decorations

In Honor of Olivia

In many ways, our greatest loss was that of our beloved  Olivia.  Not everyone understands how amazing the bond between a person and a house rabbit can be, but Olivia was a part of our family that we miss dearly. 

 Donations to Rabbit Rescue and Rehab in New York City would be wonderful.
Our beloved Olivia, may she rest in peace
It's difficult to ask for help, but we really can't do it alone. 

Thanks so much for listening to our story. 

Donate directly to our rebuilding fund on Paypal:


  1. Katey and Ron, I am SO SORRY about this. I love Regretsy and found my way here and I am just so sad. My heart goes out to you! I am especially sorry about Olivia. I send you hugs.

  2. I am so sorry for what happened, especially your poor little rabbit. Our flat burned down in 1990, we had no insurance and lost everything. Nightmare but we got through it. Take lots of care and I hope that everything works out for you
    Deb UK

  3. Katey and Ron - Best of luck with your rebuilding and recovering... will you be posting a P.O. box to send items to?

  4. I am so sorry; I can't even imagine what you're going through. My husband and I just moved, but as soon as we are settled, I will see if there is anything we can do to help.

    Don't feel bad about asking for help, either. Of course you can't do it alone, and you shouldn't be expected to.

    Much love to you both, and condolences for sweet Olivia. She was a beautiful rabbit. <3

  5. Oh, also - what size shoes do you wear and how many invitations do you need?

  6. I'm so sorry :( I will pass the word around, and go visit your store right now.

  7. Katey, If I lived closer, I would be so happy to help you out with household items as the neighborhood I live in has many, many people who have duplicates of things like that. My heart breaks for you and I do understand how heartbroken you must be to have lost Olivia. I will be sharing your story on my Facebook and blog, as well as a link to your Etsy shop. Just so you know there are good people in the world, I know you will soon realize that as I'm sure I am just one of many who will join in helping you rebuild your life - one stranger to another. Be well!!

  8. Sent you some money via paypal... go buy that tea kettle!!

  9. Will you be posting a PO Box address?

    Sarah xxx

    My heart breaks for poor Olivia.

  10. I donated. My heart really goes out to you. *internet hugs*

  11. I have a blue tea pot that would be happy to find its way to NYC! I saw your story on Regretsy and my heart breaks for you two. How can I get in touch with you to send you a tea pot?

  12. I'm so sorry to hear about your losses. I found this post on Regretsy and I really hope you do get a chance to rebuild.

  13. People like you are the reason I haven't given up on the human race. Even in the midst of your own awful tragedy you are still encouraging people to make donations to the Rabbit Rescue. That is a generosity of spirit that is too rarely seen.

    I've made a donation to you, it's not a lot but I hope it helps. Also, if you still need a DVD player, please let me know, I have a spare one I can wrap up and send to you tomorrow if need be.

  14. As soon as I get paid, I will be buying from you.

    I'm so so sorry about your bun. I don't know what I would do if anything happened to my dog.

  15. I just donated to the Rabbit Rescue & Rehab in memory of Olivia. I have several dear pets and your story touched me. I hope you are starting to put things back together little by little. Blessings and love to you from Iowa.

  16. Katey,
    I'm so sorry that I'm on the other side of the world, as I can't send you household items that would be of use in the States. My heart breaks for you and your fiance, particularly as you're dealing with the sadness of losing a beloved pet. I've donated to the rabbit rescue service, and I'll spread the word and and think a bit more about what I can send you to help you get back on your feet.

    * hugs *
    (Melbourne, Australia)

  17. I happened across your site from Regretsy.

    I am very sorry for the loss of your pet; I've been through that, and I understand how that can easily be the hardest part of this very trying ordeal.

    I'm not really sure if there's anything I can do; I'm pretty broke, and I live all the way in Minnesota, but I'm sending warm thoughts your way. Please keep us updated.

  18. I have tons of kitchen stuff, clothes, etc. I dont know what size you are but if you get back to me I can tell you what I have/tell me what you need. I'd be happy to donate whatever fits in a box.

  19. Hi, everyone -- sorry for the delayed response.
    You're all very sweet to have reached out to me at this difficult time. I am trying to respond to you individually but don't have emails for each of you.
    Clothes would be much appreciated.
    I am a size 6 in women's clothing and a size 9.5 shoe.
    Ron is a size 30 - 32 waist and 30 length for pants and about 39 S for suits. He's a 7.5 shoe.
    If you'd like to send kitchenware to us we can receive that at:

    Katey McCarthy
    PO Box 128
    New York, NY 10019

    Thank you!