New York, N.Y. /Publishers Newswire/ — We’ve all heard heartwarming stories about friendships found and romances rekindled through social networking websites, but how far would you go to help a single mother stricken with a life threatening and debilitating disease, who is part of your online network to pay her medical bills, save her home and care for her young son?

As a prolific, award winning freelance writer, Traverse City, Michigan native Lori Hall Steele has written and edited thousands of stories for top tier publications including copy-editing Michael Moore’s book ‘Dude, Where’s My Country?’ and a recent essay in the Washington Post. The essay, written three years ago when Steele was in perfect health though published in June of this year, discusses Steele’s attempts to help her then four year old son come to terms with the death of cartoon character Bambi’s mother. At one point Steele struggles to reassure her son that she’ll always be there to protect him: “I tell him I’ll always be here for him, one way or another. Always always always. Just like my mother is here for me… It is an impossible promise, a gamble with his trust. I secretly pray I don’t let him down, not on this.”

In September 2007, Steele began to exhibit mysterious symptoms including paralysis in her feet. In less than a year Steele was misdiagnosed several times before ultimately being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) which according to the ALS website, is “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord”, in addition to chronic Lyme disease. Due to the comedy of errors that is our nation’s inadequate healthcare system, Steele’s insurance company initially refused to pay her medical expenses leaving her over $50,000.00 in debt. To add insult to chronic and debilitating injury, the 44 year old Steele who is currently confined to a hospital bed and reliant on a breathing machine, has been unable to work, and her bank is threatening to foreclose on her mortgage within days.

Though there has been no time for create a formal non-profit organization to help Lori Hall Steele out, hundreds of freelance writers and editors who are members of several popular online writers communities have mobilized to raise funds to pay off Steele’s medical bills and mortgage, if not try to buy her house for her outright. This tightly knit network of writers may never have met face to face, but understand what it is to protect one of their own. They are working around the clock to encourage others to blog about Steele’s condition, to donate to Steele’s fund or to encourage others to do the same.

While politicians argue about the healthcare crisis in this country, or about what they might do to help single women voters care for their children, Lori Hall Steele puts a face to the need of the millions of working uninsured or underinsured working single mothers in this country, in this case though, one whose health and home are crucial to hundreds of virtual strangers.

Online: – with an easy link to donate via PayPal

For information on Lori Hall Steele please contact Jane Boursaw or Kristen Hains

For media information or to donate resources contact Rachel Weingarten 718.228.4221, .