Help Send Tim Lindenschmidt Home

This week I lost a friend.

Like many others I am now left with a gaping wound where our friend once lived, but we cannot imagine what his family feels.

Unable to come to Japan to get him, a group of Tim’s friends — online and off — have started a GoFundMe campaign to send our lost comrade back to his native Canada.

If you want to know more, please keep reading.

Click here to donate
A message from Tina Wilken's, Tim's sister, and the rest of their family:
“On behalf of my family and myself I wish to first thank each and everyone of you for your kind thoughts, words, and support in this difficult time. We would never thought of this happening. Tim was always such a kind sweet person and would selflessly help others, even if it meant going out of his way to do so. He had such a kind heart. He never held back on saying things like it is, he lived his life the way he wanted to. I will always respect him for that.“

I met Tim through Twitter several years ago. At the time we were both fellow English teachers living in Japan. He lived up in Tochigi and I lived in Kanagawa, closer to Tokyo. We bonded over earthquake alerts, guessing which Star Trek extras would die first and our attempts to lose weight.

Tim’s witty and sardonic online personality endeared him with so many. Intelligent and interested in so many things, he made a lot of friends through his various online personas.

He loved trees, even going so far as to post a long-running blog series photographing the giant trees of his former stomping ground. He was an avid listener of J-Pop, too — something I still cannot fathom. He was a gamer. He tried completing the NaNoWriMo challenge for several years.

But he had a serious side too, particularly when it came to speaking up against bullying in Japanese schools. Tim may have been grumpy, but he believed in the need to help the powerless.

Little did he know that he would become one of them.

Chris Hinkley photo

On Oct. 26, Tim found himself suddenly having breathing difficulties. By the next day he could barely walk down the street without stopping for breath. His pulse raced and he had a nasty cough coming on.

Tim called his local hospital to make an appointment, but they couldn’t fit him in until Nov. 2 — five days later.

Tim had to wait, but on Monday he finally managed to see a doctor. They gave him the usual run through — a chest x-ray and bloods — and the doctor told him he had pneumonia. He was put on a drip and then sent home with antibiotics.

Tim probably felt like he was on the road to recovery. His friends certainly did. But the next day, Tim began passing out and struggling with even moving around his apartment. He live-tweeted his experiences in his usual witty manner — but it got so bad that he had to call for an ambulance.

This was his last live-tweet. Tim passed away in the back of the ambulance.

Pneumonia is one of the three most common causes of death in Japan killing over 120,000 people per year. The majority who succumb are the elderly, young and infirmed. At just 34 years old, Tim is among them.

But Tim’s story is far from finished.

Tim’s family are having to deal with his death from half the world away. To bring him back to Canada, they will have to pay a small fortune in coroner’s fees, air transport, storage and administrative costs.

In 15 hours Tim’s friends have managed to raise enough to cover the costs of the mandatory autopsy (some $3,000). But that is only the beginning of Tim’s journey — it will cost at least another $4,000 for a funeral home who can handle the transportation to Canada.

Losing a loved one is tragic. I could not imagine losing a loved one at such a young age an entire ocean away.

Please spare what you can to help repatriate my friend and reunite his family so his family can say goodbye.

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