Data Viz: Donations to the Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

Portland Donation Amount by Location - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

On March 17, 2010, I slipped on a slippery deck in Austin, Texas. It was the last day of the SXSW Interactive Conference, and it had been a long night.

I wanted to get outside to take a break from all of the madness, and I fell. I broke all of the bones in my ankle and was rushed to the emergency room. I didn’t feel any pain, and I thought that my ankle was simply sprained. It was not. The emergency room staff gave me a pair of crutches and told me how to walk on them. It was very difficult at first, but now I’ve gotten pretty good at them.

I woke up the next morning still in shock, so nothing hurt yet. My flight from Austin to Portland was later that afternoon, and I was determined to go home, even with a broken ankle. I took a few Tylenol and got to the airport with the help of Paige Saez and many others at the Social Media Clubhouse. When I got back to Portland I asked Twitter for an orthopedic surgeon. @pdxflaneur gave me the name of one and I scheduled surgery the next evening. I was checked into day surgery at 3 Pm and waited for surgery until 1Am. The waiting was the most difficult part.

Then, I became a Cyborg. Here’s an X-ray of what the orthopedic surgeon put into my ankle. The surgery was originally supposed to take 45 minutes, but when they opened up the sides of my ankle, they realized that all the bones had splintered into tiny pieces. The surgery ended up taking 4 hours. A lot of hardware was required to stabilize the bones while they healed back into place.

Amber Case's Cyborg ankle post-surgery

Right away, Vancouver-based photographer Kris Krug started the Cyborg Reconstruction Fund in an attempt to help defray medical costs. Once the word got out, the donations started rolling in. Aaron Parecki and I thought it might be fun to visualize the data.


The following images are visualizations of donations to the fund from March 20, 2010 to April 10, 2010. The data was taken from a PayPal Excel file and put into a SQL database based on location and amount of donation. The Google Maps API was used to place and visualize the donation data.

Bar Graph - Average Donations Per State Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

Here, we graphed the total amount of money donated by ‘state’. Oregon was in first place, with $1,200, followed by California, New York and Washington State. Note that this graph has some non-states as well, like British Columbia, London, Ontario, Quebec and Alcorcon (which is in Spain). Perhaps it could be called donations by territory instead.

Total National Donations Per State - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

Here are the total donations per state. Oregon had the largest number of donations, but the average donation amount amount was less than the other states.

National Average Donation Amount Per Person - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

This map shows the average donations per person by state. Washington and New York had the largest donation amount per person, but less donations overall. California followed, due to some awesome people in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

National Donation Amount Per Location - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

This map shows donations by location and amount.The size of the circle shows the total volume of money donated. The circles are set at 50% opacity, so many donations overlapping (in the case of Portland) create a more opaque circle.

Portland Donation Amount by Location - Cyborg Reconstruction Fund

This map shows donations from Portland, Oregon. Portland had the highest number of donations, which makes a lot of sense. Portland is my local tech community! Everyone was kind and concerned about the injury. But there’s an issue on this map: circles float above people’s houses. This undermines personal data privacy. To fix this, the address data of donors was made ‘fuzzy’ in order to protect the confidential addresses of Paypal donors. The fuzziness was made by taking the latitude and longitude coordinates of each address and adding a random number to each.

Again, to everyone who has chipped in: thank you so much for all of your messages, your kindness and your support. The surgery actually cost more than twice the amount of the estimate that shown on the donation site. I applied for financial support from the hospital system, so things should turn out okay in the end. If it wasn’t for all of you, I wouldn’t have been able to pay the necessary bills required at the hospital. All of you made that possible. You helped purchase a walking boot, X-rays, appointments and checkups, local anesthesia, food, and pain medication. You got me through.

And you’ve all made me feel connected to this community in a much different way than ever experienced before. I’m honored to know so many incredible people. Thanks again for your amazing connectivity and efforts.

A Great Big Thank You

It turns out that it does “Take a Village to Build Cyborg”. Thanks again to the wonderful Vancouverites Kris Krug, Danielle Sipple, Dave Olson, Jason Saunders, and Robert Scales. Thanks to Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells for providing support and help with getting some funding and insurance. Thanks to Ponzi Pirillo for the delicious sandwiches and multiple rides to the hospital. I couldn’t have fallen in a better place. I couldn’t imagine falling alone.

Thanks to Paige Saez for helping me at the airport, through security, for carrying my stuff and keeping me company on the long plane ride from Austin to Portland. Thanks to Sheldon Renan for bringing me comics and soup and providing continuous council. Thanks to Brian K. for bringing ferns with microchips in them to my hospital room. Thanks to Ian Carmany for dealing with impossible hospital room waits and a whole lot of other things.

A very special thanks to Abraham Hyatt, Igal Koshevoy, Chris Pirillo, Audrey Eschright, Linda Canavan, Anne Buckley, Valdis Krebs, Orian Marx, Kate Bornstein, Susan Farrell and Spary Dauterman.

Enormous thanks to Periscopic, SalaamGarage, and Bo McFarland.

While I can’t mention everyone, I made an effort to personally thank everyone by E-mail. If you didn’t get an E-mail from me, please let me know! I want to make sure that I thanked you! It’s very important.

Still want to donate?

This donate link will take you directly to PayPal.


Amber Case, (@caseorganic) is a Cyborg Anthropologist studying the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way we think, act, and understand the world around us. She’s obsessed with compressing the space and time it takes to get data from one place to another, especially when the final destination is the mind.

Four Day Twitter Fundraiser Gets @brampitoyo a New Bike

Bram Pitoyo BikingI can’t say it enough – Portland’s Twitter community just keeps getting better and better. With it, everyone can meet great people and pool need resources. In just four days, we were able to raise over $400 for a new bike/laptop for @brampitoyo after his bike and laptop were stolen last week.

The following is the larger story:


The First E-mail

Dear Members of the Extremely Awesome Portland Tech Community,

As you all know, Bram Pitoyo is one of the most involved and valued members of our community. He’s helped organized and implement a million events and made them excellent. And this week, he’s bringing us Lunch 2.0 at the Art Institute of Portland. More impressive is the fact that he bikes everywhere and still manages to make it to almost every tech event in town (and then still has the energy to live tweet and blog).

However Bram Pitoyo lost his bike on the Max last night. It was stolen while he was composing a blog post (the really cool one he’s about to release). This morning, @Mettadore direct messaged me and challenged me to $20 for the cause.

So, I agreed. I have $20 that says we can raise enough money to get Bram Pitoyo a new bike. Interested? Lets keep this on the low-down so that we can surprise him with it.

If you’d like to donate any amount, you can do it through PayPal or just bring it by to Beer and Blog this week at the Green Dragon from 4-6 Pm.

Please forward this as necessary. I know I’m missing a lot of people (like @reidab and @billder) A lot of people know Bram. Direct message if possible through Twitter to keep it low key.

Hopefully we can raise enough money by the end of this week for him to get a bike light enough to commute with for the winter. Money is generally tight these days, so if you can’t contribute, don’t antagonize.

Amber Case, et al.


The Second E-mail

Hey Everyone,

A tremendous thanks to those who’ve pitched into the Bram Pitoyo Bike Fund by Paypal already. We’re about halfway there to a new bike! This funding will probably really

Tomorrow is beer and blog. If you haven’t donated already, I’ll be collecting it at Beer and Blog before Bram’s presentation. I know money is generally tight these days, so if you can’t contribute, don’t antagonize.

After Bram makes his presentation, we’re going to be giving the bike fund to Bram. This way, he won’t know what’s coming.

If you’d like to donate any amount, you can do it through PayPal or just bring it by to Beer and Blog this week at the Green Dragon from 4-6 Pm.

Please forward this as necessary. I know I’m missing a lot of people (like @reidab and @billder) A lot of people know Bram. Direct message if possible through Twitter to keep it low key.

Thanks so much!

Amber Case, et al.


The Results

The fundraising went very quickly. When Justin Kistner, founder of @beerandblog invited Bram to give a speech (slides and description are available here) during Friday’s event, I knew it would be the perfect time to follow it up by presenting him with the fund. It’s going to help a lot. It went brilliantly!

We raised $190 via. paypal before @beerandblog

John Metta
Marshall Kirkpatrick
Kevin Chen
Barry Cadish
Steve Gehlen
Allison McKeever
Betsy Richter
Amber Case
Mark Dilley


We raised $195 during @beerandblog by cash and paypal

Nate Angell
Doc Normal
Dawn Foster
Justin Kistner
Kathleen McDade
Mark Colman
Derrek Wayne
Steven Walling
Carri Bugbee
Alex Williams
Todd Kenefsky will be donating a U Lock bike Lock.
Pete Forsyth


We raised $80 after @beerandblog by Paypal

Todd Kalhar
Adam Duvander
Gary Walter
MaryEllen Hockensmith
Jean-Paul Voilleque
Marie Deatherage
Raymond King


What Next?

Donations are still open. Simply Paypal caseorganic at to donate. Your contact information will be listed here shortly. And if I missed anyone, let me know @caseorganic.

Thanks so much to the entire Portland Tech community for helping out. It’s been fantastic watching the support that’s been given to Bram! Hooray!

Beer and Blog is held every Friday from 4-6Pm at the
Green Dragon
928 SE 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 517-0606
And you can follow the Green Dragon on Twitter @greendragonpdx.

If you haven’t been before, please stop on by! It’ll be an awesome experience; we promise.