Jimi Damone (or as I prefer calling him – Jim) is one of the greatest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling a friend. He is one of those down to earth, honest, fun, creative, hard working, and nicest guys that you can’t help but instantly love.
I met Jimi when I was 15 and he was 17 in Reno, Nevada. The place we both fondly call home. I was friends with him and his brother Dan and we hung out quite a bit before I moved to Portland in 2005. Jimi actually moved to Portland in 2011, but somehow I never managed to meet up with him before he moved back to Reno. Then I heard this past May he was moving back to Portland, and I couldn’t wait to see him and catch up after all these years. I finally saw him on July 4th, where I met up with him for a drink at a local bar. Although I really hadn’t seen him since 2005, it felt like no time had passed at all. The same old friends, drinking the same old drinks, and talking about the same old stuff.
Jimi is a man of many talents – from woodworking and leather tooling to tattooing and skateboarding. With quickly progressing on his talents of leather tooling and woodworking, he was able to start focusing on those talents full time when moving to Portland for the second time.
On August 26th, 2013 a coworker of mine, SarahVale, came out of the kitchen with a horrible look on her face. When asked what was wrong she said Jimi had an accident on a machine at the woodworking shop, where her husband Dan also works. That Jimi had either cut off his entire right hand, or the majority of his fingers, but that they really didn’t know. Instantly the whole office was shocked and silent. After a few panic attacks and a lot of frantic texts to friends, I texted Jimi. Not knowing if he’d ever even see my text – I quickly got a response “I’m with Dan, I’ll be ok”. REALLY!?!?!?! But that’s Jimi for you…always being positive and thinking of others!
As a result of the injury, Jimi lost of the tips of both his thumb and pointer fingers and the majority of the other three fingers on his right hand, while being right handed.
With many of us not having insurance these days – the debt from medical bills like this is very scary. Overnight people started getting together to plan benefits for Jimi to help raise money for his medical bills. A close friend of his, Corey Duffel, started a donation page on the Give Forward website. Two days after his accident, $11k had been raised for him on that donation page. Many of us were shocked at how quickly that had happened. Even more surprisingly – people Jimi doesn’t even know from around the world were donating money to him. Why, you ask? Throughout this whole ordeal, Jimi has been in a pretty damn good mood! He has stayed extremely positive, motivated, optimistic, and an inspiration to us all! I couldn’t be more proud of him.
Jimi and his best friend, Ragz
Now for the shoe part of the story…
As some of you know, Solestruck has a very close relationship with Jeffrey Campbell. When I was trying to figure out what I could do to help Jimi, I remembered about a year ago Jeffrey made a shoe for a Ballerina named Margo who had been hit by a drunk driver and was paralyzed. For all of the profit that was made on that shoe, Jeffrey donated 100% of it to Margo to help with medical bills and rehabilitation costs. Having remembered that we ordered that shoe, I thought I could give it a shot and ask Jeffrey if he could do the same for Jimi. I immediately got a reply saying – “We would love to do anything we can to help, lets work quickly!” Luckily I was the only person at the office when I got that email because the water works turned on real good!
For the last week I have been working on the design for Jimi’s shoe and sent off the final design last week. No pressure, right?!?!
Just when you thought it couldn’t get better…it does!
Bryce, my boss and the owner of Solestruck, told me the other day – for all of Jimi’s shoes we order and sell through Solestruck, Bryce will give all of the profit made from Solestruck to Jimi as well! So now Jimi will be receiving all profit made on his shoe from both Jeffrey Campbell and Solestruck.
When the Jimi Damone x Jeffrey Campbell shoe has been confirmed we will send out a photo to all of you – so stay tuned! Oh, and the shoe will be unisex so we can all get a pair!
In addition to the donation website, Lend Jimi A Helping Hand Skateboards, and the Jeffrey Campbell shoe for Jimi, there has been and will be more benefit parties thrown to help raise money for him. There was a benefit held in Reno this last Friday the 13th that was very successful and had a great turn out. There will also be benefits held in Los Angeles and Portland. The Los Angeles benefit will be on October 5th at The Berrics (flyer included above), and the benefit in Portland will be mid-November. If you are in the Portland area, keep an eye out for more info and if you are in the L.A. area- mark October 5th on your calendars!
The last few weeks of life have been filled to the brim with many emotions for a lot of us – shock, tears, laughs, and love – so much love!
A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has come together to help Jimi! For those who know him, you know if anyone deserves it, its him!
Written by Alex Gallatin