People have already raised $200,000 for the Fyre Festival caterer who paid workers from her own life savings.

Thanks to two Fyre Festival documentaries, a woman who was defrauded by the festival organizers is getting her due—plus a whole lot more.

Even if you didn't hear about the Fyre Festival debacle when it happened in the spring of 2017, you've probably heard about the popular Netflix and Hulu documentaries on the Fabulous-Festival-That-Wasn't.

Fyre Festival was supposed to be the music festival to end all music festivals. Promoted by prominent social media influencers and touted as a luxurious can't-miss event on a gorgeous island in the Bahamas, ads made it look and sound like it might actually be worth the thousands of dollars it cost to attend.


Turns out, it wasn't even close. A series of mishaps, mismanagement, and outright fraud meant the people who traveled to the island, fully expecting to be partying and pampered, got stuck sleeping in FEMA tents, lucky to be eating wrapped sandwiches and have drinkable water.

In short, it was a disaster of epic proportions, and its main organizer is now serving a six year jail sentence for fraud.

One restaurant owner ended up paying her workers $50,000 from her own life savings.

It wasn't just Fyre Festival attendees who were victims of the festival's massive flop. Many Bahamian business owners found themselves providing services for the organizers beforehand and preparing for throngs of festival-goers—and not getting paid a cent in the end.

One restaurant owner, Maryann Rolle, who runs the Exuma Point Bar & Grill where many of the initial attendees ate and drank when they arrived (before it all went spectacularly downhill), was never paid for her services. She ended up using $50,000 from her life savings to pay staff members.

"I had 10 persons working directly with me, just preparing food all day and all night, 24 hours," Rolle said in the Netflix documentary. "I had to literally pay all those people. I am here as a Bahamian, and they stand in my face every day."

People felt for the woman, and have shown it by opening their own wallets.

A GoFundMe has raised more than $200,000 for Rolle, who says she'll use the extra to help others in her situation.

A friend of Rolle in the U.S. set up a GoFundMe to help her recoup some of what she lost in the Fyre Festival mess. Fans of the documentary who sympathized with her situation have stepped up and raised an impressive $208,000 and counting, largely through small donations.

According to Rochester First, Rolle says she'll share the extra funds with other Bahamians who were financially hamstrung by the festival "People from all over the Bahamas are asking for help and I am willing to help people because that is my life—helping people," Rolle said.

She told the outlet her phone has been ringing so frequently with people asking for financial assistance that it's hard to sleep. She's eager to help, but she doesn't even have the money yet.

"The money hasn't reached into my physical hands yet to help people, to pass the love on and to make people happy," she said. "The money is still in the GoFundMe account and I am waiting to bless people."

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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