By Lisa Rimmert
Santa Cruz, CA – Area activist Jewel Sanford died Friday from exhaustion in Redwood Grove Apartments on the campus of the University of California Santa Cruz.
For several years, Sanford spent her free time advocating on behalf of several social justice causes on the local, state and national level. Among the advocacy activities in which she participated were protests, letter writing, canvassing and grassroots organizing.
Sanford’s health began to suffer in 2013, when she began volunteering with the Homeless Services Center on a campaign to improve mental health funding for homeless veterans. On January 31, 2014, Sanford collapsed in her campus apartment while writing an email to her State Representative.
Dr. James Golding, Sanford’s primary care physician, said she was acting in opposition to direct medical advice. “I strongly recommended to the patient that she decrease her compassion levels or risk facing dire consequences,” said Golding. “Sadly, there’s only so much we as physicians can do to encourage patients to change their dangerous lifestyle choices.”
Sanford’s roommate, Jamie Feinstein, was present at the time of her collapse and was responsible for calling 911. “A bunch of our friends invited us to a frat party but Jewel insisted on skipping it to write some email about bums or something,” said Feinstein. “I had to stay in too, because, with her health issues, she can’t be alone.”
According to Feinstein, Sanford took a break from her email to eat a handful of almonds and deposit an empty Naked juice bottle in the recycle bin. “She fell down on her way back to her bedroom,” said Feinstein.
In memory of her daughter, Sanford’s mother, Jane, has started a not-for-profit organization to raise money and awareness of the health issues caused by excess concern for others and the world.