Well, this is it.

It’s the end of our winter fundraiser. But that’s not the only end I want to tell you about today.

First things first, though. This is the big one! I’m giving away Southwest Airlines tickets this week. You can sign up here and add your name to the list of supporters. I’ll be holding a drawing for those tickets when the fundraiser ends.

I’d like to thank Southwest for supporting the consumer advocacy on my site.

But I’m reluctant to call it the “end.” That’s because I count on your support throughout the entire year, with your insightful comments, story ideas, and also volunteering your time to research and edit. This year, our team is embarking on an exciting new journey to catalog and publish all of the knowledge we’ve amassed as consumer advocates. If you’re interested in helping, please let me know.

I’ve thought about the end for other reasons, too. This was the week I thought I’d reached the end of my road. That was two cases of the flu and a knee injury ago, which, if you want to get precise about it, happened Saturday morning. I thought we were done with our ambitious plan to travel the Western United States this winter.

I was wrong.

I have friends in Denver who reached out to help. I have three resilient kids who bounce back from sickness and injury quickly. I have a really good annual travel insurance policy with Allianz Travel Insurance. And we have Tamiflu, which is shockingly effective.

Anyway, as I was sitting in the lobby of the Crawford Hotel, right after canceling a trip to Winter Park, Colo., I thought we’d hit rock bottom. I’d lost my travel manager and a key media client in the previous days, and I was pretty despondent.

Then I recalled the many times before I thought my advocacy journey had ended. Remember when my site went down for more than a day after hackers attacked it? Remember all the media outlets that went in “a new direction” and decided to end my column? And if you know me personally, you probably also know about last year’s drama, which nearly knocked me out of commission for good.

But is it really the end? As Djimon Hounsou said in the film Gladiator, “not yet.”

I still have a lot of fight left in me. Some of you know my deeply personal reasons for continuing this journey, and if you do, you also know why my family and I will not quit, no matter what happens. But we also keep going, we keep advocating, because we know you’re counting on us.

When it comes to helping consumers, they’ll have to pry my laptop out of my cold, dead hands. So, to quote my old syndicate editor: onward!

Please consider becoming a supporter of my advocacy site. This is your last opportunity to get involved in the winter fundraiser and earn you “star” on this list.

Here are this week’s stories:

Thank you for your support.

Psst! I'm only going to show this once.

Psst! I'm only going to show this once.

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