Joseph Ferrara, publisher of the Sellsius real estate marketing and technology blog and an Inman News technology columnist, is undergoing treatment for a malignant brain tumor.
Ferrara is well-known as a blogging and social media pioneer in the real estate industry. He is a real estate technology consultant, an Inman News columnist, and a real estate broker and attorney.
He is also the co-founder of brokerage New York Real Estate Advocates, and TheClozing.com, which aggregates real estate news from mainstream media and social media.
According to Scott Forcino, his partner at New York Real Estate Advocates, Ferrara was diagnosed in mid-March and the cancer is "fairly advanced." He said he speaks to Ferrara’s family often and Ferrara is not doing well.
"It’s just a real tough, tragic thing. He’s not responsive. His brain is very swollen," Forcino said, adding that Ferrara has suffered some seizures.
According to Forcino, Ferrara is in the intensive care unit at a Pennsylvania hospital undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. It is unlikely that the tumor is operable, Forcino said. Ferrara has been in and out of the hospital since his diagnosis and may be going home today, Forcino said.
Although he has spoken to Ferrara twice since he was diagnosed, the doctors have not allowed visits from non-family members, Forcino said. He said he does not know what Ferrara’s chances of survival are.
Jay Thompson, a Phoenix real estate blogger and a friend of Ferrara’s, has begun a fundraising campaign for Ferrara’s medical expenses.
"I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say Joe Ferrara is one of the people who is primarily responsible for bringing the ‘RE.net’ together. His contributions to real estate, and literally hundreds of real estate practitioners, knows no boundaries. Joe is an extraordinary speaker, teacher, author, and friend," Thompson wrote in a blog post appealing for donations Monday. He said he received permission from Ferrara’s wife, Sandra, for the campaign.
"Who even knows what the bills and medication is going to amount to? (There is) no way of knowing," Forcino said.
"(Sandra) would love some cards. I’m sure she’d appreciate the feelings people have, hearing them express their concerns," Forcino added.
Thompson has set up a PayPal account for donations at joe-ferrara.com. Thompson said he will cover the processing fees himself.
So far, Thompson said has received donations of $5 to $500 and everything in between. He had not added up the donations as of Tuesday, but reported more than $2,000 in contributions as of Monday night. The Ferraras have one son, Joseph Ferrara Jr., who lives in New York.
Additionally, Inman News has created a Special Report with 10 of Ferrara’s most popular Tech Tool Shed real estate technology columns. That report is available at a cost of $10, with all proceeds going to the Ferrara family.
Thompson met Ferrara in 2007 when Ferrara’s Blog Tour USA stopped in Phoenix. In the tour, Ferrara and his then-business partner Rudy Bachraty drove across the country meeting with real estate bloggers.
"It was like meeting an old friend," Thompson said. "I love Joe Ferrara. He is one of the smartest, kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever had the honor of knowing," he added.
None of the Ferraras are making public statements at this time, but "Joe’s wife Sandra just wants to thank everyone, especially Jay Thompson, for their kind words and support," Bachraty told Inman News.
Since Thompson’s post Monday, dozens of well-wishers from across the country have shared their thoughts and stories.
Miami agent Ines Hegedus-Garcia said she was "beyond saddened" by the news.
"I’ll be praying for Joe and Sandra and their family. I totally agree that Joe has been instrumental in our real estate social media world and we have a lot to thank him for," she wrote.
"Joe is a gentleman with a big heart. I treasure my connection with him and a friendship that goes back to 2005," said Realtor and blogger Frances Flynn Thorsen.
"I love him dearly. I was privileged to present with him at the first RE BarCamp in San Francisco, and several months ago we shared a fun webinar about the (Federal Trade Commission). You can only have ‘FUN’ on a webinar about the FTC with Joe!"
Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, wrote, "Joe Ferrara is a wonderful authentic human being. He is a fighter. Let’s all fight along with him."
Ferrara has been an Inman News columnist since June of last year. Inman News managing editor Glenn Roberts Jr. described Ferrara as a trailblazer in real estate blogging and social media, and noted that his column has been a big hit with Inman readers.
"His voice has been a powerful, steady current of progress for the real estate industry. A perpetual innovator, his ideas and actions have encouraged others to push the envelope," he said. "We all must hope for the best for Joseph and his family in this difficult time. And we look forward to seeing his quick wit, faster smile and boundless humor in action again soon."
Editor’s note: For more details about how to send donations, gifts and cards for Joseph Ferrara and his family, please visit this link, at a site created by real estate broker and blogger Jay Thompson: http://www.joe-ferrara.com/about-donations/.
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