Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Want a Job Just to Support Charitable Giving

I've previously explained my connections to the cancer world. My grandfather's entire family was basically decimated by cancer (I will probably get the specific facts wrong, but I think of ten siblings eight of them died of cancer, my grandfather dying of colon cancer). My father grew up knowing that he would have to be checked quite regularly for colon cancer because his father was a carrier of the Familial Adenoidal Polyposis gene (the cancer which killed Katie Couric's husband). Luckily, for myself and my siblings, several years back when I was experiencing some questionable symptoms, we met with a geneticist and were told that my father did not carry the gene. Sadly, his sister did (and has faced this demon) and one of my cousins has already passed away after battling cancer.

When I was ten, my classmate and friend, Janet, was battling cancer. Her parents were very nice to me and often allowed me to visit and sleep over. I went away for camp, the following summer, and returned to the news that she had passed away.

Both my father and my father-in-law have battled cancer. My father had a cancerous kidney removed. My father-in-law received too many radioactive pellets during his treatment for prostate cancer. These basically ate out his insides and left him in a state of constant pain.

Then, my youngest brother's daughter, Amelia, was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) two days after her second birthday. Through Amelia, I was introduced to Caringbridge and Care Pages and have since been following many cancer patients in their battles against this pervasive disease.

One of my all-time favorite pages belongs to the Larsen family of Iowa. Scott and Peggy Larson and their twin sons, Coleman and Caden, coined the term "Team Larson." I think there were several reasons why I was drawn to this family so strongly. For one, their boys are close in age to one of my sons. For another, Peggy does such a fantastic job of inviting her readers into their lives and leaving them with some encouragement. Despite the fact that Coleman earned his wings in January of 2009, Peggy continues to struggle on in this battle and reminds us all of the value of life.

In fact, I just learned that Peggy has bravely joined a group called "46 Mommas Shave for the Brave." These 46 mothers are going to be shaving their heads, with the St. Baldricks organization, on September 7th in honor of their children and the battle against cancer. Why 46 moms? Because each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer.

As I was looking over Peggy's St. Baldrick's participant page, my husband grew alarmed. He said, "Oh no! You're not thinking of doing that, are you?"

Ha! He thought perhaps I might be so moved to agree to shave along with these brave women. Alas, I'm not that brave. However, I am really wishing I could find a job to support the charitable giving I wish to donate to these heart-tugging causes.

Last week, I read in our local paper about a mother who, after beating breast cancer, was diagnosed with a terminal case of lymphoma. The Indianapolis Star stated that "the expense of fighting the disease cost the family their home, and both Sean and Jill lost their jobs. They now live in Avon with a family member."

On August 14th, a 5K run was held to raise monies for her husband and three children (ages 11, 8 and 7). As soon as I read the article, I wanted to run the 5K (ha, like I'd even be able to do that with the constant fatigue I am still battling) and make a donation to the family.

Thankfully, John is gracious and never begrudges my investment in these causes. Indeed, I found myself plugging another hole (which is what my donations feel like - like the Dutch boy in "Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates," who places his finger in a hole in the dike in order to stem the tide of the avalanche of water) when Cardiogirl mentioned a friend who is raising money for a leukemia run in honor of her 5 year old daughter who has been in remission from leukemia for two years. I felt compelled to offer up a little something for her efforts.

Now, I am passing along the information as "46 Mommas Shave for the Brave." Who knows, maybe you feel a pull to stem the tide alongside me? Maybe you just want to watch their efforts. On Sept. 10th, they will be spotlighted on a show produced by "Stand Up 2 Cancer."

Encyclopedia Mythica explains the story of The Little Dutch Boy:

"This story is told to children to teach them that if they act quickly and in time, even they with their limited strength and resources can avert disasters. The fact that the Little Dutch Boy used his finger to stop the flow of water, is used as an illustration of self-sacrifice. The physical lesson is also taught: a small trickle of water soon becomes a stream and the stream a torrent and the torrent a flood sweeping all before it, Dyke material, roadways and cars, and even railway tracks and bridges and whole trains."

Maybe you'd like to lend your finger, too? Here, here or here?


cardiogirl said...

It's so wild to me that you actually knew a child, when you were a child, who had cancer. I never did and it just seems like cancer was such a hidden secret even just ten years ago.

Thanks for the links. I, like you, really believe that a little bit here and a little bit there can really become a large show of support.

Well done!

Wendy said...

CG - It was especially funny one time when I spent the night and they had taken us out to McD's for dinner. I threw up in the middle of the night and they had to call my parents to come get me. They were so compassionate and took care of me during my minor illness.

I really do think that the incidence of cancer is exploding. I personally believe it is linked to the chemicals that we have poured into our foods and environments.

You would think that would make me even more happy to live in the middle of nowhere ... but you'd be VERY WRONG. So unhappy here.