Tuesday, March 18, 2008

the least i can do

there are several organizations that helped us get through the financial and emotional morass that is coping with cancer.

primarily, (not counting the obvious medical facilities) they were the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society- Michigan Chapter, Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, Make A Wish Foundation of Michigan, and Camp Casey.

without CLF and LLS, we would not have been able to cover the costs of hospitalizations, doctor visits, medicines, and assorted miscellaneous expenses. we just found out that CLF has been cut loose from the United Way of Michigan family of charities. this means they have lost a significant amount of funding and, along with being able to help fewer people, will consequently lose some very dedicated staff. That's a tragic blow for families living with cancer in this area. the people at CLF called regularly to check up on us, they provided some expense reimbursement as i mentioned, and they also organized fun events of various sizes for families to do together to relieve the boredom and stress that come with such a heavy diagnosis.

without MAW and Camp Casey, we would have rarely seen the light of day or the sunshine that comes with knowing that someone cares. they provided treats and activities that took our minds off of the medical drama happening nearly every day.

now that we've come through the other end of this tunnel, i feel obligated, and honored, to try to give back. our finances have not yet recovered enough to donate large chunks of money (we fantasize about all the charities we could endow if when we win the lotto jackpot), but i can do my part to help raise awareness and funds from my sphere of influence.

my company has a built-in payroll deduction program called the 'gift of giving'. my chosen charity is CLF. over the course of the year, it gives them one day's worth of my salary. (they were also my choice had we won the bocce tournament.) and i use GoodSearch to contribute the occasional penny to Camp Casey.

kisu also did some good work for Camp Casey via his company's 'Blue Monday' program. a small donation allows the employees to wear jeans instead of the usual office attire. (we have yet to find out just how much they raised, though.)

we even gave back to the hospital in thanks(?) for all the toys they have given pooka.

the next step on my list, literally, is Walk for Wishes, a 2 mile stroll through the zoo to benefit Make A Wish. coincidentally, this tailors nicely with my efforts to improve my fitness.

i will be looking for more opportunities in the future to volunteer for these specific charities and more. hopefully we can permanently reverse the direction of this one-way flow of assistance. we're grateful to them all, but we don't want to be on the receiving end any more. well, after pooka gets her one wish.

here comes the pitch:
you can visit my personal goal page for the walk and make a donation if you're so moved. i know there are myriad opportunities to give, and many of them more local to you, but consider this a gift in honor of a wonderful child you have gotten to know through this blog.