Posts tagged charity
“Sometimes the strength of Motherhood is greater than natural laws” - Barbara Kingsoliver
There are lists and lists of things to get “Mom” for Mother’s Day but this story is truly the #1 greatest gift any Mom could ask for – her life. This is the story of a Mother’s life that was saved by love, hard work, hope and one big miracle. A few months ago I shared a story of a Mother in desperate need of help from the world. (One Match to Save a Mother’s Life) Myy dear friend Erica needed a bone marrow transplant to save her life. She had been diagnosed with a deadly case of leukaemia and was told she only had only months to live unless a bone marrow donor could be found.
This is her story. A story of being a Mom with two beautiful boys, a remarkable husband, a story of community, a story of hope and a story of the greatest gift a Mom could ever want.
The gift of life.
Guest Post by Erica Harris
When I was asked by Jacqueline (founder of 365give) to write a little synopsis of my journey in honour of this very special Mother’s Day, my mind instantly brought me back to my Mother’s Day celebration last year. The day started with a wonderful wake up, spoiled by drawings and wee surprises. And after a fun filled family brunch with the in laws, my oldest son, then 4, then took me on a “date” – we rode the bus in absolute glee and smiled away at an afternoon kids concert. Beautiful day, beautiful memories. Not once did I then consider what would arise in the weeks to come as even a distant possibility.
Last spring as I spent a fun morning at the aquarium with my boys, I picked up an urgent message regarding a relatively routine lab I had done hours earlier. Thinking there must be some confusion as my results couldn’t be in that quickly, I then learned I was to avoid all public places as my immune system was so comprised. My final diagnosis of acute leukemia came within a few short days. Hours following this, a bed was made available for me in the province’s Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant unit at Vancouver General Hospital.
I had no time to prepare myself, or my family for this huge upheaval. I embarked on my new path in shock and disbelief. For one so passionate about life, health and wellness this was just not within the realms of possibilities. My heart simply ached at the thought of being separated from my angels and not having any idea where to start explaining what had transpired and why mama would not be home.
I had no idea what was to lie ahead- the tubes, the machines, the surgeries, the days of isolation as a result of life threatening septic infections, the endless gut retching nausea, the frequent bone marrow biopsies, the exhausting night sweats, the ongoing blood transfusions, etc. What was assumed to be an original 3-4 week stay resulted in a full 2 month stay as the original chemotherapy proved unsuccessful. After I did not respond to what is referred to as “salvage” chemotherapy, I given a 2 month diagnosis, perhaps 6 months at best and offered no further treatment aside from palliative care. A second opinion in Seattle at one of the leading US leukaemia treatment centers confirmed the prognosis. So despite having had just received the amazing news that perfect 10/10 bone marrow donor was found on my behalf (after great efforts on behalf of One Match, the VGH team, my incredible husband and our amazing team of support who started their own missions to spread awareness), I learned the very next day it was an unattainable goal as I first had to be in remission to be eligible for transplant. After hearing this prognosis, I knew I just needed to be home with my family. I did just that- the team at VGH reluctantly discharged me the next morning. And with the strength of my 3 handsome loves by my side, I gained strength and “our fight” began.
On every step of this road, our family has been embraced by an amazing circle of love and support. Friends, family and and complete strangers sent messages of love and inspiration, devoted hours on our behalf to prayer, meditation, research on alternative approaches and leading health care providers in the field, cared for our babes, donated blood, prepared meals, shopped, and helped in any/every way possible. All of this paved the way to a very unexpected victory in ‘our fight”….and by the grace of God, the healing hands of my beautiful angel babes, the world’s best husband by my side, and our incredible team of support, my labs started to reflect some change and very slight optimism that at least the disease was not progressing at a rate that was originally anticipated. Another biopsy was scheduled and we learned I had attained remission.
Our head Doc said there was absolutely no explanation he could offer aside from saying it was a true miracle.
I was then eligible for transplant, which I had at the end of October. Although I am still on a rather bumpy road while adapting an entirely new immune system from an unrelated superstar donor, I am now moving full steam ahead and getting stronger every day. I am not yet off this big detour but I get to be here to be the first to greet my angels when they wake and the last to kiss them goodnight.
I am over the moon to be able to conquer most of my mama routines on most days.
As I picked up my oldest from kindergarten the other day, I stood from a far as I approached the field. He was running about laughing away with his friends, so enthralled in their game and so incredibly happy. I had tears of joy just being able to see this moment. As I stood there thinking how difficult it may soon be to tug him away from this fun for our trek home, he saw me from across the playground. Instantly, he sprinted towards me shouting to all with such excitement “there is MY Mom!” with his arms outstretched to dive into mine. My now 3 year old sets out on his daily missions to find mama treasured rocks, pine cones, or the prettiest weed of the day and shares them with me in the sweetest, highest pitched voice as he tells says he loves me soooo much. These slower days have welcomed so many quiet simple moments on the home front and these moments are true bliss. I thank God every day for my incredible blessings. My heart shines in ways I never imagined possible simply to hold their hands in mine.
This road has obviously been an unexpected lofty toll- from my husband not working for months on end to be my side, to additional child care costs, to the cost of uncovered medications and the countless supplements, to ensuring every nutrient consumed is of the highest quality, and the many expenses of fees incurred from professionals we sought along the way for many consults/treatments.
Jacqueline’s mission with 365give and her amazing compassion for those experiencing difficult times exemplifies such heartfelt surprises and blessings that have helped ease our path by so many ways. Further, Jacqueline spread the word about One Match registration instantly upon hearing the urgent need. The love, generosity, time and kindness that have been extended to us along the way will remain in our hearts on this very special upcoming mother’s day, and every day.
Happy, happy Mother’s Day to all!
I received a tweet from a great philanthropic friend by the name of Carlos Garcia today. Carlo also completed 365 days of giving – he is Living Philanthropic. Carlo`s tweet asked me to share some news – it was titled Cyber Giving Monday. Read Carlo`s post and consider giving today and be part of the new philanthropy that is sweeping or world. It`s time we all started Living Philanthropic.
Let’s all take the Cyber Giving Monday Challenge. (Taken directly from Living Philanthropic)
Step 1. Find a organization you love and want to support. (I’m choosing Atin Afrika Foundation)
Step 2. Make an online contribution, whatever you can afford $1, $5, $1,000 on Monday, November 28th, 2011.
Step 4: Report your donation to the Living Philanthropic tally: http://bit.ly/lp-tally
Step 5: Invite a friend to do the same.
Easy like Monday Morning…
Let’s make this Monday, one of the best days of giving. Happy holidays!
365give is choosing to donate to Atin Afrika. Here are just a few gift items the children could use this holiday season. please consider giving a child in Uganda the gift of basic necessities this season.
$20 Daily Essentials: T-shirt, shorts, running shoes
$50 Sleep Set: set of bed sheets, pillow, mattress, blanket, underwear, pyjamas
The Globe & Mail newspaper has been running a series on giving over the last few weeks. It’s an excellent series worth reading. One of the interesting catch phrases they have used is ”The New Philanthropy.” After giving back everyday for 365 days I can tell you that be a philanthropist is no longer just the rich giving large sums of money to the charity of their choice. It is every day people giving in small ways when they can with their time, crowdfunding a personal favourite cause or “texting” donation for disaster relief. We have learned that even $10 can make a multi million dollar difference if we all give together.
Wikipedia defines philanthropy perfectly in today’s society:
“Philanthropy etymologically means “the love of humanity“—love in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, or enhancing; humanity in the sense of “what it is to be human,” or “human potential.” In modern practical terms, it is “private initiatives for public good, focusing on quality of life“
I’m not an expert on giving / philanthropy by any means. I don’t have millions of dollars to give through a foundation nor do I have hours to volunteer or travel to remote parts of the world to save lives. But what I do have is a little time everyday to “love humanity,” Whether it is a person, an animal or the planet we can all be philanthropist. Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada posed a question this week on Facebook that you should answer.
“If you had 1 hour to help change the world what would you do?”
I want to help you discover the “new philanthropist” in yourself. I discovered so many ways to give that I never even consider or new existed during my 365 days of giving. Many of them do not even cost a dime. All you have to do is like, tweet or click and you can show your “love for humanity”. Social media has given us all the opportunity to be a philanthropist. Find your favourite medium whether is be Twitter, Facebook or just using the internet. We can all give a minute of our time to change the world.
The 365give Top 5 Ways to Give for Free
Click it for Good: This site is the creation of Jan van Voorst (Founder Planetsave.com news/ co-founder of Planetsave.) The site is grass-roots and user friendly. It allows you to help causes that support the planet without emptying your pocket but instead by spreading the word. All you have to do is click a button and share a post with your friends and you have made a donation. Sponsors make the donation for you! (Day 317)
JustCoz: This platform that enables charities, non-profits and NGOs to greatly increase their social media reach by way of tweet and status donations. Building on what is known as the “donation by action” paradigm, the bring forward the utilization of social power into the realm of passion. JustCoz enables people to make a difference by exposing their audience to messages which reflect their owns set of values and truths, and everything is done automatically, without the need to repeatedly engage in sorting through messages for those worth repeating. (Day 283)
Care2: This will allow you to become a 365 day giver. Care2 has a “daily action” that with just a click you can change the world. They refer to it as the “fast, easy and free way to make a difference everyday. (Day 289)
Freerice: A great way to teach your kids about philanthropy and they will learn along the way. It’s a bit like online trivial pursuit game that feeds the hungry around the world. For each answer you get right Freerice donates 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme to help end hunger. (Day 31)
The Hunger Site: Whether you have a passion for helping feed the hungry, breast cancer, Rainforests, animals, child health, literacy, veterans, or autism you can give right from this site. You don’t need to be on Facebook or Twitter you can just click to give. Choose you passion and click every day. (Day 321)
Now we have no excuse not to give. Free and fast. Forget an hour our of your day in just 30 seconds you can give.
Do you have a favourite site you like to give by clicking? Which one of these is your favourite? Your feedback and comments are valuable to 365give. The more we can inspire others to give and share opinions and views on giving the more we can change the world one give at a time.