Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Friend in Need

Up until 2 hours ago I had very different plans for tonight's post. Basically it was going to be a grammar lesson of sorts, or a tirade about grammar is probably more like it; but then I got this email from my friend Cheryl and suddenly grammar didn't seem quite so important (at least for tonight.)
The email was titled "If I Get 10 Donations by Friday Night, I'll Run/Walk 10 Miles in a Pink Wig!" And read: So I already know I am crazy training for a Marathon to try and cure blood cancers, but just to prove it to all my friends and family, if I can get 10 donations by Friday night I will wear a pink wig while I do my 10 mile training run. Pink is in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month and all of the women I’ve loved who have been taken by or have beaten this disease. Many of the advancements by Leukemia and Lymphoma Society funded researches benefit all types of cancers, including Breast Cancer. Just go to this link to make an online donation. You can also read about why I am on a Quest to Cure Blood Cancers, like the one that took my father from us over 10 years ago.

I’ve already gotten 1 donation since I sent this challenge out via Facebook. Will you be # 2, #5 or maybe lucky #10 (or #15?) I promise to post pictures on Facebook and email if you help me reach this goal. Some people have asked ‘is there a minimum donation?’No, I know you will give what you can (but do keep in mind that I will be trekking 10 miles in 90 degree weather in a synthetic pink wig.)

With love and Heartfelt Thanks

I'm running a marathon to find a cure for Blood Cancers
I know I can do it, because I know why I do it!

Well, I read that and I felt compelled to help her. September, someday between the 10th and 12th (I have blocked the day out of my memory) marked the 23rd anniversary of my Mom's passing and I could not in good faith refuse the opportunity to assist Cheryl in her fight to raise money; ESPECIALLY when she had offered to wear the pink wig to honor breast cancer awareness month. I immediately used the link and made a $25 donation and then because I wished that my donation could have been more, I forwarded Cheryl's email to my friends,with the following note from me:
The below email comes from my friend Cheryl; who I grew up with. Please take a moment to read her email and if possible make a donation to support her efforts. I know that our wallets are all a little lighter these days; but if you donate anything at all you will receive a receipt to use for your taxes including a tax ID #.
I believe that one of the women Cheryl is trying to honor is my mom, Lee Howell who passed away in 1986 after a terrible battle with Cancer and in her memory I would truly appreciate any donation that you could give to support Cheryl’s efforts.

Be Well!!

MUCH Love,
Within a few minutes I received 2 emails from Cheryl; and as she has given me her permission; I am going to share our correspondence with you because I think it is more powerful than any story I could tell:
Dear Paige
I cannot being to thank you enough for helping my efforts as I work towards raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). It’s overwhelming (in a good way) to know that the people that have meant so much to me at different times in my life have reached out to support me now. I love the thought of honoring your mom as well as my dad. I remember so many fun times at your house, having tea parties and drinking Constant Comet. Your mom always made me feel so at home. I know how hard it must be without her sharing in your life now. I will always miss my father... but it's been nice to ‘spend a little time with him’ every Saturday morning, as I work towards erasing the very disease that took him from us. I know that once again he'll be there with me on race day, and I am so happy that together we can honor his memory in this way.

Please let me know if you want me to wear your mom’s name on my shirt when I complete the Marathon in January.

Hope you and the family are doing great. How wonderful that Facebook has put us back in each other’s lives.

With love,

PS: I will keep you posted about whether I hit 10 donations and wore the Pink Wig to training. You were the third donation, but I have a lot of faith that you won’t be last.

And then Cheryl sent another note in regard to me passing on her email:
This gives me perma-grin and tears me up. So very special of you Paige. Your mom will help me get through those 26.2 miles on January 10th. I will definitely keep you posted on my progress and get ready to see me in my pink wig soon.
To which I responded:
Hi Cheryl,
It would be my fondest wish to do the 3 day in honor of my mom one day, and so I figure until I can make that happen I will do everything I can to support you and your efforts to eradicate this cruel disease. I hope my email can bring you even one donation that you wouldn’t have had. If anyone donates PLEASE let me know, so that I too can thank them.
Thank god for the power of Facebook, for friendship and memories.
And then 3 more emails followed; one from my brother who also made a donation in honor of our beloved mother, one from my EXTRAORDINARY, friend Dawn who plans to make a donation and the last of the night from Cheryl, which said "Thank you – this means the world to me! Heading off to bed. Assured to have wonderful dreams now."

What more can I say? Silly question coming from me. But I guess I could quote my brother who just wrote to me and said "feels good to donate!" And you know what... He's RIGHT!! This donation has made me feel useful in a completely different way. I feel like I am contributing in hopes that others will not have to suffer the way that my beautiful mother did, or the way that my brother and I did or the way that Cheryl's dad or her family did AND since you too are my friends, I am asking for your help as well. After all, if THIS isn't about THE GREATER GOOD; what is?
I meant what I said in my email to my friends; ANY AMOUNT will due; so please help Cheryl to make this run / walk her most memorable and profitable yet. Your contribution would mean the world to us.
Till next time...


CherylBakos said...

I write this with tears streaming down my face. This posting is such a magnanimous expression of your love for your mother and your generous soul. Our parents would be so proud. Since I posted this challenge yesterday I have raised $535 from people I have known since 2nd grade and people I have never met. This is what it is like to feel connected to all the beauty in the world. With so much love. Cheryl

Michelle said...

Because of people like you and Cheryl, I believe we will eventually beat this hideous disease. Beautiful, moving post, Paige!