We’ve all done it: Looked down at the ground when a volunteer on the street asked us whether we would be willing to donate to a good cause. There’s so many organizations out there today in need of financial support, sometimes it’s easier to ignore them than it is to pick one to donate to.
There’s a lot of people on my mom’s care team and we are equally grateful for each and every one of them, but my mom is a patient at Sunnybrook Hospital’s Odette Cancer Centre (also raising money this #GivingTuesday). It’s two cities over from where we live. With six weeks straight of radiation treatments, and several follow-up appointments, it would cost us thousands of dollars in gas and parking fees — not to mention the trouble of toting three little kids to and from the hospital — if it wasn’t for The Wheels of Hope.
My family members have always been health nuts. We believe in complementary therapy (literally complementary, to complement mainstream therapies — not necessarily replace them). Having said that, we don’t always agree with where donations go when it comes to health research. For years, I looked down on some of the projects that cancer fundraisers would go towards (I know, I know, I’m not qualified to make decisions on these matters but still). It wasn’t until cancer hit my family directly, that I realized how valuable these VOLUNTARY NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS are.
Both The Canadian Cancer Society and The Heart & Stroke Foundation, as well as a number of other NPOs, offer programs to help patients that don’t have access to transportation, get to their treatments and other health-related appointments. This is only possible through drivers that volunteer their time and sometimes their own vehicles with little to no compensation, and because of generous donations from people like you.
I think people sometimes mistakenly believe that these organizations exist simply to raise money and divert them to researchers, and those funds are never seen again. But I’ve learned the hard way that these organizations do so much more.
They offer support to those suffering from cancer — including running local programs and local offices. They also help caretakers and family members of those that are ill to get access to what they need to cope with what’s happening. They offer screening to prevent people from getting sick. And of course, they provide information about the illnesses they are raising money for.
Of course, The Wheels of Hope — I imagine our lives would be so much more chaotic without them.
To the volunteers and fundraisers, thank you.
To the donors, thank you.
And if you’re able, please consider giving to them this #GivingTuesday. Or give to another organization you feel passionately about. If you’ve got spare change, please consider throwing it our way.
Our family has struggled since my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. She’s about to enter her last week of radiation treatments and then she’ll be back on the complementary treatments while we play the wait-and-see game, hoping that the combination therapies will stop the cancer in its tracks.
Here are a few more people close to my heart I hope you consider giving to today:
Ryan and his family have been good friends of mine for a very long time. Sadly, he and his wife, Kristen lost their 7-week-old son Micaiah this past Thanksgiving. Their son was uninsured and the family has been left with funeral and medical expenses. Please consider giving to them: https://www.youcaring.com/kristen-and-ryan-rahel-477755#.Vlt3tkcPn1t.facebook.
Fighting for Johnny: Johnny is my brother-in-law’s (Kirk) wife’s (Sarah) nephew. He was hospitalized for a long period of time earlier this year. Son of Renee. http://www.gofundme.com/tothfamilyrelief.
Stacy: I’ve never met her, her husband or her sister in real life but I came across their page when I was setting one up for my mom. Due to some medical mishaps and the doctors dropping the ball, she hit some unexpected bumps during her cancer journey. Drop her an encouraging line on her GoFundMe page or consider giving. https://www.gofundme.com/z6qp4v3k?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=body_photo&utm_campaign=upd_n.
Thank you again to all the generous souls. God bless you.