Thursday, April 24, 2008

Come, Share in My Excitement

Check this out:

Michaela comes home the other day and plops her backpack down on the floor before beelining for the computer. I didn't think to look in the bag; maybe I was busy, maybe I was distracted. I try to check her bag everyday in case her teacher sent home some note or whatever. Either way, the bag was moved to it's rightful spot of sittage at some point, and I never looked in it.

Until the next morning. When I found this:


THIS, my dear friends, is exciting! This is revolutionary! This is SOOO COOL!!

"What is it?" you say?

It's a FUND RAISER!!



((((collective groans emanate from the readership))))

***

As some of you may know, I've been helping support St. Jude's Hospital for many years now. I can't say I've been one of those people that would get their name on a brick or anything like that (actually, probably more like a drop in a bucket kinda person), but we've been consistent.

I think it's a worthy cause. Can you imagine what it would be like to find out your child has cancer? Maybe you already know what that's like. I can't even imagine. All I know is that I was forever changed when Michaela was in the hospital for 2 weeks back in 2005. When we brought her in, she couldn't walk, talk, or eat, and they weren't sure if she would ever fully recover. In the middle of dealing with this very difficult and devastating situation, I was in the hospital elevators one day. And there, beside me, was a boy similar to Michaela's age. He was bald, pale, wearing a face mask and holding onto an IV pole with the nastiest looking stuff you ever saw. If I remember correctly, the bag that held the stuff had a skull and crossbones on it!

I instantly knew that this little boy had cancer. And then, perspective hit me. Yes, Michaela was very sick. Yes, she wasn't supposed to get better. But she was ALIVE. And she really didn't know all that was going on with her. She wasn't really in pain. Unlike that little boy. I've since learned a little bit as to how much these littlest cancer patients go through. It's appalling. No adult would sign up for it.

Well, unless it was their kid having to go through it.

And even though Michaela's form of epilepsy is devastating, and even life-threatening (some kids have a whopper of a seizure and then they're gone), we just don't go through the kind of sickening worry that cancer kids and their families go through. Every test, every infusion, every hospital stay can potentially be a life threatening situation. It hangs over their heads and steals so much from them just having a normal life. A simple fever is cause for worry and even a hospital admission. If the cancer is "cured," the entire therapy and process of battling the disease can render a child impotent, lame, blind, deaf, or permanently altered in some way.

It just breaks my heart.

It makes me thankful that I'm only dealing with LGS.

We supported St. Jude's before that encounter in the elevator, but now I make SURE I support St. Jude's. They don't just try to cure kids, they take the unreasonable stress off of these devastated and scared families. They don't make them pay. Ever.

That alone is worth all the help I can give. I know about this: I've had my share of insurance battles and medical bills. It is such a strain in the middle of dealing with a sick child. Especially when parents want and need to be out of work. Especially when they have to travel hundreds of miles for the best care. Especially when the mortgage company doesn't care what you're going through--they want their money.

St. Jude's makes life a little bit easier by taking the medical bills out of the equation. $100's of thousands of dollars of expensive and cutting-edge therapies are paid for.

By people like me...

And by people like you.

***

So my interest was definitely peaked when I saw that the proceeds of this particular fund raiser went to my charity of choice.

But even more than that, this fund raiser got children involved. Kids helping kids. How cool is that? I think kids need to be able to think beyond themselves and the prizes that fund raisers give them. It's a healthy way to help them feel like a part of their community. That their actions affect others. Such a good lesson!

This particular fund raiser revolves around MATH. How it works is like this:

1) A child gets sponsors to pledge so much per math problem the child answers correctly. Sponsors can pledge anything per problem, but 5, 10, 15 or 20 cents per problem are common pledge amounts.

2) Each child is to work out math problems suitable for their grade level. There are roughly 200-300 in the contest. They can take up to a week to finish the problems.

3) Once the child completes all the problems, the correct answers are tallied up, and the sponsors make a donation to St. Jude's for the amount they pledged.

And everyone gets to feel like they've accomplished something good and worthwhile!

Priceless!

***

But let's take this a step further.

I heard about this because Michaela's school sent the information home. Now that doesn't always mean that the stuff she brings to me applies to her. Sometimes it can be announcements for the junior high, or some other function that she simply would not participate in.

But THIS.

Is something she can do.

MY child. The one suffering from brain damage, physical impairments, and various other afflictions. SHE can do this fund raiser! They sent home the Kindergarten math problem packet and I checked it out. She can do this stuff! It's counting and shapes and patterns and other simple stuff.

She can do this!

Even if she can't do all of it, she can do some of it. I mean, HOW COOL IS THAT?? Do you realize how excited this makes me?

Rewind: 3 years ago, they weren't sure if she would ever:

WALK
TALK
or EAT again.

And now she's participating in a MATH FUND RAISER??!?




Um, I'll forgive you if you can contain yourself, but I SURE CAN'T!!


WOOHOOOO!!!!! THANK GOD!!!

***

So, yeah, I'm shamelessly looking to solicit sponsors for this. It doesn't matter where you are, everything can be done online.

Will YOU support Michaela?

No, you don't get anything like a fancy candle, chocolate turtles, or some chintzy earrings; but you WILL get the satisfaction of helping a worthy cause.





And that reward is worth more than any mint cookie you'll ever eat. :)

9 comments:

Nicky said...

When did you get your marketing degree? You really did a good sales pitch.

Jeremy

Kelly said...

I'm the daughter of a salesman! Whaddya expect? ;)

Deb said...

Kelly-
I also support St. Jude as a "Partner in Hope", and have for several years.

I would LOVE to support Michaela in this- how do I sign up?

Deb

Kelly said...

Deb-

Thank you so much! All you need to do is email me with your pledge. Then, when she finishes and we have a total, there is a website that you can send in your donation with.

My email is on my profile :)

JSmith5780 said...

How many math problems does she have the "opportunity" to get right? I will definitely pledge, just have to figure out how much.

Jen

Kelly said...

237!

Dana said...

Thanks so much for participating in the Math-A-Thon. I don't know if you realize it or not, but Michaela raised the MOST money at our school!!! :) Yes, great big happy face to you and all of your friends and family who supported her and this wonderful cause. I cried when I read your post a couple of weeks ago.

Great work!!!

Dana

reber said...

Next time let me know and I will help you. My family likes to sponsor these things...."Way to go, Michaela!!!!"

JSmith5780 said...

She raised the MOST money??? How awesome is that?!?!

I am so glad I had the chance to support her and St Jude's! A thank you card was NOT necessary, it was truly my pelasure!