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Sunday, September 27, 2009

One of those moments

When you work on behalf of a non-profit organization whether it be for a short period of time, such as fundraising for a specific event like selling daffodils for the American Cancer Society or ringing a bell for the Salvation Army, or working in an official sense as I am now doing for the Young Survival Coalition, one thing you can expect, but never get used to are what I call, for lack of a better name, "One of those moments."

These moments are characterized by someone sharing a story, or going beyond the usual effort required to donate and support a cause, and truly touch you in a way that will never be forgotten. It isn't the generosity of the monetary gift, or even the generosity of a person's time that makes these moments sepecial. Instead, it is the generosity of these people's story, a window into their soul that touches you, that opens your heart like a flower, and that for an instant, makes anything in life seem possible. It is a moment as close to grace as anything I can imagine.

Each one of these moments is precious, like a childhood memory; they never cease to give me goosebumps or to fill me with near incomprehensible emotion.

Forever etched in my soul will be the man, from a donation attempt for our first annual scrapbooking event, who worked for a manufacturer of tote bags and camera cases. After he agreed to give me a donation, he asked, "How much can you carry?" I responded, "As much as you want me to." As I began openly crying, he said in the kindest voice possible, "Don't cry, honey, just make a difference." and sent me on my way totally encumbered by bags of all shapes and sizes.

There are also those strangers, faceless and nameless, who anonymously sent me donation checks when I walked in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk with my sister. I will never cease to be amazed by their generosity. To give money to someone they don't even know was a remarkable thing. Due to their help, I raised over $6500 that year without hardly trying.

Then there was the homeless woman along the route of that very same Breast Cancer Walk who thanked each and every one of us for coming, for walking, for working to make a difference. That angel saw us and understood what we were trying to do even when she didn't know if or when she'd eat that night, while dozens of others, sitting at outdoor dining tables up the street had completely ignored the line of walkers as we passed by. I will never forget her.

There are all of those individuals who have shared their story of cancer, or that of their loved ones with me. There are those people who are moved by something I say who take the time to tell me that it touched them in some way. Each one of these moments is a gift.

Of course every donation, every pat on the back, every word of encouragement is a blessing, but some people, some occasions, just take my breath away and make me choke on tears.

This ride has brought about lots of those moments, too. But the most recent example, truly the most generous, has left me speechless, humbled and touched beyond words.

It came from a woman who works with Brad. It seems that she had shared the story of my ride with her son. He decided to put together a donation for me and included the following card.




I can't even describe how touched I am by this card. I absolutely LOVE this drawing. I especially appreciate that he drew me looking very, very happy which is indeed the way I feel. But beyond this fabulous drawing, it was what was on the inside that rose this gesture of generosity above any other than I have ever experienced. Here is the inside of the card:



Yes, that's right. It turns out that Nathan is a cancer survivor. Apparently, when he was three years old Nathan was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer. He underwent treatment with chemo, surgery, and radiation just the same as me. Nathan is now nine years old. I am most touched by the fact that Nathan decided to sign his card with "Cancer Survivor". I believe this was his way of reaching out and letting me know I'm not alone. There truly is no more selfless or generous gift that I could have been given. Nathan, you are at the top of my "Moments" list.

Thank you, and thank you to your Mom. Hopefully I will be able to come up with something special for you in return.

2 comments:

  1. Darn it, you have me crying again! ;) Beautiful moments, beautiful card. Thanks for sharing the stories.

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  2. The words of Nathan are so powerful. Use it as your horsepower when the hill gets high. Good luck. Deb

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