When 2017 has been a tough year for a lot of folks with political issues and the world seeming to be not as nice a place to live sometimes things come back and surprise you. Yesterday I wrote Cancer Sucks on my Continue to Live and Flourish blog and it’s true, Cancer does Suck. Our friends family just got diagnosed and it’s going to be a really rough ride. I am a blabbermouth and although I have not shared who these people are I have talked to my friends about it, friends that do not know them.
I mentioned that I was worried about how they’d make ends meet. The Dad has cancer and can’t work. He’s self employed so it makes things a bit more complex. Money will run out and soon. So what do you do to help I asked a friend. She said “give me a minute, I’ll call you back!” Huh, what just happened. So a few hours later and I’ve got Christmas dinner for the family and presents for under the tree. Mind you, after I told my friend, I ran to Target and did some Christmas shopping after getting a very small list from the family. I wanted to relieve the burden of Christmas so they can concentrate on getting to the Oncologist (they were diagnosed less than a week ago and are having 6 appointments this week to determine a plan). Life is complicated enough they do not need to worry about the holidays and they have a 12 year old so I want to make sure his Christmas goes off without a hitch.
Meanwhile I wrote some friends from our local Boy Scout troop and asked for help. In the email I mistakenly added my Orthodontist office and just like that everyone is pitching in- even the Orthodontist. NONE of these people know this family and they are all bringing cash, gifts or gift cards to our Monday meeting. By Tuesday I will be able to have Christmas wrapped up and ready to deliver. I will also have gift cards, enough to pay for a month worth of groceries, and cash to just well- be used for whatever the heck they need. My faith in humanity is restored.
It’s like that scene in the Grinch where his heart grows 3 times the size. I feel like the LOVE in Palatine is just oozing out of every single person I talk to. I’m not done yet either. I am going to blast their funding page when it gets built all around the world. I know it’s hard to ask for help. I know how hard it is to wonder how you’ll pay the mortgage when an income earner is down and out. In 2010, John had a health episode that led to 9 months out of work and we could have easily lost our home. I went back to work but couldn’t pay the mortgage. Similar to my friend. She works full time but in today’s day and age you divide and conquer. She can pay some bills, and food, etc but not all of it. Life gets messy and our savings- what savings- dwindles to nil at times and in this case they don’t have savings to survive for long.
This is where humanity pitches in. We are all one paycheck (or a lot of us) from being homeless. John and I found out how important this was back in 2010 and we began to save. If this happened to us today we’d be able to make it for about 6 months. Our financial adviser told us we need to bulk up our savings to cover a year or more of costs. I didn’t fully appreciate how much a family should save because in one quick swift twist of fate it can all change in an instant.
Our friends will be ok. I’m not sure health-wise how things will go but no matter what happens, no matter how grave, this mother and son and father will be surrounded by love. The people that do know them are pitching in. Dinners to be made, a help calendar established by another good friend. Life will keep on going. Mom will take unpaid family leave to care for her husband and family and friends will figure out a way to make the mortgage payment. I feel strongly about this. I remember coming home in 2010 to an envelope on the door. It contained an odd amount of cash- like 83 dollars and I drove straight to the gas station and filled up. From that day forward our mailbox was the ATM. Anonymous and often signed notes with cash, checks and more kept flowing in. This is how we paid our mortgage for 3 months. Family, friends, college friends, when folks heard about John’s situation and being out of work they all pitched in to help.
Christmas 2010- the PTA from our school dropped off presents. Like a few bags of presents. Nobody wanted for anything that year. It was almost embarrassing how full our tree was. I was really in shock. I didn’t ask for this but somehow people knew and we were going to be ok and we were. I feel strongly that this is God’s way of asking me to pay back and pay it forward. We have adopted a family each and every year to buy gifts for as a way to always remember Christmas 2010 but my friend’s situation hits closer to home and I know I had to do something.
So if you are reading this and you haven’t figured out what charitable thing to do this year consider making a donation. It would go directly to a needy family. I am managing the donations for now. Once the Go Fund me page or whatever fundraising tool they choose goes up I will edit this blog and put the information here. I am buying Jewel Osco gift cards with the cash to make grocery purchasing easy for the Mom.
It’s going to be a hard road ahead and a tough fight. They did a PET scan and the cancer has spread. It’s not going to be easy by any means but it can be easier with the help of friends and family and complete strangers.
SO when in doubt remember- LOVE really does WIN. Love can conquer all. It doesn’t save everyone, and it’s not going to fix the world or fix our political system or fix a leaky pipe or a broken bridge but LOVE will show up just when you need it. I know that all of the generosity and LOVE that is oozing out of Palatine will help right the world for this family. It will make it so they can concentrate on healing and for that I am forever grateful.