And, thank you for your support.

How old are you? Do you remember the Bartles and James wine cooler television ads? The two guys, Frank Bartles and Ed James, would be enjoying some part of life, while also cooling off with a refreshing wine cooler. At the end of every commercial, Frank Bartles said, “And, thank you for your support.” You can watch one of their commercials by clicking here.

Perhaps putting the cart before the horse, I’d like to go ahead and ‘thank you for your support’. You see, I am once again soliciting donations to various charities.

My friend, Angela, recently posted a picture of Kate on her Facebook page. Seeing the picture, reminded me about the fight to cure Cancer and the groups making a difference. Kate is the girl who was battling Leukemia, and Angela is the girl running with Team in Training to increase awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Angela is still accepting donations for her next run on October 17, 2010. Angela is not the only advocate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There are other folks out there who not only fight for the cause, but they also fight for their own life as they battle Cancer. For the survivors, those battling the disease and the memory of the lives lost, we hope you’ll support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and donate to Angela’s Team in Training by clicking here.

In addition to the efforts to save human lives, I have a friend doing all she can to save the life of dogs, cats, pigs, goats, etc. Elise spends most of her day trying to stay on top of her animal rescue, Pick of the Litter. She’s a one person team, relying solely on monetary donations. And, as a one person team, there are times when she feels defeated, as her fund raising efforts draw little to no response. It is a full time job keeping her place running smoothly, the animals cared for and ensuring food is available. If you live in metro Atlanta, you can support Pick of the Litter by visiting the booth during Woofstock, which takes place in Suwanee, GA on May 15th. Elise will bring her goat, Tinkerbelle, and her pig, Piggy Kiwi, as well as some cute rescue pups. Hope you can make it. And, please, if you can, lend Pick of the Litter a monetary hand. You can make a donation by clicking here.

There are countless other charities needing your help. As I have said in posts past, my sister-in-law has Multiple-Sclerosis, and my brother-in-law has battled Type1 Diabetes since he was two years old. Bret Michaels, the band Poison’s lead singer, is in the headlines these days, as he recovers from a stroke. My brother-in-law, Walter, can relate to Bret’s struggles. Recently, Walter suffered a stroke. Happily, Walter has recovered, and we hope Bret recovers, too. And, I have several friends taking part in Relay for Life, which supports the American Cancer Society. By clicking on any of the above links, you can donate to these charities. I also encourage you to take a look at Charity Navigator, which reviews thousands of charitable organizations.

Thanks for your time, and thanks for your donation.

Life goes on

My Dad wearing the cowboy hat he received for Christmas.

My Dad died in the early hours of February 5th 1994. I had flown home from Washington DC the day before he died. When I got to the hospital, my Dad was unconscious and on a respirator. Seeing him for the first time with all the tubes and machines attached to him, I screamed and ran out of the room. I was not prepared to see him in such a state. The last time I saw my Dad, which was September the previous year, he was healthy (so we thought). After I composed myself, I went back into his hospital room and talked to him as if he could hear me.

I went home with my brother and sister-in-law that night, and my sister-in-law woke me up around 1AM, letting me know my Dad had died. Some of my family went to the hospital to see my Dad one last time. I chose to stay at my brother’s house. My Dad was cremated, so my last image of my Dad is in the hospital. The siblings of mine that saw my Dad after he died are thankful for their last image. They said he looked peaceful. I suppose a part of me wishes I had made a different decision the morning my Dad died, though I can easily look at pictures of my father and erase the hospital image of him.

When my Dad died I was heartbroken. One of the toughest things to face was the fact that life continued. I was mourning. My family was mourning. My Dad’s friends and colleagues were mourning. Still, the world around all of us continued to move forward, as if nothing horrible had happened. I can remember driving down the interstate consumed with sadness, and I became so angry when I noticed other people laughing in their cars. How could they laugh at a time like this? Didn’t they know a great man had just left his world?

As I type this, many nameless people are mourning the loss of a loved one. Many nameless people are sitting bedside by a loved one, watching him or her battle for life. And, I know people who are battling kidney Cancer, seizures, Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes. These people I know are not nameless. These people are friends, relatives and loved ones. Yet, while all these people fight their battles, others are living a ‘normal’ and carefree life. I’m not suggesting we all become consumed with guilt, ever aware of the pain and suffering that surrounds us. Rather, I suggest we try to keep things in perspective, and we try to offer compassion to those that are suffering.

Today the death of celebrity Corey Haim is making the news. Corey died of an accidental overdose at the age of 38. He struggled with drug addiction for most of his life. And, I am certain Corey’s friends and family are consumed with sadness. I am also willing to bet that his family and friends are finding peace, knowing Corey’s battle with addiction has now ended forever. And, as they mourn, my life goes on uninterrupted. Corey’s death does not affect my life in any way, shape or form. Corey’s death does not change the fact that I have a friend who is worried about his newborn daughter, battling seizures since she was born on February 22, 2010. And, Corey’s death doesn’t change the fact that I am constantly thinking about my husband’s brother and his first cousin, who are  battling Diabetes and kidney Cancer. In fact, my husband’s first cousin recently found out the Cancer has spread and there is now a tumor on his one of his vertebrae. Finally, Corey’s death doesn’t change the fact that my sister-in-law is battling MS.

I believe it is also important to mention the people all over the world, continuing to recover from earthquakes, hurricanes, mud slides, bombings, war, etc. Haiti was in the news for several weeks after the devastating earthquake earlier this year. More recently, Chile was hit with a horrific earthquake. Is it just me, or have you noticed that the earthquake in Chile did not generate the same media storm or call to action as the Haiti earthquake? Does a  nation have to be incredibly poor to be worthy of help? The lack of attention Chile has received, compared to Haiti, seems unfair to me. Goodness knows, the world stopped for the people of Chile. Moreover, the world stopped for those around the world who had friends and family in Chile. In fact, I believe it is safe to assume that the world has yet to restart for many affected by the earthquake in Chile.

Again, my point in this babble is not to overwhelm you with guilt. Frankly, this blog enables me to express my own feelings about things that bother me in this world. My post is selfish, because I am able to stop my world for a minute, draw attention to the things that matter to me, giving me a sense of purpose. I believe I am also drawing attention to the nameless people who are in the midst of their battles, perhaps feeling invisible to the world around them. Via a friend on Facebook, I came across a blog created by a woman who recently lost her husband in a car accident. On December 29, 2009, I had a non-eventful and normal day. However, one woman from Texas was in a car accident on December 29, 2009, and her husband died as a result of that accident. In an effort to work through her grief and new life challenges, she is writing ‘Through the Valley‘. I encourage you to take a minute and read her story.

I hope you are able to enjoy a non-eventful and normal day today. Should you find yourself amidst a challenge, please know you are in my thoughts. No, I don’t know you, and I will not likely know your specific battle; however, I know you exist and I know battles are never ending. I know I wanted the world to stop for my me, my Dad and all those who loved him. So, I make it a point to stop my world daily, to think about those nameless people overcome with their own personal sorrow. And one more thing, would you please consider clicking on one of the following links and make a donation? Think of the nameless people who need your help. I am willing to bet you will get something out of it in return.  The American Red Cross; Partners In HealthTOMS; The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Bethany Christian Services