Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From My Friend and Assistant

My Assistant at my new job, who has two beautiful children who both have special needs, sent me this email today. I was quite moved and thought it worthwhile to not only give of my own resources, but also reach out to the many generous folks I know are involved in my life (all names abbreviated now by first initial, consistent with how I always handle names on my blog):

Dear family and friends,

Asking for money – I find just the thought of it dreadful! In fact, I’ve been known to say that asking for money is my most hated activity. So why am I asking now?

Our J., a two time open-heart surgery survivor is alive today thanks to the medical advances made during the past twenty years, but other children are sill dying.

Congenital heart defects (CHDs) occur in about one out of every 125 children born in the U.S., 40,000 babies per year. Twice as many children die from CHDs each year in the U.S. than from all forms of childhood cancer combined. However, CHD research is grossly under funded. (Funding for pediatric cancer research is 5 times higher).

Statistics can be numbing, but when you know the people behind those numbers it is both devastating and motivating. Our CHD support group has about 25 families. In the past six years three of our group’s children have died – all post surgical repairs, when they had been “doing well.”

11-month-old A. had chubby cheeks, bright blue eyes and an identical twin brother. One Monday morning when his mom was putting on his right sock he was alive, and when she put on his left sock he was dead.

G. “I.” was the oldest surviving child in our group. After several surgeries in his early years, he received a heart transplant at age ten. That new heart saw I. to his senior prom and high school graduation, but what began as a simple abdominal infection proved to be more than his heart could manage. He died at age 18.

It had been five years since Jo. had his last heart surgery. He was enjoying first grade, drawing, singing and playing T-ball until, unexpectedly, one November day proved to be his last. He was 7 1/2 years old.

Yes, I am asking for you to sponsor me in the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Why? Because I have discovered what activity I dread more than asking for money. That is: Going to children’s funerals.

In thanks for your support,


Gifts of ANY level would be appreciated, I am sure. A. is one person I know who really believes in the power of stretching dollars. To donate, click on the following link, and then click on the A. name.

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