i had quite an afternoon the other day. facebook, the great social organizer, put me in touch with a high school classmate. i found out that she had lost her teenage son, Michael, to a rare aggressive pediatric cancer in 2008. as my daughter turned 16 and i walk my own path from patient to survivor, i reached out to give my belated condolences.
michael was given one wish by “Make a Wish” foundation and he chose to use the money to buy age-appropriate electronics and then he gave them away to other pediatric cancer patients. he formed the “Mikey’s Way” foundation and since his passing, his mom and dad have continued this work. mike knew that many families cannot afford these items on top of their health care costs. he also understood, all too well, that pediatric cancer patients spend an extraordinary amount of time laying around and the ‘leapsters’ to the netbooks to the nintendos to the portable DVD players help them cope with all the tedious hours of waiting during treatments, doctor’s appointments and hospital visits.
I had the very special opportunity to be at Maimonides Pediatric Cancer Center last week as Mikey’s Way gave away these electronics to over 25 pediatric cancer patients. So simple in its conception and execution…Mike’s parents shop at stores (Mike’s dad told me that he IS that guy 1st in line at 4am waiting at ‘Best Buy” for the super-special deals on electronics!), then arrive with their own large rolling cart filled to the brim. each child (and we saw them from age 2 to age 22) got a choice of age-appropriate gear and got to make their own choice. Additional movies and games and batteries were supplied with each piece. i wish i could say that i was of some help but truly, i just stood there and smiled. if you thought being a cancer patient was sad, well, you never saw the kids i saw that day…and their parents.
i acknowledge that foundations and charities are essential to helping out people with medical challenges in their lives. but i also know the frustration with giving to them…they become expanding behemoth multi-armed well-intentioned monsters. here was help in its most simple organized and helpful form. donation buys product; product given to patient.
Here are two ways to get your own instant gratification:
1st: Think about a donation. You can read about Mike and Mikey’s Way here (donation widget on the main front page at top):
2nd: Mikey’s Way is up for a Pepsi $50,000 grant and all you need to do is CLICK! Click your mouse once every day until December 31st to vote for them so that they can keep doing this wonderful work. Click! So simple. So much good! YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Here’s the link: http://www.refresheverything.com/mikeysway
I hope you bookmark the site and click once a day until the end of 2010 to help 2011 be a good year for a lot of needy kids.
Happy Holidays! (Click!)
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