Why I Won’t Do the Ice Bucket Challenge

The title should be self-explanatory. Do I think this makes me a terrible person?  No, but it probably makes you think I am and I doubt if you’ve already reached that preconceived notion about me solely on a blog title, that you even know me well enough that I would care about your opinion about me. I have not been nominated for it, probably because my friends know I would ignore it and not even care about paying the $100. I don’t have $100 to give every charity that needs help. I hope someday I do have a lot of money that I could spread across to all kinds of charities, but until then I have to pick.

Call me a cynic and blast me with hate comments, but we are all about viral trends in America. Sadly, right now ALS is the “charity du jour”. I can’t deny the amount of money it has raised for charity, but what happens when the trend stops? They will start struggling again while another trend will take waves. I hate to compare it to “planking”, but let’s be honest in that it will be forgotten as quickly as it spread. I don’t mean to take away from those people who did it, kudos to you for raising awareness. But in most of the videos, there was no mention that it was for ALS or even a place to send donations. How does that help spread in the awareness of a very serious disease? “Tuesdays With Morrie” had more of an effect on me wanting change than watching people dump ice on themselves. Also a note: I have only actually watched 2 videos. My brother’s and the one where the woman pulled out papers to protest this idea rather than actually dumping water on herself.

During this whole thing, the Jimmy Fund Telethon did its usual marathon to raise money to help the Dana Farber  Cancer Institute to help fight cancer and raised just over $3 million dollars. While people were dumping ice on themselves, this charity needed money. My cousin every year tries to raise money for awareness for TSC (Tuberous sclerosis), a disease that I had never even heard of until she started fighting for the cause and her family. (Shameless plug to help her out: http://giving.tsalliance.org/site/TR?px=1001886&fr_id=1122&pg=personal) I hope that helps her cause and I hope they don’t need a “take a swim in pudding” video to get the awareness that this cause does so desperately need.

We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for not participating. I loyally give to the Jimmy Fund every year, in some way or another, and I don’t have much else to give. I take part in the Relay for Life. I have donated my time at a soup kitchen. I don’t need to splash my good deeds around to make myself feel good. The fact that I did something is enough for me. It’s the little things that you do in your daily life to make a difference some place that matters, not whether you dumped ice on yourself. If my son chooses to do it, will I discourage him? No, it’s his choice and it makes him feel like he’s making a difference in the world. I have no right to judge him for doing it anymore than you have the right to judge me for not. If it makes you feel good, then you should do it. Just make sure that you are doing it to raise awareness by spreading the word about what it’s for and where to send the money and not just do it because someone dared you to.

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That Time of Year Again

The blog today will be very short and to the point. Every year, the local sports channel NESN does a telecast to raise money for The Jimmy Fund. The Jimmy Fund is an organization that helps raise money for The Dana-Farber Institute, a place where children and adults fight cancer. They help support cancer patients, survivors, and their families providing excellent care and researches to hopefully find a cure someday. Hopefully with enough money, this cause will be seen through. Until then, every little bit help. I dare you to watch or listen to some of the telethon and not feel a little something for these people.

As a parent, I can’t help but to look at my own children and be grateful that I haven’t had to go through what some of these parents go through or watch my child go through what the children go through. It amazes me that every person, whether it be a cancer patient or survivor, feels lucky to have been through this experience. It humbles me. It makes me sit back and think that my worst day is still a good day to them. They are graceful and kind and absolutely perfect. As a person who has seen cancer take family from my life, I can’t help but to be angry at the disease and want to pay whatever I could to cure it. The Jimmy Fund gives us that chance.

Reports say that funding for cancer research is at an all-time low, when it really should be at an all-time high in my opinion. Change that. Visit http://www.jimmyfund.org/ to help a very worthwhile cause. Every little bit always helps.

Congrats, It’s a Turkey!

Last week I mentioned my oldest son was doing his student council duties and attending to his shift at the canned food drive the student council was putting on for the local soup kitchen. He was happy to report that his 4th graders did beat all the other grades by bringing in 125 cans, happily noting that 10 of them were ours. He tallied them up and they had received 450 cans, well shy of the 625 cans they had hoped to reach. With a heavy heart, my son announced to his school that they hadn’t reached their goals but that they did a great job. 450 cans were a lot better than none. Still, he was disappointed that they didn’t at least achieve the goal they set. I told him that they did a great job, and that soup kitchen was 450 cans richer.

I tried to teach him the most important lesson of all, something I try to tell him every chance I get: holidays aren’t the only time of year you need to do good things, you should do them every day. Change in the world and helping others isn’t something you can accomplish one or two days a year. To accomplish these goals you need to work every day of your life and urge your children to do the same. Eventually, it’ll stick whether it be a year from now or generations. It shouldn’t matter whether or not we can see the change, but knowing somewhere you were a part of the change should be amazing enough.

I hope my children learn this lesson. Thanksgiving may be a time of year for helping and eating a ton of turkey and pie, but it’s a reminder that there’s still a lot of work to be done around us. We need to forget that these holidays exist for any other reason than an excuse to see family, drink a lot, and forget that you’re on a diet. We should remember that homeless and poor people don’t just exist once or twice a year, that they have to live their life that way and we should help them in some way when we can. You don’t need money to help, you just need to have the time.