Joy to the Spinathon
I can’t keep quiet about this any longer.
Guys, I’m planning my next spinathon. (Yes, I’m fully aware that spinathon isn’t a word, but I’m making it one. So there.)
A few months ago, some of the members from the gym asked me if I was planning on doing another one. Seems the pain and exhaustion from the last one wore off and now they’re all ready to go crazy again.
And that’s a very good thing, because I’m ready to plan one again.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, and long time supporter, called me asking what the deal was. Did I have a spinathon charity or not? I told him I had some ideas but really needed to investigate it.
See, I took a very informal poll as to what the members wanted to raise money for. It became glaringly obvious that they wanted to help a family with nothing. But, we wanted to do more than just buy them a toy and a tree and say “Happy Holidays,” we wanted to a.) show them that people really care and b.) they deserve this. We want to buy them all basic need items that they simply cannot afford. Yes, toys for the kids. A few clothing items for the adults. Heck, I’ll buy toothpaste if that’s what they need. But we wanted it to count for something.
How do you find a charity willing to work with us that’s as specific as I need them to be without taking a percentage of funds raised to not go to the family?
I thought about it for a long time. A very long time. Then I realized something. I’m trying to find a family. Families with nothing. Probably don’t have health insurance, either. So where would they be treated medically?
I contacted a doctor friend of mine who did some of his residency at the heath center in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. He gave me the name of the nurse manager. I contacted her and she and the social worker have been fantastic, finding the names of worthy families.
What she gave me was more than I had anticipated. Virginia had asked her fellow coworkers – nurses, administrators, aids, who they thought was worthy of this. These are people who work with these patients every day, and together, they found the saddest, but most deserving cases.
As a nurse, I fully get where Virginia was coming from when she told me about the two situations to choose from – and why I really shouldn’t choose. We see things, things that most people don’t. We see people at their very worst either by lack of money, failing health, or even both.
So when she told me that she had two situations, I heard her out, then decided to raise funds for both.
Look around you. Right now. What do you see?
Me? I see my baby laying on a shag area rug from IKEA playing with a crocheted lion. I see Claire eating graham crackers wearing her eye glasses that I didn’t even bat an eye to pay for. She’s sitting on throw pillows from Target while watching our 50 inch Plasma TV – Netflix. I’m sitting on a leather couch that I just oiled yesterday with coconut oil. My iPhone just vibrated to alert me to Claire’s soccer practice in an hour. My other two children are sleeping in their rooms, in their own beds, surrounded by blankets, pillows, toys and safety.
Who are we going to help this holiday? One is a woman who has cancer. She has no family, no insurance, no support system aside from the doctors and nurses who see her at the health center. She never asks for anything. And she certainly didn’t ask for cancer.
The other is a single mom who makes minimum wage and can still barely make ends meet. She’s raising a daughter, too. She’s a proud woman. From what I’ve been told, she’d never ask for charity. She wouldn’t take items given to her and waste it. She works hard and is very responsible with her daughter’s care.
I’ve asked Virginia to have them make a wishlist of things they desperately need, and what the little girl would like for Christmas. I’ll have it on Monday.
With that, I’ll turn around make an Amazon.com wishlist that anyone can purchase from. All items purchased will be sent directly to my home, I will store it safely until the big drop day.
The spinathon, which will be Sunday, November 10, will raise funds for me to take and go shopping at Target, armed with their wishlist.
Last week, one of my blog readers contacted me to offer me some of his season tickets for the preseason Penguins games he wasn’t able to attend, simply because he knew how much we love them. I was floored by his kindness. He asked for no money, but instead to pay it forward. I promised him I would.
Little did he know, I was already in the process of paying it forward.
Stay tuned. Last year we made a huge splash with the Amazon.com wishlist for the Animal Rescue League. This year, we are going to make three strangers’ lives a little brighter. I couldn’t have done last year’s endeavor without you guys. I look forward to teaching my kids, again, why being kind is always cool and I hope you guys come along with me on another journey.