With our Christmas travels now over, my wife and I are ready to give our last gifts before the start of the New Year.
Charitable giving is very important to both our families. From a very early age I learned to help others in need. From participating in Greensboro’s annual March of Dimes walk to building houses for Habit for Humanity, my mother ensured my brother and I learned the value of giving back to one’s community. My mom’s active approach to giving is best exemplified by her participation in the annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. She has raised thousands of dollars in memory of her sister Tommy and marched in a variety of cities including Charlotte, New York and Santa Barbara. Her and my Aunt’s resiliency against breast cancer has always been a source of inspiration. I will never forget the fight my mother took up against her own cancer scares.
My Dad’s charitable giving focuses on helping the homeless. He feels that this is the best way to remember my Uncle Dave. My uncle was a generous and caring spirit. Unfortunately, our family lost him too soon. Every Christmas we light a candle in his memory and my Dad honors him by giving to Urban Ministry. My dad and his girlfriend also volunteer their time to feeding the homeless during the holidays. For my part, I try to keep my Uncle Dave’s memory alive by giving to the Union County Community Shelter. I also try to spend as much time as possible with my brother and dad. Brotherly love is important and our annual camping trip together has always been my favorite way of celebrating the special bond we share with one another.
My wife’s side of the family is very active in the Catholic church and they support a variety of causes throughout the year. It is very heartening to see Pope Francis refocusing the church on the needs of the sick and poor. While this has always been important to the church, I think the rise in income inequality and other social ills makes the Pope’s message especially well-suited for our times. Our favorite volunteer effort sponsored by St. Matthew Catholic Church is the Muffin Ministry. My wife bakes 24 muffins every quarter to feed the homeless at local shelters. Her efforts combine with hundreds of other like-minded parishioners.
I share all of this because it allows me to link to some really great organizations that are willing to help fund research and help people in need. Telling the story of other people’s giving can inspire others to do the same.
As the year draws to a close, my wife and I will make one last donation to Goodwill and then we will choose two organizations to help in the coming year. While our giving isn’t large by any means, I do believe that doing a little can help a lot.
This year our two chosen organizations are Doctor’s Without Borders and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With the birth of our new baby boy I am constantly reminded how lucky we are. Having a supportive and caring network of family and friends will go a long way in helping us successfully raise our sweet baby boy. Not everyone has access to such support and we like these two charities because they give help in situations where there often is nowhere else to turn.
With that said, here’s hoping that everyone gets the help they need in the coming New Year. We are all a part of the global village and we can combine our small efforts to make a lasting impact on countless lives in need.
Happy New Year!
Doctor’s Without Borders 2013 Highlights: This year MSF responded to major emergencies all over the world, including: running six hospitals and two clinics inside Syria; delivering surgery and treating malnourished children as one of the few organizations working in Central African Republic; reaching people completely cut off from medical care due to violence in Afghanistan; searching for people needing aid by helicopter after they fled violence in their villages in South Sudan; treating and vaccinating hundreds of thousands of children against measles in Democratic Republic of Congo.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 2013 Highlights: St. Jude recently completed an extensive expansion program that bolstered the hospital’s research and treatment efforts, more than doubling the size of its original campus. The expansion included the Children’s GMP, LLC, currently the nation’s only pediatric research center on-site facility for production of highly specialized treatments and vaccines; an expanded Department of Immunology; and a new Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics for discovery of new drugs. St. Jude now has 2.5 million square feet of research, clinical and administrative space dedicated to finding cures and saving children.
The new Chili’s Care Center integrates patient care and research where rapidly evolving CT (computerized tomography) and MR (magnetic resonance) technology keep St. Jude at the cutting edge for radiation therapy in a pediatric / adolescent setting. Additionally, a state-of-the-art cyclotron enables St. Jude researchers to undertake many important new PET (positron emission tomography) radiochemistry studies. These imaging techniques facilitate the rapid evaluation of new therapeutic approaches and help choose those most likely to be successful.