Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Close to the Heart

I told Dori about something I received in one of my Leukemia & Lymphoma Society updates.

Southern Ohio's Princeton High School is this year's top School & Youth Programs fundraising school. Students there raised more than $47,000 for LLS's research programs and patient services. ... Nationally, 10 million students, grades K through 12, raised more than $19 million for LLS's mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Over 23,000 schools were registered this year.

Dori was a little verklempt when she heard this. Princeton High School is her alma mater.

In case you were wondering ... For more information about next school year, please visit www.schoolandyouth.org or call (888) HELP-LLS.

Also today, I read the following opinion editorial in the local paper. This looks like a wonderful endeavor to help folks who are in need.

Foundation helps patients fight the 'greater fight' against leukemia
By WHIT POLLEY • July 29, 2008

Large bees. For many years, when I thought of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, I thought of The Foundation's unique symbol of philanthropy. This is no longer the case as I have grown to know this organization so intimately and come to appreciate their valuable role in this community. However, most times, I honestly wish I only associated The Community Foundation with large bees, and not with the loss of a dear friend.

On Sunday, June 24, 2007, I lost my lifelong friend, Chad Welch, when his more than two-year battle with Acute Mylogenous Leukemia came to an end. Tragic. It is the only way to describe Chad's untimely passing. At the age of 28, he had his whole life in front of him. But a doctor's visit on a Monday morning in 2005 would drastically alter Chad's day-to-day life for the next 26 months.

Despite this dramatic shift in his life, Chad did not lose his passion for living and his desire to be a force of positive change. Throughout his illness, Chad not only fought his own disease, but he also became an advocate for the greater fight against leukemia by raising money from his hospital bed for numerous leukemia-related charities. Just a couple of months before his passing, Chad was honored as "Hero of the Year" for his fundraising efforts during the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man of the Year campaign.

More importantly, Chad challenged his family and friends to join the fight against leukemia. Shortly after his death, inspired by Chad's courage and selfless nature, we desperately wanted to continue Chad's fight, but felt powerless to make even a small difference and were overwhelmed on how to do so. The disease that is leukemia seemed too large and our ability to affect change too small. Enter The Community Foundation.

This remarkable organization allowed us to start something special and became the springboard that enabled us to come together in Chad's name, realizing our vision and connecting the generosity of others with Chad's deep-seated desire to better the lives of those affected by leukemia, particularly those without financial means. With the establishment of The Chad Welch Memorial Fund, a highly effective vehicle has been created to empower those who want to make an impact.

Instead of having to raise a lump sum of money for a one-time donation, we have been able to form a team, hold numerous fundraisers and create a pool of resources.

The Fund is a platform that allows us to chip away at the problem bit by bit.

To date, hundreds of individuals and many companies have generously donated their time and money to Chad's Fund. Whether they can contribute $10 or $1,000, The Community Foundation provides a way for people to make a difference and for each and every dollar contributed to work year after year after year.

There was a place for us at The Foundation. It has been a vital instrument in helping Chad's friends and family continue his personal struggle. It memorializes the memory of a dear friend and makes a difference in the lives of those fighting their own battle with leukemia. If you ever need it, there's a place for you there too.

Good job, Whit and friends. Chad's battle is not over, thanks to you.

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