Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Rough Week for Children with Cancer

The holidays are bearing down on us and everyone is feeling the pressure to get ready for Christmas or whatever holy day they celebrate. I am not doing much of Christmas this year and it feels pretty good. We are going to visit our daughters and grandson in Hawaii so decided to forego big gift expenses except for Keawe and Malia. Malia who will be here celebrating with her godmother's family. Bless them for taking her in. But anyway, in preparation for being out of town I have been scrambling to organize the adoption, pick-ups and deliveries of 55 families with sick children--most with cancer. That number doesn't include those that Anne took care of for Mary Bridge children. So, we have definitely far exceeded our average this year. We were able to do this because so many generous people stepped up to help. It makes them feel good and their participation is helping families. Glenda R. an angel who works for the City of Bellevue asked if she could adopt a family... well, when we got to talking she offered to put out an intranet at work and ask for sponsors and drivers to help with picking up and delivering. OMG! Where had she been these last few years? It was so awesome. I have been able to organize all of these families, sponsors and drivers with time to spare. It helps take away some of the sadness. The stories I hear this time of year make me sad yes, but also renews my spirit about what Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of WWA is about. We help families 365 days a year not just at Christmastime. We help with food, gas, utilties, rent/mortgage, car payments, and sadly yes, funeral funds. We just helped with a two month old baby's expenses...and in the same week sent a little boy and his mom off on what will probably be his last wish. We help find housing when there aren't any other options - again, because of generous sponsors who believe in helping children with cancer. I applaud the social workers who work on behalf of these children - tirelessly and without much appreciation at times. I applaud the lovely folks who run the Ronald McDonald Houses and do it with heart. I really really applaud and appreciate volunteers! We could not do what we do without them. But there is a cautionary tale in here networking is great in many cases but can be curse for some. This week I received six email pleas to help a family from out of the area. I jumped right in and did what I could. I contacted the social worker to let her know what was available through our contact. Well, the whole thing got long and drawn out. But, in unraveling the whole episode it turned out that they did not need the help that had been asked for by people who didn't even know this family and so therefore were not in the loop when it came to the latest information on his situation. The social worker wsa inundated with calls and emails from well-meaning people...she was already doing her job. Several well-meaning people took it upon themselves to call the RMH and demand services for a child whose name they didn't even know--- the RMH people had to track down who this family was that desperately needed their help and guess what? His family was already being served there and did not need the help. But my point is thse well-meaning folks caused a huge amount of unnecessary work -- took up a lot of people's valuable time and quite frankly should have stayed out of it. My friend Mary Anne who runs the Candlelighters in Spokane pointed out to me that social networking is good and bad. I agree but let's leave life and death decisions to the professionals who are trained and experienced at dealing with such crises. That's enough for now. Have a great day!

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