Thursday, September 23, 2010

Light Outside

I was once asked an ethical question along these lines while at a cookout with a group of new friends:


My answer was easy: Give it to a stranger. I got a lot of cynical looks and even more cynical comments, but my answer is still the same. I would rather give money to a stranger than spend an extra thousand on myself. In complete honesty, even if I had the extra thousand dollars, I wouldn't spend it all on myself. I'd share it with others.

One of the things I love to do is give. Give time. Give energy. Give gifts. Give laughs. Give back to causes that I believe in. Recently, one of my friends signed up to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk For The Cure, and it was such an honor to be able to give money to support her—even if it wasn't a TON of money—the giving made me happy!

Today I had the opportunity to give again, to Light The Night, which helps raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I've known many people whose lives have been affected by friends and family memberswho have died from some form of cancer. One of my favorite music artists, Andrew McMahon, was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago and beat it! Because of it, he's organized the DEAR JACK FOUNDATION.

In an effort to initiate change and provide a voice for the generations of young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer, Andrew founded the Dear Jack Foundation in July of 2006.
Our mission is to be a leader in raising awareness and supporting organizations and charities with the greatest need and highest potential for impact on young adult cancer patients. We specifically aim to find treatments as well as expand on quality of life initiatives, such as counseling for young adult patients and their families. This age group of 15 to 35 year old patients is in desperate need of research. Cancer is the number one disease killer of young adults and studies continually show that the survival rate has not improved as steadily as that of other age groups.

Amongst the past recipients of Dear Jack funding are: the UCLA stem cell transplant program (a program on the cutting edge of cures through transplantation), The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.

In fact, if you have the FUSE channel on your TV, you can watch the documentary about Andrew's battle with cancer called DEAR JACK. It airs on Saturday around midnight. Also, you can buy it in the iTunes store or through the Jack's Mannequin website. A portion of the proceeds go to the Dear Jack Foundation. I bought it on iTunes when it came out and I still watch it a lot.

But like I said, today I got to give to them. Whether you are naturally a giver or not, I really encourage you to find something—a cause you're passionate about—and give back. It doesn't have to be much at all.  A little bit really does go a long way.

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