First, let me say that I'm well aware that this post is premature. Let me also add that I don't care!! I'm just too excited.
For the past few years I've been wanting to start a foundation, organization, group, SOMETHING/ANYTHING that would help those affected by cancer and terminal disease. I've been praying about it almost daily. I've been thinking about it almost constantly. I've been pulling up that handy dandy Excel spreadsheet of mine and prepping, color coding, planning and deleting along the way.
In the last few weeks, I've been collecting information, meeting with people, talking to staff at the hospital, and members of the community. Am I ready to launch the organization, present the flyer and website and go? Absolutely not. But I am ready to share with you what it is and how YOU, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR BUISNESS, and literally EVERYONE in between can get involved and help out!
From the time my friend Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer the first time, I heard her mention a few things that brought her comfort along the journey of medication and a mastectomy. I then heard that list grow larger when she was diagnosed the second time and started an even tougher journey of chemo, radiation, and surgeries. I've watched for years as many that I love, respect, and cherish have fallen prey to this devastating disease; I mourn daily for the ones who leave this world because of it.
But, I know that though the road is already dark, bumpy, and seems to be one of the longest traveled...there are still ways that those of us who are watching from the sidelines can bring some light.
I will never forget Karen getting a free potato from a restaurant because of an owners generosity as I picked up her lunch one day during chemo. Nor the smile she had when an aunt made her the best crocheted hat for her balding head. She couldn't be thankful enough for the meals and gift cards that kept her family fed when the last thing she wanted to think about herself was food, all too often.
She called these gifts and random acts of generosity "Cancer Perks." I always loved that she was able to put a perk on cancer. That was who she was. Always praising God in a storm. Perhaps that's why today seemed appropriate to share this as my devotional was on "Rejoicing Always." She seemed to fit that verse and passage so well.
And Karen was/is not the only one thankful for these things. It's a trend among all those that are fighting this same fight. So, it was never a question what I should call a foundation/organization/group named in her honor and memory.
"Cancer Perks" seems to be the perfect fit.
My goals for Cancer Perks are vast and vague and overwhelming at the present and I'm praying God will make my path clear and straight in the very near future. (Patience is for the birds.) I can tell you that I will be teaming up with a Christian support group that's just getting off the ground and working along with them. In what ways? Time will tell.
What I know for sure is two things.
First, I want to be an informational/financial resource as a foundation. This will require gathering information and having it one place. The website and in brochures. Information on "where to get a wig" "help with medications" "local support groups" "local oncologists and their specialties" "insurance"...etc. Financially, I want to be able to say "Yes, we can help you" when someone can't pay a water bill, or needs a lawn mowed, or groceries, or (insert whatever their cancer perk is).
Secondly, I want to pass out Cancer Perk bags. These bags will be distributed everyday, Monday through Friday, one week a month. This will hopefully cover the most people with the offsetting chemo schedules.
What will these bags contain? So glad you asked! Each and every bag will contain the following. These items were not just picked at random. They were the repeat items given to me over and over by tons of people after visiting the hospital, talking to friends and flailed affected by cancer, and posting it on the ever helpful social media sites.
Roll of quarters (vending machines at hospitals)
Restaurant gift card
Scent free lotion
This brings me to my favorite part...if you can't hear me or see me, please know that I'm drum rolling out loud and doing the motions in the air!
HOW CAN YOU HELP?!?!
Well, the obvious is donations! The cancer perk packages are really full of "the little things."
Chapstick, socks, hats, scent free lotion...these things can be found for $1.
Gift cards and gas cards? My goal is to make these a universal amount of $10 in order to make it fair for everyone. That should at least buy one person a meal. Though hear me when I say, I won't turn a single thing away.
Rolls of quarters= $10 (Maybe skip your Starbucks this week?
Resource pamphlets: I'm asking for a business to donate the printing cost of these. I'll design them. I've already started. Just help me out with a few hundred!
Blankets/Pillows: these will be my tricky things. I'm going to be very specific and try and order a combo set that can be a pillow when folded up. Something that can be small and fit into a bag, therefor monetary donations to purchase these may be my best bet.
This brings me to my favorite part:
A card...teachers and churches...I'm asking you to have your classes help here. If each kid could make one card before school got out, man what a difference! And can you imagine receiving a card from a child who didn't even know them but said they were thinking of them still? These don't have to be fancy...or they can be amazingly beautiful. I just know how I feel when I get a handwritten card from anyone. Of course, I'm not limiting these to just kids. Make a card! Buy a card, and share some love!
Lastly, say a prayer. That's it. Sounds so simple doesn't it. But know that not everyone has that in their life, in their journey, in their walk through darkness! I'll be adding a little card in each bag letting them know that someone here in Sedalia our surrounding Areas has prayed for them and their journey! You don't have to tell me...just pray if you feel led to pray.
Donate. I can't say it any simpler. No amount too small.
I've already started the plans for a 5k/10k.
I'll need volunteers, sponsors, t-shirt makers, food, water, and RUNNERS! Hit me up.
Let's do something great together! I LOVE the Bothwell Foundation and how it provides cutting edge technology for those in this area. We don't even know how privileged we are. That stuff is HUGE! I'm asking us to do something small...and in return...leave a mark on someone's life.
So read, pray, SHARE, and HELP!!! #CancerPerks
Love to all!!!
When God says, "JK!"
Recently I wrote about a time where God called me to do something that I didn't want to do. While I will keep the details of what it is that I was being forced...err...asked to do, I will say, again, that I obeyed. Kicking and screaming the whole entire way, I obeyed. :)
For a long while, I did what God asked me to do. To be honest, it wasn't awful. It wasn't even bad. If I'm downright truthful, I couldn't find anything REALLY negative to say about the situation. But...something just wasn't right. I couldn't put my finger on it. I couldn't name it out loud. I couldn't tell you what it was. Because I actually didn't know.
Then, God opened up another door and told me to walk through it. So, I did. I didn't even kick or scream or throw up this time! What a complete improvement over the last task! While I was in the middle of my new task, wondering why I was in the situation I was in, and better yet, why my whole family needed to be involved, God made one thing VERY clear: My first assignment had ended.
I'll be honest, when you don't want to do something, but you put it all aside and do it anyway...you don't expect God to tell you, "JK!" This week, I felt like I got a huge "Just Kidding," from God. I couldn't understand it. I was frustrated. I was a little bit angry and confused, yet somewhat thankful and relieved to have it.
As I was on the phone with my sister, yesterday, telling her of my predicament, I said these words: "I feel like Abraham. God made me take my kid all the way up to the hill. Made me pull out that knife. Then said 'JK!!'"
All of a sudden, everything made sense. For months I have been asking "God, what do you want me to do? What am I supposed to be doing? Where am I supposed to be going?" I should have been asking, "Am I willing to do what you want me to do? Whatever it is...whoever it is with...I'll go." I think I threw up a little typing that.
Obedience is hard. It's scary. Absolutely terrifying really. But, God showed me this week that sometimes if we will just obey, He will reveal that His plan really is greater than we truly think it is. Sometimes our greatest task from the Lord is not our picture-perfect final destination but the pain-staking journey we took getting there. Of course, foolish stubborn pride couldn't see that months ago when I went scratching and clawing my way into obedience...but I did go. And I think God will honor it just the same. "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."- 2 John 1:6
"God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved."- Psalms 46:5
Whitney B. Cromley
Follower of Jesus.