In a few short weeks, I’ll hit that little life milestone that seems to strike fear into the hearts of men: turning 30. Honestly, it doesn’t faze me much, besides wondering on occasion why I nearly demand at least six hours of sleep these days.
Now, I had given some thought recently on the concept of giving and how we tend to offer up presents, well-wishes, and whatnot to celebrate significant accomplishments in our lives. It’s a good thing to remind others of our appreciation for the substantial events that occur in their lives too. So, I recently thought about how I would want others to celebrate my 30th birthday with me — if they so felt like it.
What came to mind was this: I wanted to celebrate the avenues that have been a humble, immense blessing to me over these years. My parents, my family, my friends — yes, all worth celebrating infinitely, and I try to do so every day. But I wanted to find something unique, perhaps an event or cause that I don’t always reflect upon, but deserves to be uplifted. And I think I found it. But first, a quick story.
…four days after my 13th birthday, in 1994, I was diagnosed with a mid-aggressive stage of Hodgkin’s Disease, a cancerous lymphoma, that threw my whole young perspective on life into flux. In the six months of intensive chemotherapy that ensued, I discovered that this battle wasn’t just between my body and the disease: a small army of doctors, nurses, caregivers, and community members took up arms alongside me. And we won, convincingly, to the point that it has never chosen to rear its ugly head again for seventeen straight years. Without this network of support, bolstered by an incredible network of researchers working diligently to find solutions to combating this disease, I truly wouldn’t be here today.
I reflected upon this a few days ago, as the 17th anniversary of my diagnosis approaches, and I realized that the greatest gift I would want to receive is to watch others acknowledge the importance of the work being done to help cancer patients and survivors like me.
So, here’s my wish: In the next three weeks, up to my birthday on February 10th, I want my network of peers, family, and friends to give at least $30,000 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The LLS is one of the leading advocates for research, patient information, and survivor support for those affected by these cancers. My family was blessed to have these resources during my trial, and it would be an honor to have us all support, in some small way, the efforts they undertake to bless others.
Giving is simple: just text HFC to 90999 and a non-recurring $5 charge will be added to your mobile phone bill. If you prefer to donate via other means, read up on those at https://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_donate?item_id=8072.
$30,000 is a lot. It’s 6,000 people giving five bucks (there’re my math skills kicking in!). So, spread the word. Tell your friends and family to give a few bucks. I don’t even need to know who gives — in fact, I WON’T know who gives — but if you want to send a note over stating you did, I’ll happy oblige with a “thank you” and perhaps even a kiss on the forehead if you really demand it.
Thank you, in advance, for making my 30th birthday a little more meaningful than a stack of “over the hill” cards.