Posted by: alisalliance | July 11, 2011

July 8th 2011 Donations from the Heart

July 8th 2011 From the road in Amarillo, TX for Ali’s Alliance.

After just over a month on the road I am approaching the Southeast and home. The days have gotten much warmer and finally I am not cold. This has led to a certain amount of reflection on the trip as a whole and two specific stories that are so special they really need to be shared. Before the stories I have to say that I have met some really incredible people and received assurances that the Ali’s Alliance organization and the Cancer Resource List are both ideas that are appropriate for the time and technology available and serve a real need.

The trip so far has taken me to the Mid-Atlantic States, the Breadbasket, the Great Lakes Region, the Rockies, up to the Pacific Northwest, down to LA, through the Canyon Country of the Southwest, back across the Rockies and now Eastward across the High Plains. Through all of these miles and countless meetings and encounters the number of people that I’ve met whose lives have not been touched by Cancer I can count on one hand. What we’re doing is something that needs to be done and the idea resonates. This brings me to my stories.

Two encounters stand out and need to be shared. The first happened early in the morning when I went to have breakfast at a dinner close to the motel where I spent the night. This was a small dinner in a town of about 2000 people and the dinner was empty except for me and one other patron. I exchanged pleasantries with the waitress and she asked where I was going. This opened the door for me to talk about Ali’s Alliance and the “Riding for Ali” road trip and the Cancer Resource List. The waitress told me that she was a single mom raising two children, one almost out of the house and that her sister’s mother in law had just been diagnosed with Cancer. Because of the family dynamic the job of caregiver was falling to her sister even though she had a job and two children of her own to care for. She really needed help and had no idea where to turn. The Cancer Resource List would be a perfect tool for her once it was up and operating. After sharing her story and that of her sister the waitress excused herself for several moments. When she came back she told me that she thought Ali’s Alliance and the Cancer Resource List were such a great idea that she wanted to help. With that she told me that my breakfast was taken care of and she also gave me a gift of forty dollars. Having just heard her story and knowing how important forty dollars would be to her I was dumb struck and moved just about to tears. Looking back I see it as one more sign that we’re doing the right thing and doing it for the right reasons.

The second encounter involved a man I met in a restaurant along the way, just two men that strike up a conversation over a meal. We exchanged pleasantries and I told him about Alison and Ali’s Alliance and then he shared with me that his family had been hit really hard by Cancer, five or six deaths including several aunts, uncles and cousins. The battle had very difficult for the family. Suddenly he excused himself and like the waitress said “I’ll be right back”. Several minutes passed and he returned carrying a well-worn baggie containing six old silver dollars. He said that he wanted to make a donation, but that his family was just real short on cash at the moment. He told me that his wife had lost her job and that he had given up twenty-five per cent of his salary just to keep his. He explained that the silver dollars were the last of a legacy gift passed down from his grandfather that he kept in the glove box of the car. I was dumbstruck and made sure that he knew that the coins were worth quite a bit just as silver and that there might be some rarity value as well. He just said that that was alright. He wanted to give something and this was what he had to give.

To this very moment I remain humbled by the gifts of these two people. The idea of Ali’s Alliance was something that came from my need to something proactive for the community of Cancer survivors and caregivers. To have that idea validated by these folks is just more than I could hope for.

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