Meet Ayden! Ayden was not feeling well on this day and could barely hold his head up! If you want to read this post, even though it may be controversial or sad, then be my guest!
As you most know...our family is huge into volunteering our time and services. I do a ton of fundraising and help out as much as I am capable of doing. My husband is on a volunteer fire department, that he spends a huge portion of his free time doing, and spent money to become a EMT just to help out a community. He gets not one red cent for doing this!
When I first started at Target, Oprah's Big Give donated $10,000 to the Sioux Falls area. It was giving to KSFY, one of our local television services, and KSFY teamed up with Target to "Pay it forward". We got $2,500 as a seed to grow.
Target racked their brains on what to do with it. Sanford, one of our hospitals, was contacted. The Oncology nurses introduced us to Ayden. A little boy with Wilms Tumor. He had already lost a kidney, went into remission for a few short weeks, and then had 2/3 of his lung removed when they found evidence of the disease again.
Target chose Ayden and his family to help b/c they are struggling. The mom lost a corporate job mostly due to taking much needed time off to take her 2yr old son to chemo. They pay Cobra insurance now. They live in a run down rental home. They have 4 children. The youngest being 1yr old, Ayden is now 3yrs old, a teenage boy and a grown son and his wife. This family works hard to care for Ayden and the youngest sibling. They alternate times to take him to the hospital, the doctor, the chemo. They all encourage Ayden to take his shots that he gets daily, and like any other 3yr old, hates the shots. They donate 2 nights a week to Meals on Wheels even with their scrunched time schedule. The house is run down and the landlord doesn't keep up with the repairs. This house is very, very old, and not a stable place for a 3yr old with a very rare cancer.
Target, KSFY and many other businesses are building this family a brand new home. We need $110,000 to do it. We have until the 17th of this month.
We are selling "Links of Love" for $1 and of course all proceeds go to Ayden directly. We have a table right when you walk thru the door and a Target employee always manning it.
I am sad to see so many people turn their noses up to this cause. I had quite a few tell me "NO" in a very rude manner b/c they do not support promotional fundraisers. They do not like Oprah. One lady told me she was a "black pig!" I was embarrassed to even have spoken to this person. There is a huge picture of Ayden right on the table. I simply said "Does this little boy look like Oprah?" She was speechless.
Trust me, I know how many times we all get hit up for donations. It is overwhelming. I don't claim to give to every single cause. I do however, always give when it involves a child and when I know the donation is directly affecting them. I choose a cause, and stick with that cause. But if I am asked for $1......which could mean me giving my $1 to a boy with cancer or buying a soda....I make a choice. We all usually have $1 worth of change at the bottom of our purse. Is it really that much to ask????
What if it was your child who was fighting for their life. What if it was you fighting for your childs life??? What if it was you that had to wipe the tears of pain away daily. What if it was you that had to beg and plead with your kid to take their meds 3X's a day?? What if it was you that lay awake with your child who has cancer and suddenly has a temp, which is never good?? What if it was you that had a swarm of medical bills streaming in, for hundreds of thousands of dollars, all of which you couldn't pay? What if it was you that could not afford a different house, even though the current one was not good for you and your family??? What if...........
I am a huge advocate for Stem Cell Research and transplants. I know the controversy of it. I have listened to both sides and made my own educated decision. I did my research!
Fact: The embryo's that are not used for research and transplants get thrown in the trash!!!
Fact: Stem cell transplants cure cancer, metabolic disorders, paralysation, etc.
Fact: Most children with cancer who had a stem cell transplant are alive today because of it.
Fact: Cancer is ugly, aggressive and doesn't care who the victim is.
Fact: Controversy has played a part in all medical treatments at one point.....even in the immunizations that we give our children to stay healthy.
Fact: Most that disagree with Stem Cell Transplants suddenly change their mind about it when a loved one falls victim to cancer and needs the transplant to survive.
Fact: Most non-supporters have never read about stem cell transplants and made a guess off of hear/say!
Fact: Children die from cancer everyday, sometimes b/c their insurance companies deny them the medical treatment they rightfully deserved.
I know children who have been threw cancer and all it's ugliness. I know children who are alive and cancer free today because of stem cell transplants. I know what I know from research. I know what I advocate for because I choose to take time to research.
I choose what causes I will donate too. That is my right. I also get very involved in those organizations. My focus is on kids, illnesses and Stem Cell Research. I will advocate for these organizations and continue to volunteer my services. Even if they are small.
If every person donated $10 a month to their choice of donations, every single person, the outcome would be overwhelming.
I don't judge based on your choices. I do judge when others judge mine. If you don't like what causes I am advocating for, then whatever. You don't have too. Many people told me "no" to the "Links of Love" because they are involved in other fundraisers. I smile, and tell them thank you for being involved. I don't care if it is for animals, for elderly, for church for whatever. Just as long as you are involved.
My precious daughter asked me if she could give her college savings fund to Ayden because she would rather not go to college and help him live! That little stinker taught me something! What a concept. Instead, I asked her to walk the streets with me tonight, asking for $1 or more from neighbors, friends, even sworn enemies. So guess what we are doing tonight? Knocking on doors until our knuckles bleed, until our feet are swollen, or until it is bedtime to help a little boy that cannot play outside, go to school, go shopping, play at a park, fight with his siblings or even eat certain foods because a disease is taking over his body. Instead, he will lie on the couch because his white blood count is too low, endure numerous shots and surgeries, wears a mask over his face when he leaves his house, has doctors and needles and nurses and hospitals to look forward too.
This isn't about Oprah, Target, KSFY or me. This is about him! A boy who deserves the chance at life!!!!!
Ask yourself this.......
There will be no apologies for a long post. There will be no controversy over this post. There will be no regrets for my decisions in life. There will only be time, energy and love!
If you made it this far, and this post has swelled your heart or opened your eyes. Hooray! If this post means something to you because you have found your place in donations, pat yourself on the back! If this post made you mad, then move on to the next blog! I'm not asking for you to agree or disagree, I'm asking for us all to make a impact!!!!!!!!!
God Bless this Little boy and God Bless volunteers!!!!!!