"We Care".....I've finally got my mission (charity) up and running!
This was the email I sent out to accompany my letter:
Dear family and friends,
Attached is a letter explaining my new mission called "We Care". Please read it in its entirety so that you can understand where I'm coming from and what this mission is all about.
I hope you will join me in this mission of kindness, love, and support for those people currently undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation in their fight against cancer. At this time it is a local mission (Baton Rouge area) unless someone has a person close to them and would like a care package mailed to that person (in that case I'll need an address sent to me!).
Of course, at this time I am not a legally established charity. While my goal is to eventually get 501(c) status, it will be a while to make sure the charity is sustainable and for me to get the funds I need (for application purposes) as well as write up my mission statement and other documents. I'll also need to find a team of people that are willing to serve on the board. It's quite a bit to get all that done, but I refuse to sit by and do nothing all because I'm not "official".
Here's the letter I wrote. I'm having to copy/paste from a Word document, so bear with me.
Dear Family and Friends,
First, please do not be offended that each one of you was not addressed “personally” in this letter. I decided to do it this way as I see this mission (to be explained in following paragraphs) as a group mission with all our hearts coming together as one, thus I wanted to address everyone at one time.
Second, what is this letter about? Well, I’m going to explain it the best I can.
In August 2009, Dad was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Renal Adenocarcinoma. To put it simply, he had kidney cancer that had already spread to other areas of the body. That single diagnosis on that single day changed all of our lives forever.
Sadly, there is no miracle drug for this type of cancer, so Dad tried a few different chemotherapy treatments with the worst being the Interleukin-2 treatment. I remember plainly the hopelessness I felt watching him suffer through the awful side effects that chemotherapy often causes. I prayed all the time for some way to ease the discomfort and the pain.
On July 31, 2010, Dad left us. It was the saddest, most painful day of my life, yet in some respect I finally felt a sense of peace. I knew, at that moment, all the pain and suffering was no more.
Ever since that day, I have felt a pulling inside to do something more. I wanted to do something for others in the memory of my Dad. Until recently, I just never knew what that “more” was or should be. Today, I know. What I want is to offer support and kindness to another person who is fighting cancer. I want to tell that person that I, we, care. I want them to know that they are not alone in their battle for survival. I want them to have a small item that may come in handy while they are enduring their treatment(s). I want to offer something that, maybe just for a small moment in time, takes their mind away from their current situation and brings a smile to their face knowing that someone is thinking of them.
Many of y’all know that I am an Independent Consultant with Thirty-One. When praying for guidance in what to do, I was basically hit with the knowledge that all I needed was right in front of me. You see, Thirty-One makes these wonderful lunch totes called the Thermal Tote. My plan is to set up an online sale allowing people to purchase a thermal tote that will then be filled with a variety of items before being handed out to those currently undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation.
I am dedicating 100% of my commission from these sales to purchase the items that will be used to fill the totes. The items I have on my list are items that I found for Dad to help him with the discomforts of his chemotherapy. Examples of the items are as follows:
-Lip balm (Aquaphor, Burt’s Bees, etc.)
-Lotion (Aquaphor or other physician recommended otc brand)
-Hard candies including candied ginger or ginger pops, lemon drops, peppermints, etc.
-activity book (Sudoku, crossword puzzles, etc.)
-bottle of water
Any additional ideas for items to include would be helpful. At this stage, I’m trying to get a feel for what items would be most beneficial. Also, any donations, whether monetary or the items themselves, would be greatly appreciated.
I’m pretty sure at this point you are trying to figure out how this will all work. It’s like this: I will open up an online event on my personal Thirty-One website, www.mythirtyone.com/stacigonzales, which will allow people to purchase a Thermal Tote of their choice to be used for this mission. I will hold the event for approximately 2 weeks. At the end of this time, I will close the event and all the totes will be sent to my home. When they arrive, I will fill them with a variety of items (see list above). All the totes will then be distributed to men and women currently undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments for cancer. I will keep an online event open at all times, so at the close of one 2-week event, a new one will appear in its place. This will allow for people to purchase the thermal totes at any time.
I am currently in the process of figuring out the exact “how” part of getting these totes distributed. My goal is to have it set so that a few days out of the month, I will hand them out at the local outpatient centers/hospitals as patients arrive for treatment. I plan on meeting with local cancer facilities and organizations on how to get this going. I also would love for someone, who has a friend or family member undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation to, to contact me with a mailing address so I could get a care package mailed to him/her. However, I already have a list of people that are currently fighting cancer (one is a friend of mine that I had the pleasure of working with), so I’m working fast to get this mission up and running.
I know many of you have suffered the pain of losing a loved one to cancer, and others have witnessed the blessing of having a loved one be the ultimate survivor.
So this is where I ask for your support. I’m asking each and every one of you to be a part of this mission of love, caring, and support. No amount of help is too small. Come and be a part of “We Care”.
Thank you all for joining me in making a difference in the lives of others.
P.S. – I would love to answer any questions that anyone may have. I can be reached via phone at (###)###-#### or via email at <my email addy here>.
P.P.S – I have had a few people ask if they could add embroidery to the thermal tote they order. Of course! I think adding a positive message of “Hope”, “Faith”, “Believe” or even the Bible passage of an encouraging verse is a wonderful idea!
The Hokey Pokey. That's what it's all about.