Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why I Donate

Twenty-five years ago, I gave a family friend a gift of a star named in her honor. She was particularly hard to buy for, and I wasn't sure if she'd like the gift or not. Turns out, she loved it. She hooted, with the distinctive laugh she had that I can still conjure in my memory. And she displayed the certificate proudly.

It was only a couple years later that cancer would take her from us.

That time it was lung cancer, not breast cancer. But the first time, back in 1980 or so, it was breast cancer. I was a kid at the time, so the magnitude of her battle was lost on me. But looking back, the 20 extra years we had her in our lives was a miracle.

Her name was Barbara, and she and her husband were good friends of my parents (we lost her husband to cancer also, five years before she died). Barbara was about 10 years older than my mother, and she wasn't related by blood, which was important. Because as I was wrapped up in the self-centered murkiness of my teen years, and as I tried to figure out who I was that was different from who my mother was, Barbara helped.

I thought of her as my fairy godmother of logic. (My logic godmother?) She was the one who'd talk sense to me, who'd straighten out my warped, irrational brain. Who'd help me see past the "I shoulds" and "I can'ts" to my own soul and happiness. In a way, for me, she really was magic.

I'm not telling you she was perfect. She wasn't, I know that. But she was a great friend, and I still miss her, deeply. I still think of her sometimes and cry because I miss her. I still get angry at cancer for taking her—and so many other wonderful people we've all known—from us.

And she's why I give anytime someone asks for a donation for a cancer organization. She's why I'm spreading the word as widely as possible about Pippa Mann's pink car for Susan G. Komen at the Indianapolis 500.

Twenty-five years after that named star, 16 years after I last saw her, and nowhere near Christmas or her birthday, I'm giving my friend Barbara another gift. I'm giving her a ride-along in Pippa's car for the entire Indy 500 race, by putting her name in Pippa's racecar. I think Barbara would like that a lot.

I hope you'll join me and #GetInvolved, so we can both celebrate the survivors (and fighters) and kick cancer's ass.

(photo from Pippa's Instagram)

No comments:

Post a Comment