There are elements of today’s post that have been brewing for quite some time…others bitch slapped me between the hours of 7:30-8:30am. My alarm went off at 6:15am after I’d been lying awake since 5am thinking about one thing or another. I got up, went through my morning routine, ruminated on what’s been eating at me as of late and drove to the Denver Country Club for a breakfast hosted by the Morgan Adams Foundation.
If you know me (hell, even if you don’t), you know I’m not the country club type. Joan Slaughter, founder of the foundation, had asked me to be her guest. That’s why I was going. (If you’re new to RedheadWriting, check out my post on ARTMA – my first introduction to Joan’s foundation.) I walked up to the club with blue toenails and a fucsia dress. One look at the fellow attendees …oh shit. Why the hell was I here? JOAN! Right! I was here for Joan. I didn’t measure-up to the Brooks Brothers suits and tweed-tastic clad ladies. I found solace in HootSuite on my iPhone before the breakfast began.
And then for the next hour, I was overcome with an understanding of what’s really important.
I was given the gift of sitting in a room amongst families whose lives have been changed, for better and for worse, by pediatric cancer. They’re right here in Denver. They may even be your neighbors, your children’s classmates. I heard a man whose toddler son was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor talk with a straight face about the $2 million tab for his son’s treatment protocol after “experts” at Johns Hopkins told him to put his son on terminal care, as there was “nothing to do.”
What’s really important?
Hope. Passion. Ambition.
It’s not that your plans for last night didn’t work out to your liking.
It’s not that you’re running late to a meeting.
It sure as hell isn’t that you stained your favorite blouse.
It’s hearing a woman’s voice crack as she talks about putting her 5-year-old daughter’s hair up in a ponytail during her chemotherapy treatment because she thought that…somehow…the ponytail would keep her hair together. Help it not fall out.
It’s hearing her introduce a young lady in the room who was receiving treatment at the same time her daughter was – and one’s here today. One’s not.
It’s listening ravenously as you hear three pediatric oncologists talk about being told they were crazy for wanting to commit their lives to a field where kids die. Die. But how they wouldn’t be satisfied until they, as medical professionals, did better and upped the odds for kids who are told there’s nothing left to do.
That’s what matters.
Hope. Passion. Ambition.
I literally get PISSED when I hear about a diocese in Pennsylvania donating $1.8 million for Haitian relief and then I hear about a national debt sitting at $12 trillion. We piss and moan about taxes and health care legislation and we keep sending our money overseas. We drive by the homeless people on the corner who need a dollar yet we’ll text $10 to The Red Cross to help people way beyond our borders. Yeah, I see the compassion in there. Somewhere. But why do we look so far beyond our own backyards for causes worth our $1 or $1.8 million? I simply don’t understand.
Not only is life entirely too short to deal with crap that doesn’t make your life better, it’s much shorter for some than others. Something to think about as we determine what’s important and what’s not. Strange…I’ve suddenly moved quite a few things to the “not important” list.
It’s been a sappy couple weeks for The Redhead. But today, I learned what’s really important. Maybe you’ll stop by the Morgan Adams Foundation site and see something important there as well. And a special thanks to Joan for inviting me to breakfast in the sea of tweed today. She didn’t see me drop my glasses in the back during the video because I was wiping the tears from my eyes. I’ve never really heard her talk about her family’s journey with Morgan until today. I’m very glad I heard it – from her.
PS: This post isn’t to guilt you into making a donation or taking an interest in this particular nonprofit. I know there are many worthwhile causes out there in need of support. This morning, however, I was lucky enough to know that the dollars I donated to a cause were going somewhere and for a certain purpose and that those dollars made a difference. And I think it’s damn lucky that other families who find themselves faced with pediatric cancer have a foundation like Morgan Adams dedicated to funding research that matters.