This is just one of dozens of Donna Day posts published by bloggers across America today, March 1, 2013, all in support of raising $ and awareness for the good work of St. Baldrick’s, and the goal of conquering kids cancer. I am humbled, overwhelmed, honored by the generosity of the blogging community that has embraced Donna as their own.
I am Donna’s Mama. I carried that girl in my belly, felt her kick inside me, was her sole form of nutrition for six months, fed her, bathed her, cuddled her, taught her her colors and numbers, loved her completely. Life was so sweet, so good, so simple and uncomplicated. Wake up, cuddle Donna, head to work or plan a day together, come home, cuddle Donna, sing and laugh and play. We had it so very good, so very, very good.
We moved to Cancerville and our lives were forever changed. We had visited Cancerville before, caring for my Mom as she lived and died with her own brain tumor in 2004 and 2005. This was different. After moving to Cancerville with Donna, we learned that we would never leave. It is our home now. The neighborhood sucks, but damn, the neighbors are amazing.
Over three years after Donna’s death, I am still trying to wrap my head around the impact her life and story have on people. First published in 2011, the response to Donna’s Cancer Story sort of threw me for a loop. I hear from people around the world on a fairly regular basis about the impact Donna has had on them, how she has shaped their perspective. People have stopped drinking or using drugs because of Donna. People have opted to care for foster children because of Donna. People have chosen to go into pediatric oncology nursing and doctoring because of Donna. People have hugged their kids tighter and read them more stories and demonstrated more patience with unruly toddlers because of Donna. People have gotten tattoos because of Donna. People have consciously worked to help others in their community because of Donna.
You see what I mean? It is both amazing and overwhelming and uplifting and makes me so damn proud to be her Mama.
One of those people was a reader like you. Her name is Jamie. She was the cousin of a friend who read Donna’s Cancer Story as it was being published in September 2011. She wanted to help. She wanted to make a difference. Tentatively, she called me and we talked. She proposed Donna’s Good Things, the charity we started after Donna died, host a St. Baldrick’s event. Would I be interested?
Right after Donna died, we wanted nothing more to do with cancer. It had taken my mom and our daughter. It had taken enough. We wanted to do something to honor Donna, but didn’t want to give cancer any more of our time or attention. Pfffft. Yeah, right. What the hell were we thinking? Pediatric cancer advocacy is now an important part of my life. Jamie just knew that before I did.
With Jamie’s suggestion, we did our research on St. Baldrick’s. WOW. What a fantastic organization. They have funded more childhood cancer research than any other entity outside the U.S. Government. They have excellent charity ratings, an extremely streamlined administrative tier, and minimal overhead. St. Baldrick’s is the real deal. They were Donna-worthy, if you will. We were in.
In just one year, Donna’s Good Things has raised over $130K for children in treatment for cancer. BAM! Let me tell you, there is no better way to tell cancer to SUCK IT than to help raise $ to banish it. Our shavees know this. Our donors know this. I hope you know this. And as of this year, no matter where you live, you too, can host a Donna’s Good Things shaving event in your own community. Do you live in Montana? NO PROBLEM! Florida? We got you covered? Oregon? New York? California? All things are possible with St. Baldrick’s. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will hook you up. BOOM.
On Saturday, March 30, we will host our 2nd DGT St. Baldrick’s shaving event at Candlelite Chicago. There will be shaving — and hey, if you have a head, you are still eligible to shave it — lots of dough can be raised in 30 days (that’s the blue button, yo). There will be beer and pizza and burgers and tater tots. There will be face painting. There will be smiles. There will be a tear or two. There will be lots and lots of hair to sweep. There will be cake. There will be bravery. There will be children and old ladies and lots of folks in between. There will be love. There will be joy. There will be gratitude. There will be HOPE.
Hope is what Donna taught me. More than any other lesson, and damn, that little girl had so many lessons to share, the importance of hope and joy in our lives — just our day-to-day seemingly dreary lives — was just part of her DNA. It is now part of my DNA.
Biologically, parents pass DNA to their children. With Donna, it worked the other way. That is just how damn amazing she was. My life is more joyful and full and rich and hopeful for being Donna’s Mama. Every day I thank her for what she has given to me, what she continues to give me and so many others.
You can do a Good Thing today and donate to our St. Baldrick’s event. Just click on the green “DONATE” button and make a difference for a child and family undergoing cancer treatment. It is a bitch, that cancer treatment. Honestly. Some days I never thought I would make it. We lived a life for 31 months that I would not wish on anyone. Today we live a different life. It is calmer than while we were in active treatment, but it can be sad and lonely. Quiet. We miss our girl, our Donna. We thank the stars above that Donna left us with joy and love and hope and the finest example of how to live a full and complete life.
Please, consider donating. Now. Not later. Not tomorrow or next week. You’ll forget. You will. I know, cause I do it all the time. Our lives are busy and frantic and crowded with responsibilities. In the midst of that, think of Donna and all the kiddos and families who live in Cancerville. It is damn crowded in here, let me tell you. We could you your help — $5, $10, $20 and up — every dollar makes a difference when it goes for research.
Tell ’em Donna sent you.
Thank you, folks! Donna Day is one of our favorite days of the year.