Have you been a friend of mine since (at least) 2008? Do you remember a child named Donna?
Do you remember her dancing? Did you know she was my greatest teacher?
Do you remember when I was on both the Young Associates Board of Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago) and Donna’s Good Things? Also, do you remember me asking you to donate for childhood cancer research and services throughout the years if you could? Remember when I shaved my head for the cause, in Donna’s honor and memory, and you were awesome with thousands of dollars in donations?
Do you remember when friends of mine (mostly women) also then stood up to shave their heads?
Do you remember Donna’s amazingness? Her tenacity, patience, wonder, and whippersnapper wit? Do you remember following her Cancer Story as told by her mother? Do you remember her one and only dance recital? Do you remember her vigil and all the pumpkins? Do you remember her Blue Suede Shoes and the pain of saying goodbye to her at age 4 and 4 months?
Donna has inspired people around the world, and I was lucky enough to dance with her and to share with her reciprocal admiration. That is one of the greatest honors this life has given me so I continue to be involved. I have done a bit of fundraising last year for an event at 57357 Children’s Cancer Hospital, but in general, I have done little in that $$$ department since I moved to Egypt. The reason is rooted in guilt. I myself do not have the financial capacity to donate. While my salary is a decent one in Egyptian pounds, my monthly bills such as credit cards and student loans are in USD. Imagine multiplying your monthly bills by 7.15. Now I know there are no excuses, so I still give to local individuals and international non-profits as I can afford. I also donate a lot of time and writing. But I have failed short of my own standards the last few years. I admit that. Asking others to donate when I cannot has felt awkward.
this cause is too important for my feelings to get in the way.
All types of childhood cancers combined receive less than 4% of federal funding for cancer research. The reason is basically because childhood cancer is not profitable. We use adult treatments on children (just to a lesser dose) and it burns them from the inside out. Some survivors of childhood cancer spend a lifetime with side effects of they treatment including infertility, tooth decay (because their oral chemo is often put inside sugary treats), weak limbs, low GPA and an inability to adjust to college, or post-traumatic stress. Some survivors were young enough not to remember any of it.
Donna lived until she died in 2009.
Today is annual Donna Day and people around the world are working together to collect as much money as possible in her name, myself included. You can do your important part by by clicking here. Remember a child named Donna.