I recently ran a fundraiser in my school for a student who has cancer. The fundraiser was called Lolligrams. It involved purchasing a Valetine’s card with a lollipop. My class and two other classes would then deliver these Valentine’s to whoever you wished your Valentine to be delivered to. I’ve done this Lolligram fundraiser many times in the past. It is such a terrific way to get kids involved in doing something for someone else. The kids love sending the Valentine’s & they love delivering them to the classrooms. But, this time, for me, it was different! It hit me personally, in the past when I’ve done the fundraiser, I felt for the families, I wanted to be able to help, I wanted to do “something” b/c well, I just could not imagine what it was like to have your child sick, to sit by their bedside and wish & hope for them to get better! However, this time I knew. This time, I knew that raw pain, the gut wrenching, tear your gut out pain that goes with having your child lay in a hospital bed & you are absolutely helpless to do anything about it. This time I knew what will lay ahead for this family, what comes after you get your child home, how when you think life just may start to be normal again, & bam, your thrust into another medical crisis & the roller coaster ride of no sleep, laying in hospital chairs, waiting for answers awaits you. I know how you begin to operate on automatic pilot, how on the outside you look like you have it all together & yet on the inside you can’t keep your thoughts together, nothing makes sense, you seem to forget everything & it is hard sometimes to remember even what “normal” was. Soon those mounting medical bills come in, you begin to make the phone calls to the insurance company, to countless people they transfer you to, who say, I’m sorry, you will have to speak to so & so, they can help you, but then so & so says, “I’m so sorry, I can’t help you, I will transfer you!” & before you know it, you’ve been on the phone for 3 hrs, spoken to 3 people & gotten no where! It is for these reasons this fundraiser was so important to me, it was for these reasons that it was so emotional to me watching all the kids beaming faces making those deliveries on Valentine’s Day! We have had such tremendous, loving support while we have put the pieces back together after my son’s accident. Life is not the same, it is different, it is hard, some days, it is even a nightmare. However, I will NEVER forget the love, the kindness, the compassion that was shown to our family & is still shown to us as we are still on this journey back to recovery. It is my goal each & everyday to pay it forward. We are part of a club I don’t wish anyone to be a part of, however, I won’t let anyone travel that road alone, so I will do what it takes, Lolligrams, 5k runs, midnight dashes to the ER, whatever, just so someone knows, they are not alone, kindness travels, pay it forward! I promise to continue to reach out, it is what makes getting through the days better…
Offering Choice in the Planning Process - As in all aspects of writing workshop, students should have choice in their planning process.
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