“It Takes a Village”- The Importance of Community

I’ve noticed in recent days some negative feedback or attitudes toward fundraising pages or accounts. It seems like every time I log into social media there is always some sort of crisis. Someone is sick, someone had surgery, someone’s house has burned down, etc. After reading a few statuses about how “the asking for ‘handouts’ gets old,” or “being added to various fundraising pages is exhausting,” I found myself feeling pretty disappointed at how we seem to have lost the idea of “love thy neighbor.” Isn’t one of the biggest points of community to come together to help out when someone else is down? Once it happens to someone you know or one of your loved ones, the act of asking for help shows itself in a new light.

I met Camille back in 2008 through my Aunt Opal. Around a year ago, Camille was in the fight for her life at just 28 years old in need of a lung and heart transplant due to her pulmonary arterial hypertension. With no available matches yet and her health taking a turn for the worst, the health care team wanted to put her on the list for these organs in California where she would hopefully have better luck getting what she needed. The catch was that they could not list her for the organs in California until she was admitted to the hospital, Standford Healthcare in San Jose. The cost to fly her there would be a minimum of $54,000 due to her being on a treatment called ECMO. With her being on the ECMO treatment it would require not only a specialty plane but also a specialized health care team that would be needed to make the flight with her.

By the grace of God, she didn’t have to take the flight across country and was able to have the transplant in Boston, however that didn’t take away from the extensive follow up care that was going to be needed. The follow up care as well as the amount of time away from work that not only she, but her parents and family were taking to fly from Michigan to Boston, coupled with any other out of pocket expenses they were going to incur from this extremely hard time. Through Go Fund Me, they were able to raise $47,925 of the $54,000. Who is they? They is her community. Her friends, family, anyone that knew her, and even people who didn’t. Anyone who Camille’s story had touched played a part in the donating as well as the positive thoughts and prayers that were able to reach her. Without community, reaching that goal could have been extremely difficult. Because of community they were able to come within reach of that goal. Everyday we do a daily check on Camille via Facebook, and she is reporting that she’s doing well! What a miracle, we are just absolutely astounded and inspired by her strength and perseverance.

camille

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Now here we are a year later, and Brian’s aunt Julie is facing some tough times of her own. Julie went in for a routine thyroid check and then they found a heart murmur. From there they sent her for a stress test which came back abnormal. They then sent her for a heart catheter and found FOUR blockages. She was immediately admitted and had quadruple bypass surgery the next morning. Now Julie will be off of work for at least three months while she begins her recovery process, and her husband Jeff was also off on unpaid leave while she underwent her surgery for a few days. Although Jeff is now back to work, going from a dual income to just one income is difficult, especially when you are facing the out of pocket medical expense that comes along with a traumatic and invasive surgery such as this. We’ve created a Go Fund Me for Julie, and in just 7 days we’ve raised almost half of our goal for them!

julie

I know times are tough, and money is always tight. There is really never enough to go around, but after witnessing these two situations I really like to try to at least give something to any Go Fund Me or fundraiser that I see. With that being said, I don’t donate to the ones where the college kids are raising money to go on Spring Break, but any family or individual in need I like to try to give something. Whether it’s $5 or even just sharing the page, because if I ever found myself or my family in a situation where we were in a time of need I would like to think that our community would lift us up and do the same. Community is family, community is friends, community is acquaintances and strangers alike. Community is important, and it is beautiful.

There is an African proverb in which states “It takes a village to raise a child” and that is so true not only for children, but for everyone. It takes a village to overcome obstacles, and to lift us back up. Be part of the good, and be part of your village.

Until next time!

//

Em

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