Should I Have Been More Charitable With My Fitbit?


Should my Fitbit have gone to Prostate Cancer Awareness?

I've been working out quite a bit lately. Lots of cardio time on the treadmill and elliptical. Been getting back to my old Saturday morning boot camp as well. My new Fitbit helps me track just how fast my heart is ticking.  I enjoy having it, but every time I look at it I have a twinge of guilt. Should this Fitbit really be mine?

No, I didn't steal it. I didn't sneak it off of someone's desk and register it under my name. I didn't find it on the floor and appropriate it as my own. But I didn't pay for it either, at least not in a conventional way.

So how did I get it? And why does it make me feel any angst? I'm not sure whether to call it a prize, or an award, or a gift. Regular readers know that I am a supporter of prostate cancer awareness, and participate every year in a 5K fundraising run promoting the cause. And I work hard to raise donations. I send out a lot of emails, I push myself to complete the race, and last year I even took a pie in the face (lemon meringue, I believe) from one of my lab associates, the winner of a fundraising raffle. I also support the causes of a lot of friends, who in turn help me out with mine--let's face it, there is plenty of quid pro quo.

With all this activity, last year I blew past my personal goal and was the top Chicagoland fundraiser for the annual event. The Fitbit was my prize, my award, my gift. I received an email from the run coordinator asking me if I wanted to accept it. And ever eager to try new gadgets, I said "sure, send it to me."

But every time I look at it I ask myself the question, "Shouldn't the funds that went to purchase this been used for the cause instead?"

Even if the Fitbit was donated, couldn't it have been auctioned or raffled off to raise more money? What was the proper etiquette? Should I have accepted the gizmo or not?

I had a similar dilemma once before. But the answer the previous time was simple. It was back in my days as a hospital pathologist at Holy Family Medical Center. Barb had the privilege of being President of the Women's Board,  responsible for planning the annual fundraising gala.

One year, I somehow found myself as MC of the event. We made a pretty spiffy couple in our evening gown (her) and tuxedo (me.) And we were even spiffier when hospital CEO Sister Patricia Ann picked a ticket with my name on it out of a big steel drum. I had just won the $5000 cash raffle!

But, being a long time practitioner of Catholic hospital politics, I realized in an instant that the cash wasn't going to pay for a fun family vacation. No, by the end of the evening the Raff family had donated the money right back into the Hoy Family General Fund.

I suspect divine intervention was involved in my win that night, although I am not sure if it was from Sister Patricia Ann, or from a much higher being. Now I need a higher power to absolve me from my Fitbit guilt.  So tell me Barb, is it ok?
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