One of these girls is not like the other.
There was a time when they were very much alike, so very much. But cancer changed that.
Today, Atia is alive and cancer free (YOU GO ATIA! KEEP LIVING BABY!). I desperately wish I could say the same about Donna. Donna died in 2009, the result of a cancerous tumor in her brain. And that is why one of these girls is not like the other - one of these precious girls is no longer here.
Ah, but these beauties do still have something very important in common - each child has amazing parents, laser focused go-getters who have worked hard on a project here in Illinois to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research, WHICH COMPARED TO OTHER CANCERS IS GROSSLY UNDERFUNDED. A link with specific information about this problem is provided at the end of this post. But that's not all they have in common. Both of their mommas blog here on Chicago now and write extensively about pediatric cancer, Donna's mom as Mary Tyler Mom and Atia's mom is one of the contributing bloggers at Ay Mama!
Sheila (Donna’s mom) and Laura (Atia’s mom), each run a charity to honor their child and raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer (you can click on their names to be linked to the individual organizations). These ladies also worked very hard, along with many other incredible people, in order to get the Illinois Childhood Cancer Research Fund off the ground and they did it.
THEY DID IT.
I am asking you to take the time to read about it. ILLINOIS CHILDHOOD CANCER RESEARCH FUND.
Although the Illinois income tax return donation might not apply to you, it very well could someday in your own state. Maybe it already does? Have you haven’t taken the time to see just what opportunities for giving you have in your own state? If so, maybe you haven’t donated because you are concerned that the money you donate won’t go to the intended charity, or that the charity isn’t managed well?
These concerns are valid. I repeat - these concerns are valid. Be concerned. Be aware. Get the facts and get 'em straight from a reliable source who can provide you with valid, well researched and complete information.
A reporter here in Chicago, Mark Suppelsa, very recently decided to do a little investigating with concern to this very issue. Is your tax donation doing good for the organization you chose? Suppelsa's findings gave cause for concern, especially for my friends who have worked so hard to get the Illinois Childhood Cancer Research Fun on the 2012 Illinois Tax Forms. Concern? Yes, but certainly not cause for panic or an excuse to completely ignoring the good that comes from generously giving to the various organizations on the tax forms.
Hey - I feel as angry as the next guy when our government screws up, but I can be angry without losing hope. Unfortunately, that's not the case with everybody and this IS cause for panic! The truth is, reports like this have great potential to undo so much of the good work these organizations seek to provide! Reports like this take away something the recipients of these programs desperately need - HOPE!
And so my friends decided to address his findings. You can read about it HERE.
Every issue is multifaceted and merits thorough investigation and discussion, which is happening in this particular situation. That's the good stuff. Chicago? - It sure ain't Switzerland! But in all fairness, this is an extremely important issue and it gives me HOPE when I see that minds and hearts are actively engaging in dialogue about it, heated as these discussions may be. We need to talk about things, all things, no matter how difficult it is or how strongly we disagree.
But it’s never just that simple, is it?
So the dialogue must continue. Today, it’s continuing all over the internet due to an idea inspired by Donna’s parents – DONNA DAY! Donna Day is a day that has been chosen to honor Donna and encourage people in the blogging community to open up a dialogue about pediatric cancer. People have a lot to say. This is a hot topic, full of differences of opinion and disagreements abound, but we all agree on one thing and that thing is that pediatric cancer sucks. All cancer sucks, however another thing we agree on is this - seeing a child suffer is a suckage beyond belief. There needs to be more money raised and directed to research and treatment of pediatric cancer. PERIOD. During the time Donna was sick, Sheila's mantra was this - CHOOSE HOPE. Hell, it still IS her mantra and that is why her passionate reply to Mr. Suppelsa, heated as it may be, is merely hopeful reply and a request for help keeping that hope alive!
I AM ASKING YOU TO CHOOSE HOPE!
Sure, there are jerks in government who can't tell the difference between their ass and apple butter, but that doesn't mean your dollars don't matter. We can never, never, never, EVER give up. Despite the chinks in the system, we just have to choose hope AS we continue to discuss and dissect the current concerns related to tax form donation dollars, as well as so many other government foibles. Don't give up. Donna deserves better. From all of us.
I encourage you to take part in the writing and/or reading of the Donna Day posts and hope that you will check out the links I provided here for you in this post today. But most importantly, I’d like you to remember that the goal is, has been and will always be, to raise awareness and funding about pediatric cancer. Here is a great read that explains why this is SO important - THE UNDERFUNDING OF PEDIATRIC CANCER
Sheila Quirke Hornick and Donna, Laura Bobek Lutarewych and Atia
Photo courtesy of The Illinois Childhood Cancer Research Fund
Rest in Peace Donna (and Aidan and Max and David and ......I think you get what I'm saying here). Someday I will meet you there and thank you for all you have done for kids with cancer and their families. Until then, keep dancing!
And much like I don't fully trust the government to get things where they need to be, I don't trust social media networks to get my blog to your brain, which is where I would like my words to be. I'm hopeful that both are doing the best they can and improving where they are sucking, but just in case - Please subscribe.
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