“What is the next great thing you are going to do?” This was the question posed to me recently at a table full of five women from different chapters in my life. These women are my village, and they are helping me prepare for the next chapter. After they asked, I wondered why they were all staring, expecting me to have an answer.
It took me until the next morning to realize that the answer to that question should always begin “The village is going to help me…”
Because, in truth, nothing great in my life has ever happened by the accomplishment of just me. It has always taken a village. This was the case with starting Get Your Rear in Gear, the birth of my children, rebuilding after an earthquake, and the recent dinner with my five beautiful friends.
The morning after the dinner I sat by the lake where the first Get Your Rear in Gear race was held in 2005. I was searching for inspiration. Looking for the perfect way to ask for your help. You see, tomorrow would be Tony Snow’s 58th birthday. Tony was an inspirational man who left the world too soon after a battle with colon cancer. To celebrate this day we are partnering with his family and launching the first round of grant applications for the Tony Snow & Betty Jo Caregiver Network.
While sitting by the lake my phone alerted me to a message. A note from a young caregiver. She wrote that the doctor had just told her husband, “It is time to get things in order.” I thought, does one have to know these two people personally to have compassion for them? Do you have to know them and their small children to want to help? Are we not all a part of a village? Caring for our neighbors and those struggling with difficult circumstances?
There is a significant chance that one day you will take on the role of caregiver, even if you haven’t up until now. While caring for someone long-term is done from a place of love and commitment; caring for a spouse, child, parent, or friend can:
- Impact the caregiver’s own health, including increased risk of disease
- Increase the caregiver’s job vulnerability, such as a cut in pay, working more hours, stress of taking time off or even losing their job
- Decrease the caregiver’s ability to pay for basic necessities and bills – including rent or the mortgage
- Diminish the caregiver’s savings while increasing debt
- Minimize or terminate the caregiver’s expenses for counseling, fitness, time-off and fun
- Require brevity and courage
What if there was a way to pay it forward and do something great to help those caring for a loved one with colon cancer? It takes a village.
What if there was a way to provide a $250 grant to a colon cancer caregiver you know could use a day off? It takes a village.
As we celebrate Tony Snow’s birthday on Sat., June 1, please join me in building a village of support for the colon cancer caregiver by donating, completing a grant application for a caregiver you know, or by becoming a fundraiser.
Get the hammer! Bring the nails! It takes a village to care for the caregiver!