Thursday, March 19, 2009

A little help from my friends...

Sometimes you just never know where support will come from.
Pictured above is Visitation B.V.M. Church in Norristown, Pa. It's directly across the parking lot from the grade school (with the same name) that I attended for several years when I lived with my mom in the early 1990s.
Some of the best friends and the most giving people I've ever met attended this school. One of them is my grade-school buddy Kristin Toland whose family allowed me to stay with them occasionally when my mom went into the hospital.
I always remember her father, Jim, sitting at the kitchen table when we would come down the stairs for school. And he was always there at night too, willing to chat with us and hear our stories.
Kristin's dad passed away about 10 years ago after a battle with cancer. When I decided to do this hike I wrote to her that I wanted to add her dad's name to my jersey as a way to honor him.
Kristin and I have kept in touch over the years and she sent the news that I was hiking along to her family and friends. They in turn, offered support to my fundraising efforts, which was amazing because some of them I've never met.
But it reminded me that strangers helping strangers is part of what fundraising for LLS is all about. It's great to think about how many patients in little pockets all over the country will benefit from this money that our entire team has raised this spring.
As I descend into the Grand Canyon, I'm sure I'll look down at Jim Toland's name on my jersey and smile, thinking not only of him, but of Kristin and all the amazing people who have helped us reach this goal.
And then I'll think of the people were are helping and remember again how easy it is for us to touch each other's lives and make a huge impact.

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