Do I think there's a need for a group like this? ABSOLUTELY! Here's why: There are lots of websites and support programs that already exist for patients in need of marrow transplants and their caregivers but currently there isn't a formal support group for volunteer advocates.
Be The Match had become aware of HelpingTami.org and my new MarrowDrives.org website under development. Because I have actively been supporting donor recruitment I was invited to be a consultant of sorts to help develop the program that will be used to train and certify future volunteer recruitment advocates. This consists mainly of answering a lot of questions about what I feel would be helpful information to share with new volunteers regarding both the content and format of how the information is presented.
It's hard to believe that in one year (that at times felt like an eternity and at other times a blink of an eye) I have become a volunteer advocate worthy of helping to develop the SMART program at Be The Match.
But this post really isn't about me, this post is for those of you who have a cause that touches your heart and have thought about volunteering in the past. I am hoping you will decide that the time to become involved is now. You don't have to be an expert, you can become one as you work towards your goal whatever it may be. I am hoping this post inspires you to take the next step to become a volunteer, an advocate, a fundraiser, an organizer, a media or PR person who helps to publicize a worthy organization. There are so many ways to help.
All politics aside, I was very moved when during his Presidential campaign, then Senator, Barack Obama said:
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We, we are the change that we seek."This simple yet profound statement resonated with me deeply. All I could think was "Wow, did he just say what I just heard?" Call me cynical but I don't ever expect to hear a politician, from any party, say something that turns out to be a life altering epiphany.
This past year has taught me that we can all be a part of change and that to sit on the sidelines and wait for others to take action means that things will most likely stay the same. The changes we hope for and need now will come too slowly.
It is why I've added a "We Support" page to The Flirty Guide. I have slowly been learning that many of The Flirty Guide Professionals have causes they actively support. I wanted to give them an opportunity to publicize the organizations they believe in, the ones that are out there changing the world. I know some people feel that philanthropy should be performed quietly and in private. I respect their feelings but here's the thing, imo, unless we are willing to stand up and draw attention to the causes we care about (and volunteerism and philanthropy in general) we can't inspire others to do the same.
In the past twelve months I've seen so many people change the world (and motivate, inspire and support me) simply by being willing to share their stories and to volunteer when they are needed. By supporting the Marrow Donor Program I am becoming part of a solution. Tami's illness led me to a path that at times is, on an emotional level, almost unbearably painful to walk upon. But I am glad to be there. It is an important path and one that I now travel with passion and dedication because I know what I am doing is helping others who are unable to help themselves. I have become a part of the change that I was waiting for.
There are many causes out there. And guess what? You can become part of "the change" too. You may be "the one" a cause has been waiting for. Please consider reaching out. Get involved. Don't wait, your help is needed now :)