by Dennis DeCola, Board Member, Mycosis Fungoides Foundation
Many of us rely on a non profit volunteer fire company to protect our families and belongings from fire. Few of us truly believe that if we had a fire, the fire company really would not be there to help us. Actually, each year many of us rely on non-profit organizations to put out all types of fires. In return, these organizations need our help to provide the services and benefits they deliver. Without our help through contributions and volunteering time, these organizations would die. Good people who have fallen on tough times depend on organizations such as Meals on Wheels for their next dinner, a Ronald McDonald House for a place to stay while their child goes through chemotherapy or organizations such as the Mycosis Fungoides Foundation as a place to turn to when diagnosed with a dreadful rare disease. Without contributions from people who are not so unfortunate, such organizations would become extinct.
You might be asking yourself right about now "why are all these unfortunate people my responsibility"? I have my family to feed, educate and to take care of and I don’t need any other help! If you find yourself thinking this way, you better hope there are others contributing to that volunteer fire company or pray you never have a fire. I am also glad that, at this time, your family does not need any help. Be aware that can all change by the time you get finished reading this article. I can tell you from personal experience that it can change in an instant.
It happened to me on a beautiful August day. I was truly a fortunate person. I had a house, health insurance, a good job and a great family. I had the pleasure of living next door to my mom who was in great health. That day mom awakened with a pain in her side. Like 20,000 other Americans that year she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Suddenly the family that needed no help from anyone needed the help of everyone. One not for profit organization after another came to our aid. They came with patient information on what to expect, counseling on how to cope with the diagnosis, helped get mom to and from chemotherapy, kept her company during the day when I had to work and there was even a non profit group that helped with cleaning the house. They helped us all get through a very tough time. Mom and I are grateful to all of them.
If you're feeling like I once felt, that you could never possibly be in need of any help from a non-profit group or volunteer help, remember that fires start quickly. We all need help putting them out. It really is the responsibility of all of us to help those less fortunate. In life no matter what problems each of us may have it seems there is always someone less fortunate than we are.
This year 1000 Americans will learn they have cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. They will have no idea what this is, what to do for it or what to expect. They will have a fire to put out. It is only through your donations that the Mycosis Fungoides Foundation will be there to help them put out the fire.