Something you might not know about me is that my dad died in a car accident when I was four years old.
It’s OK, really. Or at least that’s what I tell people when we talk about it person because there’s not much else to say.
For a long time, I didn’t talk about my dad with other people until we had been hanging out for awhile, or until they asked about my family—like six months into our friendship or something. Then, all of a sudden, I’d have to get into it, and they’d ask why I didn’t tell them sooner.
It’s just one of those things that doesn’t come up a lot in conversation. But it comes up a lot in my mind, and I think it always will.
Loss is like that.
When you lose someone, there’s a part of you that always misses them. The door in your heart never closes all the way, and the only real comfort is knowing that you’re not the only one wishing it would stay open. Other people miss them, too.
So we go on, and we talk about the good times, or shake our heads at the things we never said.
We laugh at the stupid things we remember, like his favorite flavor of ice cream or how she scratched her head when she was thinking.
Then we wonder why we remember these things—of all things. And we wish we had more time.
I’d give anything for time with my dad. But I’m not writing to you today about me and my family. I’m writing about another family with a little girl and a boy and a mom who has Multiple Sclerosis—a family where time is running short.
MS a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, slowly damaging nerve cells and causing problems, like numbness, muscle damage, blurred vision and severe fatigue.
It’s a not deadly disease for all people, but in this case, it could be.
The mom, Julie Amos, was diagnosed with the disease in 2007 at age 23, and since then, her illness has been rapidly progressing to the point that she walks with a cane, and she and her husband Rich have exhausted their options.
Julie is entering secondary progressive MS, which means there are no medications left that can help her.
At this point, doctors at Northwestern University in Chicago believe the only viable option is a stem cell transplant. But the initial cost of the treatment is $130,000, and her insurance company won’t pay for it.
So as Julie’s friends, family, church and random acquaintances, we’re rallying together to raise $150,000 to cover the cost of her treatment, along with some of her travel, recovery and pre-op/post-op requirements.
I would like to tell you that Julie and I are close friends. But the truth is, I’ve only met her a few times. (And I can already tell she’s one of those rare and beautiful people who maintains a positive attitude and sense of humor no matter what happens. I really admire that.)
But the point is, I don’t think you have to know Julie well to help her. You just have to relate.
I know what it’s like to grow up without one of my parents. And if there’s any amount of cash that can change that for another child, then why wouldn’t we try?
A Facebook group called Juls of Friendship has formed around the effort, and we’re organizing three fundraising events that are open to the public to help save Julie’s life.
There’s a Volleyball event on Saturday, Nov. 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at Empowered Sports:
- You can sign up with a team of 4 people and compete. The ticket price is $60 per team, or you can buy individual tickets for $15 and enjoy other activities like corn hole, family friendly games, beer pong and a silent auction. Children 12 and under are free, and there’s free childcare. On top of that, all proceeds go toward Julie’s cause.
- Volleyball Event Poster
We’re also hosting a #BeAHero Danceathon at my church Aldersgate on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 8 p.m. to midnight:
- Admission is $10 per person, or $15 for admission and a headband. We’re going to have a big dance rave, play some games, eat snacks and of course, have a superhero costume contest, so come dressed as your favorite superhero.
- #BeAHero Event Poster
The final event is actually this week, on Tuesday afternoon at Sonrise Church.
- We’re having a Nelson’s Chicken dinner fundraiser from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., so come out and have dinner with us! We’ll be in the parking lot until the chicken runs out.
If you want to get involved with these events, stay tuned for updates, and “like” our Facebook page Juls of Friendship.
Of course, you can always donate to Julie’s Go Fund Me page, too, at http://www.gofundme.com/de32dzz8.
I know that $150,000 sounds like an obscene amount of money to raise, and anything we accomplish might be a drop in the bucket. But I also know that it is possible, and we have to try.
It might not change the world, but it will change the world for one family.
And if you ask me, that’s enough.