Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Giving Season

I’m going to tell you what J and I are doing with our Christmas money this year that came from my in-laws for us.
I wasn’t going to tell anybody.
I think righteous acts should be concealed, lest they be confused with vanity.
I didn’t want people thinking, “Oh I gave to her and she didn’t really need it.”
Wrong. Maybe you can say this, but would you really want to change places with me?
I’m going to tell despite the fact that some of you my hate on me, and question how real I am since I want to show you no matter how poor or broken you feel, you still can give to somebody else.
That somebody else doesn’t even have to be in poverty, that somebody else just needs something you have to offer.
You don’t have to give big to make change.
St. Jude’s Hospital’s average donation is $25. Yes, those one dollar bills make a huge difference when millions are giving them. This hospital boasts it will “never turn a child away for lack of ability to pay.”
It’s a sad, sad day when this is a HUGE accomplishment for a hospital.
Here it is: I like to adopt families.
If I can’t have one of my own, I’ll help somebody else’s. I actually enjoy this. I like knowing who my money goes to, I like being able to ask what they need and buy it with them.
I want social interaction with giving. Maybe I can teach them something, but maybe they can teach me more.
I also don’t like overhead. I don’t want my money going to somewhere other than where it’s supposed. I found a way to avoid this. Not everybody can.
J and I will be the “big guy” for two kids, ages 5 and 9. Someone else has offered will do the stockings.
This is all the detail you get about them. I have a couple more families that I know, but can’t help
Maybe someday. . . . .
Anyway, at one point, per capita, Claremont was more dangerous, more drug ridden, and more impoverished than my beloved Bronx. Maybe it still is.
The key words here were per capita.
It’s a whole different scenario when you’re dealing with problems en masse, as in a large borough.
The most interesting solution I saw were two brand new projects, side by side, one for drug addicts and the other for HIV/AIDs patients. All were receiving federal aid of some kind.
The free needle line and methadone clinic were in the middle.
I understand the rationale, it is more cost effective to gather everyone up, stick them all together, and do what you can.
But imagine the social structure of this environment. For nurses, it was a “get in early before the crack heads wake up” scenario.
I never went in the afternoon.
Really though, if you house all these problems together, you are going to create bigger problems. Groups of drug addicts are scary.
After noon, you probably couldn’t breathe in the area because the crack wafting through the air was too thick.
Don’t think “contact highs” don’t happen.
I have a girlfriend who inhaled too hard passing an alley and wound up delusional with PCP in her blood.
No, she didn’t put it there herself.
Everybody talks about how tough I am to have stomached New York.
That was practice. That was my training. I called it “nursing boot camp.”
There are too many people, too many opinions, and too many politics in an area that populated.
I knew I’d always come back home.
Moral of the story, great changes can be made if you support locally. Please think about where you put your money this season. Some of my local favorites: The Diana Love Center in Claremont, Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, West Central Services, and my local recreation department (sports are not just about athletics). The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society kind of BROKE, but they’ve helped me significantly in the past. There are two I’m aware of, one in Mamaroneck, NY (I used to drive by it everyday when I was in rotations) or Framingham, MA. LLF is a great charity.

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