Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Giving back without spending a dime

I sit here tonight reading about friends celebrating Alive Days or Cancerversaries whatever you like to call them and am BLOWN away. I also see friends running/walking/swimming/jogging/cycling their way to a cure for cancer. I cannot help but me moved every time I read these. I am so proud of my friends that I sit her wishing I could do more. I want to do more to give back and make a difference.

As you can imagine, I am asked on a weekly basis to support a certain cause. I am not a wealthy man by any stretch of the imagination, but I have always given when I can. If it means giving up a coffee during the week or a dinner out with Meg...we would rather have it that way. We are both dedicated to making a difference in this world and will do whatever/whenever we can. That being said, we do struggle with not being able to do and/or donate more. We both said that if we ever won the lottery, we would pay off our debts, donate to charity and save enough so that we could give up our jobs and volunteer for a living.

We are aware of our financial limitations so we do everything we can to give back in other ways. For starters, Meg works her ass off at the American Cancer Society and she is training for a triathlon and fundraising for her mom who is battling stage 3c Ovarian cancer. I am not lucky enough to draw a paycheck for my cancer work, but I do volunteer and fundraise for LAF, Imerman Angels, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I also do quite a bit of public speaking for LLS about my experience with cancer. I am also the president of the CancerClimber Association and actively spread the word about i[2]y, Vital Options, Ulman Fund, No Stigmas, St. Judes, Tigerlily Foundation, among a few others.

I am not stating that to impress you. I state that to challenge you. There are many ways we can give back to whatever it is that we are passionate about. It is not always about money. You can donate your time, talent and resources and make a difference in people's lives. In 2009, I wanted to challenge myself and give back in a new way. I wanted to get more involved in the lives of those who are currently battling cancer. One part selfish and a hundred parts altruistic. Perhaps I am trying to make up for time lost when I had a hard time talking about my cancer experience, but nevertheless, I have already improved by leaps and bounds...you know how much that cost me? Nothing.

Find your passion and find a way to give back. Donations are fantastic and a total necessity to fund a cure, but times are tough, if you can't give any money, dig deep and find a way to give back. It may mean more to the people you are talking to than a simple donation. LiveSTRONG, Be Well, and Keep Climbing!

Joe Schneider

15 year Burkitt's NHL survivor
President, CancerClimber Association
Chicago LiveSTRONG Army Co-Leader (Melissa Wilhelm Rocks)
Imerman Angel
7 year LLS fundraiser and volunteer

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  1. I am so glad that you are involved by just being you. Every day you make a difference in my life and inspire me to do the same!

    Thank you for being part of the RLTT and supporting me =]

  2. Hey Joe :]
    I saw this link on Jonn's facebook and decided to click on it, and I am sooooooo glad that I did. Your writing is amazing and you are very inspiring. I want to help people with cancer just like you do.. I haven't had cancer but I am pretty close with Jonathan and I see what he is going through the best I can. Of course it is impossible to fully know what he is going through but I see a little bit of it and wish that I could help more. Being 15 there isn't much I can do in the hospitals but I don't think I have checked out all of my options yet and I would like to.
    I believe that giving gives us true happiness. Well at least thats how it is for me haha.
    Again you are very inspiring.
    Awesome blog!

  3. I really agree with what you wrote about money not being the only way to give. I actually thing that the most important thing we can do for cancer right now is not necessarily raise money but to change laws to allow people greater access to life saving drugs that already exist, or to shift funding away from projects like the Sparta Tea Pot Museum (sorry guys!) and funnel it to cancer research. That doesn't take money as much as it takes building relationships with our elected officials. Our votes speak louder than $ to them!

    Great blog Joe.

    blog: http://everythingchangesbook.com/

  4. Joe,

    It's fascinating to read this blog because I was planning to write a similar one. Just like you, I was going to stress the importance of giving TIME to a cause not just money. Yes, giving money is a good way to contribute but time...time is priceless. It costs you nothing but gives you back so much. Just knowing how many lives you can impact is motivation enough for me.

    As of January I have become a supporter of the International Campaign for Tibet http://www.savetibet.org/. I find that cause appealing because it's about preserving the spiritual mecca of the world. But that's just one cause. I am looking to be involved in more and even include my son Denzin in that journey. He will be raised as a kind, community-conscious child.

    Keep doing what you are doing. You are already making a difference. :-)

  5. You guys are the best, thanks for all your support. Your thoughts and comments are all so inspiring!