I was reminded this past Wednesday how strong our community is at The December 5th Fund. Last October, I was approached by a group of students from the local middle school who wanted to raise funds for us. They told me that they’d like to get pink silicone bands produced and sell them to the entire student body at both the middle school and the high school. This group of teens worked diligently throughout the year to spread awareness and raise money for our organization. On those crisp fall days, I’d see them circling the track at football games with a sign asking for donations. As winter approached, I would check-in from time to time to see how their efforts were going, and they’d always send me glowing reports that they were still working hard to raise money.
Their efforts finally came to a culmination this spring, and they presented us with a check for $865.80. As I stood in front of the entire student body and thanked them, I was reminded once again the importance of community.
Four years ago, I got my first glimpse into this importance. It was a cold November day, and my yard had been neglected for almost two months. I was forced by my wife to get out of the house and spend the day and evening at a friend’s cabin. At one point during the day, I received a text from her with some photos, and it showed a group of people doing yard work at my house. This wasn’t a simple task of raking leaves. It was months of neglect because we were just beginning to realize the enormity of being affected by cancer and small chores like this weren’t important. I was left speechless. I never asked for this, yet out of the kindness of their hearts, a group of individuals came together to help relieve some stress from an already stressful situation.
And then it happened again, and again, and again. In fact, I’ve lost count how many times my community has rallied behind us. Eventually, children and teens started to help out at these gatherings. Not because they had to, but because their parents led by example and they wanted to help. It was at this moment that I realized, we all benefit when we teach our children kindness.
When I accepted the check on Wednesday and spoke in front of an auditorium packed with teenagers, I saw students who made a conscious effort to focus on the needs of others. Much like their parents, they came together as a community to help a family forget cancer, just for one day. These students are now part of a special community, and every family we help is a tribute to their great moral character and goodwill.