As an ALS Society of Canada Ambassador, I appreciate the importance of advocacy and fundraising efforts. You're already aware of the devastation of the impact of an ALS diagnosis on an individual and his/her family. And yet, I often feel awkward, embarrassed and shy about participating in fundraising initiatives. How can I continually ask year after year, event after event, my circle of people to donate again and again? You have supported before so I don't want to impose.
I have heard this from family members as well who feel they have already asked too much of their friends. Even though it could be that I am simply living too long and most with ALS do not have the chance to ask as many times as I do, the opportunity to raise awareness - not just funds - is too much to resist. I have surpassed the initial "best before" date given to me by my neurologist so how could I possibly stop now! When thanking Robin after the 5th Curling for Carol Bonspiel, I even joked that when she first said it would be an annual event, no one expected me to live this long. As you know, the work involved in organizing a fundraiser like that takes phenomenal time and effort. Every year that she pulls it off is a bonus, not an expectation.
And yes, I know, these awkward feelings are probably exacerbated because I am a polite Canadian and don't want to be rude by asking anyone for anything.
Another conundrum is when I can't physically be present at fundraising events. For example, I had intended to attend the Ottawa Hike for ALS this past fall; however, I was not well enough to be participate. After having fundraised for the event, I carried such guilt as I felt like I had broken a promise.
Hence the elephant in the room.
When Heather shared the following email with me, I was reassured. That she experienced a similar feeling inspired this blog post.
Hello again -
Although this year’s ALS Walk overlapped the time that we spent with Carol celebrating her birthday, I had still originally planned to continue to fundraise for the sixth year in a row.
I then waffled and didn’t send the link out because it felt strange to ask for support without participating this year. When I made my “self-donation” this morning though, it got me thinking.
After this last visit, I now realize that EVERY walk I make is one that Carol cannot; that the visibility and fundraising must continue - with no treatment and no cure, there’s no time to spare.
So, if you’re so inclined, would you help with a donation? If so, please click on the donate link below and complete the form. I promise I will make up the miles and then some.
The community needs these funds to support local people living with ALS through support groups, equipment lending, and transportation. Your donation also goes to support research projects around the world. Having seen what Carol needs, is able to borrow, and use underscores this is a very meaningful way.
To support now, link here. Thank you.
And yes, my new goal is awareness every day, not just walk day...
With my gratitude,
PS - And oh yes: we wore our “walk crowns” at her birthday party.
PPS - For those who have given your time and support past Octobers, I’m smiling thinking of you and looking forward to next year already 👑🥂❤️🍂🐕
Regardless of how many times I have asked before, or my fear of coming across as impolite, I will continue to fundraise for those who have not had the luxury of living past one or two years of diagnosis. I will be their voice and know that you are all adults and can decide to donate/not donate, fundraise/not fundraise, advocate/not advocate. I promise to not be offended if you are unable to participate when asked, if you promise to not be mad at me for asking again (and again, and again...).