Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Re Concerning Cake, Bilbo Baggins, and Charity

OP By Patrick Rothfuss Concerning Cake, Bilbo Baggins, and Charity

I read this post and it had me nodding and giggling and nodding some more. This part in particular was so very much up my alley so to speak.

That’s why I do all the charity work. Because the world isn’t as good as I want it to be.

We all feel this way sometimes. Because honestly, the world is a fucking mess. It’s full of dragons, and none of us are as powerful or cool as we’d like to be. And that sucks.

But when you’re confronted with that fact, you can either crawl into a hole and quit, or you can get out there, take off your shoes, and Bilbo it up.

Rankin and Bass Bilbo it up(So What’s It Going to Be?)

The work I do with various charities is my attempt to Bilbo the fuck up.

Some time back I had an article published on Media Tapper in April 2012 which explains why I do the charity work I do

Giving, why do I do it?
by Julia Robertson

Why do I give so much and share that giving through social media? I give so much because there are so many people in need. I have seen their faces, I have walked a mile in their shoes, and I have held their hands as they have left this life. I have celebrated with them when they have won their victories. I have been or known the people who benefit from the charities I support.

When I was growing up my father and brothers suffered from Asthma. My mother was heavily involved with the local Asthma Foundation and I too became involved. I raised thousands of dollars by selling raffle tickets and giving up my weekends. I did it to funds for Asthma research in the hope that people like my little brothers and my father might one day not have to go through asthma.

When I was a teenager my mother was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma and my father was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma the same year. My mother had surgery and recovered well. My father spent a couple of years having chemotherapy and radiation treatments. As we didn’t live in a major city, my parents had to travel to Brisbane so that my father could have radiation treatments. They stayed in cancer council provided accommodation while they were away from home and it may a very big difference to all of our lives. My father went into remission after 2 years of treatment. During those two years my mother was working part time and my father could not work at all. Hospital bills were large and they had 3 children in school. The financial pressure was incredible. 

I lost my Grandmother to cancer in 1982, in early 1993 my grandfather passed away from lung cancer. I lost my best friends mother to bowel cancer and then in 2005 my mother was diagnosed with Lung cancer. She fought hard but passed away Christmas 2007. Last year my husband’s aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. My best friend from childhood was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 25.

In 2003 I was diagnosed with a benign tumor in the middle of my brain. I lived with it for 8 years before finding a surgeon who was able to remove it. I had to travel 12 hours drive from my home and family to have my brain surgery in February 2011 and was away from my family for 2 weeks while I was there.

13 months after my surgery I did a 3km walk to raise funds for cancer research. Why? My family has been touched by cancer many times in many ways. I posted it on Google plus and on Facebook to show people that one person can make a difference. I raised a little of $700. It wasn’t the biggest amount raised by the event by any means, but it was what I could do. 

In April a call went out from The Charles Wanstall Apex Lodge asking for 100 prints to decorate their newly renovated units. The Charles Wanstall Apex Lodge provides accommodation for regional patients undergoing cancer treatment in Brisbane. I decided it was something I could do. I have no income of my own as I have not yet managed to get back to work since surgery. Photography was something that kept me going through my illness so it felt right to be involved in something where my images would be making the lives of cancer patients and their families a little brighter while they were away from home. Initially I shared the post on Google plus to give some of the incredible photographers I had met there an opportunity to donate some of their work as well. Within the first couple of days I had thirty framed prints to deliver. The first batch was from me, my father and Tony Porter who ran the Brisbane leg of #thewalkdownunder. After I posted the delivery of the first 30 prints I was inundated with enquiries and offered of prints to donate. Often there were issues with the donor being on the other side of the world or not have the funds to be able to provide frames or cover print costs but through the generosity of some of the donors there were some extra frames. I provided the printing and frames for those who couldn’t or it was logistically difficult for. Within 2 weeks we had 100 prints from Google plus members all over the world. 

Due to the overwhelming response I have contacted the cancer council about doing this again and am waiting to hear back from them. It is an opportunity for people to give, or give back in a way that they may not otherwise have thought of, a way that isn’t as financially difficult and has so very much meaning to so very many people.

In May, 15 months after brain surgery, I’m doing a 5km to raise funds for the Kim Walters Think Pink Think Choices Program. (Choices) is a free community service regardless of where treatment has been undertaken offering support for women and men diagnosed with breast cancer and women diagnosed with gynaecological cancers and their families. 

I do these things and share them on social media so that those who want to be involved can. In whatever way they can. It may be by signing up for a fun run, donating a few dollars, sharing the post, donating some prints or images. We can’t all give as much as we want to all the time. Having the opportunity to do the little bits we can do is what matters. At least it’s what matters to me. I think sometimes we become too focused on how hard things can be and forget the small things we can do. I may not be able to cure cancer but I can make someone’s day a little brighter or less homesick by providing a print to look at instead of a blank wall. 

As you know I have been raising funds for the Cure For Life Foundation for quite some time now. A lot of my own money goes into that in many forms, direct donations, my time volunteering, materials for creating 'cranes', interstate travel, tools (donation boxes, business cards, info sheets), school fees and textbook investments. At the end of the day that is a fair chunk of money.

Anyone who knows me personally would know I have no income, only what my husband can give me. Apart from medication, health appointments and school supplies, it goes in to raising funds to help cover the cost of finding a cure.

If I had some sort of income I would spread it around. It isn't easy to pick up work that works around school classes, medical appointments and bus schedules. Even harder to find work that doesn't require a drivers licence, harder still to take that into account and then look at my not having been gainfully employed sine the early 2000's. Still looking though!

Obviously the prints are finished, we do have our current fund raiser here should you wish to help. Alternately 'Bilbo the fuck up' and do something to help a cause close to your own heart.