Donation Envy…What’s In It for Us?

It’s that time again…

I always get butterflies and yes, some goosebumps each and every time one of those exciting emails pops into my inbox:  “Congratulations! You have received a donation to your 2011 Summer Stroll for Epilepsy Team, Brainthunders…” I can hardly wait to click on the link to see who was gracious and thoughtful enough to think of me and my family.

In the spirit of openness, here’s the scoop:

2011 Summer Stroll for Epilepsy, the Epilpesy Foundation of Michigan; June 11, 2011 at the Detroit Zoo; check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. and we start strolling at 8:45!

We are ready to go…no matter the weather (I say this because in past years, it’s either been a deluge or so hot and muggy I thought I would pass out). So, when a friend and fellow advocate reached out to me yesterday to chat about a few things, I became a bit concerned.

With good reason, he was troubled by what he called the ‘lack of response’ he was getting when it came to outreach and fund raising for various events. “I just don’t know if people care that much about this disease anymore,” were his parting words for me. He was concerned on the heels of some high dollar fundraisers, that people are putting all of their donation dollars toward certain organizations. He had what he himself called…donation envy. It really got me thinking. At what point do we, as Epilepsy advocates, have to take a deep breath, look the other way and realize that our cause isn’t everyone’s cause. And, more importantly, how do we raise the awareness bar? How do we fulfill our goals of teaching people about Epilepsy?

I’ve written about this topic before, and perhaps I was trying to self-help after receiving some negative response. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that in no way shape or form, can we expect support or understanding from absolutely everyone. And, we can’t be discouraged when we don’t get the help or the support we want. We have to work for it, and work hard. NOT EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS EPILEPSY OR EVEN KNOWS WHAT IT IS! So, it’s our job to teach them what the needs are and what programs are available. Don’t be discouraged when someone says, “no”. Make that your reason to work harder to teach and advocate. Never ever judge someone because he or she gave to a cause that’s not your cause. Make advocating and teaching that person about Epilepsy, your goal. We’ve come so far in these last few years, and I’m only speaking from personal experience. Honestly, I had never even heard of the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan until my diagnosis in January 2003. And let me tell you, I don’t know that I could live this life without them.

So, stretch those fingers and get typing in your email; clear that throat and pick up that phone and reach out to family and friends; heck, do things the old fashioned way and mail some letters seeking funds…but it can be done!

P.S….here’s the link to the Summer Stroll for Epilepsy Brainthunders team page, if the spirit moves you to help! And…as always, many, many heartfelt thanks!

My family at the 2007 Innaugural National Walk for Epilepsy

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