What Oligo Nation is trying to do it hard. Raise—and spend wisely—millions for medical research into oligodendroglioma treatments. It would be easy to say “this is impossible for little ole me.”
When we started down this path, I was more desperate than hopeful. So much to learn, so much to do, no experience in fundraising or research, etc. But as time has gone on, I have moved from desperate to hopeful to optimistic. This is a big change…and one that makes my life better every day.
One of the reasons for this change is that I have witnessed, hundreds of times, how much people want to help us get where we need to go. I have seen this most closely with people I have known at various stages of my life. At 65 years old, there have been a lot of stages (!) and groups of people that I knew at different times in my life.
Of course, we might expect that our family and close friends would support us…and they have. But the surprising and wonderful thing is that people I haven’t seen in 30 or 40 years have also jumped in to help. A recent example is that Larry, an old roommate from prep school, somehow heard about my family’s situation and made a donation. Not only did we receive the funds but now I had his contact info so could reach out and reconnect.
We had a very lively call where I got caught up on Larry’s life and family. The next day he asked me if it would be OK if he sent a letter to our classmates to let them know about my family’s situation. Of course, I was thrilled. He and a couple of other classmates reached out to the prep school to see about getting an article in the alumni magazine in the Spring.
Not only did Larry’s letter generate a good number of donations and expressions of support, I had the opportunity to talk with a number of long-lost friends. In most cases, they know my family’s story, but I don’t know much about the last 20-40 years of their lives, so these calls tend to be about them—which I really appreciate.
The article in the alumni magazine was published this month (Kent Quarterly) and we have already heard from a number of alumni, many of whom were not at school in my time there.
I take three lessons from these experiences:
- People want to help and some have the means to help a lot.
- People can’t help if they don’t know your story.
- Everything we do to make people aware of our stories and our mission is like a pebble in a pond, it radiates out and brings more people into our group of supporters.
If you are part of the Oligo community, keep in mind that there is a lot of potential support out there for you (and Oligo Nation). You just need to ask.