Monday, June 29, 2009

My "WHY" in Choosing the "Make-A-Wish Foundation"

I encourage you to listen to my podcast for today as I discuss why I chose the "Make-a-Wish Foundation" as my focus for this current fundraiser.

However, I'll still share it with you here in hopes that it will spur you on in a decision to donate and be a part of this great opportunity to help make a wish come true in the life of a deserving child.

You know, the recent deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Billy Mays have really brought into focus the brevity of life. The fact that these people were "famous" brought their deaths to the forefront.

However, people die every single day without notice outside of a few friends and their family. To me, even more heart breaking is the fact that children die every single day leaving a gaping hole in the core of that family. Some of these children die of incurable diseases and their families struggle with them through the course of this illness reaching out for anything good that they can bring to their child during those difficult days.

In 1998 I was a youth minister in Mountain Home, Arkansas and had been so for about four years. I have always enjoyed working with and being around young people! Their energy and enthusiasm about so many things and their eagerness to share their joy simply made it a joy for me for many years.
(Again, as I mention on the podcast, I may not have all of the facts completely right, but they are close enough to make the point.)

There was one young man by the name of Russell Woods that made a profound impact on my life during this time. He was 13 years old and full of life! You could look into his eyes and see a spark of mischievousness that brought a smile to your face just wondering what he was up to. During this time Russell began to experience headaches and would often get up in the middle of the night to throw up. He knew something wasn't right as did his parents. In the summer of 1998 it was discovered that Russell had a tumor on his brain stem and, at first, was told that it was a slow growing tumor and that with medication and possible surgery, it should be able to be handled.

That was the news as I sat with the family on that particular morning. What joy! How happy everyone was! Tears of joy filled the room as we all hugged each other. However, after I made the four hour drive back home I received a phone call that told me that just the opposite was true... it was actually a fast growing tumor and there was nothing that could be done.

Devastation. Even to this day when I type that I get an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Over the next year and a few months I spent quite a bit of time with Russell - he had such a wonderful sense of humor all through his illness and was such a joy to be around. I still have a picture of him in my office with a package of juice-filled wax bottles that he gave me because he heard me talk about something like that I enjoyed when I was a kid. That was Russell.

During the course of his illness the Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfilled a wish for Russell. To be honest with you, I don't remember what it was, but my wife thinks it was a trip to Disney World. Regardless of what it was, this organization was able to provide a special memory for Russell and his family.

Sadly, one day in October 1999, Russell passed away. To this day I get emotional every time I think of this special young man.

You likely have similar stories to share of some special young person that struggled like Russell. My desire is to provide enough money to help make a wish come true for one of these special young people.

Will you help?

I know times are tough. I know money is tight. But, at the same time, I want you to consider how quickly and easily you go through $10 during the course of a week.

Can you commit yourself to a minimum of $10 to help make this happen? I know some can't, but I know most can!

Hey, wouldn't it be great if we end up raising enough to provide TWO wishes?

Regardless, your help is needed! The "official" kick-off date for this special drive begins on Wednesday, July 1st. But you can begin now if you'd like.

This is a two-month drive and is scheduled to end on August 31st.

Please go to my website: and click on the banner at the top of my page to read more and donate.

Reach out, in love, and touch the life of a special young person.

That's the POWER of LOVE!


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