Friday, March 06, 2009
A few weeks ago, Tom's Masonic Lodge came to us with a proposal: they wanted to help Tom by hosting an open-to-the-public St. Patrick's Day dinner, with the proceeds going to Tom to help with his expenses.
We were so thankful last month when U of M hospital accepted Tom into their M-Support program. It's helped make life less stressful, and is allowing us to concentrate on Tom's well-being. But we still have so many bills to cover - doctors, tests, travel expenses, etc. - some days, I just don't look at that growing pile of paper on my desk.
That Tom's Lodge brothers would give him this dinner was beyond our wildest dreams. Initially, we were dumb-founded. It is such a kind, warm gesture they were offering Tom, and it brought us both to tears. Tom's Masonic Lodge is full of wonderful guys who look out for each other through good times and bad, and when one of them suggested helping Tom through a fund-raising dinner, the Lodge brothers immediately started planning.
The Kalamazoo Anchor Lodge #22 is hosting Tom's dinner on Monday, March 16th. It's a pre-St. Patrick's Day bash, being held the night before St. Patrick's Day, and features a professional chef (one of his Lodge brothers) who will be cooking up a top-notch traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage supper.
The cost for this fundraising dinner is $15 for couples, $8 for one adult, $5 for children 5 - 12 years old, and free for the under-5s. It's being held at the Kalamazoo County Masonic Lodge on U Avenue, just west of US 131, about 2 miles north of Schoolcraft.
The photo here is the one used on Tom's fundraising flyer, which he has pasted in shops and public places all over the southern half of the county. I love his goofy grin - it's typical Tom, in his fun-loving, always-laughing character for which so many people know him.
The past week Tom's been feeling better. It's that first ten days after chemo that knocks him flat, so once he's past that nasty time period, he has better days. He's decided to help with his dinner, and has been visiting his clients and asking them if they might have a small item or two to donate as door prizes. Every person who attends and buys a dinner gets a free door prize ticket and a chance to win one of several different prizes.
I started him off with a door prize from Beth Pulsipher Photography - a portrait package valued at $75, to be used for either a family or a pet portrait (couldn't resist the opportunity for free publicity!). In the past week, Tom's also been able to secure door prizes from a local florist, a greenhouse, an optometrist, a pet store, and he's not done yet. Additionally, our local family-owned grocery market donated all the cabbage and red potatoes for the dinner, and a few of Tom's clients and friends have donated cash and checks.
As I write, he's feeling pretty good today so he's out visiting more friends and clients. It gives him a chance to catch up with everyone he hasn't seen in the past few months. Though he'll come home completely worn out, he'll be in good spirits having talked with so many people he's missed over this past winter.
As it turns out, some of our friends have plans for the 16th, and won't be able to attend Tom's dinner. They felt badly that they couldn't make it, and have asked how they can participate in Tom's fundraiser. For them, and for any other friends who can't make the dinner but wish to help Tom, I've added a PayPal donation button to this blog site. It's at the top right, with the hearts and title "Helping Tom". This button can be used even if you do not have a PayPal account - PayPal offers the choice of using either your credit card or your bank account instead. The Donate button is only going to be up for a couple weeks, just long enough to allow everyone a chance to see this post.
The kindness from everyone is overwhelming. Funny how you never realize how much people really care until you hit a tough stretch and then they all pitch in to help. In this difficult economic climate, the generosity of our friends, our family, Tom's Lodge brothers, and his business clients has really shown a spotlight on how special all of you are. We truly appreciate you, more than any words we can say, both for your willingness to reach out, and for your heartfelt gifts of time, effort and financial assistance.
We are so blessed by the company we keep. Thank you all for your support. Your kind words and special prayers have helped us to get this far, and we are marching down this twisty road with our eyes focused on the future. You have made that possible. Thank you from the depths of our hearts.