Thankful For A Purpose
I was eighteen years old, fresh out of high school with a bright
future to look forward to, when I received the devastating news of a
This was a big deal for someone my age to endure. However I
chose to fight the battle instead of wallowing in self pity.
After major surgery and four months of radiation treatments, I
overcame my obstacle and emerged a new person -- someone who took
nothing for granted and a person who learned to appreciate everything
and everyone around me.
Years passed and I received my certification in medical
assisting, met a wonderful man, moved to New York and got married.
Truly, life couldn't have been any better -- however, I still felt
something missing and longed to find my purpose.
Having donated to St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, TN,
for years, I had always felt a connection and empathy toward the
children living with cancer who were being treated there. What a
truly magnificent place, especially knowing that no patient was ever
turned away regardless of ability to pay. The hospital exuded
living, and that is what I was all about.
As my 20-year anniversary of being a cancer survivor approached,
I wanted to do something special and unforgettable.
I organized a fund raiser, calling it "A Mission of Love," and
thanks to my generous family and friends, raised $4,000 for St.
Jude's, planning to deliver it myself. Three quarters of the money
would be given as a monetary donation to the hospital, and what was
left would go toward purchasing toys for the children. I also had
arranged with the hospital a t-shirt painting activity for any child
who felt well enough to participate.
Thanksgiving Day seemed the most appropriate day of the year for
the mission, and so it was all arranged. My husband and I flew to
Memphis with 50 t-shirts and a huge bag of fabric paint in tow the
day before Thanksgiving. We went to the toy store and filled three
shopping carts with all kinds of toys piled high to the sky. It was
as though we were small celebrities when the employees and other
shoppers became aware of what we were doing.
On Thanksgiving Day, as we pulled into the front gates of St.
Jude, it was quite literally my dream come true. I became extremely
emotional, as my eyes welled with tears of happiness.
After dropping the toys off, we went to a lounge area where
there were six children waiting anxiously to begin painting. They
picked out their shirts and my husband and I helped them get started.
To me, it was as though they weren't even sick, and to see them smile
was one of the greatest gifts I could have ever received. When the
activity was over and we wished the children well, we dropped off the
monetary donation to an extremely grateful staff, and then our visit
came to an end.
Leaving there that day, I knew I had finally found my purpose.
Going to St. Jude filled a feeling of emptiness inside of me
that had existed for as long as I could remember, and it genuinely
changed my life.
I was thanked for giving a donation to a charity that saves
lives, but being able to give thanks for my experience was priceless.
"All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don't discover
why. Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or
accomplish for yourself. It's what you do for others." -- Danny Thomas
~ Heidi Lynn Poakeart ~
<heid70 at aol.com>
Heidi says, "I am 39 years old and a 20-year cancer survivor. I live
in Westchester County, NY, with my husband and cat. I am currently
writing my autobiography and have several short stories published on
a few different sites on the Internet, including Heartwarmers. I
love Heartwarmers and always look forward to my weekly story."
[ by: Heidi Lynn Poakeart, Copyright © 2009 (heid70 at aol.com) -- received from: Heartwarmers.com ]
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