So There Will Be a Next Generation

As I approach the end of my 40 things to make the world better in the year that I am 40, I continue to marvel at the outstanding number of causes to support – and try to give whenever someone asks. I just finished reading a memoir written by my mother’s cousin, tearful as I closed the back cover at what I didn’t know and what it takes to build a worthwhile life.

And I am more aware than ever how frail is the human condition. How we are surrounded by potential catastrophes – and how every day is, truly, a gift.

I learned that another high school classmate of mine died with no forewarning.

I learned about several other brushes with death, and fights surrendered after many long years of beating the odds.

And I read, this morning, an email from my cousin’s husband, sharing their daughter’s poignant missive, urging others to support a very meaningful cause. (I did. Hope you will too.)

My sister is a survivor. We all come dangerously close to the precipice, unaware every day of the exposures we live with. If it is not myself touched by life-threatening moments, then it is someone one degree away.

Here is sweet Elena’s letter, the words from a beautiful teen who is the spitting image of my cousin Jen:

Hi Everyone, 

This past month has been particularly busy for me. I finally turned sixteen, I had the flu, and had some struggles with deciding whether I still wanted to the walk this year. I thought, “Maybe I should just call it quits, and try again next year.”

Then, just this Wednesday, a friend of mine from school suffered an unimaginable loss. Brian’s mother passed away after a long fight with Breast Cancer. Although I did not know her personally, I realized on a much more personal level that this disease, can, and does kill. That Breast Cancer doesn’t mind who you are, how great of a person you are, and how much it can hurt your family and friends. I attended the wake yesterday, where Brian, who is usually full of life and laughter, appeared to be the cardboard cutout of himself. Breast Cancer had not only caused him the loss of his Mum, but also the loss of animation. The disease hung in the air, and everyone could feel its sadness. I decided then, that I would be walking in honor of Brian’s mum. 

I would like to ask that you please give a little to support me in the fight against Breast Cancer. It does not need to be much, merely the cost of a coffee even. Whatever you can afford, whether a lot or a little, will make a real difference – not just to me, but to families like Brian’s. 

If you can donate, please click this link to go to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer donation page: http://info.avonfoundation.org/goto/bECool

Also, please do not hesitate to send this email to whomever you think could help.

Thank you so much, 

Elena 

Out of the mouths of babes? Or are they wiser than us? Let’s shed the layers of doubt adulthood heaps on our shoulders and return to a time of innocence, when all we could see was the dividing line between life and death, and we believed we could do something to make a real difference.

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