“When one takes action for others, one’s own suffering is transformed into the energy that can keep one moving forward; a light of hope illuminating a new tomorrow for oneself and others is kindled.” – Daisaku Ikeda
I was recently challenged to participate in The Hot Wax Challenge to bring awareness to ___________ (fill in the blank). OK, there is no Hot Wax Challenge but there could be and it might be for a great cause. Philanthropic events like these pop up all over both mainstream and social media and serve a purpose in raising awareness. There are also many other events that do the same thing. There are walks, runs, and bike rides. There are fundraising marathons and concerts. The platforms to raise public awareness for a particular medical condition or human suffering are endless. The potential groups that need awareness are plentiful as well. We have a plethora of cancers, diseases, child abuse victims, rape victims, domestic abuse victims, violent crime survivors, natural disaster victims, and so on and so on.
There are critics for many of these type of events who will argue that the event itself is self-serving or fun for the participants with little or no thought given to the downstream beneficiaries of the action. There are also complaints that many of these fundraising activities rob other organizations of much needed money, assuming money is actually raised. There is some validity to this yet in my opinion, the greater good is still served.
So, after weeks of blogging about writing, why am I writing about this? I read a blog a few weeks ago by an author friend of mine who talked about the faces behind the challenges; the faces of those who are suffering from the very condition that these challenges, athletic events, and other fundraising venues are based upon. Those faces are everywhere and for her it was something extremely personal and her post that day brought me to tears, both for her and for her family. Often many of us don’t think about that and I for one had been just as guilty of it for many years. For example, I rode my bike in a MS150 years ago. I did slightly more than pay my entry and raised money for the event. Big deal. It only meant that instead of just getting the T-Shirt and medal, I would also get a racing jersey and shorts. What ended up being a big deal was the medal placed around my neck as I finished the 150 mile ride. A medal placed by someone suffering from MS. A face. Then my grandfather was diagnosed with Leukemia and I participated in Team in Training to raise money. A face very dear to me and one who didn’t survive. I followed this up with the Tour de Cure, Tour de Tucson, ‘insert name’ 5K, concerts, and golf tournaments. More faces of people suffering; some who beat it, some who didn’t, and some who are just dealing with it yet making the most of an unfortunate situation. There is always a face and it might be a face you know. It could be someone within your circle of friends, a family member, a coworker, or maybe just a small face next to a tweet or Facebook status you are looking at.
Monday Blogs. As a newbie to having a blog, I assumed most people blogging are those like me; either writers developing an author platform or writers who are already well established. Because I read every blog I re-tweet, I have discovered blogs that cater to much more than just the writing journey I find myself on. There are blogs about reading, cooking, raising children, health, sports, and so much more. What I have also discovered are faces. People with MS, Cancers, Lyme disease, mental illness. People who are victims and now survivors of some horrific act or social injustice. Beautiful faces.
As a society, we can be very giving and in my heart of hearts, I honestly believe the majority of people are good and have the best of intentions when participating in any sort of event or fundraiser that benefits a cause. My only suggestion is to take a moment and associate your participation, and your donation, with a face.
OK…time to lighten it up and address what you are probably asking by now. Why hot wax? Although the subject of hot wax paints a picture of a very beautiful Kelly LeBrock discussing evening plans with a teen’s parents in the movie Weird Science from the eighties, it means nothing more than the first thing I saw this morning when I turned my head to the left searching for a title to this blog since my mind was drawing a blank. My wife has numerous little burner things around the house that burn scented wax. The one next to me happened to be knocked over by one of our cats and I just noticed there was still hot wax on the back side of the bar where it sits. Had I turned to my right and searched for title inspiration this could just as easily have been titled “The Kitty Litter Challenge.” It’s just how my mind works.
The title to my blog this week really doesn’t matter. What matters? The faces.
My Tata & Nana: Enrique and Socorro in their prime on a beach in Mexico. My Nana died on a Wednesday after complications brought on by both Alzheimer’s and kidney disease. My Tata died from Leukemia, three days after my Nana. Doctors predicted he would last six months once diagnosed. He lasted a year and a half because he was so worried about who would take care of his wife. Two of my faces.