The above is the 2014 blog post link and now I am updating you with a short blog post.
We all have extremely busy lives especially with our crammed family and work schedules. But did you know that volunteering and spending some time helping others can do wonders for your well-being? So many of us feel so good when helping someone even in the smallest way.
Almost 7 years ago my final cancer treatments after my mastectomy and reconstructive surgery were completed.
Although I did not want to hear about this at the time, I can now agree with the old saying “this crisis is a blessing in disguise”. It may sound strange, but I do appreciate life and health so much more, instead of taking it all for granted like I had before. No matter what, we are all mortals and our time on earth is very limited.
When my husband got ill and we nearly lost him because of endocarditis in 2011 (strange I remember this year!) God seemed to be reminding me that without love and working on enjoying every single day, life is literally a waste!
Cliches have become commonplace because they are truths we all recognize, but sometimes forget or get too busy or distracted to really live by. Cliches start to lose their meaning if we merely throw them around without genuinely understanding them, before it is too late.
How often have you heard this? “If you don’t have health you have nothing.”
Only when you are faced with a crisis such as seeing your loved one deteriorating, or feeling like you are losing yourself – your mind or your body – to an unstoppable force or disease, do you sit up and listen.
Despite many diseases such as Smallpox, Polio and others which can now be prevented by vaccines, we need much more continued research and commitment to eradicate diseases such breast cancer and the other cancers. But there is still a long way to go.
How Can We Help?
Volunteer – Give Your Time (Instead of Money)
With much speculation about how much of our monetary contributions actually reach our hoped destination, we can all still help as much or as little as we can – by giving our money and/or our precious commodity: time.
When nearly all my treatments (double mastectomy and later reconstructive surgery) were almost finished, as a way of paying forward I trained as a peer support volunteer for Canadian Cancer Society. Through CCS I have helped many women diagnosed with breast cancer or those needing to talk to someone who has gone through what they are facing. Although I would not give any medical advice or personal opinions about their specific circumstances, I knew how important it is to listen to their fears and hesitations on the emotional level.
While going through my own recovery journey with the help of God, my family and good friends, I learned the hard way that we cannot walk this path alone.
I would listen and help these women list out the questions and help them decide on their own best way forward, so they can take each part of the process, and every day, one step at a time. Many times it was all about how a mother with so many family and work responsibilities could handle the load.
Just like I had in my own situation – and still have to be conscious to do this – I helped the women to take time to rest, and be kind to themselves, guilt free and to allow themselves to accept help from their friends and loved ones. This was temporary, I would repeat, as we all feel like we will never get out from this dark cloud in our lives. But many of us do, and continue to live healthy and happier lives.
Although it can be hard to hear the ‘new friends’ crying or being reminded of how I had dealt with the same issues or questions years earlier, I feel it is worth every moment to be helping someone I may never even meet. It is my honor to be there for them, just like a peer support volunteer had helped me on my own journey.
It reminds me of how strong I was, and how much we are all capable of, and how many wonderful people and organizations out there can help us.
You may not want to volunteer or have the time to do this on a regular basis. You may have a different commitment to a different cause. That’s absolutely fine.
Take time to search within yourself and the internet: What subjects are close to your heart? Do you love animals, are you committed to helping the elderly, or at the local hospital? Ask your friends or colleagues what they do. But you may well discover that even the tiniest amount of effort on your part will help on many levels. If you have children you will be teaching by example, and most of all you will know that you are making a difference.
Share with me below in the comments how you help or would like to make your own difference.
Stay Inspired, and enjoy the beautiful fall colors.