Your actions can save a life

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Gloria Wilson
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
It's been a rough year for me. In less than a year I've been hit with situation after situation that has brought me to my knees.

First, I'll mention the deaths.

My grandmother died in October, the cousin I grew up with died in November, and my dad - my much missed, loved dad - died in June.

All of them died unexpectedly. All their deaths were tragic, yet it's my dad's passing from kidney cancer at the age of 56 that affected me the most.

After my dad's death I thought I couldn't get any lower. I mean, come on, I was already down, right? However, I was wrong and my resilience was again tested. A few weeks ago my 52-year-old mother, a breast cancer survivor, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

So why am I sharing this?

It's not for sympathy, and although I could use this as an opportunity to talk about how being resilient is important (because it is), that's not why either.

It's because I can only concentrate on what I can do. As I go through the necessary steps to help my mom, I've realized there's something meaningful I can do for both my parents - and that's give. I can give to charities that may provide someone a better chance at survival than my dad had as he wasn't even aware he had cancer. I can help fund an organization that conducts research to find a cure for MS. I can donate to a place that may help those with, or who have had, breast cancer. Or I can contribute to a place that can assist those trying to cope with an illness or terminal disease.

My time for giving can be any time; but most importantly, it's now. Not because of the timing with my family, even though that's always in my mind and heart, but because the Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas runs from Sept. 16 to Nov. 15.

The CFC-O is an opportunity to give to the charity of your choice. It's a time frame to figure out where your heart lies in relation to giving, and to know that if you donate your money can go to one or a variety of organizations of your choosing. It could come right back to your base for morale and welfare programs, it can help animals or the environment, or it can even go to a charity that deals with cancer and MS like mine will.

Through the CFC-O, Department of Defense uniformed and civilian personnel stationed overseas can give to more than 2,600 national and international charities. 

Take a moment to check things out and learn more in order to make an informed decision. Also, know that all the charities have been vetted to ensure they are legitimate.

Any donation helps. Many of the organizations cannot continue to operate without the generosity of contributors. I've been giving through the CFC since I've been in the military - before the deaths and medical challenges in my family. The only difference for me now is it's more personal, and the need for people to help various charities has been amplified in my life.

I know donating won't bring back my family members and I know it won't cure my mom, but I can only do what I can and hope that my choosing to support makes a difference for others. Even if you choose not to donate, please help spread the word.

Rest in peace dad. I'm doing all I can.