Day 48 – Stand Together

Tonight has been a great night.  I have been working in the registration booth for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night event in Union Square.  I have gotten to meet some other volunteers that seem super cool.  I had a great time checking in individual walkers and updating their fundraising information.  A few of the people I checked in had raised over a thousand dollars for this cause!  It was a real treat for me to be able to thank them and encourage them.  I was able to high five, smile, and get all excited about each person’s efforts….and not in a fake way.  Just being me and being excited to see so many people giving all they could to help a cause that they care about.  Fundraising is not easy work.  I should know….I once had a career in non-profit fundraising.  I am good at it.  But it can be tough.  My shift is over and Tiffany, the person in charge of registration comes over and gives me a meal ticket.  I scurry off to the meal tent.  They are all out of burgers.  So I grab a bag of chips and a bag of cookies and head back to my chair.  After I sit for a bit it is time to head home.  As I leave I run into Terry, the volunteer coordinator and my contact, and I tell her that I would love to volunteer again and to keep me on her roster.  We shake hands and I am off.  As I walk back towards the train station I see a young man….he is a little dirty, his clothes are greyed.  He is walking with the crowd and looking at the ground.  Maybe looking for money.  I ask him if he would like some chips and cookies.  He gets excited….”SURE!”…  As I hand today’s gift over, he smiles and says thanks.  I smile and say “no sweat man, take care of yourself.”  He replies “I am workin’ on it.”  I think to myself “me too.”  I hope he does ok.  I hope I do ok.  Things have been so tough for me lately.  I get to the BART station and catch my train.  Back home to my family.  What a night.

This piece was very simple by design.  The event was called”Light The Night” and the participants got to walk 2 miles with helium balloons with LEDs inside of them to light the way.  This is a symbol for a beacon of hope for those living with Lymphoma and Leukemia.  I had a great time volunteering but I also wanted to remember that this is a serious problem facing so many of our friends and family.  I wanted to illustrate that focus.  I was there for a reason….not just to feel good about volunteering…but to help.  To make a difference.  These symbols remind people that there is still much work to be done.  And we are standing together ready to do all we can.

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About giftprolific

My name is Joshua Coffy and I am an artist living in San Francisco. You can see my art at www.undersong.com as well. Thanks for your time.
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5 Responses to Day 48 – Stand Together

  1. Anonymous says:

    You are a sweetheart, I love You!

  2. Linda Garrity says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience about this fundraiser-I can just envision how powerful the scene is with the volunteers walking with their lighted balloons. I’m glad that you felt helpful and comfortable with the project, were inspired enough to want to volunteer again and then randomly found a way to give the little food you had to someone whom you thought needed it more than you.

    Another powerful night light story happened a few years ago when the 16 year-old daughter of my then best friend made it through all of her first rounds of chemo to fight Ewing’s Sarcoma, a cancer that was in her muscle and bone of her leg. Hundreds and hundred of family and friends lined the four blocks leading to their home with lighted candles to surprise and welcome them home; Erin and her mom got out of their car and walked slowly through this scene with everyone clapping and congratulating them for achieving this milestone. Unfortunately, Erin lost her battle with this disease and died almost two years ago; despite that, I will still always have amazing memories of that particular night.

    Not as inspirational as the others, but still in keeping with the image of lighting the night, my last story is about my younger son, who lived and taught in Thailand for 1 1/2 years-right after he got there in October of ’09, there was a Thai festival called Loi Krathong (Festival of Lights), where people made elaborate bouquets of flowers and incense-the ritual was to make a wish for something, set your piece on the river, and if you saw if float out of sight, your wish would come true. Others did the same idea with lanterns and watched them fly away.
    Some of his photos from the event are here:
    https://plus.google.com/photos/112555825796767504745/albums/5404331813432706961

    So thank you again….another beautiful story, another simple but deeply meaningful painting.

    XOXO

  3. giftprolific says:

    Wow Linda, Your stories are amazing. I can see them in my head so clear. Thanks again for your posts. I am really touched.

  4. Ashley DaSilva says:

    Hey Joshua,
    I picked up this particular piece at Burning Man last year. I remember stumbling upon your exhibit my second day at the Burn and constantly reminding myself to come back when the gallery was open, which may I mention I did and am very proud of.
    I’ve moved your piece around my apt. all year. It’s lived in my bedroom, kitchen, living room, and dining area. And every time I move it, I think about sending you a picture, but then I see a squirrel and …
    Anyways, today I found out that someone who I deeply care about has stomach cancer. He told me he was sick a couple of months ago, but I didn’t expect this. All day I’ve been thinking about how to be there for him and what would lift his spirits but kept coming up short. Then, I saw #48 in my kitchen and knew I had to send it to him.
    I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to let you know where she ended up, but her journey is only beginning and she is on her way to Austin.

    xo
    Bataan

  5. Pingback: Bataan’s Painting (#048) | The Gift Prolific

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