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.