Wow. Thanks everyone. THAT was amazing. I talked to several of Leslie's family and friends, and we have been extremely blessed and encouraged with the outpouring of love and compassion this week. Many tears, many laughs... Shared with SO many people. Thanks for the stories, old friends, and thanks for your compassion, new friends and "strangers". I am truly humbled... I had not expected that kind of response. Thank you all.
Several of those great stories were shared by a group of ladies that had a special place in Leslie's heart. A group of friends from her high school days-- the ones talking about her convertible (DA BUCH) and all other kinds of craziness that might just be news to Leslie's parents... (the convertible ending up in a cornfield one night comes to mind... I believe when Leslie told me that story, she specifically noted that Dad never knew about it.) Anyway, this group of girls came up to me 8 months ago at one of Leslie's memorial services and made a commitment-- they would get together every year to remember "the good ol' days"... to remember Leslie, to love on each other, to share laughter and tears. And they determined that the annual event which would be the venue for this get-together would be the Washington, IL Relay for Life. (American Cancer Society)
Now, while I'm all about charitable giving, I'm admittedly not one who gets into "fund-raising". I can't remember EVER pushing a cause before... Well... This might be the only cause I'll ever pitch, and fittingly so.
DeLene, Julie, Elisa, Sarah, and the gang (if I didn't mention your name, girls, that's my shout out to JOIN THE TEAM or DONATE!! And yes, I KNOW who you are!)-- along with Leslie's family and a couple of our friends-- have started a Relay for Life team in Leslie's honor. You can support our cause by clicking on the following link and clicking on the DONATE button:
One of the really cool things about ACS and Relay for Life (in my mind... I tend to pay close attention to this kind of thing) is the fact that 75% of donations go directly to fund cancer treatment and research programs. Only the remaining 25% goes to the infrastructure and adminsitrative costs to support ACS (so they can continue pushing 75% of everything they get into their actual cause). That's a great ratio for such a large organization. (One to which our government and churches should espouse, if you ask me.)
Anyway, if your heart feels so led, consider joining the Walking Warriors and donate, will you? In honor of Leslie. In honor of your loved one who has battled. It's just another great way to join this little party we started last week. (In case you're wondering, over 1500 unique visitors have partied with us in the past week, viewed the blog, left comments, etc... Representing 44 states and 21 countries worldwide.)
Thanks again for joining us in celebrating Leslie. And for considering donating-- a "birthday gift" of sorts.