I’m not really one to jump on a bandwagon. Unless it has to do with chocolate. So when my friend Alyson nominated me to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I hesitated. I didn’t want to do it just to do it. Because everyone else is doing it. I’ve watched the heart-wrenching video from Peter Frates. I know what it’s about. And I usually don’t give to organizations like that because my funds are so limited.
But raising awareness is good. Maybe not as good as raising money. But maybe if I make someone who has more money than I aware of something, they’ll be led to give. I changed my profile picture on Facebook to the Arabic “noon” to raise awareness of and show solidarity for the Christians in Iraq and the atrocities being perpetrated against them.
But did I want to jump on this bandwagon?
And then I remembered Anni.
I met Anni at a bridal shower for my friend Faith. I sat with her at the table and asked her to tell me her story. Anni is a beautiful, outgoing, faith-filled woman whose father has ALS. Anni is his caretaker. She has put her life on hold to honor him with her service. I was so impressed by Anni’s selfless attitude. She has a really hard life. But she has some really good friends. And she loves her dad.
Chances are, her dad is not going to be around a whole lot longer. Anni needs help with meals, with getting out of the house every once in awhile, with shopping, with housework. She can’t do it herself.
One thing that Anni said to me is that, though she appreciates beyond words the meals and supplies others bring for them, she can’t stand the term “beggars can’t be choosers.” She considers herself a beggar because she needs to ask for help. She wishes people would realize that she doesn’t like to have to ask, and she’d do it herself if she knew that wouldn’t kill her in the process. She’d like for people to ask her, “What can I make for you for dinner tonight? What do you really love that you haven’t had for awhile?” Why should she not get to choose just because she’s had to ask?
So, I’m doing it for Anni. I’m going to have my son pour a bucket of ice water over my head and post it on Facebook and Instagram because that’s what Pete Frates wants me to do. Though I have no funds to contribute, I hope I am raising the awareness of someone who does. You can give at this website.
Look around you. Is there someone who is taking care of a loved one who is terminally ill? Are they bearing the burden alone? Ask them what they need. Be there for them. They are there for someone else.