Imagine this: You’re 37 years old and have a beautiful life. 2 children – a boy and a girl – and you’re married to the man you love who is a well-known dentist. You live in a peaceful rural community. The community lacks some healthcare specialists, so you make an appointment in the closest city (which is a tedious 3 hour drive away). As your driving you get a little excited because you can shop in the big city after the Drs appointment. What comes next is inconceivable. You’ve seen this happen to friends or neighbors but You??… As you stare at the Doctor you hear these words…YOU HAVE CANCER!
This is what happened to my friend, Margaret, some 20 years ago.
We live in Wyoming, population 530,000, oh yes-that’s the entire state. Our town has about 23,000 people according to the most recent census. Include a 120 mile radius maybe 100,000 people. The problem is we don’t have a cancer treatment center here, so if you’re diagnosed with cancer your left wondering “what will I do?” Just recently, they began a test program of chemotherapy at our hospital where a Doctor follows Oncologist prescriptions to treat patients, but they can’t do Chemo for all forms of cancer. The major problem for our town is they can’t do radiation treatment at all.
I don’t know if you are familiar with radiation. The treatment is prescribed typically 5 days a week: Monday through Friday for 6 weeks. The actual treatment lasts only 5-30 minutes. Imagine then having to choose a town to travel to for that treatment which can be a 3 to 5 hour drive away. We also live in a frigid area that can be horrifying to drive on the icy or snowy roads in the winter when you are feeling well, so I can’t even fathom traveling in those conditions if you are worn out, tired, and nauseous from the radiation treatment. We also face road closures so sometimes people actually miss their treatments.
It’s a tough position for families to be thrown into. The patients either have to travel and be away from their family for a week at a time for typically 6 weeks, or travel back and forth daily to receive the treatment. The cost of traveling daily is exorbitant, but staying in a hotel for 6 weeks is a burden as well. Can you imagine the strain on family life? Being separated from your loved ones when going through something that difficult.
I am so proud of what Margaret did after witnessing these things first hand. As soon as she recovered, she was determined to do something to help. She started a foundation called Cowboys Against Cancer. (CAC)
It started really small as a “pay per plate” dinner and auction that made a few thousand dollars. It has grown so much since those early years! Last year was the “sweet sixteen birthday” for CAC and we raised a whopping $363,000 in one evening. It actually blew my mind that a small town could raise that much money. We have award-winning, renowned chefs that pay their own way to the event, the food is usually donated, and they create an AMAZING gourmet meal!
All the auction items are donated and the CAC board is comprised of volunteers. NO ONE is paid … all the money raised goes to cancer patients. We distribute the money by giving out $2500.00 per patient getting treatment and would love to give more, but we are getting so many requests for grants that we can’t afford to at this point.
The most disheartening thing to me is how far does $2500.00 really go, especially when you are traveling that much, paying medical bills, and a lot of times being too sick to work so have to deal with the loss of income? And imagine how bad it is when it’s the breadwinner who’s diagnosed?
One of CAC’s goals is to raise enough money to put a cancer treatment center here. Though the cost for a facility like this is reasonable at $4 million, it’s still a lot of money to raise. It wouldn’t make the cancer diagnosis better but it would at least reduce the traveling burden so individuals could focus on their health and have the support of their family beside them without the additional expenses of traveling.
Let me tell you what happened last year at the benefit. I won $100.00 and a challenge: What could I turn that $100.00 into by November 5th, 2011. I have decide to turn it into at least $100,000.00 for CAC.
To start I have something that could be a win-win for anyone interested in traveling and helping cancer patients at the same time. I have a condo in Cabo San Lucas that happens to be available for a period of 2 weeks: May 28th to June 11th. It’s a beautiful, top-floor 3 bedroom 4 bathroom space (5 queen beds and 1 king) with a wrap-around deck including a hot tub and BBQ grill. I want to auction off the time to the highest bidder and 100% of the proceeds will go to CAC
If this sounds like a vacation with a lot of value on several levels to you, it would be a golden opportunity to give a little while you get a little as well! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
If you’d rather make a financial donation, or an auction item donation, or just volunteer your services, please visit www.cowboysagainstcancer.com/.
I’ve watched cancer wreak havoc on the lives of families it touches. I hope somehow we can ease the financial burden it creates by working together to create more monies to be distributed. If someone gets a vacation in exchange for a donation, isn’t that an amazing trade?
A true WIN-WIN.
If you would like to see more of the condo and make a bid on it please enter your information in the form below and I will send you information right away!
Cowboys Against Cancer is an IRS 501(c)(3) entity. Donations are tax-deductible.