I realized last night that the privilege of being Charlotte’s mom extends far beyond the day to day wonder that she shares with me.
Charlotte’s medical ordeal led me to join the Children’s Service Board of Children’s Memorial Hospital. Giving back to the hospital was obvious to us from the beginning. My parents provided strong examples of philanthropy and community volunteering. Joining the CSB was a way to do more than just write a check; it allowed me to participate in producing The Gold Coast Fashion Show that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the hospital. We raise additional funds through our major gifts and annual giving programs as well as smaller events.
Last night, I attended the annual meeting and dinner of the CSB. We had a stellar year, bringing in the CSB’s first ever 7-digit single gift (yeah Holly!) and setting records with our Circle of Care membership. As our president, Cynthia Chase, presented to Tom Sullivan, President, Children’s Memorial Foundation, a check for $1,966,000 (rounded) my breath stuck in my throat. Never in my dreams did I imagine that I would be part of that kind of fundraising success. And I certainly didn’t imagine that knowing I’d been part of it would be so emotional.
The CSB comprises an extraordinary group of women. Their passion for the hospital is matched by their compassion for their fellow members. Cynthia also told everyone about Charlotte’s upcoming surgery (rescheduled, by the way, for 3/20). Many women asked what they could do for us and made me promise to call them if we needed anything at all. Again, my breath stuck in my throat. Without Charlotte, I would never have known these women or their generosity of spirit.
Despite all Charlotte suffers and all that we suffer with her, being her parent is a daily privilege. While I would not ever have wished, of course, for her heart defect, I was reminded last night of how much more the word “heart” means.
As the CSB web site notes,
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
—Sir Winston Churchill
That’s a value I hope to pass on to Charlotte just as my parents passed it on to me.
And I can’t resist a pitch: click here to donate online to the CSB. Our mission this year is The Bridges program, CMH’s unique pediatric palliative care initiative. While we don’t like to think of families needing this kind of support, we recognize that need. CMH seeks to support physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the whole child and family as they cope with decisions and feelings accompanying major health changes and challenging medical conditions. In addition to Bridges, the funds we raise will go toward our new facility.
52nd Annual Gold Coast Fashion Show
Friday October 5, 2007