A Short Drive with a Large Impact

“I would like to get more involved in my community, but I do not have time.”

“I’m just too busy with life to volunteer.”

“Life is too hectic for me to make a commitment to volunteering.”

I hear these words, these thoughts, too often.  Each is an actual quote from someone I have talked with after sharing the Impact 52 story.  People have a hard time understanding how we have been able to make our commitment to volunteerism.  They cannot comprehend serving each week because, in their mind, serving others takes too much time.  That belief, like the words spoken above, most times is inaccurate.  People are unwilling to invest the time to understand the real time commitments to volunteerism before they create their perceptions.  This leads to their thoughts and beliefs which ultimately leads to excuses.  I often find that those who use the excuse of “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” really just do not want to get involved to better their community.  One of my personal goals with Impact 52 has been to debunk the myth that we do not have time for others, for ourselves, and for our communities.  Over the last 60 weeks, we have experienced a wide array of volunteer experiences requiring a wide range of time commitments.  If you want to get involved in community and volunteer, you can.  There are plenty of options that will fit your schedule.  This week was a perfect example.

Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana is a local non-profit that serves those living with cancer in our area.  We volunteered with the organization in week sixteen of year one by handing out cancer support ribbons at the annual Fort for Fitness event.  It was an introduction to the unbelievable work they do in our community for the individuals, and families, battling the terrible disease.  I have never met a person, a family, or a community that has not been affected by cancer.  It has been a pain in the ass of our family for many years.  It has taken the lives of loved ones too early, created pain and suffering, and feelings of heartache and emptiness.  Cancer Services helps people by providing individual and group support, information, medical equipment, supplies, and transportation (just to name a few).  Unlike our first volunteer experience with CSNI this week I had the opportunity to have direct client contact.

I volunteered to help with client transportation three days this week.  My responsibility was to pick up a client, drive her to her radiation treatment, and then drive her home.  A very simple and easy task.  I arrived at the home of Ms. C around 1:15 pm.  “Thank you” was the first thing said as she got into my car.  I hadn’t done a thing and I was already being thanked.  Ms. C is a middle-aged female who has been battling cancer for the last year.  She has endured operations, seven months of chemotherapy, and six weeks of radiation treatment.  She is a mother and grandmother who has been entangled in the fight of her life.  A fight she will win, without a doubt.  We had a twenty-minute conversation as we drove to the hospital.  It was a great conversation with a great woman.  We arrived at the hospital and I dropped her off at the front door.  I parked the car and went inside to wait.  After about twenty minutes, Ms. C came strolling into the waiting room with her big smile.  We loaded into the car and I drove her home.  The drive home went by fast as we, once again, became engrossed in conversation.  I learned that this would be the only day that I would see Ms. C.  The radiation treatment I drove her to was actually her last one.  There was no need for her to go back.  I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t get to drive her again, but was ecstatic to know that she has completed the treatment.  I dropped her off at her house around 2:20pm.  We said our goodbyes and I went about my day.  I am grateful to have met Ms C and blessed that she shared her story with me.  She will be in my thoughts and prayers as she completes the fight of her life.

In all, I spent one hour and five minutes volunteering with Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana this week.  It, by far, was the best one hour and five minutes I spent all week.  It is proof, once again, that we can help others without giving up our day and ruining our calendar.  So the next time you say “I don’t have time” think about Ms. C.  In the time that you usually take to eat lunch during the week, you could be driving someone to a life-saving appointment.  Take time for a short drive and make a large impact!

Please visit www.cancer-services.org to learn how you can get involved.  If you are outside of Northeast Indiana, find an organization near you.  Cancer affects everyone.  You never know when you, or your family, will need this service.

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