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To read the article as originally publisehd in Healthy Cells magazine, click here.
As a child, my mother would remind me and my siblings that it was better to give than receive. That seemed to be the precursor to a Christmas or birthday with fewer presents — but that was not always the case. Only now, as an adult and someone who oversees philanthropy at The Community Cancer Center, do I finally understand what this means.
I talk to patients that are dealing with health issues that I cannot even imagine. I talk to family members who have lost a loved one to cancer, and I talk to family members whose loved one has completed treatment and is doing great. All of these have one thing in common: they want to give, not receive. They just want to give back because they feel blessed to have received care from others; they have experienced the best side of others.
My mother, who I am sure went to the perfect mothers class like so many of our mothers did, also told us that it is not just about how big of a check you can write — it is also about sharing your God-given talents and about sharing your time. Time, talent, and treasure. This, too, took me many years to fully understand yet always seemed easier to say than do.
Every morning when I go into the Community Cancer Center, there is a fresh pot of coffee in the lobby and I am greeted by a cheery “good morning” from one of our many volunteers in their purple vests. I walk past the waterfall that was constructed by and donated by our local Rotarians, and I see the work that was completed by our local Laborers Council. Finally, I end up in my office, where I open the mail or email and see donations from people of all walks of life, all amounts — small and large — and I realize just how lucky the Cancer Center is to have many members of the community who donate their time, talent, and treasure.
Just ask. I know we are accustomed to people asking us for money or to serve on a committee, but the easiest way for any of us is to just ask first. Find out your passion in life. Think about your own mother, what she would guide you towards, and then pick up the phone. Simply call that organization and say, “I would like to donate some time,” or, “I am a quilter or woodworker and I would like to donate my talent.” You can simply write a check or go to the organization’s website and make a donation, no matter how small or large. Simply do it.
Once you take a more proactive approach to giving your time, talent, and treasure, you too will think back upon the day when your mother reminded you, and you probably have reminded your own family, that it is better to give than receive.
David Selzer is the Director of Fund Development at the Community Cancer Center and longtime community volunteer and philanthropist. He and his wife Barbara live in Normal and have four grown children and five grandchildren.
The Community Cancer Center offers a variety of supportive and educational groups and programs, free of charge, to help patients and families cope with cancer and its effects. For more information, go to our website at www.cancercenter.org.