Sounds harsh doesn’t it? Anyone can ask Paula, ARDS Foundation VP, that those words are pretty tame coming from me… But if I had a dime from all of the folks who asked me one of the following questions:
Why doesn’t anyone know what ARDS is?
Why isn’t anyone helping to do anything about ARDS?
Why have I seen such little progress concerning ARDS?
If I were to be nasty, I might hurl a hand mirror and ask what they had done in the last month … in the last six months … in the last year? I might ask what they had done besides ask me what others are doing…
But since I do not like to completely alienate people, as I probably risk doing now, I usually reiterate the same things that I have told them before…
Tell their ARDS Story or that of their loved one
Support someone in ARDS crisis
Educate others about ARDS
Distribute ARDS Brochures
Write a letter to your Representative in Washington
Gather signatures on a petition
Collect small donations in a Donation Can
But what I am thinking is: those who have been personally affected by ARDS need to step up to the plate and do something!
Sometimes doing something involves something other than money. And I realize that for many folks in the ARDS community, money is something that they have little of. For those who can donate, it is often much easier to write a check and forget about it, and not be bothered by this annoying obligation to “do something.”
I know you did not choose to join the ARDS Community; ARDS chose you. But once you were chosen, once you rode the ‘ARDS roller coaster,’ either as a patient or a family member, you need to ask yourself the same question that I asked myself when I was deciding whether to have a life dominated by this charitable organization…
How would you feel if someone you loved, your child or spouse, your sibling or parent, or anyone who was important to you, got ARDS in the future, and you had done nothing at all to make a difference in any manner whatsoever?
If you are OK with doing nothing, or almost nothing, if that were to happen, then do nothing… But, if you feel, as I did, that you would not be able to forgive yourself … then, do something, anything, to make a difference.
I know that sometimes when a person has to give of themselves, from deep within, it can be especially uncomfortable to do so. Often it does involve facing one’s fears, reliving possibly the worst time in your life.
However, in the end, many people find the experience, though exhausting, cathartic. And always meaningful.
And yes, there are many dedicated medical professionals who are doing research on ARDS, but more research is needed … and we, as lay people, in the ARDS Community need to support what they are doing. Our stories, our voice, the work that we can do, is more important then you can imagine.
It is difficult enough to get others who have never heard about ARDS to give donations … it is frustrating trying to persuade corporations to sponsor the ARDS Foundation when they, too, have not heard of acute respiratory distress syndrome; reporters do not want to report about ARDS when they cannot conceptualize this devastating syndrome… Put a face on ARDS so people can see that an ARDS patient looks like them.
Sure, at the ARDS Foundation, we want, we need, your tax deductible donations. But more importantly, we want you. The ARDS Community needs you, for all of us to make a difference.
You know who you are…