I wanted to go ahead and add a little something extra to this site. There are organizations that I support very strongly.
Susan G. Komen:
My mother-in-law has fought this fight and so far has come out ahead. Luckily hers was noticed early enough that proper surgery was able to rid her of that cancer and it has not yet repeated. It has not yet attacked my wife, but the chances of it happening to her are increased as more and more of her family members are diagnosed. The threat is there for her and so very many others, and a cure needs to be found.
CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy):
In the summer of 1999 my older brother was thrown out of a car window resulting in months of surgery, procedures, drug-induced comas, and rehabilitation. Twice we were told for sure that he would not live, and twice his competitive spirit spit in the eye on chance and overcame what the doctors told us. I watched him recover with great joy at his success, and great sadness at the symptoms that he would now have to deal with for the rest of his life. The damage to his head caused him to develop epilepsy, and it is a condition he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
When I was a baby I was dropped on my head (no, I’m not joking) during a game of “catch”, where I was the object being caught. The neurologist they took me to see said I was young enough that my skull would heal and that there would be no lasting effects. For the next 25 years I experience partial seizures up to 10 times per year, having no idea of what they were or what might be causing them. In September 2007 my wife woke up in the middle of the night to find me in convulsions during my first full seizure.
Both my brother and I are on medication to prevent seizures from occurring, but a threat lingers still. SUDBE, sudden death by epilepsy, occurs regardless of what medication you might be on or what other actions you might be taking. It can happen any time, anywhere, and with no provocation at all. It is named for what it is; sudden, and caused by epilepsy. The death rate is high, and most people are completely unaware. Though some people are born with epilepsy, many others develop it through injuries they take in their lives. It can happen to anyone.
PHAMALY (Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League)
“The Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League (PHAMALY) is a theatre group and touring company that performs throughout the greater Denver area. PHAMALY was formed in 1989 when a group of former students of the Boettcher School in Denver, Colorado, grew frustrated with the lack of theatrical opportunities for people living with disabilities, and decided to create a theatre company that would provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to perform. As a not-for-profit membership organization, PHAMALY is dedicated to producing traditional theatre in nontraditional ways.”
In 2010 my wife and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary by taking a vacation to Denver, CO and the surrounding mountains. In planning for the trip I had purchased tickets for us to see Beauty and the Beast performed on stage. I had no idea at the time of purchase that PHAMALY would be involved, or even who or what PHAMALY was.
As we picked up our tickets from the box office and made our way down to the second row of seats in the Arvada Amphitheater I couldn’t help but notice the large number of people with physical disabilities in attendance. Not that there was anything wrong it it, it just stuck out to me from how many there were and I commented to my wife, “there’s a lot of people in wheelchairs here tonight.”
As we found our seats we took a look at the program and there we saw the PHAMALY logo and a short description of who they were and what they did. That explained the unusually (to me) high number of people in the audience with disabilities and my curiosity really began to grow.
As the show went on there was a wide variety of actors and actresses on stage, with various disabilities. Some of them you could tell what their disabilities were and others you could not, but while you might expect some of that to take away from the experience, keeping you from being absorbed into the story being performed in front of you, that was not the case at all. In fact, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful performances I have ever seen; and I have been involved in theatre since I was in sixth grade.
Seeing a wonderful play performed by these amazing people was more than worth the low cost of the tickets to see it, but also being able to see the looks on the faces of those actors as they took their bows before the audience at the end of it, and seeing how incredible and meaningful it was for them was literally breath taking.
All images are taken from the sites to which the links will take you.