Ryan and I were recently discussing Hoops for Hope, believe it or not, and we were talking about the act of getting donations. Every year it seems like we get a few people that come to us and say that they've been trying to get donations but that no one will donate. It never fails, every single year. Hearing "no" can certainly be disheartening when you're out for what you believe to be a good cause, but things could certainly be worse.
In our conversation I mentioned to Ryan that my thought process on this is pretty simple; when we're out getting donations the hardest thing that we're going to have to do is ask someone to help support our quest for a cure for cancer, and putting it that way generally has people thinking...yeah, that is what we're doing, we're on a quest for a cure, but that's going to be the hardest part. We have to go up to individuals and businesses and say:
"Hello, we were wondering if you'd like to donate to Hoops for Hope? 100% of your donation is going to go directly to cancer research, not one cent will be taken for anything other than cancer research so whatever you give will certainly make a difference!"
That's it. If they choose to donate, fantastic! If not, I generally keep talking until they give me money just to get me out of there, but it's a cause I'm passionate about and it's easy for me to talk about what a great organization The V Foundation is, and all of the amazing advances in cancer research our dollars have been a part of. And in the worst case scenarios...they tell me no.
So the hardest part for most people is asking for a donation, and the worst thing they'll hear is no.
Now put yourself in the shoes of someone that hasn't been feeling quite right lately so they go to the doctor to see what may be going on and they find out that they have cancer. Having gone through this scenario with my mom I can tell you that the worst thing that my mom had to deal with is first finding out that she had cancer, then finding out that the diagnosis wasn't very good, then fighting every single day for just a little more time and hoping each day that they would get the word that this or that treatment had done it, that they were cancer free!
I still remember the day my mom passed away. She had been Life Flighted to Rochester, MN from Thief River Falls and we decided that my brother would meet her and my dad down there to be with her as we had to also run our summer business. Later that night we got a call saying that we better jump in our car and start heading to Rochester as things weren't looking good. About an hour out of Rochester we received a phone call from my dad...trying to hold back his emotions he told us that we had lost our mom...
I'm not a very religious guy, but I'd like to think that I'm a man of great compassion. I truly care for my fellow man and hate to see anyone suffer, a trait I undoubtedly got from my parents. When we go out for donations I try not to think about how hard it is to ask people for money, I think about how hard it is to live with cancer. I think about how hard it is to go on living when someone you love so much dies from that disease, and suddenly asking for money so that I can hopefully help others to beat the disease doesn't seem so hard anymore. I think about how the worst outcome everytime I ask for a donation is that they will tell me no. They won't tell me i have cancer. They won't tell me that I have to fight for my life, and they won't tell me that I'm probably not going to live through the year.
The hardest part for us is to ask for money to help find a cure, and the worst thing that will happen is that we will be told no. When you put it in terms of what we're fighting for, I hope it doesn't seem so hard anymore.
Getting a community on board with a relatively unknown organization such as The V Foundation, especially when organizations such as The ACS and Relay for Life had such a stronghold in our community certainly wasn't the easiest thing we've ever done...but I can guarantee it wasn't the hardest. When it comes right down to it, we lost a huge part of ourselves when we lost our mom to cancer, and we don't want others to feel that same pain. We want to end cancer...and we want you to be part of that. The worst thing you could tell us is only no.
Thank you all so much for all your hard work in getting out there and gathering donations to help fund cutting edge research, I can't wait to see what new breakthroughs this money will lead to! Keep up the great work and we look forward to seeing everyone this (April 17th - 19th) weekend!