Healing Through Acts of Service

City of Hope 4-15-2018-71

I am simply amazed every single day at how blessed I am. I was born a citizen of the United States.  I have a wonderful husband, two terrific sons, a wonderfully close extended family and a fabulous group of friends, all who love and support me unconditionally. Thankfully I’m in good health, and I am surrounded professionally by so many outstanding people I have met throughout the years, which makes doing business together a truly pleasurable experience.

As we know, life can deal you a few curve balls that can cause some great challenges. I can recite many from my own experiences over the years.  I have endured a close personal loss, had a few hard times along the way, found myself in the middle of some right-turns that weren’t expected, and had a few difficulties happen that collectively to this day can be very overwhelming to think about.  It was in the midst of those times throughout my life that I determined could either begin the never-ending cycle of self-pity and doubt, or I could just dig in and find a way to help others by reflecting back on my own experiences to show a productive and healthy way forward.

So, how does that metamorphosis happen? For me, it began by first looking inward where I discovered a true passion to help others in need. It really doesn't matter to me what their need is or how severe it may be. I just want to be someone that others would trust enough to call upon when difficult times came. After that discovery, the next question came quite easily.... How could I become a blessing to someone at this moment as a result of an action I could take?

This all began from a terrible experience in my past; I lost my father at the very young age of 15 to cancer. I miss him to this day so many years later and not a day goes by that I don't think of him and the amazing journey of life that he missed.  Even at that young age, I was able to channel that pain into action by working closely with other young people who experienced that same type of loss. I can tell you that a hurt like that never really completely heals. But what you do with it can be life-changing, for both you and others that you encounter along the way.

Later in my life, I had the wonderful opportunity to join in with others from the home furnishings industry and volunteer to assist with the extraordinary work being done by the world-class researchers and caregivers at City of Hope.  Founded in 1913 as a facility to house and care for tuberculosis patients, City of Hope is one of only 45 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation designated by the National Cancer Institute. In 2016, I was asked to join a committee that would help lead the effort of support for the Women’s Health Initiative, launched initially to bring focus and awareness to the types of cancers that specifically target women. It was during this first visit to City of Hope in August of that year, among that serene Southern California backdrop, that I received my most meaningful introduction to this amazing organization, and how dedicated they are to their mission of adding time to their patients’ medical journey and to saving lives.

>Now, that is a mission!

For me, I am personally committed to doing all I can to help their important work continue to find a cure for cancer that has touched all of us in some way. I am blessed to serve on their Board of Directors representing the Home Furnishings Industry to raise awareness for this exceptional place.

At the April High Point Market, I was greatly honored to receive their 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award. What a humbling experience that was for me! With or without that incredible recognition, my passion for service continues. It just now makes me want to work even harder to help make a difference wherever I can.

There are so many ways to volunteer to serve others. Incredible organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Anti-Defamation League, Samaritan’s Purse and Doctors Without Borders do life-changing work, and they make a difference each and every day in the communities and with the people they serve.

Acts of service can also be something as simple as helping a homeless person you come across on the street with a few dollars from your wallet. Or donating your time to a battered women’s shelter to sort donations of clothes. You could cook a meal to deliver to a grieving friend or to lend an ear to someone who just needs to talk. Churches and synagogues are a wonderful place to start, as there are always many needs there and never enough hands to address them all.

I live my life by the rule that to whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48). I can tell you that I get so much more back in return for my time and efforts than I can ever give.  Step out and do something special….. the peace you feel by a simple act of service will surpass all understanding and you will bless others who desperately need it. That is a beautiful way to live!

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