Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Mailbox Assault

In these days of texts and emails, how often do we ever rally get anything good in the mail? Yesterday, I got three bills, an Entertainment Weekly, and a flier soliciting donations to MS. I have probably thrown away a few hundred of these mailers since becoming an adult and needing my own mailbox. I hardly give them a second glance. But this one, with the all to familiar red lettering of my least favorite initials, jumped right out at me.

It feels strange to donate to the MS cause. I have already given so much money to MS.  MRIs, office copays, prescriptions, vitamins. These things add up quickly. And wouldn't my dollar be better spent helping an eight-year-old girl's final wish than to try to figure out why this forty-one-year-old girl has scars in her brain?

But it feels equally strange NOT to donate to MS. Aren't I at least slightly obligated to help fund the research to cure my disease? To help my peers with failing central nervous systems?

I have always struggled to figure out where to donate what little money I have to give. If I give to breast cancer research, I can't give to Planned Parenthood. If I choose to donate to a political campaign because I like the candidate's stance on Syria, am I somehow denying that little bit of money to the lab that would have otherwise found the cure for MS?

I'm not sure, even after my diagnosis,  that MS is the cause I would support with my very limited amount of donation dollars. Yet how can I, in good conscious, ever ask someone else to contribute to a cause that I have myself not contributed to? Especially a cause that directly benefits me?

Even giving away my ill-fitting clothes or my slightly worn coat makes me question: Wouldn't the women's shelter be a better place for those?

I can't donate that much of my time. I can't even donate blood. How does someone choose?

My son has the most beautiful heart. We never pass a homeless man on the corner without my kid asking why that man is there and how we can help him. He wants to find every lost pet. He asks for quarters so he can toss them into collection buckets. He offers to give his own money when there is a drive for donations at school.

It is clear to me. The best way I can help the world is to invest in my son. He will be my donation to the world. 

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