I'm put in this frame of mind this season by bad news about a good friend, and at the risk of driving away any readers who still visit us for rants, complaints, and humor in questionable taste, I'd like to share it.
Katie Kuslak Rader, a great friend of mine from the University of Dayton, was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple years ago, and after a period of remission it recurred, having spread to other, more vital parts of her anatomy. The prognosis has not been good for quite some time, but I've recently heard that the word "terminal" is coming up with more frequency now.
I understand that cancer patients, as well as those with other terminal diseases, are told that a positive attitude is their greatest weapon in fighting their ailment, and if this is true then Katie has not been "outgunned" in this fight, just outfoxed I guess. She truly has been the bravest, most positive, radiant person you can imagine. On the occasions that I get an update on her condition I'm astounded that someone can have such a selfless attitude in that state. One or two dry paragraphs about her condition is followed by a page of stories about her two young girls and the joy they bring to her and her husband, Donnie. They visit family and friends, when she's able, and are planning a trip to Disneyworld (paid for by friends and family) and try to live each day to the fullest. Katie insists on a "no pity" policy from everyone who she comes into contact with, and is loathe to accept charity from anyone, even though they are under enormous strain from the medical expenses. We've probably all known someone who's been in this scenario. I've had three other good friends go through cancer and survive, and though the hardship and fear was considerable in each case, it never got this bad for them. This time I'm truly afraid things will not end well.
Everybody has their pet causes, issues, and charities, and I find it a little rude to push one's own on others, be it in conversation, through massive chain emails, or in posts on insignificant little weblogs, so bear in mind that I understand that you all are most certainly kind, generous, thoughtful, and charitable people who don't need to be alerted to every story or crisis as if it's new or somehow more important than another. However, if you're feeling particularly generous this year, or you have been looking for another way to give of yourself, or if the CEO of your current pet charity was recently found to be spending his/her six figure salary on booze and coke filled orgies and you've sworn off giving them another dime, I'll simply mention some options you might consider.
You can drop a check to: The Rader Fund First Merit Bank 1105 South Court St. Medina, Oh 44256
A donation to the American Cancer Society or any other organization with a similar commitment would be a fine and generous thing as well.
Or just think a little more this year about someone in a difficult condition and maybe do something kind for them. If when you do it you manage to think for a moment about Katie, I'll be personally very thankful. Again, I know everyone has their limits and I know neither this story nor this request is unique. If you manage anything on Katie's behalf, know you did it for someone that you'd certainly love and admire as much as I do.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, everyone. Hope I'll be around a little more in the next few weeks.