M is a former ICU patient. Over the course of the last few years, he has been diagnosed with recurrent glioblastoma that has required craniotomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. He suffered complications after his last surgery and was unable to return to work in a timely manner.
Once he recovered from these complications, it was discovered that the cancer had reoccurred and returning to work was no longer an option. M’s wife, V, is our unit secretary in the ICU and she too has missed work caring for her husband.
This has been devasting to all that know V and M. One day Allie Carey, and another nurse from ICU, were discussing ways to raise money to help support this amazing couple; they came up with the idea of a simple yard sale.
Allie decided to spearhead this project and began planning. If she only knew how this would grow. What started as a plan for a simple yard sale, turned into much more. Allie solicited donations from her co-workers and offered her home as storage for donated items. The outpouring of donations over months was so much more than anyone anticipated. Allie never turned a donation away and soon her garage, office, and home were overflowing.
Initial plans were to hold the sale at the Grange Hall with Allie and her husband providing the funds for the rental. As the time for the garage sale approached, it became obvious that moving all these donated items was no longer an option. At this point, Allie offered her home and yard, which was a great location, and solicited assistance from her co-workers to help organize, price and participate on the three sale days. The brunt of this responsibility fell on Allie’s shoulders. The amount of time, effort and energy Allie and her co-workers put into this was substantial while she continued to support her family at home.
The weekend of the sale, Allie’s family came out in force to help with this cause as well as many of her co-workers. There were gray bracelets and stickers provided by Allie, supporting brain cancer awareness. Watching Allie in action was amazing. She approached everyone with a smile on her face and chatted them up with her true southern hospitality. She never wavered in her boundless energy despite three long days in the hot summer sun.
The culmination of all the above work resulted in an unexpected $8,000 for the family! What started out as a small gesture to help a former patient and co-worker turned into an overwhelming experience of generosity and faith in the human spirit.
A few weeks after the sale, I was thanking Allie for all she did, and her reply was “If you are capable of helping others, why wouldn’t you?”