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A Year of Change

February 24, 2017
The weekend of the 2016 New York Walk for Lymphedema and Lymphatic Diseases, I was feeling somewhat down because I could not attend this powerful event in New York City. My husband, Patrick, and I traveled to the Big Apple in September 2014 for The Walk as part of our honeymoon after our wedding in August 2014. We used a portion of our wedding gifts to make the travel arrangements and to make what we considered to be a decent personal donation to The Walk’s benefactor, the Lymphatic Education & Research Network. The trip was expensive for us, as we live in Buffalo — on the other end of New York State — and we have modest incomes and a son in college. Airfare, hotel, and meals came to more than $2,000 alone. This trip was important for me to take, however, because I suffer from lymphedema, and when no other source offered me answers or support, LE&RN was there for me. And I was so blessed to have a husband who understood this and agreed to celebrate our union by participating in a charity walk!
Recently, I’ve been torn because while we are saving for a trip to Ireland someday, we wrestle with guilt setting aside that type of money when the funds could be donated to so many worthy causes, including LE&RN. It took us many years to get to the point where we can actually enjoy some of the money we are earning, and it’s hard for me to think of myself first. So the weekend of the 2016 Walk, as I was home cleaning while my mind was 400 miles to the east, something caught my eye and gave me an idea. My husband leaves change everywhere — on the kitchen table, on the coffee table, in pockets, and even on the floor. I, too, have issues with change. Every two weeks or so, my purse weighs a ton, and I end up dumping out nearly $5 in loose coins from the bottom. So, as I reached down to our bedroom carpet to retrieve a quarter before I vacuumed, the idea struck. Why not just put all this change aside for the next year and see how much we collect?
We also decided to put out a call on social media to our family and friends to donate their empty returnable cans/bottles so we can cash them in. We even told those who know where we live to just toss bags full of returnables over our fence 🙂
It might not be enough to actually make the trip again, but pinching pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters should give us a great head start as we participate in The Walk as virtual walkers for the third consecutive year in 2017. And who knows, maybe the hubby will become more generous with the “tips” he leaves around the house to further the cause, and maybe we will be able to celebrate in person once again.
(Photo: It’s a start… we’ll fill it up, though!)

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