I'm glad to report that the Department of Transportation has raised more than $1 million for the 2010 Combined Federal Campaign. But the January 17th deadline for the 2010 CFC is fast approaching, and we still need people to contribute.
The organizations we help through the CFC face serious financial challenges this year; the people they serve face even graver challenges. And one of those people may be sitting right next to you.
For example, in our Office of Public Affairs, Candi Lovelace benefited as a youth from two weeks at summer camp courtesy of Easter Seals:
"I had a stroke when I was six months old, and I was paralyzed on my right side. But Easter Seals sent me to a camp the summer when I was nine, and I met other kids who were disabled. It was just great being around other kids who didn't see me as different. And I remember it to this day."
Candi has taken her vow to give something back to Easter Seals to the next level by volunteering as a CFC key worker for 12 years.
At age 5, Brendan's heart finally failed, and he was placed on a transplant list. While awaiting a possible transplant, Brendan became a candidate for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. And, although his brother Sean and his sister Moira thought a trip to Disney World would be appropriate, Brendan wished for a tree fort.
As Mike said, this turned out to be no ordinary tree fort:
"These guys went all out. Brendan had a concept for the fort, and Make-A-Wish actually hired an architectural design firm to realize it. It was definitely his concept, but the architects really ran with it. And it really lifted his spirits."
From the photo, I think you can see they did a terrific job and Brendan was ecstatic. He lived long enough to see his name at the top of the transplant list. Now Brendan is a thriving 11-year-old, and the tree fort is a daily reminder to the Griffith family of how one organization can make a difference.
And in the Federal Aviation Administration, Morgen MacDonald is a champion of Preemies Today. Her son Caden was born 7 weeks premature and spent the first several weeks of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit. But even after he came home and endured nine months of medications and intense monitoring, Morgen, like other parents of preemies, still had concerns. Then she found Preemies Today.
She describes PT as:
"A forum where you can ask questions about treatment options and share your anxiety about developmental milestones. It's parents helping parents navigate the world of medical jargon, diagnostic tests with cryptic results, and potentially dangerous treatments."
Preemies Today also offers advice and provides care packages for new parents of babies born prematurely.
"Most people don't understand," Morgen says, "how many charities CFC helps. It's such a wide range, and you just never know what's coming and how one of those organizations might serve you."
I hope you'll take Morgen's message to heart. With a little over one month left, please make your pledge and help DOT meet its 2010 CFC goals.