'TIS THE SEASON OF GIVING
LAST MONTH, WE TOLD YOU ALL ABOUT OUR COMMITMENT TO VETERANS, INC. AND WE ROCKED OUR VERY OWN 22 PUSHUP CHALLENGE. AS A COMPANY, WE FEEL VERY COMMITTED TO SUPPORTING GOOD WORK BEING DONE IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU SOME OF THE OTHER CAUSES THAT ARE NEAR AND DEAR TO US AND WHY WE BELIEVE IN THEM. THERE ARE MANY GREAT ORGANIZATIONS OUT THERE WORKING TO MEET STRUGGLES WITH SUPPORT, ILLNESS WITH HEALING, IMPROVING ACCESS TO NEEDED RESOURCES, AND MAKING WISHES COME TRUE.
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY
This fact cannot be denied--cancer sucks! We have been committed to both American Cancer Society and The Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber (see below) since our founder and president, Jason Geshelin started Blackstone productions 11 years ago. However, just in the past couple of years, our support has become very personal. We have lost a very close friend to liver cancer, and this past summer, Jason lost his aunt to uterine cancer.
One of the oldest cancer prevention organizations, the American Cancer Society was founded in 1913 by a group of doctors and ordinary citizens. Their mission was to educate people about a then highly stigmatized illness and bring cancer education and prevention to the masses. They have been hugely successful over their 103 year history. Our annual donation contributes to over $1 billion dollars that is directed at advocacy, support, education and scientific research. We are honored to contribute to this mission of hope and healing. We need to find the cure and we will always be committed to helping until we do. Just hit that donate button right there. We did!
THE JIMMY FUND AT DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE
As we mentioned above, though we've long supported these two organizations, having personal loss from cancer recently has brought this need into much sharper focus for us. Started in 1948 specifically to support the cause of pediatric cancer, The Jimmy Fund now supports anyone struggling with the disease. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, named for pioneering oncologist Sidney Farber, is known as the gold-standard of cancer treatment in the medical community. Striving to provide the best possible care to cancer patients, the Jimmy Fund helps contribute an average of $75 million to this cause annually. Fun fact: the original "Jimmy" (a name given to a then-anonymous patient) was a boy named Einar Gustafson from Maine. Though his real identity was unknown to the public, his struggle was an inspiration to thousands of people, many of them children suffering with cancer. Before good work done by organizations like this, pediatric cancer was a certain death sentence for patients. His identity was revealed at the 50th anniversary of the Jimmy Fund celebration in 1998 and he spent the remaining years of his life advocating for cancer research. Due to the amazing treatment he was given, Gustafson survived well into his 60's when he died of unrelated causes. We are so excited you might like to help us support the Jimmy Fund. We've made it easy for you with the donate button below. (P.S. we dare you not to cry at that video...)
St. Jude Children's Hospital
Children dealing with the worst diseases we know of, we can’t possibly image what these children and their parents are going through. God forbid, if we ever had to encounter something like this, we would be grateful for the support from an organization like St. Jude Children's Hospital. They are doing such amazing work for these kids and their families and it is our pleasure to help support them. Devoted entirely to research for and treatment of childhood cancers, St. Jude is helping to rebalance the funding disparities for cancer treatment for children and to financially support families with children needing cancer treatment. According to their website,"St. Jude ensures that NO CHILD will ever be turned away, they pay for lodging, treatment, food and travel." We think that's pretty extraordinary and that's why we write a check to them every year.
The organization I Care I Cure says "childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded" and indeed, a range of statistics we found put the percentage at anywhere between 1% and 4% of the amount spent on cancer research for adults. It's astounding that the leading cause of mortality in children under age 15 is receiving relatively little support in the grand scheme of cancer prevention, treatment, and research. St. Jude and their supporters (including us) are trying help rectify this funding gap. Like Dana-Farber, St. Jude is doing extraordinary work to treat and work toward a cure for pediatric cancer. Hit that donate button and join us to add your name to the list of people helping to ensure a brighter, cancer-free future for children everywhere.
Imagine this: you are trapped in your body and unable to move. Your mind is sharp as ever but over a period of a few years, your body slowly deteriorates, until you are unable to breathe and you suffocate to death. We don't want to be harsh but we do want to to raise awareness. This is ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). All diseases suck, but how this one affects you is especially brutal--and personal to us. We lost a colleague some years ago to ALS and we have donated to them ever since.
You may remember ALS from the big Ice Bucket Challenge that proliferated social media in 2014. You may have even had a bucket of ice water dumped on you. Though the ice bucket challenge successfully raised millions of dollars and definitely raised wider awareness, ALS is still not a well-known or well-understood disease. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease after the legendary baseball player whose career and life were ended by this terrible illness, ALS is a degenerative disease in the brain that begins with muscle weakness and progresses into paralysis and respiratory failure. There is no known cure yet, but the ALS Association is doing everything they can to research, treat, and support this devastating disease. (The informative video above helps outline why ALS research funding is so critical). We recognize this need for better funding to help cure ALS and we wholeheartedly support this organization and their good work. Join us and donate below.
Honestly, what's not to love about the Special Olympics? It's awe-inspiring, empowering, and triumphant. We have been fortunate enough to support Special Olympics in some events over the years and we can tell you first hand, these people are absolutely amazing. The most genuine, kindest, funniest people you may ever meet. Every year, we are excited to give to this organization so that they are able to help these Olympians and meet their needs.
The Special Olympics began as the brain child of Eunice Kennedy Shriver (daughter of Joseph and Rose Kennedy and mother of Maria Shriver) as a small-scale event called Camp Shriver, in 1962. Inspired by her sister Rosemary, who, despite her intellectual disabilities was an avid athlete, Eunice Shriver saw a tremendous opportunity for formerly marginalized disabled adults to participate in competitive sports. Out of its humble backyard beginnings, Camp Shriver evolved into what it is today, major competitive athletic events for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities with over 100,000 competitions in 169 countries. Many athletes like Lani DiMello (a gold-medal gymnast born with Down Syndrome) are told they will never achieve anything in life and the Special Olympics gives them a chance to prove all the non-believers wrong and to fulfill their athletic ambitions. We personally think that the Special Olympics is fantastic and we hope you will add your dollars to ours by tapping that donate button right now.
Full disclosure, we are totally crying right now, like as much as the water flowing from that well there...So, watch, and then come back. It's cool, we'll wait right here for you. (Tissues, tissues). This video kind of speaks for itself but this is one of the many reasons why in our minds and hearts Charity:Water is pretty much the best. Funding more than 20,000 community-owned clean water projects around the world since 2006, Charity: Water donors have given more than 6 million people access to clean drinking water and continue to raise money and provide funding for projects every day. One of their most successful initiatives provides an easy way for anyone to "Pledge Your Birthday" and forgo presents, as Rachel did in the video above, in exchange for fundraising for Charity: Water. The children of one of our crew members have done this multiple times and together they have raised more than $5,000! You know you want to...donate...right there! So easy, right?
WE HOPE THAT ONE OF OUR CHARITABLE OFFERINGS HIT YOU RIGHT IN THE FEELS AND CAUSED YOU TO LINK OVER AND OPEN YOUR WALLET FOR THESE AMAZING ORGANIZATIONS. IF NOT, WE URGE YOU TO FIND WHATEVER CAUSE IS DEAR TO YOUR HEART AND TAKE A LITTLE OFF OF YOUR HOLIDAY FUND OR LATTE BUDGET AND PUT IT TOWARDS THE GOOD OF OTHERS. IT'S SELFISH, REALLY--GIVING FEELS SO GOOD!
THIS IS OUR LAST POST BEFORE CHRISTMAS, SO WE WANT TO WISH EVERYONE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY. WHATEVER YOU CELEBRATE, MAKE IT A GOOD ONE.