Thursday, January 17, 2008

Foul Weather Friends

I don't know Shannon Dodd, yet I feel a certain kinship to her. She, like me, is in her 30s (not as FAR into her 30s as I am, mind you). She has two boys, so her house is full of dirt and noise too. Shannon has a lovely monosyllabic-named husband. She has an extraordinary close-knit group of friends. Our similarities end there. You see, Shannon is in the heat of the battle of a lifetime; she is fighting an aggressive brain cancer. Her noggin, her VERY BEING is being attacked by these horrid, cancerous cells.

Shannon and her family are fighting. They are in the ring for those two little boys, ages 4 and 5. And they are fighting for so much more. I was teary-eyed recounting the tale to my husband tonight. I can only manage to be but so poignant, if at all, in this post. My emotions are raw for this woman I don't even know. I know her story, however, and that's moving enough.

How do I even know of Shannon's plight, you ask? My boys are in school with some of Shannon's friends who are in the ring with her. They are busy at various command posts organizing a whole host of ways to support the Dodd family. For starters, there's a pancake breakfast fundraiser on Saturday, January 26 8:00-10:30 to raise money to help the Dodds manage mounting financial burdens. Though they are blessed with great health insurance, the bills still add up quickly. The emotional toll can't be empirically counted. Imagine the havoc illness wreaks on those less fortunate. No political jabs here, but simply an observation.

If you're in or around Raleigh, enjoy the respite from breakfast duty on the 26th and head over to 4801 Six Forks Road for pancakes, sausage, coffee, and juice. Tickets are a mere 5 bucks. Go to shannondodd.org to get more information. You can see photos of the lovely Shannon there too. And by the way, the $5 donation is not tax deductible since Shannon's friends are the organizers, not a registered, official non-profit. But hey, who's supporting the cause for the tax break? As a good liberal, I hate people who just write checks for the tax write off and not the underlying cause anyway.

Shannon has a remarkable group of friends. It's easy to call, email, drop by with a half-burned lasagna once in a while. Creating a whole grassroots campaign is another endeavor. What a gesture it is for these friends to show their love in a tangible way. I'm sure the lasagna, once the burned cheese was scraped off the top, was enjoyed by all, but nothing beats the display of friendship behind the scenes at http://www.shannondodd.org/.

In a world fraught with war, worry, and wariness, it is refreshing to know that everyday people live with a whole different set of virtues. Love, generosity, goodwill, and true, deep care are dancing in harmony before my very eyes. We should all be so lucky to live a life worthy of such a solid set of friends, admirers, and supporters. Friendship, unlike any I have experienced, is alive and kicking here in Raleigh. Shannon's cancer is in for a real ass kicking.

Join the fight.

Saturday, January 26
8:00 - 10:30
5 bucks (priceless since you don't have to cook!)
St. Mark's Methodist Church, 4801 Six Forks Road, Raleigh

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