Filed under: Inspirational Thoughts | Tags: 9/11, awareness, change, charity, community, firefighters, first responders, generosity, police, resources, service, take action
This is a guest-post from Eric Stevenson.
With a number of recent catastrophes, the need for giving back is now more important than ever. Even with all that’s going on, there’s still plenty we can do for problems relating to old disasters. Back on September 11, 2001 many of our lives changed forever. Even with all the immediate consequences our nation dealt with in the aftermath, there were a number of people who stepped up to the plate at Ground Zero. A select group of citizens risked their lives to help save others in peril ten years ago. This included firefighters, policemen, as well as everyday citizens of this great country. Unfortunately, many of these heroes have been faced with a number of health risks directly related to Ground Zero.
Giving back to some of these heroes is an excellent way to help a number of these people who braved dangers to help citizens in peril. For many of the diseases related to the chemicals and materials spread around Ground Zero, there are a number of needs such as care giving, financial support, and other support systems.
One great organization involved with these heroes is 9/11 Health Now. This is an excellent organization that’s co-founded by actual first responders themselves, and that’s dedicated to fighting for the support that’s needed for many of these brave citizens. Their main goal is to not only fight for increased support, but also to spread the general awareness of the health problems that many of these people have been facing since 2001. This is a truly great organization, in which donations can go a long way towards helping increase support and awareness involving 9/11 first responders.
Some of the common diseases that some of these first responders to 9/11 must deal with include mesothelioma, asbestosis, different forms of cancer, as well as a number of respiratory issues. Because some of these health issues are particularly dire, care giving is often a need for many patients of these diseases. Many times a caregiver is not someone that is a professional, but a loving family or friend. With a number of bills being passed in Washington D.C. there is also a generally great outlook for supporting caregivers for veterans and hopefully soon with first responders to 9/11. Giving some time up to personally assist a hero that you may know can be a great way to give back.
The 9/11 First Responders Bill just went through in December. This is an act pushed through by President Obama and Congress that will allow support for many of those who were first on the scene or living/working around Ground Zero in 2001. Certainly this is a great first step for these heroes, but even more can be done and campaigned for to help support these citizens. Some of the major diseases involved with exposure at Ground Zero can take up to years to develop, often with decade long latency periods before diagnosis. The curious part about this new bill is that it only looks to cover medical support and monitoring through the year 2016. This is rather unfortunate because of the fact that many of these people could develop related health risks after this time is up. An extension of this timeframe could be rather beneficial primarily because of the care and support necessary for many of these related diseases. For example, mesothelioma life expectancy is extremely low, usually only a year following diagnosis, therefore any type of support for these unfortunate victims is extremely beneficial. Through petitioning and campaigning to extend this bill, the fight to give these heroes continued and needed support.
Certainly these are just a few of the ways you can get involved and help out many of the citizens who once braved danger to help others. Giving back to these heroes who may be facing dire health problems could be extremely beneficial in the long run.
Filed under: Holiday Giving | Tags: awareness, change, charity, children, Christmas, climate change, education, environment, generosity, giving in hard times, hope, Peace, Santa Claus, sharing, take action, Volunteering
By Cheryl Mahoney
It’s that time of year again. Garlands are strung and lights go up and the malls are packed and kids write letters to Santa Claus. And sometimes, adults do too. Here’s what I might ask for, if I were to write to the man at the North Pole.
Dear Santa Claus (or St. Nicholas, or Father Christmas, or Kris Kringle–whoever’s listening),
I hope you, and Mrs. Claus, and the elves, are all well this year. In the enchanted land of Santa’s village, I’ve no doubt you are. Out here in the rest of the world, I can’t complain for myself, but the world in general has quite a few troubles. But you’re likely aware of that, considering you have eyes everywhere! So for Christmas this year, while I would like Michael Crawford’s autobiography or the complete Star Trek DVD box set, there are a few bigger matters you might look into.
To start with the most pressing, time-wise, I’d like world leaders at Copenhagen to feel some of that giving, harmonious spirit you embody, and do the right thing for all of us by coming to an agreement for reducing carbon emissions and protecting the planet. Perhaps you’ve encountered the problem of climate change yourself, Santa–have you noticed any melting near the North Pole? If leaders can’t come to an agreement though, please, no coal this year. How about some CFL Lightbulbs instead? Could be a good way to change with the times…
My mother’s been asking for world peace for Christmas (and sometimes birthdays and Mother’s Day too) for years. I think we’d both settle for peace in the Middle East though. And in Darfur. And the Philippines. And…well, perhaps you’d better aim for world peace after all.
I don’t need money, but a few millions would be nice–a million trees planted and a million mosquito nets for Africa and a million soccer balls for kids in refugee camps. And a million girls going to school and a million babies born safely and a million letters sent to old friends.
I’d like unemployment rates to go down, and charitable donations to go up, for volunteering rates to increase and for UniversalGiving’s follower count on Twitter to reach 2,000. I’d like people to think about others who are in need of a little help, and to think about reaching out. And to keep that spirit into the new year.
And in the spirit of “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” I suppose I’m not really writing to the man at the North Pole at all, but rather–to whoever is listening. Santa might be the only one who can help everyone all by himself (with some help from elves), but everyone can help someone.
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”