Friday, November 21, 2008

Robert Egger and "Begging for Change"

Over the past two weeks, I have been reading Robert Egger's book, "Begging for Change", and, _drum roll_ I have an announcement to make. He is officially within my top faves list. He is the founder of the D.C. Central Kitchen, which in the most basic respect, is a soup kitchen in Washington, D.C. They feed the homeless. What they also do, though, is take the homeless off the streets to teach them food service skills, get them certified, and additionally, put them to work right there in the kitchen. And Egger's organization doesn't stop there. They further teach life skills and partner with other organizations for drug recovery. To top it all off, they have an amazing success rate! In fact, he is so successful that Robert Egger received Oprah Winfrey's "Use your Life Award".

As if that wasn't enough, the best reason to adore Robert Egger is his refreshing ideas on how non-profit organizations should be managed. He has careful insight to non-profit operations and he understands WHY we just aren't meeting our potential. I am still reading this book. I hope he will reveal to me soon HOW to make them work. His ideas, so far, are right on target.

He recently came to Birmingham and has a video clip on his website about his trip. It's kind of cool seeing him in front of Vulcan.

If you are in any way affiliated with a non-profit organization, you should take the time to read his book.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

About Me

Life can be tough but I've been re-wired to handle the hard stuff. I was born a very emotional person. That was before I come down with myasthenia gravis. Living with an incurable and debilitating disease can make you feel a number of different things - denial, anger, apathy, regret, sadness, resentment, without religion and worst of all, alone. I've felt them all. During the short time that I endured MG, God instilled in me the determination, the passion and the strength needed to overcome my own personal and emotional demons, so that I can contribute in a meaningful and significant way to putting an end to this and other autoimmune diseases.

Before the disease, I never realized I had placed limitations on my potential to do great things. Becoming sick and losing the life that you always take for granted makes one realize how lucky we all are to be able to wake up, just get out of bed and tell someone you love them. During my remission, whether it be another year or the rest of my life, I know that I can do something to save a life.... maybe even many. MG affects so few, yet so many and MG can be fatal. If you took all of the MG patients in the US and put them in a football stadium, they would likely fill every seat. Those who have not yet been diagnosed would fill another three stadiums. Yet, MG is the most understood autoimmune disease and there is a vaccine in development. Why have we not yet wiped out MG? It's because of money and lack of knowledge and support. A cure for MG will lead to a cure for other autoimmune diseases, such as ALS, or Lou Gehrigs disease.

No, I don't exactly have all of the answers. I don't have the cure (but I know who does, God has seen fit to leave that up to more qualified people. What I do have is time, wonderful, love-filled, awesome and breathFULL time. Time to share myself with family and friends. Time to devote myself to strangers with myasthenia. Time to pray for patients with Lou Gehrig's disease (but for them, time is running out). Time to talk to doctors and nurses to educate them so they can be ready when the next patient comes through that door. Most of all, time to make a difference.

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