"As if I don't already have enough going on, with my full-time job (at Boise's best local, non-profit hospital, of course) the gym, and 2 other blogs... I still felt compelled to delve into my very own shallow mission. Yes, I purposefully said shallow. This next year will not be filled with me traveling the world, saving any lives or making a big difference in my local community for the greater good."And then, BAM!! An epiphany hit me:
I can make a difference.
Being able to grow longer, healthier hair is not going to be enough to motivate me through this challenge. If I'm going to do something for a WHOLE YEAR, it needs to be worth it. For me. For any readers I might have. For my family who has to put up with me. And I think I just might know how to help!
See, if you read my quote above once more (as if you haven't read it enough already), you will see how I mention that I work for Boise's best local, non-profit hospital. The hospital is St. Luke's Health System. St. Luke's was founded in 1902 with only 10 beds and has been growing ever since to now include 819 beds. We are an Idaho-based non-profit hospital that has some of the best cancer, heart and children's care in the nation. In fact, we are the only children's hospital in Idaho. Our cancer center, MSTI (Mountain States Tumor Institute), is the largest cancer treatment provider in the region. Overall, St. Luke's has 7 hospitals throughout Idaho, and clinics all over the state. With a mission to "improve the health of the people in our region," you just can't go wrong. I work for the Health Foundation at SLHS, and I see every day what a huge significance even the smallest of donations make to our patients and the community.
Not only do I work for this great community organization, but now I want to give back. Through the next year, I figure I will be saving a LOT of money by not having my hair highlighted every 6 weeks and because I won't have to buy countless bottles of hairspray or stock up on all my favorite products and styling tools. So, instead of saving all that money like a smart girl would (so I don't have to keep renting a room at my dad's place), I think I'll do something better with it.
When I think of "hair" and how this topic can benefit the community, I immediately think of cancer. My next mission was to think of an area of our MSTI (Mountain States Tumor Institute) program that could use the most assistance. One fund that I find especially valuable and meaningful to our patients is the MSTI Patient Assistance Fund. The purpose of this fund (yes, I copied it from one of my files at work) is as follows:
The MSTI Patient Assistance Fund can make a critical difference in the life of a cancer patient of St. Luke's. The fund, generated by charitable donations, provides patients and their family with important basics such as temporary housing, meal vouchers, medications, gasoline and transportation vouchers to travel to and from the hospital, help with utility bills, and food. Provides for selected support to low-income patients for such items as a cancer treating drugs, gas for their vehicle (when travel to MSTI is a hardship), etc.One really cool thing about St. Luke's is that we care for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. The MSTI Patient Assistance Fund helps those cancer patients who cannot afford all of the care/travel/necessities they need. I feel very passionate about supporting this program, and this is the area of the hospital that I have chosen to support as part of this year's upcoming journey.
Bets On The Table...
Every time I get my hair highlighted and cut, it costs about $50. I get my hair done approximately 4 times a year. Consequently, for every 3 months that I make it through this challenge, I will donate $50 to St. Luke's. Thus, on January 11th, April 11th, July 11th, and October 11th (the last day of the project), I will be donating to St. Luke's MSTI Patient Assistance. In addition, for every 1/2 inch that my hair grows, I will also donate $10. This will help motivate my "long hair" goal.
Here's where you come in. Because guess what?
You can make a difference, too.
Here's where you get to place your bets, people. >>((ONLY IF YOU WANT, OF COURSE!! I feel like I need to over-emphasize that... because I know that not all of us do have the ability to donate.))<< Since I know that some of you (... Mom, that's you ...) don't think I'll be able to go a whole year without using my precious hairspray or teasing up a messy bun, I want to challenge YOU. You could bet against me, or with me. I have thought of a couple different options:
- For every month that I make it (or don't make it) through this challenge, you donate a certain amount. It could be $5, $10, $50... anything helps. For instance, you could say, "I bet $50 that you won't succeed. If you do succeed, I have to double that for $100," or something along those lines.
- You could donate at the same time I do, every quarter on the 11th. Any amount is wonderful.
- You could donate a certain dollar amount for every 1/2 an inch (hair is expected to grow at 1/2 an inch a month) that my hair grows by the end of the challenge. Say you commit to $10 per 1/2 inch, and my hair grew 6 inches over the span of the year, at the end of the project you would donate $120. Any dollar amount would work for this one, too.
- Make your own... I'm open to suggestions!
Remember, you wouldn't be donating to ME. You would be donating to a non-profit organization, where from which you would receive a tax-deductible receipt. This could help you when you go to fill out your taxes next year. Bonus!!
If you do feel compelled to donate, or just want to see what St. Luke's is all about, check out this website: http://www.stlukesonline.org/boise/ways_to_give/. I included that just for your convenience, but in no way should you feel like you must donate. You could also send a check, which is what I do, with "Bye Bye Beehive" in the memo to:
St. Luke's Health Foundation
190 E. Bannock St.
Boise, ID 83712
Anyway, I find that I'm rambling again. Not like that's a surprise. But with this new mission in sight, I really do have a chance to do something fun and help my community. Wow-- who would have thought... something as vain as not doing my hair and blogging about it could make a difference, even if it's a very small one. I guess it turns out that this whole thing may not be so shallow after all, and that's a good feeling!
Take my Pledge for Patients!