Impact [n. im-pakt; v. im-pakt] The effect or influence of one person, thing, or action, on another.
What does it mean to make an impact? This is a question I continue to reflect on this year while serving as Philanthropy Chair. More significantly, I wonder how I can make our chapter feel like the work we are doing is meaningful. We are often too focused on the numbers. Fundraising totals matter of course, but it is so imperative to look at the bigger picture and how we are providing support to those in need.
It costs $2 million a day to operate St. Jude.
It can be disheartening to read statistics like these. $2 million is a shocking number, but one that makes sense when you consider the fact that patients and their families never receive a single bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. How can the Delta Zeta chapter make a difference for St. Jude patients when it is such a costly operation?
There have been times when I have struggled to believe that we can provide lifesaving measures for the huge population of sick kids that need them, when we are a relatively small organization whose reach does not extend far past the GW community. Then I remember the dedication shown by members of our chapter throughout this school year. I am reminded of those who posted on social media and reached out to family, time and time again to spread the word about our fundraising events. I think about those who put great effort into making cards and care packages that would put smiles on St. Jude patients’ faces. I consider the local businesses and organizations who provided donations, words of encouragement, and wisdom to our efforts in organizing Gobblefest this past fall.
These small yet meaningful contributions have led me to believe that if we can fund a single medical procedure or provide a sick child with one day of happiness, then that is a goal we should be proud to reach.
At the beginning of Gobblefest this past November, we played a St. Jude video for all of the attendees that told the story of a young boy battling cancer and his passion for dancing and the joy he felt for life. The looks of compassion on everyone’s faces while watching this video said it all. These kids are why we never stop doing this. St. Jude’s founder Danny Thomas ardently believed that “no child should die in the dawn of life.” I came across this quotation months ago while researching this remarkable organization.
We may be unable to raise the millions of dollars required to sustain the daily operations of St. Jude, but if I’ve learned anything from this position it is that every $100 raised is as significant as $1,000, in that it makes one more impact on the life of a young person and their hope for a cure. This is the impact we should be striving to make.