Friday, January 16, 2015

Stories of Giving from Fred and Heather Lyn

I would like to tell you a story about Jasmine “Jazzy” Lyn and her involvement with an organization called the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). It was a summer weekend in 2010 full of family celebrations when Jazzy’s great Aunt (a seasoned family practice doctor) noticed that her lips were pale. It was suggested that she have a blood test just to check of anemia. Heather and Fred, Jazzy’s parents, took her to the pediatrician the following Monday. Blood tests were ordered and taken immediately. That evening the results came in: a hemoglobin count of 3. Jazzy was immediately rushed to the ER at San Antonio Hospital and then transferred to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital after further tests confirmed that her blood work was seriously awry. Several subsequent days and many tests later, the diagnosis was confirmed: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). In July of 2010, Jasmine “Jazzy” was only 3 ½ when she was diagnosed with ALL. The first 28 days of Jazzy’s diagnosis were the hardest. She lived in the hospital for the first two weeks, had to have a PICC line placed, then had port placement surgery. She had to learn to swallow pills, was poked constantly, and had several lumbar punctures. Jazzy couldn’t attend her preschool and there were many activities that her situation prohibited. Yet, through it all, she was a happy, outgoing, sweet kid who never cried or screamed and who always wanted to talk to the nurses about Disney princesses. In all, Jazzy underwent two years and two months of extensive chemotherapy, constant lumbar punctures, and blood tests. She took her last chemo pill in September 2012. Now 8, Jazzy is in 2nd grade and enjoys ballet, taiko drumming, piano, girl scouts, and swimming. For her 7th birthday party she asked her friends to bring a donation for LLS in lieu of toys and other gifts. The 15 girls who attended donated $400. Jazzy is a super sweet kid who loves reading and spending time with her Mom, Dad, and little brother Parker. Jazzy’s not sure what she wants to be when she grows up. Sometimes she says she wants to be a doctor, a veterinarian, a swimmer, a dancer, or a mermaid. Other times, she just says that she wants to be a kid forever. Our family attributes her strength partly to the fact that she was born three months early and weighed only 1 pound, 14 ounces at birth. She was born a fighter and continues to be, which is simply amazing. We also think that as a result of her experiences so early in life, she is confident, comfortable speaking her mind with adults, and is a problem solver. In 2014, Jazzy was named an Honored Hero for the LLS’ Light the Night fundraising event. LLS is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services. LLS helps blood cancer patients live better and have longer lives and funds treatments that are saving the lives of patients. LLS is making cures happen, with their mantra being: “Not Someday, But Today!” As an honored hero, Jazzy had many opportunities to speak in support of LLS and to be an ambassador for the organization. As a family, we once again dedicated ourselves to re-establishing “Team Jazzy” and starting an aggressive fundraising campaign. In June, after three months of letter writing, social media posting, and e-mailing every person and business that we could think of, our team was only 20 members large and we had raised only $1,000, which was contributed by Some Crust Bakery. We were feeling like we had placed our goal of fundraising $20,000 too high. In August, we were blessed with an opportunity to have a Eureka! Night in honor of Jazzy and LLS, where we raised almost $400. After this good publicity, we started to get a few extra donations from community members. We had another fundraising night at Casa de Salsa and when school started in the fall, Jazzy’s Brownie Troop joined “Team Jazzy”. The AVID students at El Roble Intermediate School (where Jazzy’s mom is a teacher) also sold LLS bracelets for $1 at lunch and raised $150. By the day of the event, our team included over 100 members with half being 10 years old or younger. A week after the walk, Condit Elementary School surprised us by asking if the school could do an ice bucket challenge in Jazzy’s honor. Each classroom competed to raise the most “bucks for buckets” for a week. At the end of the week the classroom that raised the most would do the ice bucket challenge in the middle of 100 mile club on a Friday. From this event, Jazzy’s school raised almost $1,100. Through this year’s fundraising efforts we have seen the Claremont and surrounding communities lift up our daughter and rejoice in the accomplishment of her two year off chemo anniversary by fundraising almost $18,000. Raising money for LLS is not only a way that we came together and give thanks for the life-saving technology and medical advances that continue to keep our daughter healthy, but it is also the number one way of fighting cancer. Because of organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, hundreds of thousands of people diagnosed with blood cancer like Jazzy are today living normal, productive lives. LLS is on the threshold of amazing breakthroughs and the money fundraised accelerates miraculous new treatments and healing therapies once thought impossible for these patients. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Fred and Heather Lyn

Stories of Giving from Pat and Bill Reed

Our Favorite Non-Profit: REAL Connections Our favorite non-profit organization is REAL Connections. It is a “virtual village” where members and volunteers provide services which help seniors remain in their homes as long as possible. The two most common reasons that prevent seniors from remaining independent are the loss of the ability to drive and increased isolation. REAL Connections meets these two needs by providing rides to doctor’s appointments, shopping, hair appointments, etc., and having social events such as monthly pot luck suppers, movie night, poker day, coffee klatch and occasional day excursions. In addition to rides, the volunteers also provide services such as light housekeeping, small home repairs, help with medications (from retired RNs), and help with computers (from a retired computer specialist). The members also have access to the village’s list of “Preferred Providers”, a list of vetted (background check) service providers who are known for quality service and honest dealings with customers. During the three years that Pat and I have volunteered for REAL Connections, we have had the personal satisfaction of helping others. In addition we have made some wonderful friends we would have never met if it were not for REAL Connections. REAL Connections is located at 141 Spring Street, Claremont, and serves the residents of Claremont, Upland, Alta Loma, La Verne, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, San Antonio Heights and San Dimas. Submitted by Pat and Bill Reed, Upland, CA

Stories of Giving from Don Pollock

I have lived in Claremont for 18 years. I have taught at the University of La Verne for 24 years. I have been involved in community media since 1991. The difference between community media and mainstream media is that the goal of community media is to empower individuals by giving them the tools and an outlet to create and show media about the neighborhoods in which they live, while the major focus of mainstream media is about making money. As the station manager for LVTV in La Verne since 1994 and KWST in San Dimas since 2009 our interest has been in providing coverage of our local communities. We regularly videotape elementary, middle school and high school concerts, University of La Verne sports: football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, baseball and softball. We also cover high school sports, little league, concerts in the park and other community concerts, plays, and political candidates’ forums. Students at the University of La Verne produce an award winning video magazine program “Spotlight” that looks at people, places and events in and around La Verne and San Dimas. Foothill Community News is a bi-weekly program, produced by students that covers news in La Verne, San Dimas and at the University of La Verne. These programs, as well as a host of other student and some community-produced videos are the only TV coverage of La Verne, San Dimas and surrounding communities. The TV stations also provide a community bulletin board where local, non-profit agencies can publicize their events at no cost. Both stations also stream their signals so people outside the service coverage area can watch programming produced by LVTV and KWST. Some videos are also uploaded to Vimeo and You Tube so viewers can access the programming on demand. But the main thrust of our efforts is to fill our TV channels with local programming so people in the communities we serve have a place they can go to see themselves and their neighbors on television. I get paid for my efforts to manage the TV stations. The pay is minimal is and is not my main source of income, but I continue to serve as station manager because I believe showing these communities on television empowers residents. Their images and voices are on TV as loud and clear as the sitcoms on the major networks or as the news from Los Angeles. I also enjoy being out in the community and interacting with residents, local government officials, businesses and non-profit agencies. We videotaped a sheriff’s candidate debate in San Dimas earlier in 2014. This was the only debate by the candidate’s east of the 605 freeway. Politicians and residents from all over the area attended the forum. It struck me that night that LVTV and KWST are more than just local TV stations—we are regional stations providing a service to a broader audience, as the debate played on a dozen community media outlets throughout the region. I also had a chance, that night, to talk to some of Claremont’s city council members on the power of community television and my feeling that shutting down Claremont’s community TV channel a number of year’s back was a terrible loss to our local community. I was encouraged by our council’s response—one of being open to the idea of bringing community media back to Claremont. Don Pollock