I’m one of these overthinking types of people. It doesn’t matter how awesome or horrible each situation I find myself is, I will always be thinking 2,742 steps ahead to what could possibly happen, stemming from that situation. When my husband works late, or is out on a call in a no-reception area (Salt Springers know this reality all too well), my mind starts to race. I eventually come to the conclusion that he has had an attack with a rabid fawn and is probably lying in a ditch, a mere arms-length from his work truck, freezing and needing help, and I should immediately contact every person who might be able to help me find him – always safe and well, and working hard.
But, in those moments of worry, my mind continues to race. I’ve now imagined how devastating it would be to hear bad news. I wonder how I would go on. What would happen to me? What would happen to my daughter? How could we go on without the man who has played a vital role in our lives, and the lives of so many others, for years past and anticipated years to come?
My heart goes out to families who have actually had to deal with this reality, and to those who are facing it. Sharing my pathetic worries and overthinking brain waves about this makes me feel ridiculous, even, since I know that it’s something so many families would give anything to NOT have to think about.
The McDonald family is one of these families that have no other choice but to face a reality that would knock down the spirits of everyone involved.
I first met this family during my years working as a preschool teacher in North Vancouver. Getting to know the family as they brought first their older daughter, and later their second, to attend my preschool, I had no choice but to fall in love with the whole clan and everything about them. This family was (IS) amazing! You know when you meet someone and you get this immediate and undeniable sense of sheer “this person is what I wish everyone in the world was like”? That’s them. All of them. Just downright good, solid, kind, empathetic, happy, positive, strong people. The kind you want to make excuses to talk to and be around, just because being next to them makes you feel like a better person yourself.
I had been somewhat aware of some health issues at the time, from conversations in which Erin (the awesome mama in this family) had generously given advice and contacts for other people in my life who were going through their own various health problems. It wasn’t until the family’s outcry this past year that I came to understand exactly how much this family was facing.
Gordon, proud papa of his two girls, was diagnosed with Multi Focal Motor neuropathy (MMN) six years ago. A rare disorder in which focal areas of multiple motor nerves are attacked by ones own immune system.
Here is a brief explanation of what this means for Gordon, in his own words, as described on the YouCaring fundraising page that the family set up:
“This all started in my left calf. Over the last 6 years, it has progressed into my entire right and left leg, and my entire right and left arm. I am still able to walk, but only just. I must walk on completely straight legs and on my heels. The slightest bend at the knees and I will fall like rag doll. Work in the construction trade is getting extremely difficult for me, but still, I must work. I have to go up stairs on all fours because there is no strength in my legs to step up. I have exhausted all my options for treatment here in Canada and I’m still getting worse. ”
“I have persevered for 6 years. I have taken all the pain, the treatments, and the disorder dished out. I have tried multiple modalities, I have exhausted the Canadian western medical system, and they have given up on me! ‘Ride It Out’ was the advice from my specialist. A dear friend of mine said ‘Just because the system runs out of ideas or skill to treat, does not mean the warrior runs out of will’.
I feel the real lesson for me on this journey is not to take the pain, and not to hold on or ride it out. I feel my lesson here is to humbly ask for help. So I humbly ask for your help.”
You can find out more details about his journey so far and what treatments and expenses they hope to raise the funds for on the fundraising page.
Some families might be brought to despair in times like these, choosing to hide their worries and hope for the best. This family, however, is not going to lie down in the face of hardship. Actually, scratch that. That’s exactly what they’re doing.
Beyond setting up the YouCaring site to help raise funds for the expensive treatments that are not covered by medical care, but hold the possibilities of recovery for this father and his family, they have started a campaign on social media to raise awareness for their pleas for help. To stand up for their needs, they are asking that others lay down and become the angels that they need to spread their message.
To participate in the #SnowAngels4Gordon and #SandAngels4Gordon campaign, all you need to do is take a video clip of yourself or another angel happy to help making an angel in the snow or the sand, and saying “We’re making snow (or sand) angels for Gordon!” When you post it to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other of the social media platforms out there, make sure to hashtag it. It would also be awesome if you could include a brief explanation for the video, such as the following (feel free to copy and paste!):
Gordon McDonald suffers from Chronic Inflammatory De-myelinating Polyneuropathy with Lewis Sumners Syndrome which is taking away his ability to use his arms, legs, feet and hands, but he hasn’t given up on life, love and laughter – Please don’t give up on him! Make a Snow Angel (or a Sand Angel) for Gordon and then go to this link and give a donation to help Gordon get the critical medical care he needs: https://www.youcaring.com/gordon-mc-donald-418433#SnowAngels4Gordon#SandAngels4Gordon
Since we woke up to our first real snow of the year here in our little neck of the woods yesterday, it made for the perfect opportunity to get in on this and show some support. However, being that my toddler doesn’t make the best videographer (especially with all the wet snow about to drop my phone into), here is our video clip of my little Z helping to bring awareness with her very first snow angel.
I hope that, not only will you be inspired to support this family’s plight with your donations, videos, or whatever you have to give (even a simple share can make a world of difference!), but that you will also be strong enough to lay aside your pride and humbly ask for help if ever you need it. I’m so glad that this family is reaching out and doing everything they can to make sure they get what they need.