Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Day For A Mitzvah

 A "mitzvah" is a term used in Judaism to represent a good deed acted out of human kindness.

Last week I was at a local fast food restaurant, eating lunch with my 18 month old daughter, when I couldn't help but overhear the conversation of the two men sitting next to me. Now, I'm not one to eavesdrop... (Actually, that's not true. I am a total eavesdropper. I find other people's lives much more interesting than mine.) And my interest was caught when I heard this man, who we will call Wayne, tell a story about his friend, named Leah, who had cancer. Cancer that had started off in the lungs in early 2011 and was beat into submission with rounds of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. However, in October of 2011, the cancer had returned and through gentle questioning, Wayne found out it spread to her brain, spine, and pelvis.

Then Wayne divulges to his friend something along the lines of, "We met for coffee and she blurted out to me, 'I'm not ready to leave my daughter, not till she finishes her degree.'" I then hear that her daughter, who while studying for her masters degree, has also been with her mom for nearly every treatment, every hospital visit, all while studying for exams and taking classes.

I hear him say that Bruce Springsteen is kicking off his tour in Atlanta and apparently they are all huge fans. Huuuuge! Leah grew up near Asbury Park, NJ, which is where Bruce got his start and she has been a fan ever since. At the realization that Leah might not have another chance to see a Springsteen concert, Wayne wants to take her and her daughter on the most amazing evening they've ever experienced. His wish is to surprise Leah and her daughter with not only a ride to the venue in a stretch limo, but tickets for all three of them to enjoy the show from the first row (or at least around the first 10 rows). Somewhere in all this, the big dream is to get backstage passes and to meet the band, and by some amazing act of God, maybe even Bruce himself! How incredible would that be!

So remember I am overhearing all of this. I am finished with my lunch and I came very close to just leaving, but as someone who recently heard this, I just couldn't walk away. I introduced myself and told this man, whose name is in fact Wayne, that I would try to help him and his friend. I wasn't sure how, and am still not sure how, but I thought, "I know you, dear readers. Maybe you know how to help?" As a result, I am putting this out there on the off chance that maybe you know someone, or maybe you know someone that knows someone.

Here is what Wayne needs to make, what I have dubbed, "Project Leah" happen:

One, donated Limousine service for the evening of March 18th

Two, three front row tickets (or at least close to the front row) to the Bruce Springsteen show in Atlanta in March

Three, backstage passes. I'm not even really sure where backstage passes come from, but they must exist, right? 

Four, and the icing on the cake, would be to meet the band and Bruce.

These are all tall orders, but Wayne seems like a good person. His full name is Wayne Dubner and he is a podiatrist who retired six years ago due to Parkinson's Disease. I only talked to him in person for a total of five minutes, but after our conversation, he sent me a four page letter about Leah and his wish for her, which he originally sent to Oprah, and thanked me profusely for my offer to help. If you have any ideas on what to do or how to help, feel free to leave a comment here or you can contact Wayne here. If anything, it would be greatly appreciated if you could send in a good prayer for Leah's health!

I'll be keeping in touch with Wayne and I'll let you know if anything happens!



Valerie said...

I would be more than willing to donate money toward this cause. I can't recall the names, but there are sites you can set up where people offer online donations through Pay Pal. I know it's short notice, but how about the Make-a-Wish foundation.

AEG said...

I would try sending it to Rachael Ray? I've seen her have artists as guest stars and will have the biggest fan of said star in the audience who is then surprised with tickets or whatever. Or Ellen Degenres?

Jennifer said...

Hi Valerie and AEG,
Thanks so much for your input. I am going to try and contact a local radio station - maybe that will help. I think Wayne tried Make a Wish, but apparently it's only for kids.

Fingers crossed! :)

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- Heather Rose said...

I would get your community and do some form of Leah event fair or something. Basically get all your friends and their friends and any families and find a nice park space and turn it into a park fair where people can have fun with vendors and food items. All the money can be donated to the cause of Leah. It's a great and fun way to do this.

You might even be able to talk to a few vendors out there about donating their time and supplies to make this happen.

I also would suggest looking into the cancer society people and I know there is some form of cancer society wish list too.

When it comes to cancer, people seem to get together in the end to help out.

Don't give up! :)

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