Tuesday, June 26, 2012


After almost forty years on this planet, one thing that I have learned about myself is that I am an optimist.  No, I'm not all sunshine and rainbows all of the time, but generally I believe that most things work out.  I not only don't sweat the small stuff, I'm pretty oblivious to it all.

Being an optimist isn't always easy. 

People will think you are weird.  They will call you naive.  They may question your intentions.

What I've also learned is that when you ask people to help, most people do.  They pull together.  They create meal calendars, raise money, babysit, mow lawns and get organized.  They get it done.

As an optimist, am I happy with the $1,000 we've raised so far?  Sure.   It isn't a small thing.  Friends, family and strangers have come together and collectively donated for a family that needs our help.  But as my wife will tell you, I am also a dreamer.

What if, as a group, we could raise $10,000?  $100,000?

I mean, what if the Chapins remember this year, not as the year Justin got cancer but the year the community pulled together and not paid their mortgage but paid off their mortgage?

By no means have they asked us for this level of help.  They are beyond speechless and appreciative for what we have done so far.  But I'm putting the idea out there just so you keep it in mind.

I'm thinking, we have about 2,500 members.  I'm guessing at a mortgage of $150,000.    Really, that would be a $60 donation per member.  I'm not asking you to give the family $60 a piece, but can the rest of you see what a small group of people can do together to make a huge difference?

To send a donation directly to the Chapins:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Giving is Easier than Receiving

So many of you have already come forward to help out the Chapin Family.  Few words can express their shock and gratitude to their friends and strangers that have started to help them as they travel the unknown waters of living with cancer.

I don't know Justin or Becky, but from the responses that I have received so far, I know that their friends are there for them during this difficult time.

It isn't easy to admit that help would be appreciated.  I'm guessing that receiving money from friends and strangers is a bit weird, hard to swallow, and might make some people feel guilty. 

I think that it is important to remember that most of the time it is easier to help others than it is to accept and receive help.  The goal here is to help as much as we can while at the same time, keeping in mind how difficult it must be to be on the receiving end of so many caring people.

There are a number of things in the works on behalf of the Chapins.  Lesley McCord Cogswell and Sue Avery Scott have set up a meal calendar and as a reminder:

To send cards, gift cards, flowers, etc. directly to the family you can send them to:

Becky and Justin Chapin
PO Box 36 Bernardston, Ma. 01337.

The children are:

Avery, 11 months old, size 4 diapers
Ashlyn, 4 years old, wears size 5 clothing
Caleb, 9, wears size 10-12 clothing

Just to be clear, mom and dad aren't expecting anything (they are already shocked and awed by the support) but people have privately asked and so I am answering it here.  If you aren't comfortable sending cash over the internet, send a card, send a box to the kids, whatever works for you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chapin Family

Thank you to those of you that have donated so far to the Chapin family.  Some of you know that this budding group of people, "A Friend to Friend" was in the works last summer as a large group of people got together and began helping the Cromack family in Westfield, both having been graduates of TFHS.

Our theory was that if everyone donated small amounts of cash, cooked a meal or offered a service they could provide to the family, the family could then focus on getting treatment for their loved one and not on trying to make ends meet.

I know with complete certainty that if I or my spouse was diagnosed with a life threatening illness, our lives would change tremendously and if my spouse was unable to work, well, I can't even think about it.

Another part of the evolving theory (we haven't yet established a foundation of sorts because we ran out of steam last year) was that as a participant in A Friend to Friend, if faced with a similar situation, you could just say, "hey, my family needs help" and you quickly get some immediate cash relief, your own group set up, your needs known to your circle of friends and well, support in your own personal crisis.

It surprises some people that this whole thing works.  But, to people like me, it doesn't surprise us at all.  People are innately good when given the opportunity.  I've received some of the most heartfelt emails and notes over the past couple of years when I started doing this.  People want to help, sometimes they just need to be shown the way.

As you think about people like the Chapins, think about what would matter most to you in this situation.

Imagine that you have three beautiful children, a young, hard working husband, a home.  You are building the life that you dreamed of together.  In between driving kids to school, diapers, laundry, cooking, shopping, etc., you are now driving your husband to chemo treatments.

I can imagine.  Shock.  Denial. Fear.  Helplessness.

Now imagine you have a huge network of Friends.  Huge. 

You don't need to "qualify" for the help.  You don't need to show people your bank statements or answer embarrassing questions as to why you need help.  You just ask and we answer you.

Monday I am hoping to send the Chapins a mortgage payment.  I am asking you for financial help.  If you donate on this site, minus a small paypal "commission", your money will go directly to the Chapins. 

If you can't send cash, cook a meal.  If you live far away, send a card.  Make one.  Share our mission with your friends.  Send the kids a little gift.  Think about what would make your life a little easier in the same situation and just do it.

We are all afraid to step beyond what is comfortable, to do things without being asked.  Consider yourself asked. 

Can you mow a lawn?  Plant some flowers?  Cook?  Babysit? 

Can you add your friends to our group?

Are you a writer?

Do you work in a place that you can sell Friend to Friend bracelets?

Can you do a dress down day at work and donate directly to the family?

What can you add?

Donate directly to the chapins here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Family In Need

I have been contacted by several friends of the Chapin family of Bernardston, MA.

They have three children, 9, 4, and almost 1.

Dad has been diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma and is undergoing treatment. 

Details are not found here to allow for confidentiality during this difficult time for the family. 

Bottom line?

All donations made to Friend to Friend will go directly to the Chapin family.