A little while back, I had a chat with Stingray Raymaker. In the Outworld, Sting is actually Jeff Montegut, the Director of Online Revenue at Relay For Life, and the Staff Partner to the Relay For Life of Second Life. A chat with Sting is always inspiring, but this one…well, this one was rather special. And the time has come to share it with all of you.
[17:10] Stingray (stingray9798.raymaker): Hey Zander! Go Relay
[17:10] Zander Greene: Hiya Chief!
[17:10] Stingray (stingray9798.raymaker): I wanted to talk to you about something. What do you know about Hope Lodge?
[17:11] Zander Greene: FFR did a story about the Atlanta Hope Lodge a few years back. Basically, ACS has built about 30 places in the US where cancer survivors and their caregivers can stay for free while undergoing their treatments at facilities that are far from their homes.
[17:11] Stingray (stingray9798.raymaker): Bingo. Now, we want to carry that idea outside the US and do the same in other countries where there is a tremendous need for the kind of support that a Hope Lodge offers.
[17:11] Zander Greene: Fantastic! Where will you break ground first?
[17:12] Stingray (stingray9798.raymaker): Well! That’s actually why I’m calling. The first one will be built in partnership with the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. And we were wondering if Fantasy Faire would like to play a special role in its construction.
[17:12] Zander Greene: You have my undivided attention! 🙂
[17:12] Stingray (stingray9798.raymaker): Fantasy Faire has raised so much money for RFL in the last nine years, and I know that 2018 will be huge. Big number TEN and all! So, what do you think about the idea that all money raised by Fantasy Faire in 2018 could go to helping us build the Hope Lodge in Kenya?
[17:13] Zander Greene: Wow!
[17:13] Stingray (stingray9798.raymaker): I know it’s a lot to ask. But Fantasy Faire is one of the flagship Relay For Life teams, and having the Fairelands support for this project would go a long way to getting it launched in the strongest possible way. A Hope Lodge in Kenya would literally mean the difference between life and death for a thousand people there each year.
[17:14] Zander Greene: Chief, you had us at ‘Go Relay.’ Count us in.
So, that’s our charge. The American Cancer Society and the Kenyatta National Hospital have turned to us, to the Fairelands, for our help in something that has never been done before. This is history in the making, and we’ve been asked to play a vital role in it.
I accepted this challenge on your behalf. And everything I have learned since then has only confirmed that it was the right thing to do.
Forty five million people live in Kenya, where cancer is the third leading cause of death. The Kenyatta National Hospital is the only place where most can go for the treatments they need to fight back against their cancer. But many don’t go simply because it is hard enough to travel the hundreds of miles to get to those treatments, and then they have no place to stay. I’ve seen pictures of the grounds of the hospital, where people are sleeping out in the elements because they have no other option. Many, knowing this will be their only option, just don’t go at all.
The American Cancer Society believes that WHERE you live shouldn’t determine IF you live. They are asking us – they’re asking you – to help give Hope a Home in Kenya.
The CEO of the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Lily Koros Tare has said, “The KNH Hope Hostel will not only provide people from around the country a place to stay during treatment, but also a place to heal physically and spiritually.”
This is the task we have been given. The Call to Action we have been issued. In 2018, the Fairelands will Relay For Life for the tenth time. We each do so for our own very personal reasons, but what binds us together is the support that we share with one another. This isn’t a rescue mission, this is about friendship. These are our colleagues, our fellow warriors. They are us. We support one another as survivors, caregivers and friends; now we have new friends who need us to share that support with them.
Let us be their shelter. Let us be their hope. And let’s go get their backs.
We’re all builders now.