New OAAT West Director
Reflecting on my experience so far :
Why did you decide to become OAAT West Director?
I had been involved with Campaign One At A Time for a few years, donating, volunteering at small events, and recently, I got to meet a family that Campaign OAAT was going to be sponsoring. From those experiences, I wanted to be even more intimately involved. I wanted to make more personal relationships and do everything I could for these deserving children and their families.
What are your most memorable experiences so far?
When I brought my family, my wife and daughter, with me to meet our first OAAT West kid Kai and his family at their house, I wasn’t sure what to expect. They were so welcoming and kind and thankful for our help. My wife, daughter, and I made some great friends that day.
Telling Jameson he’s going to Disney World was so awesome, the smile on his face was priceless, something I’ll never forget.
Talking to Ellie’s mom and hearing her explain that Ellie doesn’t have any more treatment options left and right now her family wants to concentrate on giving Ellie as much happiness as possible, was heartbreaking but also extremely motivating. I want to do as much as I can personally for Ellie and her family.
What have you learned through your experience as OAAT West Director?
No deed is too small. Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid to be loud and proud. We need to advocate for these families that are battling life-threatening illnesses. I’ve learned from the parents of these children, to not be afraid to ask for help, to not be too proud to accept help, and to enjoy every moment with those that we love because tomorrow is not promised even for children.
As we’ve met more families, I’ve been amazed at how impactful our help can be, even if it’s something small. With as much good as we can spread, these families multiply that by helping each other out. Everyone wants to spread good and pay it forward.
What has surprised you about your time as OAAT West Director?
It’s been an amazing surprise to see that people going through the hardest of times, people who aren’t sure if their children will live another day, people who’ve lost their children, are the most giving to others.
It’s been a disheartening surprise to learn that less than 4% of cancer research funding goes to pediatric cancer and that it has not improved for many years. People talk about children being the future but they aren’t being given a chance to live full lives.
Would you do anything differently now that you have gone through this experience?
Honestly, I would have started doing this long ago. For the past few years, I’ve been searching for a “job” that I could be passionate about and proud of. This doesn’t feel like a “job.” This experience, though only a few months old, has been so rewarding and I am proud of what we have accomplished so far and so excited for how much more we can do.
What would you like people to know about OAAT West’s mission?
The mission of bringing moments of happiness to children and families going through the hardest times of their lives is SO important. To give people something positive to look forward to, can make all the difference in the world. Putting a smile on someone’s face, even for a moment can not only change their lives, but yours.
How can more people help?
In everyday life, just be more aware that people could be going through difficult things. Respect everyone and try your best to be kind. If you are passionate about a cause, find a movement that you can join that will directly impact your cause. Campaign One At A Time directly, immediately impacts the people who need its help. If you want to join OAAT’s mission, feel free to reach out, donate, share stories, do whatever you think helps!