October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – and you can get involved and do something to combat the hardships of this terrible disease. Look into the wonder works of the Lydia Project (thelydiaproject.org). The accomplishments of Lydia are simply amazing.
Whereas Lydia supports women and teenage girls diagnosed with any type of cancer, 58 percent served in 2014 had breast cancer. Locally, Lydia helps stop evictions and utility shut-offs; and provides needed prescription and medical supplies for CSRA women and girls. A big round of applause should go to the CSRA Women in Philanthropy, who financially seeded this much needed Lydia service.
The Lydia Project now has the Daksha Chudgar Lydia House with 10 guest rooms, each with a private bath for a patient and her caregiver. The house is named in memory of Dr. Daksha Chudgar and emulates her compassion for women and girls fighting cancer who need overnight stays when the CSRA is their best hope for cancer treatment.
SO FAR, THE YOUNGEST guest has been a 15-year old Georgia girl and her caregiver father who needed to stay four weeks. The oldest guest was an 85-year-old woman from South Carolina who needed Lydia’s transportation services to get to treatment every day during her seven-week stay. Guests have laundry facilities, a library, a kitchen, common areas and Lydia’s compassionate hospitality.
As I write this, 145 women and teenage girls have been newly referred to the Lydia Project – this past week. While these referrals may have been for lodging services, transportation to medical appointments, utility assistance, prayer, prescription help, monthly encouraging support for a year or medical supplies, every women and girl served received a designer tote sewn by a volunteer and filled with encouraging items by Lydia.
I want to alert women and men, groups and organizations, and even youth to the many opportunities to volunteer to help women and teenage girls dealing with cancer. You can help in the community, at the agency or from home. Who would not want to make a difference?
VOLUNTEERS WORK in the office; help in the lodging area; volunteer at community events; write encouraging notes from home; make calls from the agency to those served; help with landscaping projects; sponsor collection drives; and more. Also deserving of a round of applause are the dedicated Lydia volunteers whose compassionate service makes an incredible difference for women and girls served at Lydia. Those volunteers will agree: When you volunteer you get as much uplifting as the lives you make a difference for. It is a wonderful feeling and it grows on you.
Show your support now, in October – or what the heck, show your support year-in, year-out. Your help, big or little, will go a very long way in helping ladies coping with cancer. If time permits, come by the Lydia Project and see for yourself. When you see what is being accomplished, it will warm your heart. This I can guarantee.
Volunteers at Lydia are gearing up for the “Lights For Lydia” fund-raiser. It’s a simple task to handle in memory or honor of a loved one, and it brings unbelievable beauty to your neighborhood. Read Lydia Board President Danny Craig’s comments about lighting his neighborhood in Lydia’s online newsletter at thelydiaproject.org.
TO LEARN MORE and get involved, call the agency at (706) 736-5467, or e-mail chairwoman Mollie Baldwin at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have ever ridden through a neighborhood with the lighted Lydia bags lining the streets, you know the beauty I speak of.
There are so many ways to help. If you have any questions or if you would just like to come by the Daksha Chudgar Lydia House to learn more, please call. Did you know you can send a tote to a loved one coping with cancer anywhere in the world? If you or a loved one needs Lydia’s free and caring services, call the agency or request services online.
My wife has battled breast cancer twice and is doing well. It would have been an easier fight if Lydia had been up and running then.
I pray that neither you nor anyone you know will ever need help from Lydia. However, if so, Lydia will be there for you. Here’s your chance to be there for the women and teenage girls Lydia serves.
(The writer is an executive board member of the Lydia Project.)