On Wednesday I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at the Wear Yellow Nebraska 2013 kickoff reception. Wear Yellow Nebraska is a grassroots organization started by people who love riding bicycles and advocating for cancer. Their Wear Yellow Ride has become one of Nebraska’s premier cycling events, attracting 480 riders last year. This year’s event on May 18th will be the 10th annual ride, and they have added other fundraising events.
Wear Yellow Nebraska was originally the Nebraska chapter of LiveStrong, but became an independent non-profit several years ago so all the funds they raise can stay in Nebraska. On Wednesday night they gave more than $12,000 in grants to four very worthy local groups, including A Time to Heal.
A Time to Heal is a 12-week cancer rehabilitation program designed to help people regain their physical, emotional and spiritual health after a cancer diagnosis. It was started by psychologist Stephanie Koraleski and cardiac rehab nurse Kay Ryan. When Kay finished her breast cancer treatment, she said, “Where’s my cancer rehab?” and found out there wasn’t any. Since its debut in Omaha, a Time to Heal has grown to 12 Nebraska locations and has spread to Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. It has also added a second track for all cancer survivors and caregivers.
A Time to Heal recently offered its first workshop on chemobrain, and I will interview Stephanie Koraleski about it in a future blog post. But the point I want to make right now is about the wonderful work that grassroots organizations like these are doing. A Time to Heal and Wear Yellow Nebraska are just two Nebraska examples. And there are equally wonderful groups in New Jersey and Wisconsin and Texas. If you’ve become jaded about some of the national organizations, don’t forget about the people doing good work in your own back yard. They deserve our support.