Monday, January 5, 2015

January 5 - Dear Nicholas Sparks

Dear Mr. Sparks,

It's the first working day of the new year here at CHERUBS.   We have 4 major projects to finish up this week at our office and we have lots of events to plan for 2015.    Our membership has grown to over 5000 families in 60 countries now.  I spent this morning creating this chart for our latest newsletter and other projects:

This is a lot of families.   Other causes with this many affected people have chapters in each state, paid full staffs in each state, multi-million dollar research funds, television commercials, etc, etc.   CDH has us and a few smaller charities that brached off of ours.   We don't have a million dollar budget, we have yet to break $250,000 annually.   We don't have offices around the world, we have about 50 volunteers, 1 full-time person and 1 part-timer person.  To help over 5000 families.  But we are determined!  Take a look at all we've done just in the past year:

Because of incredible members, volunteers and donors, we were able to achieve amazing things in 2014:

   * Rang the Closing Bell on the NYSE
   * Won Presidential Point of Light Award
   * Held first International CDH Conference in Europe
   * 2014 CDH Conference in Washington DC
   * Won 3rd place in national Dare Me For Charity contest
   * Participated in Dare Me For Charity events in; Las Vegas, Tempe, New York, Columbus, New Orleans, Denver, St. Louis, Detroit, Edina (Minnesota), Boston, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.
   * CDH Awareness Month Resolution passed in United States Senate
   * CDH Awareness Month Resolution introduced in United States House of Representatives
   * Met with Congressmen on Capitol Hill
   * CHERUBS Dinner on Capitol Hill
   * 44 states proclaim April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * 72 mayors proclaim April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * Appeared on "Good Morning America"
   * Appeared on "Today Show""
   * Supported cherub Rudy Abreu on "So You Think You Can Dance"
   * Phillies vs Mets CDH Awareness Game
   * CN Tower in Toronto lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * Mercedes Benz Super Dome lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * Dublin City Hall lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * Wells Fargo Duke Energy Center in Charlotte lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * Miami Tower lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * PECO Building in Philadelphia lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * Cleveland Terminal Tower lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * One Liberty Place Building in Philadelphia lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * RSA Battle House Tower in Mobile lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * Tampa Sun Trust Building lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * City Place of West Palm Beach lit on April 19th for CDH Awareness
   * CDH Awareness Walk and Easter Egg Hunt in St Louis
   * Shands @ UF CDH Awareness Parade in Gainesville
   * 2014 CDH Awareness Event in Portland
   * CDH Awareness Ziplining Fundraiser in the UK
   * Baby B.L.U. 5K Race
   * CDH Awareness Day Event in Mesa, AZ
   * Applebee's CDH Awareness Night in Fresno, CA
   * CDH Awareness at Midcoast Pizza & More in Maine
   * Spin For CDH Awareness in Wilmington, NC
   * Parade of Cherubs in Portland
   * 4 CBS Outdoor Billboards light for CDH Awareness
   * CDH Awareness at the Philadelphia Zoo
   * Carnegie Science Center Lighting in Pittsburgh
   * Hike the Hill for Congenital Diaphragmatic Awareness in Ohio
   * CDH Awareness Egg Roll in Ohio
   * Vance Thompson Vision Lighting in South Dakota
   * 10 Billboards - South Dakota
   * Salt Lake Bees Baseball CDH Awareness Night
   * CDH Awareness Night with the Las Vegas 51's
   * 2014 Day of CDH Awareness Texas Picnic
   * Member homes light up pink, blue and yellow
   * Membership reached 5000
   * Join the Combined Federal Campaign
   * April Showers for CDH Babies campaign
   * Peter Harris Clothes charity of the year
   * 2014 CDH Newsletter
   * 2015 CDH Awareness Calendar
   * CDH Radio Show
   * Member picnic in Indiana
   * Member picnic in Louisiana
   * Christmas cookie exchange and lunch in Nevada
   * Member picnic in Colorado
   * Fall Festivities in Oregon
   * Member brunch in Arizona
   * Mustang Club of Indianapolis Car Show benefiting CHERUBS
   * Member picnic in North Carolina
   * Member picnic in Ohio
   * Awareness walk in Ohio
   * 3 Shirt Fundraisers
   * 50/50 CDH Raffle for Research Contest
   * CDH Research Grant Contest
   * Created over 100 new graphics
   * 2014 CDH Awareness Holiday Cards
   * Created 5 more CDH Awareness Videos
   * Participated in Couture for a Cause
   * Participated in National Children's Memorial Day, honoring over 1900 lost cherubs
   * Participated in #GivingTuesday
   * Created CDH Funeral Assistance Fund
   * Awarded 1 CDH Scholarship
   * Awarded 12 Financial Assistance Grants to families
   * 4 Hospitals Presented with CDH Kits
   * Over 200 CDH HOPE Totebags sent to new and expectant CDH Families
   * Over 200 CDH Information Packets sent to CDH Families
   * Successfully petitioned correction of CDH info from "The Doctors" show
   * Installed new Board of Directors
   * Installed new members of the Parent Advisory Board
   * Created CDH Support Groups on Facebook
   * CDH Ice Bucket Challenges
   * Reached over 22,000 Facebook Fans
   * Reached over 14,000 Twitter Followers

Not bad for a bunch of stubborn and dedicated moms, dads, grandparents, survivors and friends.  But it's not enough to end Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.   Yet.   Our 5000 families deserve much.   5000.  And those are the ones that have joined our charity.  Every 10 minutes a cherub is born in the world.  We've barely made a dent in the over half a million families affected by CDH in the past 15 years or so.  That's half a million families without information and support and half a million babies without research.  The survival rate in the United States is 50%.  The survival rate for CDH in undeveloped countries is less than 1%.

Now, imagine if Congenital Diaphragmatic Herniawas part of a storyline in one of your novels, Mr. Sparks.  Millions of people would learn what CDH is.  Maybe some of them would be inspired to volunteer or to donate to help these babies.   At the very least, when we go out to fundraise for research or look for sponsors... people will know what CDH is.  I can't tell you how many times I've asked for donations and people look at me like I'm a con artist who made the whole thing up.   My son's headstone is all too real for me to have made something like up.

These babies and their families need help.  Much more than I, or all of our volunteers, can provide.  They need a larger platform.  They need someone like you, Mr. Sparks.

Dawn M. Torrence Williamson
Very tired CDH mom

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