written by: Talin Hartounian
We had our first of many events in San Diego last week to kickoff our fundraising competition to raise $50,000 in just 10 weeks! It was nothing major – just a guest bar tending night featuring the terrible, but very enthusiastic Jamie Satchell as the bartender (our Man of the Year Candidate). We ended up with almost $1500 for the pot, some new connections, and a new sense of hope in our efforts. But meeting *David was a moment we can’t ever put a price on.
Here’s our story: Halfway through the night of mixed drinks and basketball hoop shots of dollars into the tip jar, Jamie came out from behind the bar with a sense of urgency and told me I had to meet someone. Entirely oblivious to the situation, I skipped over to the other side of the room and was met with a young guy with tears in his eyes and a sense of hesitation. Not expecting so much seriousness at that exact moment, I had no idea what was about to happen…
I came to find out from *David, our new friend, that his longtime friend and army companion *John was not only recently diagnosed with lymphoma cancer, but was given only 3 more months to live unless he received a blood marrow transplant. As I heard the words coming out of his mouth, I felt like I was standing in the middle of a Lifetime movie based on a Danielle Steele novel. His story only got worse. *John was on leave from the military as a result of his recent health conditions, but to make matters worse, he was also facing PTSD. I didn’t know what to do or say to help him in this obviously difficult conversation. I mean, let’s be honest, just because my family was affected by cancer does not by any means make me an expert on how to cope with the situation. So..I did what I do best…and just listened. In a bar full of drunken noise, we stood in the corner and I listened as he told me about how his friend had gone back home to San Jose and the worst part was he couldn’t physically be there with/for him. I listened as he talked about how hopeless and alone *John felt, and how helpless he felt in his friend’s struggles. *David even pledged to raise $1,000 in the next 3 months while *John was still with us to show him his support. I then listened as he thanked us (Jamie and I) for doing what we were doing.
To be honest, of all the unexpected things happening in that moment, he thanking us, of all people, came out of left-field. In the bigger scheme of things, what the heck was he thanking US for?? And then it hit me. Without these fundraising dollars, doctors wouldn’t have the funds to conduct the research on new drugs to treat patients, we wouldn’t be able to build new technology to help detect cancer cells earlier and earlier in their progression, and we sure as heck wouldn’t have the funds to maintain patient service centers like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society who help patients and families, not just by covering medical expenses, but by helping them deal with the loss of friends and family – - Like *David.
So..I, Talin Hartounian, extend David’s heartfelt appreciation to all of you because YOU’RE the ones with the power to make the difference. At the end of the day, your donations, your support and your encouragement may not be able to keep *John alive – but it is doing wonders for helping keep *David’s spirits alive.
As cheesy as this may be, on behalf of *David, *John, Jamie, myself, and my cancer-survivor mother….I thank you all for reading and considering joining our effort to make a difference!
visit www.mwoy.org/sd – and click on Jamie’s face!
or contact Talin at One Hart Events