February 26th, 2010


Heart of Gold

I bet you love to help people. As a matter of fact, I bet you think you are tops when it comes to helping others. You don't miss out on an opportunity to help someone in need and when something comes across your inbox begging for help for cancer patients or dialysis patients, you just don't (and won't) say No and are more than happy to pass along the message.

I laud you on your willingness to help others but first, I would like to ask you to take a minute and visit snopes.com. It is still the only website actively putting myths that circulate on the Internet into their places (fact, myth, unknown). They are kind of like Mythbusters but the only thing that gets blown up is your heart as you realize that the ten billion bottle caps you spent the last 3 months saving were all for naught or that the metal pull tabs you've been saving aren't worth more than they can be recycled for, or whatever other form this particular myth takes.

It's so hard to say no, or to even stop and think about the preposterous nature of the request. Over the years, though, I've had to do just that. It wasn't easy, either. I used to pass on those emails and post them in other forums to get the word out because I wanted a hand in helping someone, anyone, that really needed the help. This is one of the areas I've had to discipline myself in because otherwise, I'd just get (more) jaded and cynical about real life.

I love the fact that I have friends and family who have big, huge hearts of gold, willing to help anyone out in a jam. Please, though, I implore you, when you get a request for help via email (or Facebook or Twitter) asking for help for an unnamed recipient in a manner that is just rather silly (bottle caps for chemo? pull tabs for dialysis?), go to Snopes, or Google, or wherever your favorite fact checking site is, and look for it (or something similar) there. Research this as much as possible. If you can't find it or something related, try and track it back to the source. Who did you get it from? Who did they get it from? Can you verify it's authenticity? Will saving pull tabs and plastic soda caps really help save someones life? Or will they just wind up collecting dust until you take them out to the trash?

Keep your heart of gold. If you want to help out a cancer patient or a dialysis patient and you don't have any money, go visit them in the hospital and sit with them. Trust me, as a former cancer patient myself, just being there and lending your support in that way can do wonders for them even if you don't know them personally. Be a friend to someone truly in need of a friend. Go see if your local hospital or treatment clinic could use some candy stripers (though they aren't called that anymore for the most part). Your random and selfless act of kindness can just be the ray of sunshine someone was looking for.


Originally published at Ameliorations 1.0.