Rob Oxford: A worthy cause

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Shoreline student Tyrese Fountain, 13
By Rob Oxford

Open Facebook any day of the week and you’ll most likely find friends or family members courageously attempting to raise money for some sort of charity or specific individual in need. I say “courageously” because it takes a great deal of courage to ask others for financial assistance. There can be a stigma attached to not being able to adequately provide for oneself or family.

A post or request may begin something like: “For my Birthday this year I’m asking for donations to ______________ (fill in the blank). Thankfully, the majority of these requests are for legitimate organizations. Places like pet shelters, animal rehabilitation centers, children’s hospitals or diabetes research. For reasons sometimes revealed in the request itself, the specific organization may be near and dear to the organizer's heart.

Giving of one’s time and resources in pursuit of nobility is admirable. Quite often those things which we desire are selfish in nature, but that in and of itself is… nature. Fortunately, the satisfaction one receives from doing charitable work can be spiritually fulfilling.

Tyrese Fountain in Children's
after brain surgery

Crowdsourcing and GoFundMe campaigns have become increasingly popular and more often than not greatly benefit well-deserving individuals. However, for a while there seemed to be a rash of “students” asking for help paying off their college loans or “needy” individuals wanting to scratch that trip to Europe off their “Bucket List”. I remember one person recently wanting to “rent” Dave Grohl of the band Foo Fighters for a weekend. I’ve also seen parents wanting financial assistance for no other reason than to help pay for a family trip to Disneyland.

Quite frankly I’ve seen it all. Requests for funds to purchase breast enhancement surgeries, a big screen tv to watch the Super Bowl, a new car “so I can get to work in style”, honeymoons and even “Beer and Smokes”. Yes, some guy literally wanted a bunch of strangers to pay for the advancement of his alcoholism and eventual cancer.

Many of these types of requests get ignored and rightly so. It would thoroughly disturb me to find out that anyone had an extra $20 to help fund the new wardrobe for a recent high school graduate as they prepare to "search" for employment. I have an idea, find a job and then... buy your own clothes.

One of my Mother’s favorite quotes was “there but for the grace of God go I.” I prefer to put it in less religious terms. At any given moment each of us could be affected by an unexpected or unforeseen tragedy. Despite our best efforts to prepare, by no fault of our own, sometimes we become victims of circumstance. It can be overwhelming. It is then that we need to know our village is ready to help.

Such was the case for some friends of mine recently. A Shoreline family I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for about 10 years. Our sons attend school together. I coached junior football with Dad (who has been facing his own health issues) and Mom who when she’s not working, does what she can to support the local community and high school.

A couple of weeks ago their 13-year-old son began suffering from headaches. Those headaches became seizures and he was rushed to Children’s Hospital where he underwent what can only be considered life-saving, emergency brain surgery.

You don’t need an online newspaper columnist to tell you how quickly bills for such a procedure can accumulate.

In order for the family to spend as much time at the hospital as possible, overseeing and assisting in his recovery, a fund was started on their behalf and in only a few days contributions from all over the United States came pouring in. Friends and strangers who had never met this family donated what they could. 

Myles Gaskin with Tyrese in happier days
Myles was coached by Tyrese's father
My friend Roger Earl of the band Foghat made a donation as did former Washington Husky and current Miami Dolphin Myles Gaskin, who played junior football on a team coached by this young man's father. For some the donation was $100, for others $20 and in some cases, $5. Regardless of the amount, the fact of the matter remains that when help was needed, help was given.

Understandably it is impossible to donate to every worthy charity or person who may need financial assistance, but witnessing this type of generosity, especially for a family I know personally, has been uplifting.

Although the prognosis for recovery is excellent and he was recently removed from a ventilator, this teenager faces many months of rehabilitation. Until then, Mom and Dad will be spending much of their time at the hospital.

Again, we can't always contribute to every "worthy cause" that may pop-up on our Facebook newsfeed, but I would encourage you to remember that some day... it may very well be you who needs help from your village. 1,000 or more friends choosing to buy one less double tall mocha and instead help a young man in his recovery? You do the math.

If you feel so inclined, cash donations are still being accepted via the following Facebook link.

Other ways to help the family are here - with a "meal train" or gift cards for Children’s.

On behalf of this family and many others just like them..

Thank you


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