Almost 20 years ago (wait, what?!), I set foot on the Brandeis campus for the first time. A few days later, I auditioned for an a cappella group, not having the slightest idea that the people I’d meet through singing would still be my friends two decades later. Throughout my years at Brandeis, my fellow a cappella nerds were my family. They were my people. And they would play a truly irreplaceable role during those years beyond the regular collegiate experiences.
When I was diagnosed with cancer in December of 1999, the entire Brandeis community rallied around me. They visited, sent cards, and made sure I didn’t feel alone for a second. They crashed my hospital room on many occasions, singing as they came down the hall. My friends at that time in my life, in addition to my family and my doctors, helped rally my spirits through song and solidarity when I needed it most.
Since I co-founded The Samfund in 2003, Brandeis alums have always supported our mission to help young adults as they deal with the financial aftereffects of cancer. They’ve donated, volunteered at events, reviewed thousands of grant applications, shared our news on social media, and helped us grow into a thriving organization. Some have even contributed sweat equity: earlier this year, my friend Jake ran an Army Ten Miler and my husband Adam, who completed his master’s degree at Brandeis and worked there for 8 years, did his first triathlon on behalf of Team Samfund. They proudly wore their Team Samfund running shirts and raised awareness and funds for our programs.
All these years later, it shouldn’t be a surprise that fellow Brandeisians continue to step up in a huge way. But for some reason, I am always floored by the ways in which they do so.
So, you can imagine my reaction when Matt Ramer and Lex and Lauren Friedman called me on separate occasions to say that they would each be matching up to $10,000 of donations to The Samfund this holiday season. That means potentially $40,000 in total for rent checks, co-pays, insurance premiums, and so much more for young adult survivors who are drowning under the financial stress caused by cancer. I was totally stunned and way more grateful than I probably was able to express to them when I heard (sorry, guys – hopefully this counts instead).
So thank you, my fellow Brandeisians, for your continued support in so many forms after all of these years. Our alma mater is a pretty special place, filled with people who are committed to making a difference and reaching out beyond themselves to touch someone else’s life.
I’m asking for your support yet again as we come to the end of 2015 and our holiday campaign. Lex, Lauren and Matt have raised over half of their $20,000 goal, but we aren’t there just yet. I know we can continue to show the power of the Brandeis community in the remaining days left in 2015, and I hope you’ll consider making a gift to their page here . With a second grant application cycle just around the corner and so much in the pipeline for young adult survivors in the new year, every donation will make a difference.
Thank you so much, and happy new year to all!