Help Us Help Jen

You might remember that last month, I put out a call for prayers for the courageous, inspiring Jen Ballantyne. I responded to the question she put out to her readers: “What would you do if you knew you had just twelve months to live?”

If you haven’t checked out Jen’s blog, please do. Jen has stage four colon cancer. She has already lived beyond when doctors thought she would. She is a determined and funny scrap-booking single mother of Jack, who’s six. She is real and smart and bravely breaking taboos by sharing, in great detail, her story. Her writing models for me and us all how to ask for what you need. Not always easy, but always worth it.

The question of how you’d live if you knew your time was limited is not theoretical for her. Connecting with her has served to remind me that it’s not, or shouldn’t be, theoretical for any of us. No matter how you slice it, our time here is limited. Each day is a life, each breath is a life.

A few days ago, I received a message from Bella, Meg, and Jen Lemen. They have come together to create a way to manifest the concern and compassion Jen has inspired in them. They are, in Meg’s words, looking for Magic Elves. Whether you have your own blog or not, you can join us.

Here’s the vision: To organize a way for Jen’s friends to come together to raise funds to help pay for her treatment and those forms of care and pain management that will not be covered by insurance: acupuncture, massage, naturopath, etc. – as well as to create a trust for her son, Jack. We are calling on all of you to join us, to come together in solidarity, to cook up some magic and in the most practical of ways.

There will be a charity auction, through ebay, with all of the proceeds going directly to her care. The goal is to launch the auction on April 25 to take advantage of pre-Mother’s Day shopping.

Read on to learn how YOU, yes, YOU can help.

1. If you or someone you know has items that could be auctioned, we would be grateful for any donations. We are open to receiving all offerings. Some folks have already pledged to donate hand made items and art – handknit pieces, jewelry, etc. Others have offered things that perhaps they were getting ready to auction off themselves (that kitchen aide you got as a wedding gift and have never used).

The only consideration is shipping costs. For example, if an item is heavy and expensive to ship, we just want to make sure it would earn enough money in the auction to balance this out. If you have an item to donate please email us back at weloveyoujen (at) gmail (dot) com and let us know what it is and we can get you the information on where to ship the items. (We will handle the fulfillment from one central location in Chicago.)

We are asking that all the items be sent to us by April 18th so that we can photograph them and get them ready for shipping. If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment here as well and I’ll do my best to find the answer.

2. Help us drum up cash donations. If you have like-minded friends who you think might want to contribute, please share this post with them. Also, if you do have a blog, please help us by posting on your blog and sending potential donors to us here at this email. We are hoping to have many bloggers join us in publicizing the hunt for donations on March 25 and throughout this week.

3. Help us publicize the auction itself. While the auction is actually up and running, I will post it on my blog here with help from Jen, Meg & Bella. Please let your friends and contacts know about it. Post about it if you can to help us drive traffic there.

4. Got other ideas? Please email them to us at weloveyoujen (at) gmail (dot) com. This is a team effort, and we are hungry for new ideas, thoughts and are willing to take on other partners!

We are not creating a non-profit here. We are a group of women coming together to support one of our own., rallying behind Jen because the reality is it could be one of us and we strongly believe that this is what community does. While this means that we can’t offer a tax deduction for donations, we hope that you and your friends, family & colleagues will still help in any way you can. No contribution of time or money is too small.

Of course, we ask that you continue to hold Jen in your thoughts and prayers and continue to support her through leaving your comments and warm wishes on her blog. She loves this!

We are continually amazed and inspired by what a small group of women and friends can do. This is love. This doing, this offering what we have, this coming together, knowing that we are not alone.

4 thoughts on “Help Us Help Jen

  1. Jen Ballantyne says:

    You are right Jena, I did not know but I am truly glad and grateful that I did and with such amazing women too! How’s that for doin’ it in style? Thank you so much Jena and you to Bella and Meg and Jen Lemen, I love you all and am so very touched, gosh of all the weeks I could go off the air this is the one that I have missed the most action. Typical of me though, anyway take care and thank you all so very much. Love and Hugs Jen xxx

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