Monday, 14 October 2013

Algy's Demise - On Charity and Volcanic explosions

Ok, I'm having another 'moment' or more precisely a moment that is turning in to a long moment. Sleep has been rare of late, at first due to facial pain but now because my sleep pattern has well and truly gone up the spout! And when I get overtired, explosions occur in volume similar to Mount St Helen's, Vesuvius and Krakatoa!

Apart from the lack of sleep, what set me off yesterday was a quite innocent tweet from someone who follows me on twitter (and others on her list) telling me I had thirty minutes to get in on a charity action for a children's hospice. In true fashion I overreacted first of all tweeting back how sadly I couldn't join in, but the reply made me BLOW!! At that point, I angrily departed saying I had it with twitter and goodbye! Luckily I have some very understanding friends who calmed me down. I tweeted the sender and gave her a dressing down she would not forget, so hopefully that in the future she will take a little more care on how to send out such tweets and eithre not send them out individually and also only to ask to spread the news about any event.

The reason is this. As anyone who has had to recover or adjust to a long term illness, there's one thing that can hit you harder that your health and that  is what it can do to your financial security. 

Even with insurance, which sadly I never qualified for due to other medical conditions, it still depends on whether you qualify under their terms of agreement whether you can get the payout you have invested in. Also, what about job security? The ability to pay bills such as mortgages, cat insurance and tax, utilities, clothes for the kids, food and vets for the dog, your actual financial status, your appearance ("you don't look like you're ill" might be a compliment but it can also mean something else), costs of getting to and fro for treatment. Not everyone lives close to one of the eleven treatment centres in the UK. There is all that to consider never mind feeling ill and undergoing whatever treatment is needed.

Don't upset me. You really *don't* want to upset me.....

And when you have gone through months of worry, maybe surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, would you be fit enough to return for work, or will you continue to be ill, not able to sufficientlky recover and then basically sacked because you are no longer able to fulfil your terms of contract, what about then? What about your savings, applying for benefit?  What happens when you find out your application for Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit which is less a month than you would normally spend on petrol and than you have to re-apply as you most likely will be automatically turned down and have to appeal, of which there is no time limit and no money paid to you until after (you hope) you will win the appeal.

And the same goes for Disability Living Allowance or personal independance paymentents as it is called now.  Problem with the application forms you have to be savvy at what you put down which is what you are like on your absolute worst day and if you are called for a medical assessment be sure the person assessing you will have boxes to tick and nothing more and the fewer people that pass in their view, the better because as much as that is denied official sources, that's what happens to a lot of applicants.

Now about charities. Of course a lot of help is needed by a lot of people and causes, and it has become a battlefield to get funding.  But what I don't like though are the street campaigners who will accost you and door to door campaigns. There's been the odd door to door collections of which we have given our last bit of change to in the past. Again most are for a worthy cause and I assume the more official campaigns are a good effective way to get sponsorship and donations. But I resent it for two big reasons. a) because it puts me on the spot and because of my own financial situation, I have to turn down or even try to avoid the campaigners and b) the percentage of the costs paid by the bigger charities to a PR company who set these street campaigns up.

I feel bad enough about not having the cash to put in the odd cap but there is such pressure nowadays to support this, that or the other most likely there is a greater need. Personally I'm becoming overwhelmed by it all and the feelings of guilt are there, no matter how understandable the reasons are for not being able to contribute cash.

So when a friendly tweet comes through to my hash tag telling me I have 30 minutes to start bidding on a charitable auction for a children's hospice, I blow as it is one request too many. I did send back a polite tweet explaining why but hated the reply, of  'don't worry it if you can't, I understand'  sent me over the edge.

Ok, normally I think I would have growled a bit and would have delete the tweet but felt it was asking me on an individual basis with eyes watching to see if I did join in. I have a policy now on for not holding back on *why* I cannot do certain things when acosted in the street and this is no different. When challenged why I won't sign up etc  - and yes this has happened - I will not just only explain why but will ask for a donation to 'the Hev fund' (I have 'Hev' as a nickname in some circles) too.

Now don't assume I cannot or do not want to support charities.  I support five, two with donations that I wish to continue with and the other three with my time, but I can do no more than that. And do not assume other brain tumour sufferers cannot or are not able to contribute, there is some marvellous work being done in the brain tumour community of which I try and help with if and when I can to raise awareness. Yes we are trying to raise cash ourselves but I hope none are guilty of accosting people in the street or telling them to join in an auction on twitter without at least being sensitive to the fact some cannot afford to make monitary contributions or give their time.  Or at least not to openly to ask it of an individual on a social media website.

As said before, I am more than willing to give what time, effort and what energy I have into volunteering and highlighting a cause or whatever.  But if you want me to donate cash right about now?  Please don't ask as a refusal often offends.

1 comment:

  1. Good on ya Hev, I will always help with raising awareness or sign a petition for anything that means something to me. If I can volunteer or help I will always get back to the charity/org by email or phone tweets are impersonal and I never feel guilty now if I ignore them. Also cold callers (whoever they are) get short shift, I refuse to be made to feel guilty. EileenB


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