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Shop Local. Give. {Editorial}

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Shop Local. Give. {Editorial}

“Shop Local” is something we all hear a lot about these days, especially at Christmas. Especially when so many mom and pop shops are competing against the on-line retail giants.

You hear (and read) things like “When you buy from a locally owned store, you are not helping to pay for a CEO’s 3rd home, you are helping to put a kid through camp”.

While some may agree or disagree with these sentiments… let me give you a different take from a charity’s point of view…

When you support a rare disease / defect charity, you are supporting children who do not receive help elsewhere.

Let me repeat that…

When you support a rare disease / defect charity, you are supporting children who DO NOT RECEIVE HELP ELSEWHERE.

When you give to a cause that no one really knows about, you are not helping to pay for a non-profit CEO’s 3rd home. Your dollar isn’t one of millions or billions. Your dollar is one of hundreds or thousands and it makes a real difference. Every single cent makes a real difference. Sometimes between life and death. No, that is not an exaggeration.

When you give to a rare disease or birth defect charity, you are helping that 1 local kid that no other local charities are helping. You are helping that family in the next town that does not have a national charity to turn to.

When you give to a rare disease or birth defect charity, you are not helping 1 of 10 charities and government organizations who are also helping to fight hunger, poverty, abuse, neglect in your town. You are not one of 100 or 100,000 who are already reaching out to help those in need. You are extending a hand to help someone that no one else is reaching out to.

When you give to a rare cause, you are directly helping a family to afford to drive to the hospital. You are funding research that no one else is. You are helping to find medications to give a child or a mother or father to have one more holiday with their family… or maybe 50 more holidays. You are providing information and support so that family is not alone.

When you give to a rare cause, you are directly helping people that no one else is helping. Because they are not 1 of 1000 local people in need helped by a “local charity”. Because they are not directly helped by the multi-million dollar national charities.

I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from giving to any of the great local and national charities out there and lots of needs are met through them. I’m asking you to simply look at “non-local” smaller charities too who really need your help also. Because this great need exists and these kids need help as well.

When you give to help fight a rare disease or a birth defect, you are recognizing an invisible population who desperately need awareness, research and financial help.

You may not see them every day… you may not know they exist in your town or not… but they are here. My son was one of them.

When you give to help fight a rare disease or birth defect, you are helping a local family as well as families and patients who have no one else in their towns fighting for them. Because they are just 1. But they exist in your town too.

So this holiday season… when you choose to give to a charity… when you’re being told to “help your neighbors in need” and “give locally”… please remember that we are all neighbors. We are all here together. And just because someone may live 1 mile or 1000 miles from you…. their need for help is there too. Their need for help is even greater because no one else is standing up to help them.

I work at and give to a “non-local charity”. For the 5 families affected by CDH here in my town of Wake Forest. For the 300 families in North Carolina. For the newborn whose parents live in Idaho and they have no where to turn. For the families who reach out to us in Alaska, Niger, Hungary, Bolivia and all around the world. Because they have no one.

For me, that baby half way round the world deserves to live just as much as if that baby was next door. And all that they have is us.

This is also why our charity does not help one hospital.. but all of them. Not one state or country but all of them. Because all these children need help. It’s why I mentor other charities as well, for several other rare diseases and birth defects. Because ALL these children deserve help!

I choose to help those that no one else is helping. I hope that you will consider helping them too.

And if you need a charity to support, CDH International is helping over 6300 families around the world… many who have no one else. On just $5 a year per family. With just 8 cents of every dollar going to overhead. To save 1000’s of lives.

Learn more at http://www.cdhi.org

Or support another rare disease or birth defect like Gastroschisis or Fragile X Syndrome or MLD or any of the 1000’s of medical issues that do not have enough research funding and whose patients and families do not financial resources to get help. Those will spend the holidays in the hospital or at the cemetary. No, you won’t get the instant gratification of giving a needy child a toy and seeing their faces light up or spooning out food at the soup kitchen knowing you just helped fill a belly or hearing the ring of the bells as you put change in a metal bucket… but I assure you… you will help far more, much longer than you can ever know just by donating $1 to help save lives and families.

So I ask you to not “Give Locally” but to “Give Compassionately” this year, wherever that may be.

May you all have Happy, Healthy Holidays.

Written by Dawn M. Ireland, President of CDH International

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