Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On A Mission...

A Mission is a responsibility, a duty, a commitment, a life’s work, an undertaking, a journey, an intention, a venture, a purpose, a calling, a pledge

A Mission Statement is supposed to be an official statement of the aims and objectives of a business, but it’s so much more.

I’ve written several mission statements for companies I’ve started, companies I’ve thought of starting, projects I’ve started, or thought of starting-it’s what I’ve had to do, it was a part of what was considered necessary-a part of the process, I never really thought about what a Mission Statement was, just what I needed it to be, what I needed it to accomplish-it needed to be a sales tool and that’s how it was written. It wasn’t until I was writing the Mission Statement for my Non-Profit Corporation, Brain Matters that I realized for the first time the real meaning of that word “mission”. There has never been a Mission Statement that I’ve written that’s been more important to me than the one that I’ve written for this company-it’s because this company is a "mission" for me. It feels like one of the most important things I’ve ever tried to do in my life. This is the Brain Matters Mission Statement…this is my mission, my commitment, my pledge.

Brain Matters has been created to bring awareness to the public about brain tumors; this is a personal mission to me. I was diagnosed with a brain tumor 20 years ago; it turned out to be a cancerous. Since then I’ve had two brain surgeries, and two rounds of radiation. There are advances made in medicine every day. As a patient I have learned that one of the most important things may be that while you’re greatest wish is to be cured, it may be just as important to stay alive long to take advantage of the medical advances that happen in the future until you can be cured. There are many people that don’t get that chance. I was given that opportunity.

As long as I’m physically able, I feel a responsibility to do what I can for those that aren’t as able as I am right now, and to try and do what I can for the cause. It’s for that reason that I intend to be “Walking Miles 4 Brain Matters”. I will walk 250 miles from my house in Port Washington, NY to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston this October, taking basically the same route that my husband and I took every week when I went for proton radiation therapy at the Mass General Proton Center two years ago. I will walk through the neighborhoods and towns that I passed along the way, reaching out to the people in those towns. The kids at the schools along the route will walk with me and help raise funds and awareness for the Brain Matters cause. Brain Matters is dedicated to making the public aware of brain tumors-not just cancerous tumors, but non-cancerous tumors as well, which can be just as life threatening. We will create a documentary film of this entire walk.

Part of the funds raised by Brain Matters will be donated to Massachusetts General Hospital’s Proton Center. The Proton Center is one of the few Proton Centers in the country; without the center I probably wouldn’t be able to make this walk, perhaps I wouldn't be here today, nor might many other people who have been treated at the Center. Proton Radiation is a very important part of brain tumor therapy. We also intend to donate funds towards medical research for brain tumors. My hope as a patient is that when a person is diagnosed with a brain tumor and their doctor needs to tell them their diagnosis, it doesn’t sound like this… “I’m very sorry to have to tell you this, but you have a brain tumor. Brain tumors are very difficult to treat and we wish we had more options available to you at this time, we will try and do the best we can of course”. This walk and documentary is just the beginning, it’s Brain Matters hope that the walk will become a yearly event, from which many other things will happen.

As I said before, not many brain tumor patients get to live long enough to shine a light on a subject matter that is darker than it should be, and because I’m still here, I feel it’s important to do whatever I can do, to be one of those lights. To me it couldn’t be more personal.

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