My friend Denise is a loud, lovely, bawdy powerhouse of a woman. Every time I see her I think, "Everybody should have a little Denise in her heart." She has more love, passion and zest for life than one human body can contain, so of course it's always spilling out onto those around her.
It's no surprise, then, that Denise has been championing the cause of a friend of hers — Kim, a 45-year-old mother of two who is battling liver cancer. She single-handedly has rallied the troops — in large part through social media — to raise thousands of dollars for Kim's care and other expenses, to harness the power of prayer on Kim's behalf, and to just generally let Kim — and the world — know that she has her back. She started a Facebook page called Kim's Krusaders to give people a central place to get info and show support. It's an inspiring testament to the blessings of friendship and devotion. But it's also a powerful example of how passion — genuine, heartfelt, blindly unstoppable passion — can move mountains.
With all other courses of treatment unsuccessful and the prognosis grim, Kim visited a New York specialist — one of only two doctors in the country who performs the surgery that could be her last hope. According to Denise, Kim's insurance provider advised her to go "out of network" since she had exhausted all courses of treatment in her home state. Her insurance covered visits with and tests ordered by the new doctor, and surgery was scheduled for a Tuesday. At 5 p.m. the Friday before the scheduled procedure, as Kim prepared to leave for New York, the insurance company denied her claim to cover the cost of the surgery, calling it investigational and advising her to seek an in-network doctor. The surgery was cancelled.
I'll let Denise explain the rest: "I started rallying the troops Sunday night so that people could get the word out for Monday morning. We knew someone had to intervene on her behalf for the appeal … so her senator, congressman and governor were bombarded with e-mails, faxes and phone calls. We also sent them to the CEO of [the insurance company], as well as the media."
I followed throughout the day Monday and Tuesday as Denise kept the momentum going with things like impassioned Facebook updates that she posted while sitting in her car, crying, on the side of the road.
"Enough people started asking questions, and last night (the Tuesday the surgery was originally scheduled to take place) at 6 p.m., her appeal was approved. I have chills telling you this," Denise told me. "We moved a mountain. She has the right to try to save her life. How dare they …"
One woman raising money and awareness for her friend isn't the same as a multimillion-dollar national organization doing the same in support of its cause. But there's the key — doing the same. Couldn't your organization's fundraising efforts benefit from the kind of drive and passion that Denise pumped into her efforts on Kim's behalf? In other words, as a fundraiser, shouldn't you have a little Denise in your heart?