I’ve wrestled with how to describe the importance of the ALS Association since we began the 20 Days project, since we capably covered the other two charities. In short: Melissa Reagan Smith.
The truth is, it’s best summed up by one person with whom most of us share a common link, as much as we do Bruce or each other. Melissa Reagan Smith was the bond between so many of Bruce’s following – above all others, and including the band themselves. As Bruce’s assistant, Melissa would answer your mail, go out of her way to help, and never make it seem like any trouble – because it simply wasn’t.
Melissa fought ALS (or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) with the courage and dignity that we knew she would, and several of your donations in similar projects have been specifically made to remember our friend. That’s a great testament to you, and to Melissa.
She started our community, right in the very beginning. Here’s one account of her selfless generosity, shared by David Day a few years ago:
“I’ll never forget that my 50th birthday just happened to be on a Saturday night at the Biltmore. A few of us were at the Inn having a meet-up, and the wait staff came up and presented me with a silver platter. I took off the lid and there was an envelope inside. I opened it just thinking it was another birthday card, but… Melissa had taken the time to track me down and send me a little birthday surprise! And, what a great surprise it was!”
Our fundraising for the ALS Association is in memory of our friend Melissa. There are so many inspiring accounts of others who currently face a similar challenge – Stephen Finger’s blog is one example which I found entirely at random, and is well worth a little of your time… as with Melissa, Stephen’s story is an honest, humble,courageous and inspiring one. People like Melissa and Stephen are why we’ve been inviting your donations to the ALS Association.
The finals words are from Melissa herself, shortly after her diagnosis:
“Never forget to enjoy each day even if your life isn’t exactly what you want it to be. The blessings are always there though sometimes we have to look a little harder”.
To donate to the ALS Association (DC, MC and VA Chapter), please use our FirstGiving page or the Paypal link above left.
– Si Twining.