Russell Hood is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Susan Michele Aiken.
Hi Everyone. I realize I may not on Facebook as often as perhaps I should. My apologies for popping on out of the blue and asking favors. However, I would appreciate your attention and support for someone very important to me. My office has been on a health kick for a while. We all agreed to set a goal to run a 5k this Fall. Alas, congrats to us all, because we accomplished this goal together this past weekend at the Susan B Komen Charity 5K in Charlotte - Go Team Oak!! I am truly blessed to have such a great group of people. However, it seems our efforts to be healthier took on a more personal turn and the theme of our 5K completely accurate. It appears we were preparing to run for one of our own team mates, Michele Aiken. Michele has worked for my company since 2008. In the beginning, it was just her and I and then our office family grew to now a total of 5. Her job demands a lot of time, trips in planes (average 15-20 hrs one way), hotels, taxis, and brutal, very long and energetic multiple work days taking care of clients in foreign lands. Despite all of this, she has had to put up with me; probably the most mentally exhausting part of the job. Like in most small companies it has been a constant, tireless jaunt full of stress, sweat with the occasional reward. As you may imagine, this job leaves little time for a personal life. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when last Summer, Michele got married and was trying to carve out some time for her to have a family. It seems, fate is not without a sense of irony. Just as she was getting her personal life off the ground, Michele experienced a failed pregnancy this mid-Summer. Then, in the same week in August, she and her husband Dustin, happily learned they were again pregnant and in the same breath Michele received a diagnosis for breast cancer. Despite a successful lumpectomy, the best efforts by a team of 5 doctors and establishing a well-planned 15 week delay in chemo treatment, all with intents to protect baby and mother, sadly Michele had another miscarriage last month in mid September. People, I recently had bicep reattachment surgery and rotator cuff surgery on the same arm last Winter and I dealt with only one doctor and one physical therapist; and the cost, well that was just as painful. While I own the company Michele works for, participate in and use the same medical plan Michele is part of, I can tell you without a doubt, I cannot fathom dealing with the hassle and cost of 5 doctors and also having to consider alternate, preemptive steps to ensure fertility options with a fertility doctor after chemo. Our policy is decent, the company contributes 80% of the cost, but premiums, deductibles, co-pays for specialists and such are brutal. And, it is my understanding, fertility efforts are not necessarily covered by our insurance policy…or others for that matter. But, from my own experience dealing with doctors and the insurance company I am only remotely aware of the financial burden about to be levied on my friend despite the medical treatments themselves. Now, yes, humorously, one could say, well Russell you cheapskate, pay her more. And I chuckle at this too. I assure you all, I am doing and will continue to do my part and then some. The very fact that I feel the need to come to my friends and request assistance for a stranger to you whom is dear to me is in itself a gesture of how important this is. I, with the full support of all our staff, are also working closely with Michele and Dustin to ensure she remains fully engaged with our company while simultaneously ensuring she and Dustin have the time and focus on Michele to fight this horrible infliction. I stand before you requesting any gesture of blind generosity from you for a person whom I can attest deserves our donation. I humbly request you to give what you can and help Michele and Dustin not only whether the coming medical onslaught and day to day trials of dealing with this affliction but equally pursue a potential rainbow through fertility options post cancer treatment. Furthermore, my company will match 10% up to $1000 from all proceeds generated from this request for support. All funds will go directly to them. I am simply trying to get the message out to anyone willing to help.