Why Plus One?

With Seattle’s GiveBIG tomorrow, a lot of people are being bombarded with emails and their Facebook newsfeed is overrun with news from all the non-profits in the Seattle area. Thinking about GiveBIG and all the non profits raised some questions for me. Considering there are more than 1,400 non-profits participating in GiveBIG, what is a non-profit? And how do you choose who to give to for GiveBIG?

 

This is what I found for a basic definition:

A nonprofit is a tax-exempt organization that serves the public interest. In general, the purpose of this type of organization must be charitable, educational, scientific, religious or literary. The public expects to be able to make donations to these organizations and deduct these donations from their federal taxes.

 

As I was going through the 1,400 non-profits I found some that I had never heard of and just stood out to me. Such as the Plumbers Without Borders, this is not to help plumbers as I originally thought when I read that but to help people suffering from the lack of access to safe water and sanitation. Another was the Grandmother Project which is an international development organization working to improve the health and well-being of women and children. And another is Urban Sparks, a nonprofit that enables high performance volunteer leaders to bring their vast talents to public projects. These are just some non-profits amongst over a thousand. So this raises the question to which non-profit should you donate to during GiveBIG?

 

Well Plus One, DUH! Who did you think I was going to say? The Plumbers?

 

I do have a reason as to why Plus One is deserving of your donations. Let’s look at what Plus One does. We fund grants to individuals with neurological disorders, injuries, or disease. There are over 600 different documented neurological disorders worldwide and this list is always growing. Now let’s compare our goal to some of the other the non-profits, such as the Northwest Parkinson Foundation or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  There is one thing in common between these two large neurological non-profits; they both focus on ONE neurological disorder. Plus One’s goal is to help everyone in the list of 600+ neurological disorders, not just a portion of it. Now here is another way to think about it, there are approximately 1 billion people worldwide who are affected by a neurological disorder. Compare this to Multiple Sclerosis which affects 2.5 million people worldwide. As you can see we have a lot more work on our hands than the MS Society.

 

So tomorrow when you get up and think “hmmm who should I donate to today, the Plumbers Without Borders? Or Plus One Foundation?” The answer is simple, Plus One Foundation, because we have a lot of work to get done and we cannot do all that work without your help. So please donate to Plus One Foundation for it is thanks to you that we can to work on our goal to help 1 billion people.

 

To check out more information about GiveBIG and to donate go to http://www.seattlefoundation.org/Pages/Default.aspx

Or to see the list of non-profits go to http://www.seattlefoundation.org/npos/Pages/FindANonprofit.aspx

 

Also no offense to the Plumbers! I’m sure you do amazing work too!

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In the Blink of an Eye

Recently I got the chance to meet with one of Plus One’s grant recipients, Mary. Back in 2007, Mary had just given birth to her twin daughters eight days earlier, when in a blink of an eye her life changed forever.  Mary suffered from a brain aneurysm and was then rushed in to have an emergency brain surgery and fell into a coma for three months.  

 

Of course before meeting Mary I did a little research on brain aneurysms and here is what I found. A brain aneurysm is s a weak bulging spot on the wall of a brain artery, when the aneurysm ruptures it allows blood to escape into the space around the brain. About 30,000 people in the United States suffer a brain aneurysm rupture, or there is a brain aneurysm rupturing every 18 minutes. Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit.

 

Needless to say Mary’s life has changed drastically since her brain aneurysm. She had to relearn all the basic things that we take for granted like walking, talking, and breathing. Mary does one-on-one Mobility and Balance training with a physical instructor, Sue. These sessions are so Mary can work on her strength, balance, and mobility. I got to meet with Mary during one of her sessions and got to learn how Sue is such an important part in Mary’s rehabilitation.

 

Sue does a lot to help Mary. One thing Sue does is since Mary is no longer able to drive, Sue drives to Mary’s house once a week for their sessions. Mary gets distracted easily and Sue is always thinking of new ways to keep her attention. One way she does this is through music. Mary danced and sang to Bruce Springsteen for almost the entire session and she absolutely loved it.  Another thing that Sue realized keeps Mary focused is numbers, when doing a certain exercise if Sue didn’t tell her to do a certain amount Mary would get distracted and start talking to me. But the moment Sue told Mary “Ok now do five more” Mary would instantly get motivated and would start counting in French!

 

My favorite part of going to Mary’s session with Sue was at the very end when Mary told me her goal to run again. Mary used to run on the UW cross country team and could run a half mile in TWO minutes. Since the brain aneurysm, Mary has had to relearn how to walk and now that she has got that down she wants to get back to doing the thing she loved, running. At the end of the session Mary ‘jogged’ across her living room and she had the largest smile on her face.

 

While talking with the two of them, I could see that Mary and Sue had become friends in their time together. And to end this I would like to quote Sue and Mary. Sue told me “My favorite part of working with Mary is her great sense of humor” to which Mary responded “You can’t get through life without being able to laugh” Even though Mary’s life changed so drastically and so quickly she remembers to laugh. And this reminds me that everything I do for Plus One is to help people like Mary smile again and find some hope and laughter in their lives.

 

If you are interested in learning more about brain aneurysms check out http://www.bafound.org/

 

Chelsea Husted

Plus One Foundation

Intern

Mary "jogging"

Mary “jogging”