Today is my 9-year anniversary of having the privilege of serving as Spare Key’s Executive Director.
A lot has changed in the past 9 years.
- we’ve served well over 4,000 families facing a medical crisis since 1997, a significant number of them over the past 9 years.
- we expanded our capacity to serve families from 1 state in 1997 to 50 states as of October 2020.
- we help families facing any kind of significant medical crisis – regardless of their illness, their injury, or their income.
- we changed how we help families by building a revolutionary community based, crowdfunding platform called helpmebounce.org.
Yet, throughout the past 9 years what hasn’t changed has been our commitment to help more families bounce and not break.
From our board of directors to our small, but dedicated staff, Spare Key has remained committed to the idea that we should do all we can when we can to help any family facing a medical crisis avoid adding a financial crisis to their life.
The fact remains that the greatest threat to a family holding on to their home – and avoiding a catastrophic financial collapse – is a medical crisis experienced by any member of a family.
Spare Key knows that first-hand.
We’ve seen families whose mom is in the fight against cancer – a dad struggling to overcome a devastating injury – a child trying to live with a profound birth defect – or the impact of being born too soon.
Chronic diseases to every organ – mental illness – and yes, even the loss of life of a loved one.
We’ve been there to help as much as we can as often as we can, and we hope to continue to do so as long as we can.
Every imaginable illness – every imaginable disease – we’ve seen them.
But we have also seen the enormous generosity and kindness of strangers who have stepped up – time and time again – to make a difference in the lives of those facing the worst crisis of all.
The end of hope.
When hope is gone.
All is gone.
But, since 1997 thousands of strangers, year after year, have come to the aid of strangers to help them bounce and not break.
Strangers they will never meet.
Strangers who will never have the opportunity to say, “thank you” for the kindness of a stranger reaching out to make a difference in the dark night of their family’s life.
Spare Key is, after all, about hope.
It represents that glimpse of light in those moments of darkness when a family feels desperate – afraid – alone.
We are that hand that reaches out in the darkness and reminds families that they are not alone on their journey.
In 2020, facing the devastating impact of covid-19 on the economy, Spare Key nearly found itself facing its own moment of darkness.
With nearly every event cancelled – individual donations drying up – corporate and foundation grants disappearing – we were faced with a clear choice.
We could close the doors and hope someone else could serve those whose illness or injury may not fit a particular funding or eligibility category – but whose family needed help.
Or we could fight like Hell to stay afloat.
We chose the latter.
The Spare Key board of directors – the staff – and donors – chose to find hope.
We started by finding hope on a river.
A raft. over 10 states. 2 months. 1,700 miles.
Over every mile we travelled together we met strangers who became friends who became hope for Spare Key.
When we were done, we fulfilled our promise to be a charity that would help families anytime, anyway, and anywhere in America.
Nineteen days from my 9-year anniversary at Spare Key we are looking to keep that promise alive in 2021 and beyond.
From across America, we are inviting you and thousands of others to join us for a one-hour virtual celebration of “Hope Across America.”
A celebration fundraiser to raise funds for Spare Key so we can keep doing what we have been doing since 1997: bringing hope to families facing a medical crisis.
Registration is free and you can register right now by clicking here: https://bit.ly/2YHogvt
We aren’t asking you for a commitment of hours – just one.
An hour to celebrate.
To laugh. To cry. To donate. To bid. To celebrate.
To bring hope.
I was asked recently what has touched me most in my 9 years as Spare Key executive director.
It’s a tough question. But it’s one that is as easy for me to say today as it was on my first day as executive director.
It is the profound kindness of strangers to help strangers.
It is what makes this country we live in the most remarkable in the world.
It’s what makes you who give to Spare Key so we may give to others the most remarkable people in the world.
It’s what makes me the most remarkably blessed person in the world to have the privilege to lead this organization.
I hope you will join us on Saturday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. cst as we come together to bring the remarkable gift of Hope Across America.