2023 marks the 10th year that I’ve been fundraising for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in honor and memory of Ed. In the beginning, I set my goal really low, at $1,000, because I wasn’t sure how much, if anything, people would donate. I got totally blown out of the water that year and raised far above $1,000. Each subsequent year for a number of years, I kept raising the goal by a thousand dollars. Then, the pandemic year hit in 2020, and I realized it would be too much of a stretch to keep going on that trajectory. So I scaled it back. Since, my goal has been $5,000, but which each year, it feels like more and more of a stretch to reach. In the last two years, it’s been especially tough with a poor economic climate, seemingly endless layoffs, and crazy inflation. It always feels like it’s a lot to ask of people to keep donating, year after year. It’s tireless and exhausting. I’m 10 days away from the Out of the Darkness walk and still haven’t hit my goal. I am currently ranked 6th for fundraising in Manhattan.
But then I have a friend who has been fundraising for breast cancer research since we were 18 with her sisters in memory of their mother, who died suddenly from breast cancer (caught just 3 weeks before dying). She’s been doing this fundraising for almost 20 years now and never gives up. I took a look at her donation page today, and she’s barely raised $400. It kind of goes to show that people tire of these asks after a while, and we can only expect so much.
It’s rough. Losing someone you love prematurely is hard. Trying to keep their memory alive is hard. Fundraising and asking loved ones and colleagues to donate year after year is hard. It’s hard to know when it’s actually too much to ask. But at that point, are you letting your loved one’s memory essentially die?