Remember my Warrior Bag project from last year? I was so excited to pass out bags full of goodies to help cancer patients get through their treatment days. To this day, it’s one of the projects that I’m most proud of.
It started as a small idea and to be completely honest, it blew up pretty quickly and eventually became more than I could handle on my own.
A little backstory:
I became so engulfed by this passion project of mine and I was ok with that because I absolutely loved it. I spent countless hours researching the perfect products to put in each bag, fundraising the money to be able to buy those products, and scouring the internet to get the most bang for my buck.
To save money and make the donations I received go further, I hand painted every bag with a logo I created myself. I would then get each bag ready to be shipped and spent hours in the post office typing out each individual address. It gave me something to do while I wasn’t able to work and made me feel like this terrible thing I had been through served a purpose. I NEEDED to turn my cancer into something positive and I’m proud to say I did that!
When I do something, I put my all into it. With that said, I quickly overwhelmed myself by trying to keep up with the dozens of bag requests I was getting every week, attending other fundraisers and events almost daily, juggling a full-time job with stressful hours, and recovering from my own cancer treatment. I was ashamed when I finally realized that I was totally burnt out.
“I felt like I had let everyone down”
At the time, I had given out well over 200 warrior bags to Hampton Roads residents, and still had leftover supplies which took up an entire bedroom in my tiny apartment.
It got to the point where I couldn’t even look at that stuff anymore because of the anxiety it brought me. The longer it sat there, the worse I felt.
Every time I went into my spare room and saw those supplies, a wave of guilt would rush over me. I kept thinking about the people who believed in my project and donated money or supplies to help make it a success. I felt like I had let everyone down but I just couldn’t bring myself to start it back up again. The thought alone caused me so much stress.
Now for the good news!
I’m happy to report that all of that finally changed recently! My parents came into town to visit and my mom encouraged me to finish up what I had started in late 2017. With her help, over 50 bags were put together using the remaining supplies. We decided to drop them off at the Hampton VA medical center for military veterans who were going through cancer treatment. I was supposed to go with my mom to help deliver the bags but unfortunately, I got called into work to help cover severe weather that day. My dad helped her deliver them instead and they loved doing it. I’m so glad they got to experience what had once brought me so much joy.
I wanted to let everyone know that although it was a bit delayed, the money that some of you so graciously donated all got used and put to great use. Thank you to each of you who helped make this project such a success and I feel confident in saying that together we put some smiles on the faces of people going through treatment. I couldn’t have done this alone.
Doing this reignited my love for projects like this. I desperately needed to take some time to myself to heal my own emotional wounds, but I think I’m finally ready to dive back into doing some more charity work. Stay tuned for some new projects that I’ve been working on! 🙂