The healing power of friendship
I saw an incredible story recently about a woman, Amy Silverstein, who was in need of a heart transplant. While she waited, 9 of her friends stepped up and provided her comfort and support. They even created a calendar, and they all took blocks of time to ensure that she was never alone. This meant traveling across the country to where Amy was in the hospital waiting for her new heart. Amy credits her friends with saving her life.
During this story, the medical contributor made the point that people who have a sense of “social connectedness” do better in their recovery. That power of social connectedness, and the power of friendship is one of the foundations and inspirations behind the Elixir Fund. It is also a primary reason why we created the Elixir Fund Registry.
I know from personal experience that it is difficult to ask for help. It never occurred to me when people said, “Just let me know what I can do to help?” that I could ask for a gift certificate- to a restaurant, for housecleaning, or even movie tickets. However, when a friend purchased a gift certificate to Netflix out of the blue, it was such a simple and kind gesture that had far reaching impacts. Suddenly Kevin’s hospital visits took on a new meaning; it became a time to catch up on movies. During the 9o minutes of the movie we sat and relaxed, laughed, or even fell asleep. It provided him, and me, with a break we so needed. That Netflix gift certificate was also a reminder- just like the cards he received or the care package dropped off at the hospital- that people were thinking of him and us, and were rooting for Kevin. There really is no way to put in to words how much it meant, how great it felt, and how much it kept Kevin going.
At the same time, Kevin who was being treated between a hospital in downtown Los Angeles and City of Hope -a major research hospital that he referred to as the “Disneyland of Cancer” because of the garden on the grounds, the long sweeping driveway with a fountain, and depending on the day seniors dressed in teal polo shirts and white pants to guide you to your appointments- need only look around to see that not everyone had the support network that he did. Again, Kevin recognized how powerful that support was to his ability to live a full and rich life during treatment. He wanted to find a way to pay that forward.
We have also heard from people across the country struggling through treatment, trying to stay positive and meet their day-to-day needs, or the needs of their families. The Elixir Fund Registry was designed with all of these experiences in mind. The Elixir Fund Registry provides a platform for those with short or long-term care needs to reap the healing benefits of social connectedness. Whether it is empowering their support network and letting them know exactly how they can help, or reaching out to the community at large and tapping into the power of random acts of kindness.
The Elixir Fund Registry is up and running and we currently have a mix of patients and caregivers in need of support. Some wish lists are private, only viewable to invited guests, while others are open and available to you, the public, to help.
Visit https://giving.elixirfund.org to take a look. When you click on a registrant’s name under “Find Patients,” if you see a wish list of items, then it is public. If you do not see a wish list, then it is private. You must create an account in order to make a purchase. Once you make a purchase off of a wish list, the registrant will receive a gift certificate for that item in email.
Let the healing begin.