Giving back is a goal I’ve set for the end of every year. The goal is to donate $10,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness by the end of the year 2018. I’ll update the thermometer in real time as often as possible, but because life happens, there may be delays.
Why I give back
Have you ever given any thought to “If you ever won the lottery, what would you spend it on”?
I have and it’s always included donating a large sum to charity. I’ve been thinking about donating to something for a very long time. I never wanted to be rich beyond my wildest dreams, but I have wanted to be well off enough that I could make a decent chunk of a donation to a charity that really made a difference. As an author, that goal is probably the biggest one to try to reach.
When I started writing books for publication, I joined a group that puts out an anthology every year. They donate all of the proceeds from book sales to an animal shelter. That group alone has funded the addition of an entire wing at a no kill shelter, 5 years in a row. I knew from working with them that what I wanted to do was possible.
Maybe not all at once, but over the course of a year, why the hell not?
Who and why I chose them
I explored programs for homeless teens and young adults. I’ve ventured the idea of donating to animal rescues, programs for veterans, and even hospitals. They are all great options and can all use the help, but I needed something I’ve had a great deal of interaction with. Something I know and an organization that has touched me personally. It needed to be something that I’m passionate about. While I’ve got a huge heart for animals and children, nothing has touched my life the way mental illness has.
Being bipolar myself, and having a child with mental illness, it’s a cause near and dear to my heart. I have to work really hard to keep from letting it determine who I am, and what I am or am not capable of. For my child, being an adult now, my push for ending stigmas that surround severe mental illness sets me on fire.
There aren’t enough programs available to people who desperately need it. Myself included. There isn’t help out there beyond short term institutionalization for medications to take affect, and it’s only available when you have reached the point of no return and are a danger. I struggle with it every day. Do I maintain or do I admit myself to the hospital today is a daily question I have to ask myself.
I’ve made some rash decisions when I wasn’t thinking clearly, and suffered dearly for them. Hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts or attempts, more times than I want to openly admit. I’ve bounced around from job to job and been without health insurance through most of it. When things get too tough, and hospitalization isn’t an option, NAMI is there. They give me a place to voice my situations anonymously just to get them out of me, and they have resources I never knew existed. I’m here now because of them, more than once.
I’ve dealt with stigma for a long time. My abilities have been questioned, along with my sanity. Close friends and family have ridiculed me because I can’t just do things like normal people do. Everyone has doubted me at one point or another. I’ve been called crazy more than once, and not just because I’ve chosen Author as my career.
It happens all the time. We don’t even realize we are doing it. If we find out that a friend we have known forever has been diagnosed with something we don’t understand, suddenly, we are unsure of how to behave around them. Will we set them off? Are they dangerous now? Will they be a lot more work than I have the energy for? Are they going to need me more? They are never going to be normal. These are stigmas. They are real, and they hurt a lot more than people realize.
NAMI.org is all about eliminating stigmas that come with having a mental illness. Their goal is to bring awareness of the fact that we are still people, despite having an illness you can’t physically see. It is debilitating, and yet, we can be okay given half a chance. They also help people, like me, deal with our illness and accomplish the things we set out to do, despite our difficulties.
So, I chose them. They are my cause and they are who I give back to. Nami.org has given so much to me, in too many ways to count . They are where I want to send that lump sum lottery winning pot to.
I’ll likely never win the lottery, because you can’t win if you don’t play, right? I’m not helpless to reach my goals and live my dreams, though. I’ve written and published several books now, and more are on the horizon. I’ve reached that goal in my life, surely, with determination, hard work, and a community of likewise thinking people, or just people who enjoy good stories, I can reach this one too. It may not be this week, but my goal is by the end of this year, I will be able to make a donation of $10,000.
This is where you come in
I could use your help making that happen. Random donations are completely acceptable should you choose to make them, but being able to earn what is donated is a big part of my dream. To work for it, despite my inability to function some days. I’m bipolar, but it’s not stopping me.
So, I’ve set it up so that when you buy signed copies of any of my paperbacks, half the proceeds go into the end of the year $10,000 donation fund. The same goes for any of the specialty items in the shop. I’ll be doing fundraiser auctions and other events throughout the year to help reach or exceed this goal.
This is how determined I am to give something back.
It takes a community
It takes more than one person to really make a difference. I can’t make $10,000 without help. When you make purchases from the Swag Shop and participate in fundraising events, you become part of that community and really do help make a difference. My deepest thanks to those who contribute to the $10k end of year donation fund, financially and otherwise, throughout the year.
List of Contributors 2018
This is a list of the people and organizations that have contributed in some way to the End of the Year Donation Fund in 2018.
R. Von Tonder
The 1st Annual Christy Mann Author 50/50 Fundraiser was held on July 27th-28th 2018 and $20 was raised toward this goal!!!