Every now and again, I get an email from Stephanie, our Photography Director that says, “HELP! How do I say no?” and as I scroll down below these words, I read the email she has forwarded with a plea from a person who has an adult friend with cancer or who knows a child facing a terminal illness who wants FGP to do photos for the family. Stephanie and I go back and forth about how much we wish we could help and that we can’t possibly say no until one of us snaps back into our FGP mode and remembers our mission. Our mission from the beginning has been to help pediatric cancer families, and while some may think we should expand that mission to help people beyond pediatric cancer, right now we can’t. In our hearts we want to help every single person who asks. If we had all the volunteers and funding in the world, we would certainly expand our mission to support all cancer patients’ families, all children with life threatening illnesses and people all over the country but as an organization after thinking, researching, experiencing and planning, we have decided to remain focused on the original mission of easing the burden of everyday life for pediatric cancer families.

We also receive questions about what we are doing for the siblings. Truthfully, while we are not directly supporting the siblings, we believe by lessening the stress on the parents, we are helping the siblings by giving them more time with their parents. We are taking away the obligations of cleaning and yard work, and some of the financial worries so they can breath a little easier and be more relaxed within their home. Sounds to me like that is helping the siblings.

Recently at a volunteer training, an enthusiastic volunteer had many suggestions for fundraisers and for what we could be doing for families in addition to what we are already doing. The ideas were great and with her enthusiasm, I found them hard to resist and truthfully, the FGP of 3 years ago would have taken them all on right in that moment. But today’s FGP is different. We have learned through the years that we cannot do everything well so we need to focus our efforts on what we do well and what our families need while finding what is NOT being offered by other organizations. Because our organization is run on fundraising, it doesn’t make sense to put our efforts toward a new program if someone else in the community is already offering a similar service to these families or to add more programs that will require more funding and volunteer hours when we already are in need of more volunteers and funds for our present programs. From a business standpoint, it all makes sense but it is hard from a heart standpoint. It is hard to turn down great ideas that could help our families more or fundraisers that might raise money but will require more volunteer hours than we have available at this time. But in this business and FGP is a business, it is how we have to make decisions. If we don’t have enough volunteers and funds to support a new fundraiser or program, we cannot implement it.

So, when I start to think we need to do more, I remember the thing about FGP that I love most. We provide consistent support to the families from point of contact until the end of treatment or life. We support them month after month with the services they choose that work best for their family. The caregivers know their lead volunteers care about their situation and are there to walk their journey with them in any way they need. Even if we aren’t helping everyone, we are helping some people during their darkest days, and for that I am both thankful and proud.

While FGP isn’t offering programs for siblings, children with other illnesses and to adults facing cancer, there are other organizations out there that are meeting those needs! We are compiling a list of organizations that help in these other areas. If you know of any to include on the list, please comment below! We will add some to our website’s Resources Page!