Farming Community Rallies to Harvest Family Farm
“Is there anything I can do?” is a question many of us ask when consoling someone who has been hit by tragedy. Most of the time, there isn’t an answer to that, other than prayer. In this case, though, there was something. And it seemed so clear and obvious that nobody in town remembers who came up with the idea. “It just kind of happened,” family friend Shawn Peters says. “This is what a farming community does.”
On a Friday night in October in Illinois, Hayden Schaumburg charged down the field to block for his Watseka High teammates on a kick return. There was a fierce collision, and the 16-year-old junior collapsed onto the field. Hayden was laid out on the football field for 45 minutes that night. He needed eight hours of surgery – he had broken his neck.
With the Schaumburgs still by their son’s side at Loyola Medical Center, their farm back home sat waiting to be harvested. And so on Saturday, before dawn on the first day of November, more than 100 people arrived at the Schaumburg farm. Some came with tractors, some with auger carts, some with semis ready to load. Some brought lunch, some brought bright yellow safety vests, and some just came with their bare hands and their time. At 6:30 am, the people of Watseka said a prayer for Hayden. Then they got to work.
By mid-afternoon, more than 1,000 acres had been harvested. Weeks of work was done in a matter of hours. “There was something much greater than us at work that day,” Peters says. In all, more than 125,000 bushels of corn left the farm in less than 10 hours.
Sometimes we can help by just showing up.
Transplant Recipient Shares Her Gift
Ottawa-native Double-lung transplant recipient, Hélène Campbell, inspired all of us with her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2013. Since her transplant, Hélène’s primary focus has been on her recovery. She continues to increase the number of registered organ and tissue donors by encouraging those around her to talk about this opportunity.
Last fall she completed a cross-Canada promotional tour with VIA Rail (Give2Live) with a campaign goal to raise $50,000 to help patients while they waited for a life-saving organ transplant. To date, over $60,000 has been raised and 24 patients have been helped.
“This is the reality of transplant. It’s not a cure, but a treatment. Do not get me wrong, it is an incredible and magical gift! But it should never be taken for granted and should never be forgotten. It is so easy to get back into the thrill of life, to feel normal again. To forget others who are now waiting and, in their situation, are feeling the same way I did.” – Hélène Campbell
The gift of life is worth sharing.
What Would You Do With $100?
Imagine the surprise in the community when this real life “Pay-It-forward” project began. Pastor Steve Stewart gave at least one $100 bill to each family who attended congregation on Sunday in May 2011, along with the assignment to “do something good”. This originated from an anonymous gift of $10,000 to the Pastor of Community Bible Church in Stittsville, Ontario.
As a result, over the next few months there were fundraising garage sales, bake sales, and other events – each one facilitated by the $100 in seed money. The total raised by the various events over tripled the initial $10,000 and was spread over multiple community and charitable causes.
One member of that congregation was Taber Bucknell – family friend of Hélène Campbell. That same year, Hélène, the bright, talented, creative 20-year-old second daughter was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Her only option was a double lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital (TGH). In January 2012, Hélène had to move to downtown Toronto to be close to TGH while waiting for donor lungs to become available. Her mother Manon took an unpaid leave from her job to accompany Hélène and her father Alan and three siblings stayed in Ottawa. The province covered Hélène’s medical expenses but not Manon and Hélène’s living expenses in Toronto.
The Pastor’s seed money helped Taber set up alungstory.ca to document the journey of a remarkable, energetic young woman who needed new lungs to breathe well again; to help Hélène financially and to raise the awareness of organ donation registration and the importance of giving blood.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead