Getting Involved

My wife, Sharon, and I had an argument the other day. That’s nothing new for us. She is white and I’m black which also describes the sides we often take in arguments. I have one view and she has the exact opposite view of the issue. The topic at issue today? Getting involved with charities.
I spend much of my free time as a spokesperson for various charitable groups, organizations and charities — essentially the front person for those groups. Groups I believe in. Sharon contends that being involved means more than just standing up the day of the event and saying “hi” to all the guests. In many ways, she is right. There is much fundraising and groundwork that needs to be done and those who do it are often in the background and never get the credit they deserve. I know this for a fact because I have served as a chair for events such “Hot Pink Pittsburgh” and “United Cerebral Palsy”. It’s difficult work — and often time-consuming. I told Sharon that if I try to get deeply involved in every charitable endeavor, then I have to do less events.

As you can see, TV personalities like Kelly and myself can do more by being a face for organizations. By making people feel special and feel that what they are doing is positive. Kelly Frey and I were hosts at this Party of the plaza at USX Tower last month — and it’s a role that allows us to be at more places — and thus, help more organizations raise funds for worthwhile causes.

As for those who do the groundwork and rarely get the spotlight, let me tell you the story of one such woman. Her name is Lisa Gillespie and for the past ten years, she has been a force by “Hoops for a Cure”. It’s a charitable basketball event at Chartiers Valley High and raises money for Arenson Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. Her hard work on behalf of the Arenson family has raised awareness and dollars for pancreatic cancer research. I had the honor of working with her as event emcee that last decade. It’s with great sadness that you will never meet this woman. She died of cancer last week. I will miss her. It’s people like Lisa that are the true heroes.

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