Charity and Geekdom

This Christmas, as gifts for my wife and son, I ordered us all “Fuck Cancer” shirts from the campaign being run by Stephen Amell from Arrow. Part of this was from the link to my geek roots (and Arrow being one of my favorite shows), but the motivation goes much deeper. Sure my family is a supporter of cancer related charities – it’s one of the defining things about my family. Especially in recent years. Directly though, for me, it was about what cancer has taken from me. If you have been following this blog, you know that in July cancer took my best friend and dog from me.

I knew he was getting old, but to have him diagnosed with cancer that was causing such large tumors in him was a shock. I actually found myself echoing “fuck cancer” in my head. After more than fifteen years with us, not even my dog was safe. So I did what I could. Donated food to a local shelter. Adopted a rescue dog from that same shelter. And bought a shirt to show my personal support and to give money to charities working towards a cure.

Just this week, Amell’s new campaign started. A similar shirt design (though more family friendly), but this time when looking for a charity he went to the fans. The same fans that (literally) knocked it out of the park with the first campaign. From those suggestions, the proceeds are slotted to go to two different charities: Stand for the Silent as well as Paws and Stripes. I’ll definitely be picking up this shirt too.

Stand for the Silent is a charity that supports young people against bullying. While the discussion of bullying (causes, solutions, etc.) isn’t cut and dry, a dialog needs to be opened. And any charity that does this has my support. I was bullied quite a bit as a kid. Back then there wasn’t a focus on it like there is today. It was just one of those things you had to get through. And each school had at least one of “those kids.” Which is to say the target. In 3rd grade I beat up two 5th graders who were abusing someone else unable to stand up for themselves. Even after that, I was still the preferred target. It took someone else being in harms way for me to take a stand. Yup, I’ll stand with these folks.


post from Stephen Amell’s Facebook page

Paws and Stripes is a localized charity in the New Mexico area that takes rescue animals and trains them to be companion animals for veteran’s with PTSD and TBI. I think we all know how I feel about helping rescue dogs. But back somewhere around 17 or so years ago I suffered one of the “lesser” of the TBIs. I took a concussion bad enough it stripped away years of memory and forever change how I processed numbers in my memory. It is difficult to fully explain, but my memory of numbers was pretty core to a job where I routinely had to spout off numeric addresses of servers to customers or the support agents on my team. (At the time I worked for AT&T Worldnet in their support division.) It also left me with an increase in my migraines (frequency and intensity) as well as a constant, low-grade headache. Yeah, my 1-10 scale for pain is all sorts of screwed up.

Really, both of these hit home for me. Or hit a home run… since one of the shirts is a softball style jersey.

All of this sparked not only through social media (something I touched on in my blog over at Wicked Lil Pixie this morning), but through geekly pursuits. An actor, playing a DC superhero, engaging with his fans on a level similar to Felicia Day did with the Guild or Wayland does as each an every gig they play (as well as multiple forms of social networking). I may have joked about this back in college, but I fully believe it…

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth.

So maybe go forth to the Represent site for the Sinceriously Campaign and pick up a shirt, hoodie, or tote bag. And maybe go check out the sites for the charities. I’m already picking up one of the dog shirts from Paws and Stripes for Ginger’s birthday. And yes… pictures will follow. 😉


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