Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas, Cora

Have you ever volunteered for a task and later wondered why on earth you said you would do it?

Perhaps you’ve asked yourself the bigger questions of “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?”

Laurie Fox, an Internet friend who lives in New York state, was feeling that way Dec. 12. She volunteered to deliver 10 food baskets for her church to shut-ins and the elderly. Ordinarily it wouldn’t be that big a deal.

This year, however, Laurie could have easily begged off and everyone would have understood. You see, Laurie is fighting Stage 2 Non-Hodgkin's B cell Lymphoma.

The day was bitterly cold and staying home seemed very tempting and a lot more sensible than traipsing about delivering food.

A promise is a promise, though, so Laurie dressed warmly and left to make the deliveries.

She wore a mask over her nose and mouth, as her doctor had instructed, to protect her from germs. Laurie needs to stay well; she is scheduled to be admitted to the hospital in January to receive a transplant of her own bone marrow to try to fight off the lymphoma.

Sometimes there is a purpose and plan for something larger in our lives than we can imagine. That Saturday, Laurie was about to discover why she was delivering food baskets when she could have stayed home.

The first nine deliveries of canned goods and treats were routine.

At the last home, Laurie’s knock on the door was answered by Cora, a smaller woman, probably in her early 70s Laurie guessed.

“I’ve brought some things from the church,” Laurie told her.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Cora said. “I’ve not been feeling well today.”

Cora asked Laurie to take the groceries to the kitchen for her. Out of habit, Laurie slipped off her shoes at the front door before going to the kitchen. Laurie noticed fresh-baked bread on cooling racks as she put the groceries on the counter.

“Would you like me to put these things in the cupboard for you?” Laurie called out to Cora, who had remained in the living room.

There was no answer. Laurie thought perhaps Cora hadn’t heard her, so she went to the living room to repeat the question.

She found Cora on the floor. Checking quickly, Laurie couldn’t find a pulse and Cora wasn't breathing. Instinctively, Laurie ripped off her protective mask and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

After a minute or two with no response, Laurie knew she had to call for help. She looked around the room for a telephone, but she couldn’t see one. From her CPR training, Laurie knew she didn't dare stop CPR long enough to do a more extensive search for a telephone.

Laurie raced to her car, hit the On Star button and ran back to the house to continue administering CPR on Cora.

Within minutes a fire truck, police car and ambulance were at the house and the professionals took over. Cora had suffered a heart attack.

When things quieted down a little, Laurie got in her vehicle and started to drive off to return home. It was only then she glanced down at her feet and realized her shoes were still by the front door of Cora's living room!

A few days later, Laurie received a call from Cora thanking Laurie for saving her life.

Cora is not the only one who wants to thank Laurie.

On Thursday, Dec. 17, Laurie received a call from the New York State Police. Laurie has been named Citizen of the Year for saving Cora’s life. The awards will be presented Dec. 29 at an awards ceremony.

“There is no way I am going to that!” Laurie said emphatically.

“Between having to wear a mask and giving a short speech, I will be in hiding that day and night,” Laurie said, punctuating her sentence with a small laugh.

Thanks to Laurie, Cora is alive today and on medication to help her stay well.

Because Laurie was in exactly the right place at the right time and knew what to do, Cora will enjoy another Christmas and hopefully many more.

Merry Christmas, Laurie. Merry Christmas, Cora.

Friday, December 18, 2009

First Baptist Church blood drive

Laurie Carter and Bruce Estep were two of the donors at the blood drive Dec. 4.

First Baptist Church sponsored its first blood drive for the American Red Cross. We had a good turnout and eight first-time donors!

Thanks everyone for your help and participation and a special thank you to those who gave the gift of life.

Thank a member of the military

It's a very simple step - just go to and select a thank-you card prepared by a child. There are a number of texts and you can click on one to convey your message, or you can write your own.

The Xerox company will copy the note and card and send it to a service man or woman. You don't get to choose who receives the card.

There is no charge for this, and the whole process can take less time than it has taken me to write this.

You still have time to send some cards. It will make a difference to them and it will make your Christmas more meaningful.

Make a difference!!