I’m thinking I need a whole new category for my blogs; ones that shouldn’t be written, but I feel compelled to write. I enjoy these types because it challenges me to write something so vaguely as to not burn any bridges yet get a point across.
When we started to work with Cleaning for a Reason, the non-profit foundation that provides free house cleaning to women undergoing treatment for cancer, we knew we wanted to get the word out. We reasoned that the more people who knew about Cleaning for a Reason, the more women that they could help. We mentioned it a LOT on our Facebook and Twitter sites, but that was about it. Well, not quite. We also sent out an email to a couple of newspapers. To call it a press release would be an overstatement of Biblical proportions. One, a newspaper in the same county that we are based out of, was interested.
The reporter wanted to come out as we cleaned and interview the cancer patient as well as us. We discussed it with the patient, but she was nervous about being interviewed. She had reservations about her name and photo being in the paper. We politely told the reporter that this patient would not work out. As we would learn, it didn’t matter.
We cleaned for four other women after that first one, and none seemed especially eager to share their stories about Cleaning for a Reason. It wasn’t that they weren’t grateful or appreciative. They told us that this was our ministry, that we gave them hope, that we made their day. They simply were uncomfortable being in the press; putting their lives, their families, their cancer out there for the whole world to see.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, we got a call from the same reporter asking if we had a patient that might be interested, yet. We have a patient that we will call D. When the reporter called back, We had cleaned for D three times. Cleaning for a Reason provides four monthly cleanings. This Monday will be our last cleaning for her. D has been effusive in her praise for us, so when the reporter came to us again, we thought we’d give D a try. D was quiet for a few minutes when I asked her and then she said, “I think it’s time I gave back something. I’m ready. Yes, I’ll do it!”
We were ecstatic. Finally we would be able to tell people in Minnesota the story of how a woman in Texas decided to help women going through a traumatic experience. How her vision has spread to all fifty states and Canada. How over six hundred cleaning or maid services have joined forces with that organization to provide this service. To give women with cancer one less thing to worry about. We called the reporter back and gave him D’s address. “I’m sorry”, the reporter told us. “She doesn’t live in this county. In order to do the story, we would need her to live in this county.” I was stunned. I understand the need for a small, community newspaper to do stories pertinent to their readership, I really do. In this particular instance, however, the cleaning company is based in the readership’s county. Don’t get me wrong; I know the cleaning company is not the whole story, here. But it does provide a “local link”, if you will. The story itself is larger than the confines of one county in one state.
When I told D about the paper’s decision, her response was, “Bite me!” She then went on to say how she had been looking forward to telling a story of hope and that we were a blessing to her. You know what? That means more to me than any newspaper article ever will.