During one’s lifetime there are relatively few moments that become indelibly recorded in your long-term memory. One such moment of lucidity occurred in my life this past June when I was informed that I have an incurable form of cancer. Understandably, this is not your everyday news, but my purpose for writing this letter is not to elaborate about my personal issues. Rather, my wife and I would like to take this opportunity to share about another event that happened to us that was just as staggering as hearing about the cancer.
When informed of my health issue, some of my colleagues at work (AK Dept. of
Fish and Game) took it upon themselves to organize a fund-raising event to help offset the costs of impending treatment. Soon, my church (Kasilof Community Church) and many, many people and businesses in this community and from throughout the Kenai Peninsula got involved. Items were donated for a raffle, a beautiful quilt was made, and a dinner/auction benefit was held. Hundreds of people offered their assistance, and in the end, thousands of dollars were raised on my behalf.
If we were to attempt to list all the names of just those people we know of that helped in one way or another, this letter could not be printed because of its length. For sure, this list gets even more unmanageable when the names of those benevolent-minded people we don’t personally know are added. Every person on this list gave of their time, they gave of their resources, and they gave of themselves to help support our family.
If you are an individual or business who in some way was a part of this event, please know that your kindness has impacted our family in a profound way. Trying to communicate our gratitude in a manner that even comes close to reflecting how we feel is impossible. Therefore, we can only offer our heartfelt thanks to all of you. On the other hand, if you are someone who is reading this out of general interest, let me ensure you that you live in a community full of people that care about each other much more than you could ever realize. We all should be thankful for the kind of people who call the Kenai Peninsula home.
Pat and Lea Shields
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