The Elephant Movement

I have the honor, or privilege, or complete blessing to benefit from a local group that wanted to reach out and support a local colon cancer survivor in memory of a friend. I won't go into details on how we got connected, but it was just what the doctor ordered for someone who's been whittling down thousands of dollars in medical bills each year - $100 at a time.

On September 11th, The Elephant Movement is holding a golf tournament in memory of a guy named Todd Eccles. Like myself, Todd was young, healthy, and in the prime of life when a diagnosis of colon cancer was handed to him.

Here's Todd's story, as told by his friend Jodi

"Todd was blindsided by stage IV colon cancer at age 43. He had symptoms, but brushed them off. I recall him calling me and telling me he couldn't ski like he use to, and was always tired. He didn't have insurance at the time, so didn't go to the doctor, which was obviously a big mistake.

Todd was a great skier, athlete, tri-athlete, and was always at the gym. He was in great physical shape. He was a fun loving, free spirit who tackled life on his own terms. He loved the water, and spent many summers on Lake Minnetonka. He wasn't married, but had many, many friends. He was the life of the party and always made people laugh. He had an infectious laugh and never took anything life had to offer too seriously.

Todd and I were friends for many years. He introduced me to a lot of his friends, who are now my friends. He was the common thread between many friendships. He went to St. Cloud State, and worked in the IT field for several years before moving to Denver and becoming a business owner with his sister. I had the idea for The Elephant Movement months before his illness, but it took shape when we had to get organized to plan his benefit. Todd helped shape the direction by telling me about his experience and what he needed. We talked daily when he was able. 

When he called me to ask me to come to Denver for the end, I told him I was going to keep his name alive by having an annual golf tournament in his honor - one that would help another person who shared his journey with cancer. He was flattered and honored. He touched many lives, and was a very kind man. I hope he is always remembered."

Here is what The Elephant Movement is all about:
What is The Elephant Movement? When an elephant is down, sick, or hurt, the other elephants won't walk away until the hurt elephant gets back up. The Elephant Movement was created to encourage people to do the same. When someone you know is sick or hurt, we encourage you to become a champion of them. Most people who are sick need help, but don't know how to ask for it, or they don't want to impose on others. Our goal is to find people who will volunteer to take the lead and gather the names of the sick person's friends and give them assignments. We all have unique gifts and it is important to assign things that match those gifts. It may be giving the person a ride to the doctor, preparing a meal, house cleaning, laundry, child care, or simply visiting them. No one wants to ask for these things, but when someone is sick or down, these things are needed. Be a champion for them. Be an elephant. And whatever you do, don't walk away.
I never talk about medical bills here. And I would never solicit money on my own behalf. I find it awkward, and liken it to throwing my own baby shower and telling people to bring me gifts. But the truth is, it's a reality for me and most people dealing with a chronic medical condition. Maxing out your deductible in a single medical visit is the norm.

From the beginning of my diagnosis, I've never been able to dig myself out. I've gone from holding a private policy with a high premium and high deductible, to a group policy with a high deductible, to another group policy with a high deductible. And medical establishments are kind enough to offer payment plans and never charge interest, but having a high deductible that gets maxed out within the first 2 weeks of every new year is about as thrilling as staying up to watch the ball drop.

I liken it to trying to dig a hole in the sand while the sides continually trickle back in. It's a never ending cycle that I have yet to get a break from. For me this is a chance to pay down medical bills, and an unsolicited opportunity to finally feel a little relief from the constant flow of dreaded envelopes in the mail. A portion of my many loads will be lifted, and for that I'm beyond grateful to The Elephant Movement for the opportunity they have offered to me.

If you are in town and love golf, I invite you to sign up. Kyle and his crew of merry men will be playing, and as the beneficiary, I'll be in attendance. 


Anonymous said...

I love that idea. Too often people leave rather than stay and help, in whatever capacity.

God bless this young man.


Sarah DeBord said...

It was a great event, and I plan to blog about it in the coming weeks. Huge blessing for me, and great to see the legacy this guy left behind.

Unknown said...

The food was always great, I think they just updated their menu and it's off the hook. Who would expect delicious pizza at such big events. Not me, but you can get some of the best pizza there. The best convention center in this area.