In about a week, 140 or so graduates of the 1979 class from John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, Californa will gather for their 40th High School Reunion. I'll be among them.
Right about now, guests may be trying to figure out what to wear that meets the ‘cocktail casual' dress code or wondering how well the years have treated them by taking a careful look at their reflections in the mirror.
The memories of happy moments, team victories, important ‘firsts' in life and so much more are spinning in our heads as we anticipate seeing people we may not have crossed paths with in decades.
Here's what stopped me dead in my tracks and gave me a powerful wake up call.
One of my classmates is suffering from Stage 4 Breast Cancer that is now in her bones and metastasized to her lungs.
Dana Hall Kennon.
The chemo therapy treatments have her wishing her mom was by her side, feeding her good, old-fashioned chicken soup — the kind you get at a Jewish deli that comes with a matzoh ball.
I saw her post to Facebook that she is putting together a Bucket List of things she wants to do.
One of the things she wants is a weekend trip to Disneyland.
Here's the thing.
With Stage 4 Cancer, Dana's runway may be short.
Way back in 1979, one of the ways we got the word out to make a difference was by working together on the weekly school newspaper by the same name. The Word came out every Friday, sharing news, opinions, sports coverage, and feature stories about difference makers among us.
(That's me — fourth from the left — kind of in the middle, wearing a cowl neck sweater. Dana is in the front row, second from the right, dressed in white.)
Today, we have the benefit of social media, Facebook Live, and BeLive.TV to get the word out to invite action in perfect timing.
This brings me to a bright idea for the difference makers in our class who are poised to gather in a few short days.
>> What if every guest of the John F. Kennedy High School Class of 1979 reached into his or her pocket to share a “donate what you can” amount to make Dana Hall Kennon's Weekend in Disneyland Bucket List Wish come true?
>> What if the dollars flowed generously via the ‘friends and family' option to my PayPal account over the next few days so we can all take heart in coming together to make a Bucket List Dream come true for one of our own in perfect timing?
Reunions offer us all the opportunity to revisit years gone by, remember good times, reflect on lessons learned, and move forward with intention.
I keep coming back to this idea: “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
These last 40 years have been good to me.
I'm healthy, happy, and blessed with good work to do and friends and family to make the journey even better.
These last few years, however, so many people I know and care about have been faced with diagnosis, disaster, divorce or death.
It's sobering to say the least.
What I know for sure, borrowing a phrase from Oprah, is that the time is now to put more life in our years.
Tomorrow is not promised.
Now is the time to make sure our legacies are alive TODAY by taking actions that make a difference for others in personal, practical and profound ways when timing really matters.
If we have an opportunity to grant a Bucket List Wish to a classmate with a dream and perhaps a shorter runway by which to achieve it, let's embrace it.
Your Contributions Will Make a BIG Difference:
- If you're moved to reach into your wallet to make a contribution to make Dana Hall Kennon's Bucket List Wish come true, send what you can via PayPal via the ‘friends and family' option to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll use the donation to purchase a weekend pass for two to Disneyland for Dana and share any extra funds with her to use as she chooses.
- You can also bring a check to the reunion and give it to me in person.
- If you can't attend and don't have PayPal, here is my business mailing address to which you can mail your check: Nancy Juetten, c/o Gateway Executive Centre, 109 E. Maple, Suite 109, Bellingham, WA 98225.
Won't you join me?