Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Truly Inspirational Woman -- Michelle Wood

It's not every day that I meet someone who just impresses me to no end.

On July 7th, after an appointment at the VA Hospital in Sacramento, I had the chance to meet such a person.

Her name is Michelle Wood and she works at the VA Hospital as a volunteer a couple of days a week.

Yes, she works there as a volunteer. She is very polite and personable and pleasant with all of the vets there. And from what I saw while there, she takes a real interest in helping those needing it.

Now vets who go to the VA can verify the fact that the volunteers are not usually younger folks. Frankly, they are all closer to my age or older. Yes, 60 plus.

Michelle is probably in her very early 30s. And yes, other than the fact that she is a pretty gal, I think that's what caught my attention to her more than anything else.  I'm used to seeing gray haired Vietnam vets behind the volunteer counter.

Seeing Michelle there was a welcome surprise because she is so young. But with the surprise, my curiosity peaked. It peaked because I don't see younger people volunteering very much these days, especially at a Veterans hospital.

So as I do in many other situations,  I asked her questions to relieve my curiosity. And no, as anyone who knows me can tell you -- I ask people all sorts of things.

And for the record, while my asking personal questions used to irritate my mother-in-law, she now understands that my grandfather was right about people when he said that 1) people like talking about themselves and 2) people love when others are interested in their life.

I found out she has been volunteering at the VA there at Mather Field in Sacramento for a while. Since I wasn't taking notes, and my memory is getting worse, I believe she said she has been volunteering there for well over a year.

Since volunteering is really important to me simply because I believe it is a win/win situation. I believe that a person volunteering usually gets a good feeling out of contributing to their community, and the organization being helped makes out in all sorts of ways including getting great help at a great price.

So yes, it was nice to see that she does it for herself as a way of giving back to her community. But talking with her a while,  you realize quickly that she is also giving back to our nation and feels great about helping veterans.

While talking with her, I told her that it was great to see someone younger volunteer and then I gave her a card to my blog saying that I may write something about her.

Yes, I have business cards. And no, it doesn't say Have Gun Will Travel.

After handing her my card, I was surprised that she handed me her business card in return. She has her own business as a Notory Public.

While I  really do like to find inspirational stories of people who have it together and helping others, I seem to end up writing more about current events than I do about people who are truly inspirational.

In this case, few people have impressed me lately as much as she has. You see, there is a great deal more to Michelle Wood than just a pleasant personality and youthful attractiveness.

Fact is, as our conversation trailed off into other parts of her life, I found out that the youngest of her two sons, Dalton, has Leukemia and is an Honoree at the Light The Night Walk fundraising campaign of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

The organization's website says:

"Light The Night Walk is a fundraising campaign of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) which brings together families and communities to honor blood cancer survivors, as well as those lost to the diseases, and shine a light on the importance of finding cures and providing access to treatments for blood cancer patients."

The Lymphoma Society (LLS) website describes her son Dalton Wood as follows:

"Following a camping trip in September 2013, Dalton's mom noticed that he was tired and lacked his normal curiosity and exuberance. 

Two weeks later, he was diagnosed with pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Today, Dalton is four years old and loves Power Ranges, puppies, and sports. 

Despite a few minor setbacks, he is doing great and continues to be an inspiration to us all!

Dalton's mom, Michelle, reminds us that we don't know what tomorrow holds, so we should enjoy the beauty of today and the precious moments it holds."

Michelle told me that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and their ribbon color is gold. She also told me,

On November 7th, 2015, a Light The Night Walk will be held at Raley Field in Sacramento at 6:00 pm

It is a Saturday and for people in the Sacramento area, this is an event that truly benefits those fighting for their lives. Support is appreciated.

I told her that I would try to get the word out if I could. This is my attempt to do just that.

Yes, listening to this mother of two talk about Leukemia, one can tell that she has had to learn a great deal about this cancer in a short time. And frankly, her quick learning has paid off in the respect that she is guarded when taking Dalton to a conventional Emergency Room which may have very little experience with dealing Leukemia patients. That is important because Leukemia patients have a whole different set of issues that need to be looked at before any treatment can be administered.

I know real well that she is not the only parent who is going through this, but I'm sure you can see why I'm so impressed with Michelle Wood.

How could one not be impressed over the fact that while she has her own business as a Notary Public trying to make ends meet, and yet she still finds time to volunteer at the VA hospital in Sacramento. And yes, all while being a single Mom raising two sons on her own -- and caring for Dalton who has Leukemia.

Friends, I know people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time nevertheless jungle life the way she does! I know a couple that can't do what this single mother is doing and there are two of them.

So yes, add what she does to the fact that she makes sure her oldest son does not feel neglected, and you can see why I find her so inspirational. To me, she is a wonderful mom, a great lady, a truly outstanding example for others.

May the good Lord bless her and her sons. May she find solace in knowing that while she is doing the hard work, that it is not for nothing because she stands as a great example of goodness in people.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

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