New entry belowI I am continuing to leave the announcement of The Erin Project here as a reminder that we need your love, your photos, your memories or characterization of Erin, and your story!
November 4, 2008
A week or so ago, Erin received a card with a laminated maple leaf bookmark and some very kind words from Mary Nan Linnstaedter. Mary Nan had chosen Erin from the list of youth at our church as her prayer partner. Her note, like Mary Nan herself, was chatty and full of conversational tidbits: a most lively read. In it, she mentioned first meeting Erin as a three-year-old. Apparently, the Buengers and the Linnstaedters were at some sort of church event. Walter, Erv (Mary Nan's husband), and I were all tied up, busily doing something. Erin saw Mary Nan sitting alone and went up, introduced herself, and kept her company until we finished up. Mary Nan also told Erin she still had the key chain that Erin had helped make the year I chaired the church fund drive.
The point of this?
Six and a half years ago, when Erin started her treatment, we called upon our friends to nurture and sustain us. We broadcast an appeal to folks we knew to send us their photo. It made more sense to a five-year-old Erin to have a tangible sign of our friends' care, so we made a poster-sized collage of these photos and displayed it front an center during every hospital stay, every hard day of side effects, every low moment during treatment. We looked at it and saw abundant love.
We are now walking an even harder, and definitely less trodden path. And we know we are not walking alone. Some of you leave us messages and send us mail ("e" and "real"). We get a kind look and a pat on the shoulder when we see you. Even those of you who are silent and far away sustain us by your visits to "Erin's Home."
When reflecting on these two separate, but related events, it occurred to me that we needed to leash the power of these two vehicles and combine them to give us an even greater boost. Thus, we are launching The Erin Project.
I want to collect personal photos from as many Erin Fans as I can. I want Erin to browse through page after page of smiling, loving faces, knowing that each face reflects someone who cares for her deeply and wants her to beat this damned disease. I also want to collect tidbits from you about your connection to Erin. Those of you who know her, may have a favorite Erin story (detailed or brief) or recollection. If you only know her through these pages, you probably remember some vignette that captured your attention or imagination. We want to know what that was.
I will take your words and your portraits and build a web page called The Erin Project that she can access anytime (at the hospital, at school, at home) through her laptop whenever she needs a boost of energy, spirit, love, and sustenance.
Here's want you need to do (when I say "you," I'm talking to one each of you. Not just the ones who know us best. This applies to lurkers as well as those we see every day):
1. Send me a photo (by email: firstname.lastname@example.org; by regular mail: 4138 Cypress Road, Bryan, TX 77807) of you and anyone in your family who thinks fondly of Erin. Send it with the Subject line: The Erin Project.
2. Take a moment to capture Erin in words (a favorite story, lingering memory, small vignette that captures her for you, even adjectives will work), and send that as well (you can do the written part as e-mail, regular mail, or as a web page comment).
3. While you are at it, tell us something about yourself. Erin loved hearing all your funny middle school stories and pet stories. She really loves people, so let us know who you are and what you are like. Tell us your favorite books, music, or shows. How do you like to spend time?
We will put your photo and Erin vignettes on the web, but keep the information about yourself for our enjoyment only. You can do this in stages if you'd like. Send a picture today and the written part later or vice versa.
The important thing is to do it.
We are currently about to finish the third book of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series: Brisinger. In it, the hero can store energy that others provide him in jewels in his belt and draw on that energy when he is weakened or faces big challenges. Think of The Erin Project as your contribution to Erin's store of energy. She can draw on it when the road gets long and hard and when she struggles under its burdens.
Now, go and vote if you haven't already.