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How Your Donations Are the Keys in Our Ignition

Jun 13, 2022 8:00 AM

We live in difficult times. The humane and human impulse is to help when a crisis or tragedy strikes. A few weeks ago, as my attention bounced between horrible news reports, I found a story that grounded me and reminded me of how much good there is in the world.

I read a social media post about a father in Mariupol, Ukraine*, desperately seeking a way out for his family. The four of them had been sheltering for weeks as bombs fell around them and flattened their city. When there was a lull in the siege, he crept out from safety to consider his options. He saw a vehicle parked across the street and miraculously, the keys were in the ignition. He watched for two hours and nobody came to the car. So, he whisked his family into the vehicle and was able to reach a safe zone.

His conscience was bothered by the fact that he had stolen a car. He located registration papers in the car and reached out to the owner, confessing his sorrow about the action and promising to return the car as soon as it was safe. The owner replied that he had intentionally left the car there with the hope that someone could use it to reach safety. He further explained that he had four cars in Mariupol. He left the keys in the ignition of three, and took his family out in his Jeep to a safe zone to escape the bombing. He told his fellow countryman to worry about the car when they returned to Mariupol.

This story stopped me in my tracks. I re-read it—this time to my husband. He was deeply moved too. And then I made the connection. We may not worry about the same things, but we all care about our family, neighbors, and friends. We are all the proverbial “keys left in the ignition” for someone who can use help right now.

Like the war in Ukraine, cancer is often an urgent matter of life and death. Your donations are the keys in our ignition. Mister Rogers’s advice to children during scary times was, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Thank you to our helpers. We are grateful for the humane and human impulse to help when tragedy strikes.

With gratitude,

Susan Sheehan
President and COO
Huntsman Cancer Foundation

*Versions of this story appeared across social media on May 2, 2022, including on the verified Telegram account Ukraine NOW [English]. That account's description reads: "The main verified source of official information about the current news in Ukraine."

Susan Sheehan

President and COO, Huntsman Cancer Foundation