Just a bit of history to start. In 2006 I developed leukemia. This diagnosis forced me take stock of my life and frankly, I was disappointed. I always believed I would help others in a concerted effort and so far I hadn't done that. I did not want to have that regret in my final hours of life.
I struggled for a few years, but with daily chemo medication the leukemia was brought under control. In 2013 I began to search for a way to help others. I love kids and thought I might look in that direction. Perhaps I could soothe hospitalized babies. Or maybe I could become a CASA volunteer.
That's when I read Rory Young's accounts of the dire poaching situation in Africa where criminal networks were making millions of dollars killing animals and selling the body parts on the black market. The local rangers and anti-poaching groups were desperately trying to protect what was theirs, but they needed basic equipment, were out-gunned and badly needed training. The animals were dying in huge numbers. Often brutal deaths by poisoning or large gin traps.
Rory was doing all he could to help the rangers and I knew instantly that this was where I was needed. There was no way I could turn my back on the situation.
Criminals were stealing from the poorest populations in the world. Stripping away their environmental heritage.
The rangers were being needlessly killed defending what was theirs.
Innocent animals were suffering and dying for senseless human greed.
Other people from around the world wanted to join this fight.
Rory Young, a bad-ass genius with incredible integrity already had a solution for the poaching problem. We just needed to have him train the local rangers in the areas needing help.
Just four years later, with the support of volunteers and donors from around the world, Chengeta's work in the field has been successful beyond our dreams. Read more in this New York Times Article.
2017, Cancer Hits Again
This year, in addition to my existing health issues, I was diagnosed with a new blood cancer and I have had to add a second daily chemo medication to my routine. I was forced to put Chengeta fundraising on hold for most of the year and the results (detailed in the graph) have been terrible for Chengeta even though others have stepped up their efforts to help.
Last year's surplus allowed us to continue our work in 2017. If you look at the yearly totals on the chart it is amazing what we have accomplished with very little funding compared to other groups. However, it is now time to raise some serious funds!
If you plan to donate for #GivingTuesday or later this year, please consider donating to Chengeta.
Share our campaign with your family and friends. We are getting close to our goal!
Our work is making a difference. Our supporters are making a difference!
Medically, I'm doing much better. The latest cancer is under control, though I'm often tired and wish I had more time to give to Chengeta. It has been an honor to be a part of Chengeta for the first four years and I hope to continue this work for many more.