Cathy’s post Another DeCision triggered off this journey down memory lane for me.
It was the year 2007. I was primary caregiver for my late wife and also running my household as house-husband. I had retired from all full time positions to stay focussed on retired life which enabled me to be a full time caregiver.
A friend of many years approached me one day with a proposal to assume the responsibility of the Honorary Secretary of the local chapter of a Non Profit Organisation providing support to people suffering from a neurological disorder. Their office was in a building just across the road from our home and I had to spend just a couple of hours a day in their office. He felt that with my experience in the corporate world and caregiving, I would make a perfect fit. To add spice he also mentioned that the society was started by the sister in law of a friend of mine and that she was still very actively involved in it at the national level.
I rang up my friend to find out more about it and he put me in touch with his sister in law who was delighted that someone known to her brother in law would take charge and was very persuasive too.
To cut a long story short, I did become the Honorary Secretary of the local chapter and like I am wont to became deeply involved in all its activities including visiting suffering patients and their families, arranging for camps, fundraising, administration of the office run by paid staff etc. Instead of spending just a couple of hours every day, I was spending far more visiting patients and in other matters.
As days went by, I discovered that most of the other members of the Managing Committee were in it for social status purposes and that with the exception of just a couple of genuinely committed persons wanting to work for the benefit of the sufferers, they were more interested in tea parties and getting some publicity for the so called social work that they were doing.
I also found interacting with the patients, many of them being treated very badly by their families very draining and after considerable thought, I resigned from the position after a year, to save myself from emotional and physical exhaustion.
I however came away from the experience richer with the knowledge of the disease. I saw humanity at its worst with families ill treating patients and grabbing the funds provided for the patients for other purposes. I also came to admire some families who provided superhuman support for the sufferers.
I also made a great friend who was a sufferer from the disease and was a colleague on the Managing Committee. He continues to be a good friend after all these years. He too dropped out of the Managing Committee for more or less the same reasons as I had for resigning.
I am however in touch with the society as a life member and am approached every year during their fund raising activities. I contribute what I can financially but do not get involved any more.