Miracles Happen When We Do Good Deeds

Written by Guest Blogger Debijo Wheatley

Debijo Wheatley is the sole proprietor of Designs by Debijo, working with residential and corporate clients. Debijo is most recently expanding into functional design, working with “baby boomers” and their elder parents to make a safe haven for those wanting to stay in their homes or down size. Making what is necessary as functional an attractive design. Debijo was a registered nurse in her past career, finishing as a specialist in IV and central line placement at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She helped raise three-step daughters and is blessed with three grandchildren. She is usually surrounded by family and friends, usually at her home while she is cooking some Italian feast!

Ten weeks of campaigning for LLS has finished and I can sleep again! April 3rd started the busiest weeks of my life!  I was honored to be nominated for woman of the year with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society along with 9 other woman, and 10 men vying for man of the year.  The one who raises the most money wins!  How do you do that!?! So I rounded up what I consider to be the rock star team to help me, and rock stars they were!  In ten weeks time we managed to put on a golf tournament, a family fun fest, the world’s longest happy hour, numerous speaking engagements, small third-party events, a lot of texting, emailing, talking, and wine! But, why would I subject myself to something so grueling?

LLS has a special place for me as my husband passed away after 20 years of living with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. What I realized is that if I could raise at least $50,000, I could have his name honored on a research grant.  Only $50,000???!! What happened was nothing short of a miracle.  It rained the day of the golf tournament, we still raised over $16,000.  My first large speaking engagement was postponed due to a blizzard, and again raised almost $4000 with matching funds by the event coordinator.  $5, $10. $25 was coming in envelopes every week.  Surprising, $500 and $1000 donations were made online.  We were going to get the grant, and I was so excited and happy. I started talking to all the people I had met along the way.  So many had been touched by some form of cancer and they were scared, and rightly so.  But, I found the more we talked about living with cancer, the less we were focusing on dying from it.  No one was dead yet, there was still a lot of life to be seen and experienced.

I wrote a small book on the years that Howard and I spent dealing with CLL, and what everyone told me was that it resonated hope.  That when you are hit with insurmountable obstacles you can get through.  It might not all be pretty, and we make mistakes along the way, but we are all still trying to live a good life. June 14th, the night of the gala.  I did not win woman of the year.  I didn’t win runner-up, but I was close!  I did get the grant to cheers from my family and friends who were there to support me in this journey.  We laughed with relief that it was over, but with pride in all that was accomplished in such a short time.  There was an article about the 12 week work year, what can be accomplished in a short span could make up your income for most of the year.  Well, we kind of mirrored that study.  A group of people coming together for a cause can do great things.

I realized also that I try to live my life with grace, being kind to others, helping where I can, and all that came back to me a hundred fold.  If we put out what we want to receive in life, we will get it returned.  It might not be a big donation, but it’s someone taking the time to create and mail that newsletter, using their talents and resources to get you in the media, having friends over for dessert to introduce you and your passion.  Using their talents to better your life just because you were kind and available. Now it’s back to work and life as I knew it before all this started.  But not quite the way I knew it.  I have new friends, an appreciation for the hard work of many that I was so fortunate to be a recipient of, and I have a grant that may one day save someone’s life.  What is better than that?

You can contact Debijo at 703.919.1004 or debijo@designsbydebijo.com