What we do matters — for work and Parkinson’s awareness

I’m going to do a little bragging on my staff and then relate that to Parkinson’s this week. Just a warning.

Working for newspapers (and many jobs) have their ups and downs. You go, go go, some days and it doesn’t feel like you’re making a difference.  Then you wake up and you do it all again.

This week I had two reminders that what we do matters — as journalists and as human beings. And thanks to some of my staff for bringing that around.

The first brag came this week when one of our local police chiefs was invited to join Vice President Joe Biden for a roundtable on gun control. Why was he invited now? Rebecca LeFever, our night cops reporter, just did a great Sunday story on this chief’s desire to have countywide training in schools to prevent and be prepared for any violence. Would Biden’s people have found this guy on their own, probably — he’s already going to D.C. soon for another seminar. But, Rebecca’s story put his timely goal in front of our readers and obviously the right people involved in making change found it.

The other brag came to me courtesy of my boss, Randy, who pointed out what was right under my nose. For almost the past year, a few reporters have been working on a project interviewing men who were sentenced to life without parole as juveniles. The Supreme Court recently ruled that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles was unconstitutional, but no one has decided what to do with the people already sentenced to that. In telling these people’s stories, we are part of the discussion. We are putting faces on this decision for legislators. We’re showing them four different men in prison for life, and asking them and our readers if they would give them another chance. 

We’re mattering, as Randy put it.

I was lying in bed last night thinking about these two stories, and my mind jumped to Parkinson’s fundraising and awareness. Right now, Emily and I have brought in $940 of the $2,445 raised so far for Team Ryan’s Hope’s participation in the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. And we’re not done raising money yet.

That’s $940 for research that wasn’t there before. And Dad’s working on his tournament, with the goal of raising $45,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. That’s in addition to the three previous years of money raised for a cure.

That matters.

Also this week, there has been a lot of online promotion of Charity Miles — the smartphone app you can use while walking, running and biking to raise money for charities — for SXSW apps awards and the Shorty Award, which recognizes the best social media apps. Since Charity Miles asked its users to help vote for it, the app is now No. 1 for the Shorty Award. If you use Twitter and want to nominate Charity Miles, just tweet: I nominate @CharityMiles for a Shorty Award in #apps because… (and fill in your reason).

Mine? It helps normal people like me change the world.

 

It helps us make a difference.

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