I still remember the call from Mike and Kellie asking me if it would be ok with me that instead of spending money on favors for their wedding guests, that they take the money and donate it to L.I.F.E. "Is that ok with you?" Kellie asked.
I was absolutely speechless. Here they were doing something that would benefit me and L.I.F.E., yet they wanted my permission first. I remember thinking “Are you kidding? You don’t have to do this. Are you sure you’re ok with it?”
I was diagnosed with lupus in 2008 at the age of 17, just a senior in high school. I’d never even heard of lupus before my diagnosis. In 2009 I was awarded a L.I.F.E. Scholarship and I have since then been working with this amazing organization to raise lupus awareness and award more scholarships to courageous students with lupus.
Mike and Kellie tied the knot on June 20, 2016, and on this special day they chose to take the money they would have spent on wedding favors and instead made a donation to L.I.F.E. With their donation, they have chosen to sponsor a deserving student in August. In addition, placed on each seat was a little card with L.I.F.E.’s name, description, and slogan (Helping those touched by lupus, one L.I.F.E. at a time) which they hoped would bring continued awareness.
This wasn’t the first time that L.I.F.E. was touched by the generosity of newlyweds. In 2005, L.I.F.E. received a beautiful thank you card from Janice Toskich. “I am honored and grateful to you - both for the financial assistance and helping to raise awareness of the difficulty and challenges we face while in school. [I] hope some day to be able to contribute to the foundation in some way. Until then, please accept my heartfelt thanks!”
On July 7, 2006, less than one year later, Janice made true to her promise. Janice was to be married and instead of spending money on favors, like Mike and Kellie, they too chose to take the money and give back to L.I.F.E. by making a donation so that another student could get the financial help, support, and recognition Janice received as a former L.I.F.E. Scholarship winner.
On behalf of L.I.F.E. and all our scholarship recipients, we are grateful to all our generous donors. On a personal note, words cannot express how grateful I am to Mike and Kellie Lacerda (my cousins) for their generosity but most importantly for their love and support.
If you or anyone you know is getting married and would too like to bring lupus awareness and donate to L.I.F.E., please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Bianca Augusto
L.I.F.E. Vice President
Statement on behalf of President Jodi Norton: "What an honorable and self-less way to give to others that they [your cousins] do not know. I was thinking about the first time a L.I.F.E. winner did this exact thing for L.I.F.E.— Janice Shelton. I was incredibly touched by her act of kindness but she had a very strong connect to L.I.F.E. and lupus already. Your cousins don’t have lupus nor did they receive an award from us, which makes their actions speak volumes. And too much of society and the media shows negative events, while there are people like your cousins out there doing remarkable giving. They were thinking about how they could honor you and help L.I.F.E. on "their special day". My heart has softened a little more as a result of their actions and thoughtfulness."