Ever since my sister’s illness in September, I’ve felt an increase in the urge to contribute to mankind. My cousin and I had several conversations in the hospital waiting room during that scary time. Her daughter had passed away at Christmas last year and she was trying to find meaning in her life after this devastating loss. I was just plain scared for my sister and thought that I was being way too selfish. Instead of coasting through life thinking about myself I need to give something back to society.

I’ve found a charitable effort that fits a quirk of myself wonderfully. It’s called “Beards For A Cause”. It’s a simple effort – I don’t shave for a year, I get contributions based on how long I actually go without shaving, and the money goes to National Cancer Society. There are many men joining in on this effort.

I’m always messing around with my facial hair style and now I have a valid reason to do it (vanity not withstanding). But more importantly, this is a cause that hits close to home as my paternal grandmother died of cancer, my paternal grandfather has had a couple of run-ins with the disease and my godmother has beat breast cancer. This is very important to me and something that I look forward to doing my part in. There are too many people in the world suffering from cancer.

I’ve also gone ahead and signed up for The Ride For Missing Children, the 100+ mile bike ride in May to benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I did the ride in 2003 and loved every minute of it. In 2004 I was too busy finding myself, working and just being plain weird so I didn’t participate. This past weekend I received an invitation in the mail to join the ride in 2005 and I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I’m really looking forward to it.

If you would like to contribute to either of these efforts, please drop me a line or IM me on AIM. My info is in the sidebar.