There are lots of big charities that support research into cancer and other devastating medical conditions but, as Rosa Neese of Miles City discovered when she was first diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer, there is very little immediate help, for immediate problems.
Cindy Reid, who had been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), joined Neese in the brainstorming to come up with a local charity that helps folks in eastern Montana more directly. Formed in 2011, the Wake Up & Lace Up organization provides funds to help people with medical expenses, travel expenses, and just general expenses caused by catastrophic medical problems. The name refers to Cindy saying she had to “wake up and lace up” her shoes and get on with the day, no matter what.
What really makes Wake Up & Lace Up unique is that there is no complex application process, as larger charities must use. It is often just a matter of contacting a member of WULU or someone who knows someone involved with the program and saying “help.”
This year they have helped 36 people, with 26 in Miles City, five in Glendive, two in Terry, two in the Broadus/Volborg area, and one each in Forsyth, Ashland and Ismay. Assistance hasn’t been just financial. Sometimes the assistance is just a helping and experienced hand to make arrangements for last-minute flights and the like.
To provide assistance, WULU needs assistance. They have held several fundraisers and have co-ordinated with Cow Patty Links in Glendive. The always well-attended Halloween Haunted House and the newer Winter Wonderland in Glendive donated proceeds to the charity.
In addition to official functions, there have been considerable private donations. Recently, a person learned that one holiday fundraiser had been cancelled and gave Rosa Neese a generous donation without even being asked.
There have been memorials dedicated to WULU; a ‘haircutting’ auction was held, and Lois SKinn’s holiday concert gave partial proceeds to the charity. As an official 501(c)3 non-profit, donations to Wake Up & Lace Up are tax deductible. If people are looking to make year-end donations, Wake Up & Lace Up will make sure funds go to local people with pressing needs. The contact is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neese said of the past two years, “The support of people in our area has made my dream a reality.”