Sunday morning an email from my sister with the subject line, “A shameless plea for some help” sat staring at me from my inbox.
My sister is many things – a mom, a physical therapist, a friend to many, a professionally sponsored cyclist, and an unassuming yet passionate philanthropist.
In her email – sent to friends, family, and cycling teammates – she told the story of a couple from the Northwest – Mark and Sarah Bender.
They’re loving and committed parents of four boys, avid cyclists, faithful churchgoers, community leaders, and happily married for 15 years.
Last week they were celebrating their anniversary in Hawaii.
On the final day of their trip Mark played in the splashing waves one last time, just hours before they were to board their plane and return home to their children.
But something went terribly wrong.
Mark’s neck broke when he suffered a catastrophic injury in the surf.
He was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery and is now in a Hawaii ICU recovering.
It will be at least two weeks before he will be stable enough to be transported home.
Saturday, Mark had no feeling from his chest down.
Sarah updates friends on a daily basis, and her courage and faith are breathtaking.
Sunday, she wrote,
“Day 4 report…what can I say but wow! Mark said it was a hard day but a good one. After a rough night . . . he started the day tired but ready to tackle whatever he needed to do. His theme verse was Neh. 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. . . . The greatest victory of today though has been huge. Everyone sit down….
his legs responded to touch. . . Not once but multiple times throughout the afternoon and evening. I don’t know what to say but keep the prayers coming. We are believing that [Mark’s] miracle story is just starting.”
Keep the prayers coming.
That’s all she’s asking.
But we know they will need more.
Right along with all that prayer, they are going to need some major help.
Help with the boys, help caring for Mark upon their return home, help paying for the travel back to the continental US, help with doctor’s bills, help setting up their home for Mark’s recovery, Sarah will need help pulling it all together, help financially with every day life. . . .
Money can provide help that we cannot provide in person.
Only money pays for airline tickets and doctor’s care.
Money can pay for therapy and medical equipment.
Money can buy the groceries while Mark is busy recovering and believing and while Sarah is by his side doing the same.
Money can buy the pre-made meals that we can’t leave on their front porch. It can pay for the babysitters we cannot be. It can pay for a gardener to keep the yard. It can pay for a housekeeper to clean when we cannot swoop in to sweep up.
Money is a blessing this family will need.
And so, my sister and her cycling team sponsors, Doma Coffee Roasting Company and Vertical Earth of Coeur D Alene, Idaho, have set up a coffee fundraiser, and I humbly ask you to consider participating.
In my sister’s words:
All proceeds from every $12.50 bag of coffee we (Team REP and Vertical Earth) sell will go directly to the Bender family.
Doma is a locally owned roaster in Coeur D Alene, Idaho. Owners Rebecca and Terry firmly believe in women and our power to positively affect our families, our workplaces, and our communities. It’s a perfect partnership. For those of you unfamiliar with them, [check them out here.]
La Bicicletta was a blend that Doma created for the women’s team of Team REP back in 2008. Proceeds from the sale of this blend, nationwide, have gone to support women’s cycling here in our local community. But because the people at Doma are so FREAKING AWESOME, they are working crazy hard to get this coffee out to y’all, and we are shifting the money to the The Bender family.
Sell it to your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers. Ask them to do the same. [Forward this post, send an email, “Like” this post on your FB page]. Put on a crazy costume and sell it on the corner. Whatever floats your boat (although I assume no responsibility for the corner scenario).
And, if you’re not a coffee drinker, or you would rather just give cash, you can go here – to the website for the church the family attends, and they have a donate button set up online.
For those of you who do drink coffee, I’ve included a little recipe just for you – no percolator necessary.
Just enjoy the coffee and the blessings you have sent Mark and Sarah’s way.
And don’t forget – this coffee would make a heart warming hostess gift for Easter brunch, or maybe your Mama would like some for Mother’s Day – the sale does last through the end of April, after all!
Click here to go directly to Doma Coffee Roasting homepage, then click on the button on the lower left side that says, “Bender Family Fundraiser”.
All proceeds from La Bicicletta blend will go to the Bender family.
Please spread the word!