Recently, I put in an application to be an advocate with the National Kidney Foundation. For World Kidney Day (March 8), they are sponsoring a fly-in toWashingtonfor kidney patient that provides training to be a kidney advocate in the legislature. I eagerly filled out my application. For those of you who do not know, I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease two years ago and have an avid supporting of both the National and theAlabamakidney foundation.
I am very disappointed to say that I did not receive an interview call. I knew due to funding only a handful of people would be chosen. I knew my odds were slim: I don’t physically look like I have kidney disease; I’m not on dialysis; and I would need monetary support for the flight and other costs. But I had played up my strengths: I was active in my community because I wasn’t debilitated; I represented an age group that doesn’t worry about kidney disease; my job calls for me to be an active voice and I have been to rallies and other legislative events.
I can’t help but wonder if it has anything to do with the fact I said I couldn’t afford to pay for everything. The only reason I wonder is because I also wrote that I was basically the program director. For most people, this would imply I had plenty of money. But that is not the case.
I am sure there are other people more suited for the advocate position but it brings up a point that has come up recently. People hear “Program Administrator” and know I run the day to day operation of a program and think I get paid well. The truth is I don’t. One, I work for a non-profit. And two, I work for a non profit struggling with budget issues in this economy. I don’t make the kind of money that other program directors do or even some mid-level supervisors in this area.
What I do make, though, covers my bills including my new car and the crazy insurance premiums that go with it. I am able to put some money towards my two major debt issues. In fact, I almost have one credit card paid off (the one that has all the Mustang repair bills on it; I shudder to think I’m still paying for a card I don’t own)! I am by a nature a generous person, but I hate being treated like I’m rich because of my position.
I do what I do because I love it. I have a passion for my program. While I wish I could say it wasn’t about money at all, I can’t; I have to be able to live. What it’s not about is wealth and affluence.
I will continue to push on with my job and my position that God so wonderfully granted me. I will continue to be a kidney advocate (just wait till March!) and giving to a cause that may have to give to me later in life. There is so much more to life than money, even pretend, assumed money.