Leukemia Slayer Plays Santa For Fourth Year


Santa Slayer at the Four SeasonsJacob Goeders, the Leukemia Slayer, may have conquered cancer and moved clear across the country this year, but he’s not about to let go of his beloved annual Santa Slayer Project he started four years ago to buy Christmas gifts for other kids fighting the disease.

Jacob, 13, announced to Facebook fans on Tuesday, Nov. 18, that he’s repeating the Santa Slayer Project, asking for only $1 from each of his more than 10,500 fans. The money will go to buy gifts for children at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) in Palo Alto, as well as on the oncology ward at the Duke University Medical Center and the Ronald McDonald House, in Durham, North Carolina. Jacob’s family moved to the southern state from Mountain View earlier this year. [Read more…]

Leukemia Slayer Defeats Cancer, Will Keep Helping Other Kids


The Leukemia Slayer has conquered cancer, or in his words, he, “kicked cancer’s butt!”

Jacob Goeders Slays Leukemia

Jacob Goeders letting his 10,000+ fans on Facebook know his bone marrow is free from cancer.

The 12-year-old Slayer, a.k.a. Mountain View resident Jacob Goeders let his more than 10,000 Facebook fans know recently that he is cancer-free after a battle lasting 3 years and 3 months.

In his usual friendly and non-capitalized style, Jacob wrote on The Leukemia Slayer Facebook Page, “hello it is the leukemia slayer well it is official i have slayed leukemia!!!!!!! i was so happy to hear my dr come in and say who in this room has clear bone marrow? that would be me!!”

I had the great privilege of meeting Jacob in December 2011 at a Christmas party in Mountain View for kids with cancer and their families. He told me about his “Santa Slayer” project, where he asked his then 2,000 Facebook fans to each send $1 so he could buy holiday gifts for the other sick kids on the cancer ward at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. Despite being in the fight of his life, all he could think about was how crummy it was for other kids to be in a cancer ward at Christmastime. He himself had spent a good chunk of December 2010 in that same ward, immediately after being diagnosed.

[Read more…]

Leukemia Slayer Playing Santa to Kids With Cancer Third Year in a Row


Santa Slayer at the Four SeasonsLong before there was a Batkid, there was The Leukemia Slayer, the alter ego of 12-year-old Jacob Goeders from Mountain View, who has been fighting the disease since December 2010. Besides using his super powers to give nasty cancer cells the one-two punch, the Slayer leads the way each holiday season to raise money to buy presents for other kids on the oncology ward at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital.

“I wanted to make other kids feel good, and I wanted to do something,” Jacob told me during last year’s fundraiser he dubbed The Santa Slayer Project. “I felt good because I was helping other kids who were stuck in the hospital like I was.”

In 2010, Jacob nearly spent Christmas in the hospital undergoing treatment, and it was that memory one year later that spurred him to start the annual project. His family had started The Leukemia Slayer Facebook Page earlier in 2011 (Jacob picked out the alter ego name for himself), and by the fall he had already had amassed about 2,000 followers. He asked them to each send in $1 so he could by presents, and amazingly he did raise about $2,000. [Read more…]

#GivingTuesday Asks Us to Open Wallets for More Than Shopping


GT-Web-Banner250x250-redJust as “Black Friday” branded itself into the collective consciousness, #GivingTuesday is on a pace to do the same for single-day charitable giving. Already the event has doubled in size over last year, with more than 5,000 nonprofits, corporations, and community groups signed up as #GivingTuesday partners.

In just two weeks, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, millions of dollars are expected to flow into the coffers of nonprofits, mostly through online donations. Some of the Bay Area nonprofits participating this year include the Bill Wilson Center, Samaritan House, both the Habitat for Humanity San Francisco and East Bay/Silicon Valley chapters, the Oakland Youth Chorus, and Loaves and Fishes, among others. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in November


San Jose Veterans Day ParadeThe Halloween decorations are on the discount aisle, and the Christmas decorations are already up and blinking away at many retailers, so it must mean it’s November. Before we hurtle ourselves toward December holidays, let’s take a deep breath and focus on Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful for what’s good in our lives, and share that thankfulness with others by making a difference in our communities.

Every month I suggest five ways to help others and build a stronger community. I hope you will consider trying at least one of these suggestions in November. Follow the links in each item to find out more.

1. Support Our Veterans: Veterans Day is Monday, Nov. 11, and there are numerous events taking place around the Bay Area to honor and support our veterans. One unique way is through “Operation Laughter”, a comedy show on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the De Anza Hotel in downtown San Jose. The show features two comedians who call themselves “The Joint Chief of Laffs”, and includes cocktails, appetizers, and a raffle. Proceeds go to help the Walking Point Foundation, which helps Iraq and Afghanistan war vets through the expressive and performing arts. Also in San Jose on Sunday, Nov. 10, is the National Veterans Day Run, on the Guadalupe River Trail. Proceeds go to the Folds of Honor Foundation, which helps the spouses and children of soldiers killed or wounded in war. On the actual day itself is the 95th annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown San Jose, starting at 11 a.m. San Francisco’s 94th annual Veterans Day Parade also starts at 11 a.m., at the intersection of Second and Market streets. [Read more…]

Feathered Fundraising: Artist Creates Cruelty-Free Jewelry to Aid Birds


Tania Tengan and Kaiya.

Tania Tengan spends a lot of time cleaning out birdcages as an owner and foster parent of rescued companion birds. The feathers and poop were getting scooped up together and dumped into the trash, until one day she realized she could rescue the feathers and make something both beautiful and valuable to help even more birds.

“Many of us bird owners were throwing away the majority of our birds’ feathers every morning with cage paper…I made a pair of earrings with some feathers from my own 21-year-old bird,” she remembered. “They were beautiful.”

In addition to being a passionate supporter of different animal rescue groups, including Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue and Mickacoo Pigeon and Dove Rescue, Tengan is an artist. Noticing the popularity of feathered jewelry, she decided to create and sell her own, donating a portion to help more birds.

There was one more facet to Tengan’s new artistic and philanthropic endeavor, raising awareness about the dark side of most feathered accessories. [Read more…]

Carter Work Project Day 3: ‘The Volunteers are Very Cool’


Overfelt High School’s Habitat for Humanity Club.

I lived to see Day 3 of the Habitat for Humanity Carter Work Project (CWP) in San Jose, something I wasn’t too sure about at the end of Day 2, when President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter came to work. After getting up at 4:30 a.m. and working a full day on Tuesday, I had my doubts, especially when I felt a little tickle in my throat that evening.

To make it to a new day of volunteering, I loaded up on Vitamin C and let myself sleep in, knowing that the registration table was in good hands with the other volunteers I worked with on Monday and Tuesday, and that the number of volunteers checking in would drop back down to Monday’s levels. Thankfully the extra sleep worked; I had the energy to continue my social media volunteer duties all day Wednesday.

On Tuesday my focus was on capturing photos of the executives and employees of the numerous companies that donated to the CWP. Wednesday I spent time with an awesome group of Overfelt High School students who founded a Habitat for Humanity Club at their school. I also interviewed a group of experienced Habitat construction employees who came up as a group from Los Angeles. [Read more…]

‘Unless’ Carnival For Those Who Care a Whole Awful Lot


Hana Reinhardt and Cole, a Humane Society Silicon Valley foster dog.

An 11-year-old girl is inspiring her Sunnyvale church to take a page out of Dr. Seuss “The Lorax”, and host an “Unless” Carnival on Saturday, Oct. 12, to raise money and awareness for rescued pets and homeless people, and make the world a better place along the way.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” says The Lorax in the famous children’s book. That quote became the basis for the “Unless” Carnival, led by Hana Reinhardt of Congregational Community Church, who took hold of the carnival idea and drummed up support from others to make it a reality.

The carnival will feature game booths, a rummage sale, food, prizes, and animals ready for adoption. All the proceeds will go to the Humane Society Silicon Valley, and the Faith In Action Silicon Valley Rotating Shelter. It takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the church, 1112 S. Bernardo Ave., Sunnyvale.

“We will have something for people of all ages to enjoy,” Hana said in a church press release. When asked how much a carnival can do to make a difference for the homeless people and animals, Hana responded, “When we help even just one, it makes a difference to that one.” [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in October


Bay-Area-Pet-Fair-Adoptathon-pet-adoptions-be-a-good-neighborThe Federal Government may be temporarily shut down, but the business of being a good neighbor is always open, which is why I present to you the monthly “Five Ways” column. This month is probably the best month to act on one of these suggestions, because chances are you alone can’t change what’s happening at the national level at the moment, but you can absolutely make a difference in at least one life in your own neighborhood.

Got more ideas for how to be a good neighbor? Tell us in comments!

1. Adopt a Rescued Pet: There are many opportunities to adopt a rescued pet this month, starting October 5-6 at the Bay Area Pet Fair and Adoptathon. In addition to hundreds of dogs, cats, and small animals available for adoption, the fair features stunt dog shows, splash dogs, police K9 units, 200 pet supply vendors, activities for kids, and much more. Admission and parking is free at the event, which takes place 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days at the Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. For more dog rescue events this month, check out the Doggie Protective Services website.  Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue is hosting an adoption event from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Brentwood Shadow Lakes Golf Course Event Center, 401 West Country Club Dr., in Brentwood. You can find out more about this event, and other Mickaboo October events at the group’s website.  [Read more…]

Funds Needed for Poster Asking Us to See, Not Watch, Our Neighbors


see-my-neighbors-not-watch-poster-Micah-Bazant-Reach-and-Teach-Indiegogo-crowdraising“I don’t watch my neighbors. I see them.”

So starts a poster recently created by San Francisco Bay Area artist Micah Bazant, to promote seeing our neighbors with compassion, rather than suspicion. The team at Reach and Teach in San Mateo, and Bazant, are partnering to promote the poster on Indiegogo, a crowdsourcing platform for raising money and awareness for charitable causes.

Reach and Teach is seeking $2,000 to fund the first print run of posters, to be sold for $10 each. A portion of the sales will go to Bazant, and another portion will go to the Oakland organization, Justice for Families, which originally commissioned the poster. Fundraising started Aug. 14, and ends Sept. 20. The project had raised more than $1,100 as of Sept. 11. [Read more…]