We have all heard, at some point in our lives, the age-old adage that ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’. I’ll guess that most of us first heard this from either our mothers or grandmothers. I also suspect that most of us, while remembering hearing it, did not really internalize it or even begin to understand it until faced with a big basket of sour lemons. When life hands you lemons, you have two choices: to give in to the lemony bitterness or sweeten the juice to bring new perspective, renewed strength and the opportunity to share the newly made lemonade.
The exact moment when the news arrived, that cancer had invaded the body of my wife, I knew in my heart that life, as we knew it, would never be the same. News spread quickly amongst our many circles of community and soon messages of support were filling up the answering machine and meals were overwhelming the freezer. I found myself struggling to manage the abundance of the generosity, concern and love, in addition to my new full-time caregiving role.
Carole’s four-year battle with Ovarian Cancer came to an end when she was 47 years old. In an attempt to extract some meaning from this very bitter lemon, I began to contemplate ideas that would serve to make the caregiving process easier for both families, as well as those who wanted to help. Thus was born the idea for Lotsa Helping Hands. The mission of Lotsa Helping Hands is to power online caring communities that help restore health and balance to caregivers’ lives. The service brings together caregivers and volunteers through online Communities that organize daily life during times of medical crisis or caregiver exhaustion in neighborhoods and communities worldwide. Now that the lemonade was made, it was time to open a lemonade stand.
To date, through the hard work and dedication of an amazing team of lemonade makers, nearly one million members have lent a hand through more than 60,000 Lotsa Helping Hands Communities around the globe. Here’s a taste of that lemonade:
Illinois resident Lydia puts her love of cooking to good use through Lotsa Helping Hands’ Ascension Angel Cooks Community. She prepares meals for families in need and has received an overwhelming number of messages from those who have enjoyed her dinners.
Maine resident Jaime coordinates a Lotsa Community – with more than 50 Members – that has “adopted” a family of four children, whose mother was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Through Lotsa Helping Hands, Jaime organizes meals, “thinking of you” cards from across the country, birthdays, and everyday help around the house.
Everyday the entire team at Lotsa gets inspired by these stories of community support, love and generosity. We never lose sight of the fact that we just provide the service – it is really the people in these Communities who are offering help, emotional support and peace of mind to their friends, families and loved ones. It’s some pretty delicious lemonade.
Barry Katz is Co-Founder at Lotsa Helping Hands