Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Monday, December 31, 2007

A Unique Way to Start the New Year

Years ago, Mary Weeks and I shared a conference hotel room in Houston. While there, a housekeeper severely damaged my cello when she accidentally dropped a heavy iron onto the instrument’s soft-sided case. Mary bought me a first-class hard-sided case to prevent that from happening again. Every time I open the case to play my cello, I remember Mary’s generosity. She’s been an instrument of goodwill to lots of other folks, too.

Mary and I haven't seen each other for a long, long time; but she was a regular reader of Wayne's World while he was in Iraq.
Last year she started her own battle:
Mary Weeks-Ayala, 44, has endured 18 months of chemotherapy to adequately reduce the number of tumors in her liver to make her eligible for surgery. Already part of an elite three percent who survive Stage IV colon cancer past 12 months, Mary now needs money for two operations to keep her alive.

Click here to read Mary's story in her own words.

The short version is side effects from intial surgery and ongoing treatment to reduce the number of tumors in her liver forced Mary to give up her job as an accounting professional. To make matters more difficult, her husband recently lost his forest-products related job.
Their only insurance is an expensive COBRA policy.

At the end of her blog post, Mary and her husband humbly ask for our help now. They need 4,500 people to purchase one gift album from RIBBONS FOR MARY, the online store they set up to earn money to pay for two operations Mary needs to save her life.

Buy a gift. Save a life. Here's how you can help:

1. Click here or copy and past this link into your browser window.

2. OR, if that doesn't work, Click here .
- When the new window opens, click the "General Collections" tab in the top left corner to choose your album.

Thanks for your patience and your compassion.

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