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The December 5th Fund is On Fire For Good.

Pancakes.

A kitchen dance party.

Christmas lights.

That’s what Tom Wiley remembers about his wife’s Laura’s last good day before cancer ultimately took her life just a few weeks later.

On that day, December 5, 2015, Laura Wiley was pain free.  On that day, the Wiley family for the first time in a long time enjoyed breakfast around the table before hauling out holiday decorations, hanging with friends, and driving to see Christmas lights. And on that day, Tom soaked up every second celebrating the ordinary gifts of life as a family.

Up to that point, the Wileys were overwhelmed. They were exhausted after managing the competing demands of Laura’s diagnosis and their day-to-day lives that went on despite of it. Even with a loving support network, the constant strains of work, the kids, the house, the cancer left them utterly drained. December 5th was an unexpected, joyful respite for the entire family.

That respite, however, was fleeting.

The following day, the pain returned, the energy faded, Laura struggled to get out of bed. Just a month after that pancake party, the Wileys faced the unimaginable, irreplaceable loss of their mom.

As Tom and the kids tried adjusting to their life without Laura, they spoke often of that one day their mom was able to rise from bed, cook, dance, and celebrate life. For Tom, the awareness sparked an idea that other families on the difficult journey his family had endured also deserved one good day, and that he could help give it to them.

In the throes of grief, rather than turn inward, Tom channeled his sadness into action. The year following Laura’s death, Tom founded the December 5th Fund.  He and a few friends sent a family living with a cancer diagnosis out for a fun day. While they were out, volunteers arrived at their house to do everything that gets ignored when you’re busy taking care of a loved one. Chores like mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, freshening paint and cleaning out the garage were taken care of.

Tom started with one family.

Almost a decade later, his organization has positively impacted 100s of families.

Tom didn’t always know the next right step forward. He just knew that in the midst of crisis, those who need it most rarely ask for help. With that in mind, Tom and his army of volunteers didn’t ask, they just did the work.

Families return from their day out to a clean, stress-free environment. Afterward, they are supported with up to 6 months of specialized services depending on their situation including lawn care, house cleaning, childcare, meal prep, laundry. All in an effort to lighten the burden and spark a moment of joy.

My friend, a certainty of life is that it will at times be difficult. You’ll face unexpected adversity, frequent struggles and agonizing losses.

And yet, we have a choice to bear our hurt like a burden or to turn it into a gift. Our decision won’t merely impact the way we live forward, it will impact all those we encounter along the way.

Don’t take my word for it. Just ask any of the thousands of lives positively impacted because of one individual trying to bring joy into the life of others.

Thank you, Tom, for showing us what it’s like to be On Fire For Good!

This is your day. Live Inspired.

8 replies on “The Last Good Day”

I lost my wife to cancer less than a year ago. She was a beautiful Woman and was only 44 when she passed. I’ve been struggling hard with the loss. It warms my heart to know that others are turning their grief into something positive. It inspires me and motivates me to continue on. Thank you.

Thanks for this inspiring story. Just this past Saturday, we had the chance to watch the movie 5000 Blankets; the story of a family’s search for their husband/father who goes missing due to mental illness. While searching the streets of Fort Worth, they discover the homeless population and decide to do something to help them. They start with collecting blankets and end up creating a foundation that continues to collect supplies and serve the homeless all over Texas. Check out their website at phillipswish.com

Thank you for this inspiring story. I’m going through a potentially similar situation with my brother and this story is helping me find my inner strength and courage to live each day as the gift it is.

John and the Live Inspired Team, thanks for another heartfelt Monday Motivation. Always a nice start to my week and a reminder to see the GOOD all around me. Blessings will arrive in ways you may never expect…..

On Fire for More in ’24 !!

As my Mother was unexpectedly diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer last November, our family had been turned upside down. I’ve been living with her for 6 weeks, in effect abandoning my own family. I can totally relate to this story. Glad Tom was able to help others realize the struggle. Blessings to him.

Hi, coming from a family where my Dad was a caretaker to my step Mom who lived with ALS for about 2 years, this is fantastic! Way to go Tom, I will be donating to your fund and also seeing if my company matches my donation.

I am sorry for your loss, thanks for all you and your family is doing for others.

Have worked with the December 5th Fund for years and still astonished by the strength of Tom and his family to keep moving forward! Keep doing fabulous work for others, Team JO!

Absolutely wonderful! I have been in a similar situation and couldn’t imagine a more useful or generous gesture. So good!

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