Somehow the trusty Buick and I made it to work through the snow early Monday, and tomorrow's column may have a few comments to make about that experience. Today's priority goes to other matters.
The first of them is a check for $10 from Beltsville and a letter that says: "I have been reading your column since its start. Those years have taken me from a working gal to motherhood, and on into being a grandmother. If you have 'the world's greatest grandchildren, mine must be at least the second-greatest. It is a comfort to know that Children's Hospital is available for them if they need it."
A check for $100 came with a letter that said: "For years, my husband would count along with you, absorbing your shoebox report in the way a gambler might absorb the racing results. When he died, I asked our friends to send contributions to Children's Hospital in lieu of flowers."
A check for $25 was accompanied by the comment: "Nothing ever feels so good as giving something to someone who cannot pay you back."
A man who sent $20 wrote: "God is using you and me and thousands of others who contribute to Children's Hospital as his instruments to provide the answers to prayers on behalf of the children who are helped by the doctors and staff there." I agree. I think every one of you who participated in this drive was doing God's work, and I hope His countenance will shine upon you in the year ahead.
As I reported yesterday, 12 more groups have now checked in. We can begin with $3.76 that was left in the "employees coffee fund" at the Laurel Dialysis Clinic. Two Chevy Chase friends who saved pennies all year found they had accumulated $13.87 worth of them. The Student Government at Bethesda's Walter Johnson High School took up a collection for the hospital and raised $22.17.
"Our office manager at the Hechinger Woodbridge store gave birth to a fine baby boy late last night," said a letter from Woodbridge, "so her friends took up a spur-of-the-moment collection and are sending you this $30 for the hospital instead of sending her flowers." A story also goes with the $32.50 that arrived from the R&R Lighting Co. Bowling League: One member knitted a beautiful shawl and the others bought 65 raffle tickets on it at 50 cents a pop.
Los Unos Alegros Club dipped into its treasury to send me $50 for the children. No intramural holiday card exchanged among the staff at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital diverted $75 to providing help for needy children.
Another $75 arrived from the NIH Platelet Center, which is part of the Public Health Service. THree volunteers who made blood platelet donations for leukemia patients were paid $25 each for their out-of-pocket expenses. All three endorsed their checks over to Children's Hospital.
Incidentally, an accompanying letter says: "We are still in great need of more platelet donors and hope that some of the people who read your column will call us at 496-2022 and make an appointment to have their platelets typed, to see,if they might match one of our patients."
Leukemia was also on the minds of members of Cub Scout Pack 861 (Falls Church). They sent me $100 from their modest treasury in memory of a 10-year-old member of Pack 861 who died of leukemia recently.
The tough guys in the Metropolitan Police Department's Internal Affairs Division fined themselves $119 on behalf of the children. The men and women at the Chamber of Commerce of the United States declined to send themselves $238 worth of holiday cards. And the largest contribution of this final day came from Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, the origin of so many other checks during this campaign. The Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics beamed $265 our way.
If our cordless abacus is still functioning properly, these 12 groups have contributed $1,024.30, and 55 unsung and anonymous individuals added $1,365.86. So today's receipts come to $2,390.16, and since we began the day with $203,126.48, this year's campaign ends with $205,516.64 in the shoebox - a record. Thank you.
Also at hand is a check for $5 from a man who wants to be sure to start me off on the next campaign. I accept his $5 - conditionally. Now that this campaign's 14-hour days are over, I'm going up to New York to have my heart surgeon check me out and tell me whether I should keep an open mind about trying onemore campaign. When he tells me, I'll tell you.