Do Something


While I would often like to put my head in the sand and pretend that my kids are not growing up, it’s obvious with every inch and every milestone that they’re well on their way to becoming independent young men. This generation will never know what it’s like to live in a world without i- and e-technology. They think it’s funny to see shows or movies about the good old 20th century, but they don’t know what it was like to live in that time—to wait for dial up internet. Or actually have to talk on the phone (and not even know who’s calling). They live in an era of instant gratification, and it can be challenging to teach them to wait FIVE MINUTES without using technology to entertain them.

Then several months ago, I received a very welcome message from a friend of mine. Our elder sons have gone to school together since they were three, and we deal with many of the same parenting struggles, one of which is helping our kids recognize how blessed they are. What better way to help them realize this than by serving others?

My friend started a group called “Do Something! Boys Serving Others,” and her idea is to encourage all the boys from our sons’ grade at their school to engage in weekly service projects this summer. We started with a spring break preview, in which a group of parents and our boys served breakfast to the homeless. It was an eye-opening experience for our sons, two hours in which no one used a phone or tablet. In hair nets and aprons, we filled trays of food and served them to people we’d never seen before and will likely never see again.

Care PouchesEvery week this summer, a different family will sponsor a “do something,” and I immediately thought of WSB’s Care-a-Thon benefiting Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center/Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which happens every July. When it’s our family’s turn, we will “do something” for children with cancer. For years, I have participated in this Care-a-Thon. A few years ago, I sent copies of my children’s book, Hero, to the children there. This year, I decided it would be good for the boys to put together care pouches for the 64 children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The children we’re benefiting spend their lives hospital-bound, and their parents make significant sacrifices to care for them. My day-to-day frustrations seem small in comparison. I hope my son and his friends will realize how blessed they are to be able to do such seemingly insignificant things go to the grocery store, deal with bed head, and play baseball when so many children cannot have these experiences, due to their health. By making these care pouches and writing each child a personal note, I hope to give the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta patients a little piece of normal.

If you would like to sponsor a $15 care pouch, please comment below, and I will get in touch with you. I am also hosting a Thirty-One fundraiser through early July. All proceeds will go to this year’s Care-a-Thon. You can make a purchase any time between now and July 9th by shopping here.

Don’t put your head in the sand—Do Something!

Be a Hero by Supporting Children with Cancer

Hero Benefit poster I am very fortunate that my two boys have enjoyed good health so far. When you don’t face health issues, it’s something that’s easy to take for granted. My usual complaints fall into the categories of being too busy, not getting enough sleep, and worrying about finances. But every once in a while, I’m reminded that these “problems” are nothing compared to what many families face.

I’m talking about children who have terminal diseases. Hazel in John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars says it perfectly (and pardon her French): “There is only one thing in this world sh*ttier than biting it from cancer when you’re sixteen, and that’s having a kid who bites it from cancer.”

Harsh? You bet. But how do you think these kids and their parents feel? I can only imagine the grief, the turmoil, and the burden. I’ve seen it with aging adults, including my own grandfather, which was terrible – but for a child to be plucked from the beginning of life, without ever having the chance to blossom, and given a death sentence before life has truly begun? It’s unfair. It’s unthinkable.

It’s reality.

If you haven’t faced this within your own family, it’s likely that you know someone who has. I’ve known children who were diagnosed anywhere from one year old to their teens. I’m not sure which is worse – never being able to remember a time before becoming sick or living a seemingly normal life, only to have the rug pulled from underneath you when you thought adolescence was bad enough by itself. Either way, any time I meet one of these children or parents or siblings, I realize how strong they must be, how much different their lives are than mine, and I yearn for a way to help.

For someone like me, neither a scientist who will someday find a cure nor a medical professional who can treat and care for one of these patients, I feel pretty useless. Then several years ago, I stumbled upon News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB’s Care-a-Thon. It’s an annual event that assists funding family support services and research, as well as the fellowship program at the Aflac Cancer Center.

As I listened on the radio, I heard parents and their children share their amazing and heartbreaking stories – and triumphs. I knew that I couldn’t give much, but I also couldn’t not give. I knew that if everyone listening took a few minutes and gave a few dollars, millions could have been raised. In fact, last year, the WSB Care-a-Thon benefiting the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta raised over $1.5 million.

This year, I hope to make my portion even more than usual by giving the proceeds from my children’s book Hero to this worthy cause. From Sunday, July 13 through Saturday, July 26, 2014, I will donate 100% of my net proceeds from every Hero sold – those purchased directly from me, from any location in Northeast Florida that carries it, and from

Hero by Sarah Cotchaleovitch

Hero by Sarah Cotchaleovitch

Hero is a children’s book about two regular kids and their pets. The kids who have read it so far seem to enjoy it, and I can’t think of a more appropriate way to share my profits than with other children who deserve a chance at a normal life. So here is how you can participate:

Buy a copy of Hero any time from this coming Sunday, July 13th through the following Saturday, July 26th. If you would like an autographed copy, please message me, and I will ship one to you. If you live in Northeast Florida, Hero is available at the following retail locations:

The FotoTechnika Group in St. Nicholas (my printer and the family business)

Owens Pharmacy in Riverside

Proctor Ace Hardware (all three locations)

Roberts’ South Bank Pharmacy in San Marco

• Sweetwood Books of Fleming Island

Hero is also available from

If you already have a copy, why not purchase another to donate to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta? I think the kids there would love it. Or buy one for your favorite niece, nephew, godchild, or friend. The Care-a-Thon itself will air Thursday, July 31 and Friday, August 1, 2014. Click this link to read more about it (including stories about these amazing children), or use this link to donate directly to the Care-a-Thon online.

Cancer will eventually affect everyone either directly or indirectly, but with our help, these children and their families won’t have to go it alone.