Idealist Gratitude: What Becky and Joshua are grateful for this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, we asked our fellow Idealist staff members to reflect on a person or organization they’re grateful for. We’re posting their stories this week.

We’d love to hear what’s stuffing you with thankfulness this holiday season, too—drop us a line in the comments.



Mara with a pig she is about to turn into bacon.

My friend Mara is the kind of tattooed farmer chick who built her own canoe and had pet goats until she butchered them.

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer this September, self-pity wasn’t really an issue.

She was pissed about losing strength, kind of “silver lining” excited about getting new boobs after her double mastectomy, and as a 32-year-old, upset about losing fertility because of the estrogen suppression therapy she’ll need to stay healthy.

I’m thankful that she was able to find support and resources through the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s Fertile Hope program, which helps cancer patients secure financial assistance for fertility treatments. Fertile Hope covered the cost of her appointments with the fertility specialist and Walgreens donated the (crazy expensive) medication.

Because of this awesome program, Mara and her partner can have a kid when they’re ready to be parents. I have a feeling that in a few years, they’ll be taking some pretty epic family canoe trips.

Want to make a difference in the fight against cancer? Idealist can show you over 2,000 ways.

becky olson!


Rebecca Olson is a communications intern at Idealist.





Joshua’s greyhound, Conquer.

Nine years ago, I was at the grocery store and saw three greyhounds sticking out from the back of a truck. The driver was going around to racing tracks, trying to find greyhounds new homes so they wouldn’t be put down after they’d fulfilled their commercial purpose. I told him next time he was at the track to find me a dog and I’d take it in.

One month later I had Conquer. She came to me both emaciated and muscular. She had hairless patches from malnourishment. Her toenails were fragile and would easily break. She didn’t know what stairs were, and the first time she saw a fireplace she walked right into it.

It was amazing to watch her transform. Before I had her she’d only known the racetrack and cage she lived in; eventually she knew things like how to play with balls and splash in the ocean. She opened up to my affection, and loved being petted and cuddled.

Because of this experience, I’m extremely grateful for groups such as the Greyhound Adoption Center and Greyhound Pets of America for the work they do rescuing retired greyhounds from racing tracks across the nation and placing them in good homes.

It is not well known that greyhounds make amazing pets, and the exposure and advocacy these organizations generate for these gentle animals is crucial to their welfare.

Passionate about animal welfare? Browse Idealist for over 6,000 animal-related opportunities.



Joshua Richey is a web designer at Idealist.

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