On April 19, 2013, I did something I've never done before — I used our company's email list of more than 75,000 family travelers to send out a plea for help for one of the Boston Bombing victims.  A former FTF intern, Julie Callahan, wrote us to say that her cousin had lost his leg in the terror attack of April 15th, and that he, his wife and their 5-year-old needed help from any and all.

Our readers may know that Family Travel Forum is, in essence, a small mom n' pop business. Our concept for a print newsletter about family travel began on a beach in Florida in 1996, on a long walk with my step father.  Semi-retired, he helped as much as he could during the early years, and our daughter-step-father business quickly outgrew the kitchen table and looked for an office close to home.

As much as I love encouraging others to travel with their kids, nothing has ever been as important as my own family, although over time my concept of "family" has changed too.  A husband, a son, then staff, and every semester, new interns who help us judge our scholarship for teens, learn how to manage HTML and web content and pick up other skills that seem to help them on the path to their own careers… all are family.

Julie emailed us on "Manhunt Friday," when all I could focus on was our son, away at college, living off campus in Cambridge, about 2 blocks from where the New York Times said the terrorists last lived.  He and his roommates were in lockdown like the rest of the city, but there was nothing I could do to help him.  At least on 9/11, my husband and I were able to make a carpool, pick him up, and help others in our office pick up their kids who had been locked down at schools, and get them all home.

That's what people do in a crisis, and being the boss in your own small business allows you make those choices.

Over the years, we have kept up with many interns through Facebook and LinkedIn, and we are fortunate to encounter many of them professionally now, as employees at other publishing companies. All remind me how we helped them, and I remind them how they helped us.

Julie was no exception.

Knowing how strong the FTF community is, Julie's initial note about her cousin Marc requested that we spread information about his crowd-funding website through our social networks.  That was easy to do. But we had a unique chance to do more, to make this terrifying global tragedy a more personal one, and to help another family in need.

Shortly after our ListServ started sending out emails we began getting "Unsubscribe" requests.  Comments from those who chose to explain the reason for unsubscribing said "totally unprofessional," "what a scam," "I didn't sign up for this" and they were in some ways, right.  So my apologies to any and all who I offended with my email. 

Most importantly, Julie writes that "Marc is doing as well as can be hoped for.  He's been moved from the ICU of Mass  General Hospital to the Burn Unit there and has undergone skin graphing in recent days." The family's initial goal of $100,000 to take care of wheelchairs, ramps, a special car and other unforeseen needs has nearly been met.  Their website at HelpMarcFucarile.com and the crowd-funding site it now redirects to: Go Fund Me.com/marcfucarile are collecting your prayers, good wishes and financial contributions.

My gratitude (and that of everyone at Family Travel Forum) to all those who shared, retweeted and forwarded my note and for the many who sent wishes, contributions and strength to Julie and her family. 

Now we can turn our attention to helping you and your family in planning better times for all.

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