ABF, the charity that gives back to the industry

Work with me on this picture - you've worked your heart out for the ad industry all your life. You've had the good times, you've partied hard, you've had a healthy bank balance and you probably overextended yourself - you shouldn't have bought that SUV you thought you really needed, but hell it was all worth it.
Then one day you wake up feeling awful. You think you're just run down and probably should have a vitamin B shot. The next day it gets worse and the day after, it's intolerable. You head to the GP, he's concerned and sends you down a path that you never imagined you would ever be part of.

This is the story of one ABF member that we provide vital support for. Let's call him Frank for the anonymity he deserves. Of course Frank's story doesn't stop where I left it. It's truly a depressing and awful one that you would hope you never have to endure.

Frank's been to endless physicians and specialists in their fields with the hope of finding a cure to his disease. While Frank has deteriorated day by day, so has his financial and mental well being. His career has gone south, he has no work and he's unable to get any. He's severely ill and can't afford to cover his medical bills, food, home costs and more.

The sad truth is that there are hundreds of more severe stories riddled across South African press every day; but what makes Franks story a concern to us is that he's one of us. He's one of the guys you had a drink with on Friday night, or stayed late with to meet a deadline, perhaps you gave him the bird when he took your parking space on a Monday morning. Frank is part of the advertising communication industry and he needs our help.

No, I'm not coming around with a tin asking for any spare change for Frank. Luckily the ABF was set up to deal with these scenarios. Sure we set up golf days and fun events that have been known to involve tequila - but it's all for a purpose. That purpose is to create the funds to provide the vital support for people like Frank in our industry. We're a vital support fund and literally that's what we do - provide vital support to those industry peers in need.

The contributions you've made as well as having being registered as a member, have helped people like Frank retain hope and positivity to survive tomorrow's challenge. Frank is just one of many cases that we at the Relief Validation committee evaluate with social workers each month to determine how we can help members of our industry in similar situations.

As the Validation Committee we represent you, because we know you want to help people like Frank. We strive to encourage further donations and funds so that we can be of assistance to others in dire need.

So on the one hand I need to thank those who support this critical fund - your money has helped so many of this ad family to get clothing, food, and shelter - the real basics, and on the other I urge you to continue to do so. For those that haven't got around to donating, become a member and do the right thing.

The recession has had its knife in many of us and now more than ever we need your support. This is a thank you from the ABF and call for more donations for members in need in our industry. It could be you.

For more information, contact Sharlene Vallance at .

The ABF is a non-profit organisation helping those in the advertising, media and allied industries that have fallen on hard times. Amongst its many contributions, the ABF , in conjunction with Lifeline have a dedicated 24/7 call centre line for people in the Advertising, Media and related industries who need counselling or treatment for stress, HIV/AIDS and substance abuse problems. The ABF also provides study in the field to deserving, underprivileged students with institutions suc as the AAA.

18 May 2010 12:44


About the author

John Bowles is Relief Validation Chairperson at the ABF.