I've been slipping with my blogging lately- I still have been unusually tired at night, so that's why I haven't been writing. I slept briefly earlier tonight, so now I'm a bit more energized. I decided last night that I definitely wouldn't be going to bed without blogging today.
I received a very moving email this afternoon- it started out as a fairly typical email from a lady who wanted to do a stuffed animal drive in her office, then the email became quite shocking- she wrote that her daughter had found out about Project Smile when she was 15 and had wanted to donate her stuffed animals and had a box ready to be donated. She then wrote that her daughter died last year of cystic fibrosis. I was so saddened to read that and touched too that a girl who must have been very sick would take the time to want to help others by donating her stuffed animals. I decided to call the mom, it seemed more appropriate than just emailing back. The mom answered her work phone and as we talked, she told me that her son had also died of cystic fibrosis in 2007 at the age of 18 and her only other child, a son, was awaiting a double lung transplant- he also had cystic fibrosis. I can't even begin to imagine the pain that this mother has suffered. Losing one child must be horrific, but to lose two children and to have another child so ill- I can't imagine there can be much worse for anyone to endure. Yet, this mother was so cheerful and anxious to help collect items for us, it was incredible. I don't know where she gets her strength from. When I got off the phone with her, I just stared out into space for a while, just trying to comprehend the magnitude of what she went through and how kind she is to want to help others. I don't have children, but I do know that I've always been worried of something happening to my brother and sisters- I don't know how I could go on living if I lost one of them- and if I lost two, it makes me cry just to even think of the magnitude of such a loss.
It is amazing the stories that people carry with them and the things that they overcome- one of the women that hosted an event for us emailed me last month about how she wanted to be more involved in Project Smile- she wrote about how she had dealt with trauma in her life. She had survived the Station Nightclub fire- a horrendous 2002 inferno that killed 100 people. Seven of her friends had died in the fire. When I read that, I tried to imagine what that must have been like. I go out with groups of friends all the time- and I couldn't even imagine the idea of going out with 7 friends for a night of fun and they all died. It is terrible just to think of it- I can't imagine living through something like that. I guess that no one can imagine these situations until they happen and you are forced to live through them- to find a way to carry on.
It is inspiring to think of the people that want to help Project Smile, particularly this lovely little girl who wanted to donate her stuffed animals to us and her resilient mother who is fulfilling her daughter's wishes. When things are tough and I'm feeling uninspired, I will think of her and all the other people that support our work- who believe in what we're doing.
Until tomorrow friends..