Thank You!

Tip Jar at Open Bar

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that ~ Martin Luther King.

About two months ago I started a fund-raising campaign for financial assistance so my daughter could attend a specialist school. She is autistic and getting a good education here in France is very difficult. Many folks from different parts of the world wrote to me and sympathised with me as they live in countries where autism is accepted and the support network is quite strong. Asking people for money is never easy, but I believe that if the cause is worth it, then people want to get involved. The whole thing started out pretty slow with a few donations here and there. At the halfway point I was genuinely touched by the generosity of complete strangers as well as a few select friends who really pushed it on social media. I felt like it wasn't just me standing out there with my hat in my hand. Two things struck me during this experience. Number one: the people who have the least, give the most. It's true and I am sorry if it bursts anyone's bubble or makes it feel like I am calling financially well-off people miserly, but it's always been my experience. It's ok though, it's only money. But what money does is build a wall around us. It enslaves us by having us believe that if we only have a little bit more then we will be happy. I read an article on Donald Trump recently and he was asked what amount of money would make him happy. “Ten percent more,” was his reply. I witnessed the selflessness of people who were in the process of moving, changing jobs, looking after their own kids, suffering a personal loss and so on, all of them coming to bat for me and for my kid.

This leads me to number two: the gift is in the giving. Seriously, this is not some hyperbole/postcard crap that I'm usually tweeting about. I am sure there is a scientific formula to it but I ain't talkin' bout science, I'm talking about things of the heart. And folks don't give so they can stand up and say, “Yep, look at me, I'm a stand-up citizen.” So many gave anonymously. One of them, I sent a message and told him he didn't have to. He told me, “I don't do things because I have to I do things because I want to.”

We ended up surpassing our target and during the last twenty-four hours of the campaign, it became a real voyage of camaraderie. Each person is now invested in something that is greater than all of us, something we achieved together. That is what we do best as community. We lift each other up. There's been a few negative comments that have filtered back but they really do go in one ear and out the other. Negativity has no place in my life. I did what I had to do for my kid and I'd do it again and a whole lot more to give her the best possible shot. She started the school last Monday and everything is falling into place just nicely. Her new team is amazing and has very high hopes and great plans for the next few years. I want to say that I am so sincerely moved by all that has happened. I try in everything I do to be honest and convey my emotions without pretense, but it really is hard to get across how grateful I am. As my little girl goes through life, I know that each person who invested their heart and money has played a major role in getting her to where she will be. My hope is that you know just how important and life-altering that is.