My name is Lisa and in 1998 I found out I have Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD for short) which is life-threatening. Cyst grow on your kidneys and completely take them over and destroys your kidney function. When my kidney function dropped down to about 25% I was told I would have to go on dialysis. Meanwhile, Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, where I was being treated, gave me packets to have potential donors to complete and send in to be tested for a match. When I was giving out the packets my boss asked me where his was. He had told me when I was first diagnosed with PKD that he would donate one of his kidneys to me. I didn’t take him serious. But to make a long story short, he completed one of the packets, sent it back in and was a match. (Now they told me at Winston; “when we test to see if someone matches we check six (6) antigens and out of those 6 if we find that one (1) matches we can still do a transplant.” My boss, (Chris) and I matched THREE (3) out of six. On May 28, 2007 we were admitted to the hospital and on May 29th the transplant took place. Chris is doing great and I feel the best I have felt in years. Talk about an answer to prayer and a wonderful blessing….. Also, I have to put a plug in for NC Donate Life. April is National Donate Life Month and we need to make as many people aware of how important it is to become a donor whether it be a living donor or deceased. People can become an organ donor by going to the website www.donatelife.org or tell your local DMV Inspector.
Dexter, Ft. Bragg
One humid Friday afternoon in august, it was coming to the end of a long work week. I remember calling my wife asking her to pick up a six pack of beer and some brats because I would be coming home soon. Unknowing to me to me those brats and beer would have to wait another eight months to be eaten and I would not physically see anything again. It began with routine work on a demolition range on Fort Bragg that turned out to be a complete disaster for me and some of my fellow soldiers, the explosive that I was working with blew up in my face and I lost my eyes forever. This event gave me a new prospective on life, at first I didn’t know what to expect but now I realized that it is not the end of the world. I taught me a valuable lesson which is “life comes at you fast don’t take anything for granted because it can all end at a moment’s notice”.
I met Jenn in January of 2008 when my fellow wounded warriors and I were invited to come to Charlotte for an all expense paid weekend and attend the Panthers playoff football game. For me I could not believe it, I was wondering who in their right mind was going to sponsor such a trip. It was a phenomenal experience thanks to Jenn she definitely helped bolster my self esteem during a time when I was down in the dumps, going in and out depression from losing my eye sight. From that I knew that there were still good people left in the world, Jenn did everything possible to make sure that we were comfortable. This has now turned out to be an annual event so I look forward to seeing Jenn at least once a year it is like she is my Santa Claus because every time I see her something good happens. That is good and uplifting for a blinded veteran. That simple act of kindness changed my life forever and now I have a lifelong friend.
wow…this is an amazing way to share great stories and realize how one person can make a difference!!! As the Wish Manager for Make-A-Wish Foundation I have literaly so many stories I could share…..however in a turn of events– I would like to share this one…
Almost 14 years ago I lived on Hilton Head Island, loving life, living on the beach, waiting tables (making more money than I knew what to do with) but all the while, my passion and love was for children. I had the opportunity to nanny for an incredible family who had recently moved to the island. They had an infant and a 4 year old. I instantly fell in love with them. The kids were so precious..2 little girls. I found out that the oldest had been through a lot in her young years that would prove hardships in the future. She got a gerbil and named her AMY after me!!! One evening I received a phone call from her parents…and she wanted to talk to me! “AMY is dead…” over and over…I tried to console her but she was broken….long story but soon after that I moved ….and didn’t keep in touch…but often thought about the family. Now 14 years later we have reconnected on Facebook!!! I found out that the youngest is doing fine and about to turn 14 and the oldest is about to turn 20!!!! Made me feel very old….but in speaking to her mom….my heart was so full. She couldn’t believe I remembered “Amy” the gerbil…she then went on to tell me what an impact I had on that young child’s life because she had 4 gerbils after that, all named “Amy”….I was shocked!!! It made me cry because after all these years I realized that I made a difference in her young life…I wish I could get into more detail but its very sensitive. I am now planning a trip to Hawaii where they live now to reconnect with the family. I cant wait to see the precious child I once cared for who is now a young adult. Its proof positive…do the right thing…be in the moment and do what you CAN to make a difference….its a ripple effect…do GOOD and those you touch will learn and also want to do the same….thanks Jenn for helping us spread good stories of good will. I could write all day!!!!
My name is Kenna Holtzclaw and I am a sophomore at North Carolina State University. When I was ten years old I was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. I was told that I had a 43% chance to survive and that I would need to have an adult protocol of chemotherapy since this was not a disease normally diagnosed in children. I was diagnosed on a Monday, admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, had surgery on Wednesday and began chemotherapy on Thursday. For the next seven months I was in and out of the hospital receiving chemotherapy as well as treatments for many infections I developed due to how low my blood counts were. I was approached by someone from the Make-A-Wish foundation a few months after my diagnosis. I was told that I could receive a wish and I needed to be thinking about what I would want. I kind of forgot about Make-A-Wish throughout the rest of my treatment and when I was done I was approached again. With the hickman catheter that I had in my chest I was unable to swim in fresh water and I knew that I wanted to go on vacation so I wanted to wait until the tube was removed. I wished to go to Hawaii and was surprised on live television when my wish was granted. My family and I went in June of 2002. It was the best vacation I have ever been on. Everyone treated us like we were the only vacationers there. I remember going to the car rental office and them seeing “Make-A-Wish” on our paperwork so they upgraded us to a convertible. Can you imagine, driving around in a convertible in Hawaii for a week? It was awesome! While in Hawaii I swam with dolphins, went snorkeling, went to a Luau and rode horses to Captain Cook’s monument. The trip was so much more that I could have ever dreamed of. Throughout my treatment I met many wonderful kids who were also battling cancer. One of my dear friends, Will Dicus, also received a Make-A-Wish. He wished for a “Pimp my Ride”. I was there when he was surprised with his wish and the look of joy on his face was almost like getting my wish granted again. I love that I was able to see the power of Make-A-Wish in a child’s life as well as experience it. This organization really does make dreams come true and I am so thankful that I can share my story and be involved with Make-A-Wish in any way. I am now majoring in Biological Sciences and Spanish and adopting a minor in Non-profit studies. I hope to attend Physician Assistant school upon graduation from NC State and would love to work in a pediatric oncology clinic. I will continue volunteering for Make-A-Wish and keep them close to me throughout my life because I can honestly say my Make-A-Wish was one of the best experiences of my life and I will never forget it.
Since the birth of our second son at 31 weeks in 2006, we have supported the March of Dimes walk, but nothing could top the first walk that we did. He had only been home for a month and still wasn’t even as big as if he had gone to term, but we put his in the stroller for the walk. We were amazed at how all of our friends and family started gathering one by one and were overwhelmed at the size of our team. We continue the tradition to this day by walking each year, but I am always stunned at my friends’ continued devotion to the cause.
We are a contracting firm in Charlotte, NC. We have a wonderful team of long term and dedicated associates, that we try to take care of. In 2008, we thought it time to try to use our network and asset to give back to the community or people in Charlotte, US, Anywhere… we didn’t know yet and it didn’t matter. So we started reaching out to organizations.
In 2006/2007, a new, young associate at our organization was diagnosed (in his lower 20′s) with a Blood Cancer. So for most of his first year of employment, he suffered through Cemo and Work constantly. Well, he recovered and is in full remission. We then interviewed the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He said stated that he had a blood cancer (I originally didn’t know what type of cancer), and that these folks helped him during his struggles. THEN WE KNEW, OUR CALLING WAS TO HELP UTILIZE OUR ASSET AS A BUSINESS AND EXTROVERTED PEOPLE TO RAISED MONEY OR EFFORT FOR THIS CAUSE.
We put together a business plan for a “corn hole tournament” (commonly known as bags). We called on our sub contractors, vendors and customer base. Also, our employees really gave hundreds of hours of their personal time and family time. In 2008 it was a success, not only did we give back in heart and effort to raise awareness, we also raised over $30,000.00. In 2009 we had our “2nd Annual Pitch’n Corn for a Cure” and raised over $40,000.00.
So in two years, with a little Heart, Soul and a Lot of Leverage, we have raised over $70,000.00 for a wonderful cause. People ask why the LLS or why now? This is the deal, if you are asking why, then you are trying to build an excuse. Just start Paying It Forward and the as the Golden Rule tells, it will come back to you ten-fold.
So Much Fun, and because of it, our Team is stronger than ever!
They call my dad “Mr. Special Olympics.” He has won numerous awards over the years as a coach and a volunteer. He gives so much of his time and love to the athletes, it is contagious. They adore him. He started Camp Soar (Special Olympics Athletic Retreat) 10 years ago. It is a free, week-long, summer camp for individuals with special needs. The campers participate in basketball, swimming, soccer, bocce, tennis, arts/crafts, bingo, computers, bowling, dancing, etc. It is an annual highlight for the campers and volunteers. Every time I see a camper throughout the year, they ask when Camp Soar starts. They can’t wait. Volunteers return every year more excited than the year before. I look forward to helping every year. It is truly one of the best weeks of my year. My dad is quite an inspiration.
The sparkle in a child’s eyes when they see a Christmas present with their name on it is a priceless gift. This past year my wife and I volunteered to deliver gifts to a needy family via the Angel Tree program that is sponsored by our church. We had bought packages and gifts for this program before; and we always felt really good about going out and buying the gifts, but this was the first time that we were going to take a more active role in spreading Christmas cheer through Angel Tree.
I have to admit that I was a bit worried about delivering the gifts. What would we say? Would the family be embarrassed? Etc. When we arrived at our church the morning of Christmas Eve to pick up the gifts we realized that we had greatly underestimated the generosity of everyone towards this program. We expected maybe a dozen packages and a few bags of groceries. What we found was we two eight foot long tables completely covered with gifts and bag after bag of groceries! In fact, we had to call the program coordinator to confirm that all of the items labeled for the family were truly meant to go to one family.
We loaded everything up and headed to our destination. All of my earlier concerns were alleviated when we knocked on the door and found five very willing young helpers to assist us with the unloading of the packages. The pure joy that was in these young children’s faces was something to behold. I had a package in my hand and read the name of the recipient out to find out whom it belonged to. A little girl, she couldn’t have been more than four or five years old, squealed and said “is that for me?” The look on her face was priceless when I handed her the present so she could carry it inside. At that moment I knew that our family would make delivering gifts for Angel Tree part of our family holiday tradition!
Last week as my husband and daughter were leaving the house for my daughter’s dance practice, around 3:30pm, my dog must have followed them out of the house without my husband realizing it. As he left, my dog was left outside with no one at home. 3 hours later when I got home I was unable to find my dog. After frantically searching every room in the house, I decided to look outside on the lanai. Sure enough, there was my sweet Jessie hanging out by the pool. I assumed my husband left her out there earlier in the day. When I talked to my husband later I mentioned that when he went out on the lanai earlier he must have left Jessie out there. He replied that he hadn’t gone out on the lanai. So after some discussion we realized that Jessie must have followed him out of the house earlier and been left outside alone. The only conclusion we could come up with was that someone in our neighborhood recognized Jessie and knew she was ours, and put her inside the pool area for us. We still have no idea who did this for us, but I am extremely grateful! Jessie is a very special part of our family and if something had happened to her we’d be devastated. You never know when a small act of kindness will mean something huge to someone else!
my neighbor took my cat into their home because I could not have it as a pet anymore