Thursday, February 17, 2005

Reaching Out...

When cleaning out my mailbox, my first step is to delete all unwanted spam, I then delete the repeated e-mails, the virus warnings and then end off deleting all those “you’re heartless if you don’t forward this” e-mails. Spam is a waste of time; there is no need to see the same e-mail twice; viruses are taken care of by my antivirus and all those signed lists that I keep forwarding never seem to make any positive change. I then proceed to read whatever e-mails are left after the filtering.

My favourite e-mails are those with video clips. Today I received one that influenced me to write this particular entry. It started off with a little girl with beautiful blonde hair who was anxiously waiting for the arrival of someone. She then sees through a window that the person had arrived and she ran into the bathroom, shocking the viewer by cutting her beautiful hair. When the door finally opens, we realize the reason why: the person she’d been waiting for was bold. The thin figure and pale complexion makes us realize that his hairless state was due to Cancer.

Support and understanding

We often demand it but how often do we give it? These children, these sick people… they could be any one of us. They have the same dreams, desires and thoughts. The difference between us and them is a body, the fact that ours are healthy and theirs are ill. We who feel injusticed by the world. We who work and complain often feel that these people are not our responsibility and turn a blind eye so that we’re not haunted by our guilt. It’s not that we don’t care; it’s that we have our own load to carry.

What can I do? Little insignificant me? What power do I possess to make the slightest bit of difference in the world? I barely survive in my own battles let alone bare the time to reach out any kind of support to someone else. Financially things look pretty bad! I had my insurance to pay off, had that visit to the doctor and he sent me off to the pharmacy and I still had to fork out some extra cash to buy some birthday presents. Time is of the essence, I can’t fit in volunteer work into my schedule and what kind of a hypocrite would I be if I only appeared once a month to someone who needs constant support?!

What difference did a little girl cutting her hair make to someone who had lost all of theirs? What do a smile, a kind word and a motivational talk mean to you? Is that Euro, that Rand, that Dollar… or even that penny, going to make such a big hole in your pocket? Isn’t that the price that you more or less pay for a cup of coffee? Isn’t a cup of coffee worth sacrificing to aid someone in such a health threat? How many visits to the doctor does someone like that have to make and how much more mind and body altering medication does he have to take in order to simply survive? How do you know that it won’t be you losing your hair next? Every cancer victim led a life like yours and mine before feeling ill and helpless.
We might not be able to give a full time commitment to someone who is sick but how much sacrifice does a visit really? And even a visit once a month could mean the difference between fighting a disease and giving up.

United Nations, Help organizations… they don’t just appear out of thin air. Just like it takes an individual to build up a company, it takes an individual with a change of attitude and the will to make a difference, to help people that without help and support cannot survive! They also have income paying job, families and twenty four hours in their day. The difference between me and them is that they choose to make the effort to make that difference.

Small actions come a long way, that leftover doggy bag with that slice of pizza that you just couldn’t finish could represent a special dinner to someone that has none (and a couple of extra calories that you don’t need). Even that time you took to give that piece of advice can mean the world to the ears that hears it. No matter how little your contribution, your helping hand and good intentions make the difference.

My objective with this column has always been to share and to make a positive difference. I’ve strived never to impose my opinions or advertise other people’s ideas However; I consider the following information, another opportunity to make a difference:

Emily Lee Novak is one of Sunshine’s Column’s readers. She is running the 26,2 mile marathon o the 5th of June in order to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. She is a regular person just like you and me who wants to make a difference to people who could one day be you or me. Her goal is to raise $4,106.82 and she could really use our helping hand. One less cup of caffeine may even do you some good. You can check out Emily’s project at the following link:

It is impossible for one man to change the world… but it takes that one man to make a difference.

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