In today’s post I’m going venture outside of the realm of food to share a little project I started working back in May. People who didn’t know me were a taken back by my project. Most of my friends have become accustom to my unusual endeavors. I’m lucky to have amazing friends and family who support me in all my outrageous adventures.
A little back-story on my project: on July 7th I celebrated my 38th birthday. For anyone who is new to my blog, I had a bone marrow transplant a little less then two years ago. I was given a 50% chance to still be alive, IF I proceeded with the transplant. Before that, I was given an 18% chance to be eligible for the transplant. So if you’re a math person, that’s a 9% chance I would still be here for my 38th birthday. I think that calls for some celebrating, would you not agree?
Now those odds don’t even take into consideration all the side effects that can happen from something called Graft vs Host Disease. I am so eternally grateful to the stranger out there who decided to donate their stem cells to me. There are no words to express the gratitude of saving a person’s life. Thank You does not seem like enough. So I will take my gratitude and keep the ripple moving through the universe, spreading a little happiness everywhere it goes.
For my birthday celebration, I decided it was going to have to be something pretty amazing. Inspired by my cousin’s birthday gift request for birthday supplies to drop off at the Food Bank and some other blogger I stumbled up. (think I can find her page now to give her credit? Nope!)
For my birthday I wanted to do 38 Random Acts of Kindness on my birthday. Well, that idea kinda dwindled down to 3 large acts I decided to focus my attention on. Here they are:
#1 – Bring donations to the Ronald McDonald room at Health Sciences North
This became my primary act of kindness I focused on as I knew this would be going to some children and parents who could really use a little extra love. A have a friend that volunteers for the RMH room and she gave some guidance on what they could use. My daughter Alysha and I spent hours and hours scouring for fun children’s books at yard sales and hitting up the dollar store to donate crayons, colour books and other craft supplies.
I was also told that the parents would appreciate fresh (portable) fruit, breakfast bars and other grab-n-go snacks so they could keep up their energy while they focused all their attention on their children stuck in the hospital bed. I also included $5 Tim Horton’s gift cards for parents to take a quick coffee break.
Here’s my complete list of items I include:
- New stuffed animals (so great for the kids staying there)
- DVD movies
- Crayons, markers, colouring books
- Small craft kits
- Toiletries for parents. Most parents make a mad dash out the door with their child and don’t think about what they’ll need for an overnight stay. I included tooth brushes, tooth brush holders, tubes of tooth paste, hotel bottles of creams, shampoos & conditioners, chapsticks
#2 – The local Woman’s Shelter
I attended a Soup Sisters event a few months ago where we helped make soup for the woman who stay at the shelter. I learned a great deal about the hardships some of the women are going through and how little they truly have when they arrive at the shelter. With the help of my friends, we put together little packages containing some essentials every woman could enjoy. Some of the simple things we take for granted, like shampoo, conditioner, soap, cream, etc. are luxuries for them.
#3 – Handing out Mr. Freezies to children at the beach
While I didn’t get to see any of the recipients of the people who benefitted from my other 2 acts of kindness, I was really looking forward to making some children smile by sharing a Mr. Freezie with them. Don’t get me wrong, I was quite happy with the anonymity of what I was doing but I was really looking forward to seeing those little faces light up when I handed them a Mr. Freezie.
Here’s what got me however. Many people were questioning me on WHY I was giving away Mr. Freezies. They thought I was trying to sell them. They found it strange I was sharing Freezies for no other reason than because I wanted to make people smile. Luckily, some people got it I got the smiles I was looking for. The look of pure joy of getting a treat they were not expecting. This made me truly sad to think that more goodness was not shared out in the world. We NEED to start doing little things to make other people smile.
I had more Mr. Freezies then I needed that day so I decided to bring them to the Special Olympics soccer game to share with the players. The Mr. Freezies were definitely a welcoming treat after a long practice in the warm summer weather. There was no trepidation here – they were readily accepted and consumed.
What a wonderful way to spend my Birthday! None of this would have been possible without the extreme generosity of my amazing family and friends. I had people dropping off money and gift cards. People from out of town even sent me e-transferred. I was overwhelmed by all the support in my crazy idea. It was so incredible, I’m hoping to start a yearly tradition of doing Random Acts of Kindness on my birthday.
Here are a few more ideas I had that I didn’t get to do this year but with any luck, I’ll have many more birthdays to put more love out into the universe and share a little (or a lot) of love. If you could do any random act to make someone happy, what would you do?
- leave change taped to vending machines for a free drink
- put coins in gum ball machines for kids to find
- hand out cold water to runners or construction works
- pack sandwiches with a piece of fruit with a cold drink to hand out to the homeless
- bake cookies and drop them off at the police station or firehall with a Thank You note
- leave coins at the laundromat for future customers
- bring flowers to the nurses at the Cancer Centre
- knit blankets or hats for premature babies
- cut the grass for older folks
- Help someone cross the street or carry their bag
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Well I have had the pleasure of seeing the faces of people who were helped by your donations to the Family Room and I wish I could share the looks of relief many have had because they felt cared about in that moment. Or the looks of joy on a child’s faced because of the simple gift of a stuffed animal after a long day of hanging with their sick sibling. Or the gratitude a parent had when their child was being transferred in emergency that they had a care package that included essentials they didn’t have time to grab.
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