April 2, 2013

Project Give Back – The Results

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about wanting to do a little something to give back to the world. I was somewhat overwhelmed by the response in the end – initially I had expected 2 or 3 people to contact me but I had around 20 by the time I finished. It took Kristen and I some time to sift through these to determine who needed me the most – and in this, I’m not saying that not each and every email was touching and worthwhile because they all were, but some were causes that I simply couldn’t put aside.

So here’s what we decided with great difficulty (it’s a little different to the original plan of 1 personal, 1 business and 1 community organisation). The email fragments that I am showing below have been shared with the permission of the people who sent them.

1a) A young family with a newly born son who has been in hospital for most of his short life.

I’ll tell you about me, my husband and our new baby boy!
Just like any young couple we were so excited to be pregnant. Our whole world came crashing down when our son was born.
He was born with half a heart (technical name is Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome)
He had his first open heart surgery to save his life at 2 days old. He had his second open heart surgery at 3 months old.
He has spent a total of 3 months of his 6 month life at the Royal Children’s Hospital so far – 7 weeks in intensive care and 5 weeks in the recovery ward. It was a long, stressful, emotional ride that sometimes just can’t be explained. Watching your son fight for his little life, day after day is just plain tough. Knowing that there isn’t anything you can do (as a mum) is tough. Sitting by his tiny bedside and stroking his tiny little forehead was all I could really do.
We have a long and rocky road ahead of us with our little boy, he will need more surgeries and constant care, but we cherish everyday with him. We don’t know how long we will have him for so everyday counts.

1b) A friend of a friend’s dad who has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

Six months ago my father was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. He is now in a wheelchair and cannot move his arms or speak clearly. I’m not sure how familiar you are with MND, but the average life expectancy is only 27 months. The brain and senses remain fully functional but the body ‘dies’ from the motor functions of walking, talking and eventually to the abilities to swallow and breathe. 

2) A project with a local refugee community to raise awareness of their experiences. At this stage, given the political sensitivities, I’m not able to give any more information until we’ve ironed out some of the details and ensured that anyone from the community participating in the project does not have their safety compromised.

3) Two workshops/skills courses that Kristen and I will deliver, firstly one focused on the basics of photography and secondly, one on how to run a successful and ethical photography business. And the best thing is, these will cost absolutely NOTHING. I’ve always believed knowledge and education should be free and what you choose to do with that knowledge is what separates you from the rest, so this is an opportunity for me to share what I know and hopefully help people achieve what they want to. This has been something that quite a few people have been asking for in the past few months so I’m feeling quite excited about being able to do something about it. More info about this in the coming weeks!

While it was tough to not be able to help everyone who emailed, I’m really glad that I can help out the above people. I believe strongly in being the change that you want to see – hopefully this is my little contribution to that change.

And as always to finish, a picture of one of our beautiful cats.

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