In a world where it is all too easy to fight the made up monsters, these young people were in the fight for their lives against real monsters.
I was watching Batkid of San Francisco the other day and thought, “Well, maybe this place shouldn’t just smolder like a Wrath of God episode from the Old Testament. Maybe, just maybe, there is still something left in this world that can Amaze.”
Batkid was spectacular. I mean it in every sense of the word. For those who don’t know, Batkid is a child who decided to take matters into his own hands and save the day in San Francisco. He took down robbers, muggers and even the Riddler – all before nap time. I’m pretty sure the world could use a few more heroes like him. The world could also use a few more heroes like the Make a Wish Foundation who helped Batkid start his journey as the junior caped crusader.
Make a Wish is a great foundation, but “big things have small beginnings”. What about the people who – because their light shone bright – changed the world? I’m happy to bring three of them to you now: Alice Pyne, Harry Moseley and Eva Markvoort.
Alice Pyne first came into my life in a tweet and a bucket list. The now deceased 17 year old built up a large following on twitter for having that bucket list. A bucket list, for those that don’t know, is something of a laundry list of things you want to do before you die. Alice had a few on the list that a lot of girls her age would like, such as meeting her favorite pop band, Take That, but one that really stood out was to have everyone join a Bone Marrow Registry.
You see, Alice had terminal Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Instead of shutting down like some people might, she decided to make the disease pay. You won’t win against the disease. There are no knockouts, but there is a way to weaken it – to give it a few rocking shots to the body, if you have the right mind for it. Alice had such a mind. By her campaigning to get people involved with Bone Marrow Registries, she spearheaded an initiative to help people who could benefit from a bone marrow donation. Right now her family fulfilled Alice’s request to scatter her ashes on top of Mount Kilimanjaro while her charity, Alice’s Escapes, continues to provide free holidays for families with a serious ill child.
Harry Moseley simply put, was a person I had my business students study. Move over Warren Buffett, there is a new gunslinger in town. Harry, who had a brain tumor, started a movement using his time to help others when a friend of his, Robert Harley, became ill with a brain tumor himself. Harry, before double digit age, decided there was too much suffering by others, so he decided to help out any way he could. His concept was something more than a few of my students thought of, but never achieved; Harry started a grass roots home business.
He made bracelets and used social media to help market those bracelets. How popular was Harry’s charity work? To put it mildly, Help Harry Help Others (HHHO) now has a program to help schools raise funds and he created (and gave) presentations that encouraged businesses to back his charity. He did all of this by the age of 11. Currently, HHHO is running strong and his mother keeps up the ever-growing Twitfam (Twitter family of Harry’s) involved and evolving.
Eva Markvoort was a young woman who journaled her fight with Cystic Fibrosis. Eva demonstrated to the public, warts and all, what it was like for a young woman to fight a disease that many people didn’t even know existed. Her tireless work in Cystic Fibrosis eventually lead to an award winning documentary where she had cameras follow her around at the hospital and at home. I won’t give spoilers away, but there are two moments before the end that are telling of not only who Eva was, but also of how healthcare currently works.
To allow a camera into one’s life at that moment was brave, open and honest. It was what many of us strive to be, but very few actually achieve. She did this while bringing a message of Love – even through darkness. Her campaign materials, which were designed by her, showcase that love and a message. A message of hope – a true hope – for a future where this disease is but a memory. Until then, the campaign pushes on to educate the public and to help those who are affected by this isolating disease.
These kids made a difference in a world where too many people complain about silly matters (I’m looking at you Democrats and Republicans) or completely made up issues (hello, Fox News). People seem to focus more on the hate and what’s wrong with the world instead of focusing on how to fix the problem. Let’s face it. An 11 year old boy did more for this world than most of the people we elected to guide the “free world”.
It would be easy for me to say “shame on you, Mr. Politician” but that would demean the sacrifice that Harry, Alice and Eva did for others. Sacrifice that their family and friends have picked up and continued like Sisyphus pushes up that rock; even when they know, in the end, it might fall right back down again, they keep pushing because one day, maybe – just maybe – that rock will stay up and there will be Harry, Alice and Eva up on the hill smiling.
Until that day, they’ll keep pushing. Maybe we should put down our venom and help lighten the load a bit. As my mother and father raised me, I knew a life where I couldn’t just sit down while others needed something. I hope you had that same lesson growing up and I hope to see you up there on that hill when we will that rock to stay put for good.
How to start? Register. Register for Bone Marrow. Get involved. Get involved with Help Harry Help Others. Raise awareness. Watch the movie; read the blog; fight the fight. Don’t let these children fight their battles alone. If you do nothing else, then I would encourage you to show support for Alice, Harry and Eva’s family. The heavens might be a bit brighter, but those families need love like fuel. Show them some. Then show your neighbors some.
Before you know it, you won’t worry about the stupid little stuff; you’ll be too busy being involved – involved in something uplifting, something positive, something human.