I noticed her from about 100 metres away. As I approached, I slowed my running pace because she looked a little distressed sitting there in a wheelchair and I wanted to make sure she was okay. It was hot underneath my hat and sunglasses, and my feeling of discomfort was reflected in the way she held an arm over her face in an effort to lessen the effect of the sun’s rays.
“Do you have a phone love?” She asked me as I came up close.
“Yes, sure. Are you okay? How can I help you?” I pressed the stop button on my timing app and swiped over to the green phone icon, ready.
She continued. “I called a taxi a while ago — I’ve been sitting here about 20 minutes — but it hasn’t come yet. Would you mind checking on it for me?”
I confirmed the address and rang the relevant company who said the taxi wasn’t far away.
“I’ll wait with you if you like,” I said to her as I lowered my phone.
“I’m 85, you see,” she said as part of the conversation, “And I can’t walk much anymore. I saw you running like that, and remembered how much I used to love getting out and about — you know — going for walks and the like. But I had my time. Make sure you do it while you can.”
I told her I would.
She shared about her two wonderful sons, her respectful grandchildren and how she strives for independence, despite her limitations. It was a lovely chat, one I felt privileged to have; she inspired me. I guess 5 -10 minutes passed until I saw the taxi van come around the corner.
I said a “goodbye, have a lovely day” and pressed the start button on my timing app as the jovial taxi driver took over the conversation. Then, I quicken my pace once again, and smiled moments later as I saw a hand wave as the taxi overtook me on the road.
Running again. I’ve stepped up my cardio training for my next challenge, and it’s for a good cause. So what does this little story have to do with the challenge? It has nothing to do with it, and yet, in some ways, it has everything to do with it. About a year ago now, a seed in my heart (so to speak) sprouted. As I look back, I can see this seed was planted a long ago, right back when I was a child, but recently it started to grow.
Everything has its time. And the ground is ready for this seed to grow. I’m talking about compassion and the desire to grasp opportunities to do good where I can. Not because I’m a “good person” — that’s not what it’s about (at all!) — but rather because I’m a passionate sort of person and I can’t help but throw myself into everything I do. And I have this desire to give as I live.
Keep someone company, throw a smile, make a meal for a friend, sponsor a child, raise awareness of need, give where I can, kindness, take up a challenge for a good cause: it’s about faith in action and living a life of compassion with a giving spirit — whether that be in a big way, small way, or any way.
Wait for it…I’m going to Laos, which sits between Thailand and Vietnam. I’m going to Laos to cycle as part of the Born to Cycle Laos: Mother’s Day Challenge with Save the Children. This means five, yes five full days of cycling and three days of volunteer work. A typical day will cover distances between 50 – 100 kilometres, and I’ve never done anything like it before — ever — so I’m equally excited as I am a nervous.
Found my pink bike at the back of garage.
I’m saying a HUGE thanks to Procter & Gamble (the company behind brands like Oral-B and Vicks) for making this possible. They are sponsoring me for this challenge and I’m humbled to be entrusted with the task of telling stories from Laos.
The funds raised from challenge will be directed towards building a new village health clinic as part of the successful Save the Children Primary Health Care Program in Laos.
While in Laos, I’ll visit a hospital, a clinic and then on to a school, where I’ll help with some painting and play with the children. (I’ll be sure to blog about all this while I’m over there).
I’ve set up a fundraising page because I would love your support. One of the BEST things about my blog is the ability to use it to do wonderful things, like making a difference to children’s lives around the world. If every person who reads this blog this week, only gave one dollar, it would make a HUGE difference. And THAT is what I get excited about: a lot of people doing small things, which turn into big things. I would love your support; my Everyday Hero fundraising page for this challenge is here.
Save the Children: I’m raising money to support Save the Children’s work in Laos. Save the Children is Australia’s leading independent humanitarian relief and development organisation for children. In Loas, Save the Children implemented a hugely successful Primary Health Care project in partnership with the Lao Ministry of Health. This has been in place for 20 years now, and as a result, maternal and infant mortality rates in the area have reduced by 80% compared with the national average. A remarkable achievement! I can’t wait to see the work for myself on the ground because I’m interested in humanitarian and development aid models and how they work.
Procter & Gamble (P & G): P & G (my sponsors) have partnered with Save the Children in an effort to deliver vital services for children who are at risk. This partnership plays out in many different ways, for example, through staff donations, volunteering days, support for various Save the Children programs in socially and geographically isolated communities in Australia, and the Vicks Breathe for Life Campaign (this particular campaign aims to prevent and treat childhood pneumonia in over 100,000 children in developing countries).
Me: And me? I’m here to tell stories and to cycle my legs to jelly.
I do exercise regularly, but I need to push my cardio up for this challenge, and so I’m running again (and throwing a bit of cycling in too). Last year, I trained for the Bridge to Brisbane 5K race and I was surprised (and very pleased) to discovered that I have maintained some level of fitness. You can can see from the end of training last year and the start of training this year on the same, somewhat hilly training route, I ran a similar time so I’m encouraged. I leave in the afternoon on Mother’s Day (12th May) and my exercise plan until then is to do my regular group PT session 2-3 times a week, and add in running/cycling 2-3 times a week.
This opportunity is like a dream come true: combining a challenge, adventure, travel and photography with writing stories of people who make a difference. What an amazing privilege! Would love for you to follow the journey with me.
I’m volunteering my time for this fundraising adventure (ie. I’m not getting paid). My sponsor P & G are helping me with costs of getting there PLUS they are my biggest fundraising sponsor for Save the Children too. So grateful. Thank you!