“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” – Jane Goodall
There’s a 10-year-old girl called Meredith (or Mer, for short – pictured above) who, despite not being able to use her limbs with purpose or tell her story on her own, inspired more than 50 people to come together to raise over $150,000 for Best Buddies International this summer. She’s the daughter of a past colleague of mine and seems to rule her world with smiles that inspire people to take action for her. She was born with a very rare condition that only about 350 people in the whole world have been diagnosed with – a genetic mutation called FoxG1.
Photo: This is Mer. She’s the MTeam’s Chief Motivating Officer.
She sleeps like this every night, with chicken wing arms.
Her parents call them her “Do Not Disturb” arms.
I had never heard of FoxG1 (and I’d be surprised if any of you have before now), but I took this inspirational group of individuals called the MTeam on as a client this summer and had the privilege of hearing and telling Mer and her family’s story on the blog that I started for the team. It stuck with me, as has the infectious enthusiasm of her advocates.
With something like 200 million people around the world now that have an intellectual or developmental disability the prevalence is increasing and touching more and more people now. Through blog interviews and working on the MTeam social media I’ve also met quite a few other brave and inspiring families whose lives revolve around the disabilities of their children.
Photo: This is the MTeam, participating in the Best Buddies Challenge last year.
At the beginning, I found myself thinking that this is one of those things that I’d barely make a dent of an impact on if I got involved. Around that time, I was flipping through an old coffee table photography book in my childhood bedroom and found a piece of paper I had used to bookmark a page jammed into the book. I had scribbled a quote from the Dalai Lama on it: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” ‘
If that wasn’t a sign it’s worth getting involved, I don’t know what is, right?
So despite not having run since before Emilia was born, I decided to sign up this year to participate in the Best Buddies Challenge 2019 in June – a 5k run or 20, 50 or 100 mile cycle. Best Buddies does some great work helping people with disabilities find employment, facilitate friendships and provide leadership training opportunities. They make lives better. It will be good motivation to carve out some time to get back to my pre-baby fitness levels while doing something that really will make an impact. The MTeam has set some pretty lofty goals this year – to reach 100 team members and raise $250,000.
Here’s a little video from last year’s race:
My personal fundraising commitment is $1,650 (about £1,250).
I put $50 of my own in to kick it off, and if enough of you contribute just $/£10 or $/£20, we can become a little swarm of mosquitos that can make a significant impact.
The fundraising pages for Best Buddies aren’t set up crowdfunding style, but I thought it would be nice to give back to those of you who are kind enough to donate. I came up with a thank you gift list below. There’s no official way to track this, so please make sure you send me an email email@example.com with your name, address and donation amount if you want to claim a print gift and I’ll send it your way before the end of the fundraising period.
Thank you in advance!
Choose any of the images you see in my Etsy shop or any that you see on my Instagram (as long as the dimensions fit or can be cropped to fit):
$10 or £10 | Social media shoutout on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn
$25 or £20 | 1 5×7 in print & social media shoutout (your choice of print)
$50 or £40 | Set of four 5×5 in. square prints & social media shoutout (your choice of prints)
$75 or £60 | One 8/10 in. print & social media shoutout (your choice of print)
$100 or £75 | Set of four 8×8 in. square prints & social media shoutout (your choice of prints)
$150 or £115 | One 10×15 in. print & social media shoutout (your choice of print)
$200 or £150 | One x 20×30 in print & social media shoutout (your choice of print)
$300 or £230 | One x 40×40 cm lite canvas print & social media shoutout (your choice of print)
$500 or £380 | One x 60×60 cm lite canvas print & social media shoutout (your choice of print)
$1,000 or £760 | One x 80×80 cm lite canvas print & social media shoutout (your choice of print)
(Or, for each level, a choice of any lower tier of the lower thank you rewards if you prefer!)
PLEASE DONATE HERE: https://www.bestbuddieschallenge.org/hp/support2019/#littleobservationist
If you can’t donate but can share this link, that would also be amazing, or if you’re really feeling inspired, feel free to join the team!