[update: here is a link to the article on stuff about this wonderful young woman. and here is the unicef webpage, where you can make a donation if you wish.]
i went to a fundraiser today. i was invited by a friend of mine whose daughter is scheduled for neurosurgery this week. since she was going to have her head shaved for the surgery, this young teen decided to turn the experience into a fundraiser, inviting family and friends to an event that would raise funds for unicef.
it was a beautiful event, with 4 men and two other teenage girls shaving their heads in solidarity. there were songs, dances, poetry readings and a choreographer got us to do the moves to thriller. such a lovely event, a celebration of this young woman and what she has to go through.
this the second friend i have who has to deal with serious health issues that arose in their teenage years. the other one has a daughter who developed a degenerative disease. the girl doing the fundraiser today was diagnosed last year with a rare condition that will require surgery to her brain stem. it's likely that she will require more surgery in coming years, this is only the first step in a process. i can't imagine what it must be like to have to cope in situations like this. somehow, i don't think i would cope very well at all.
so i thought it was incredibly courageous of this young woman to put on a fundraiser, even though she was feeling incredibly nervous about shaving off her hair and even though she is terribly afraid of the surgery to come. it's not only the way she is facing her own situation, but also that she can think of others and focus on supporting others in the world is amazing.
i have to admit that i lost it a little when we were singing the second verse of "lean on me". and then again, when seeing the tears of the proud mother of one of the other teens who shaved her head in support. this is why i hate it when people carry on about "young people these days", because i seem to continuously come across wonderful young people. they're never perfect, but then neither are the adults around them.
it is in these everyday stories that we see the true strength and beauty of the human character. i'm truly humbled by this young woman, and i hope everything goes well for her particularly in the next couple of weeks, but also in the longer term.