There’s an online spot I like to drop in on from time to time. Hosted by the Toronto Star, the Acts of Kindness feature offers a forum where ordinary citizens can describe how strangers have helped them in a time of need.
I live in Toronto, a community of two and a half million people (five and a half if you count the ‘burbs). In such a crowded city, you’re constantly interacting with total strangers as a matter of course. It’s heartening to know that so many of these strangers would willingly go out of their way to lend a hand. Just read a few of the online stories and you’ll know what I’m talking about. These are acts of kindness with no expectation of reward or reciprocity.
So many stories have been posted over the past five years that the Toronto Star recently compiled the best ones into a book (Acts of Kindness: Inspirational Stories for Everyday Life, Dundurn Press, 2010). It gives our historical nickname “Toronto the Good” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?
Every good deed matters, big or small. But saving a life is about as extreme as you can get in the good-deed department. One of the first good deeds I did during my 50-day campaign has the potential to do just that. I joined the stem cell/bone marrow network (called One Match) operated by Canadian Blood Services. More than 70 percent of Canadians who need transplants can’t find a match among their own family members. That means that their only hope is to find a stranger somewhere in the world whose stem cells are compatible with theirs. Joining the network is easy – all you do is mail a cheek swab – and you’re automatically part of an international database. You could literally save the life of someone on the other side of the world.
Tonight, a group of Sport and Event Marketing post-graduate students at George Brown College in Toronto have planned a bowling event to raise funds and awareness for One Match. What a fabulous idea. Twenty bucks gets you bowling, pizza and prizes. And a chance to do a great deed. Call 647-289-1195 to talk to one of the students about details.
Welcome! Here’s a brief introduction for those who are new to the 50 Good Deeds story. It starts like this: Back in 2006, I made up my mind to do 50 good deeds in 50 days.
It’s not like I didn’t already have enough to do. Like most of you who are reading this, I’m crammed-busy with the considerable responsibilities of family, work and household. But I wanted to give it a try. I wanted to prove that it doesn’t take a lot of time, energy or money (I’m often short on all three!) to make a difference to others.
My daughter was turning seven that year, and I was also hoping this personal project could become a kind of learning lesson for her. I never imagined just how much of an impact this would make on her. Every day over dinner, we’d talk about the good deed I’d done. We did this for 50 days straight. My daughter started going out of her way to do good deeds. It changed her. And it changed me. I wasn’t prepared for that either. Trust me, the personal payoff is huge once you get going.
I love talking, hearing and writing about good deeds. I love inspiring others, and being inspired. I believe most everyone wants to make a positive difference, we just don’t always realize how simple it can be. My hope is that this blog will spark ideas in all those who stop by for a visit.
If you’d like to know more about my 50 Good Deeds story, I encourage you to read my articles in Canadian Living magazine (December 2008) and Reader’s Digest (December 2009; that’s my beautiful daughter on the cover!). Or visit my website, www.lisabendall.com, and drop me a line.