I see it every day being a newscaster: story after story filled with negativity. Murder, gun violence and scandals fill our airwaves. It’s no wonder people tell me they don’t watch the news because it’s depressing and sad. So when I come across something uplifting, I take time to pause and soak it in.
Social media has revolutionized how we all stay in touch. It connects our lives and allows us a window into each other’s world. And as I’ve experienced first-hand, social media can bring a community together to help someone in need. Just in the past week, I’ve come across friends being dealt life altering situations. A fellow triplet mom watched as her home burned to the ground. Luckily, no one was injured, but their valuables perished in a matter of minutes. I also learned of a battle a college friend is facing. A mother, wife and friend to so many, this woman is facing a health crisis at such a young age. Within minutes of their stories being posted on Facebook, friends and family sprang into action. For the woman without a home, fellow triplet moms began sending diapers, clothing and other necessities. Many of us have never met her, but wanted to help a mother in need. And for the mom facing an uphill battle with her health, a fund was set up to help her family with the mounting cost of medical care. That fund grew to tens of thousands of dollars within days.
With social media plastering our lives for everyone to see, what makes you feel compelled to give to others? For me, the answer is easy: I was once in their shoes. I have a roof over my head and my health is the best it’s been in years, but in a way, I feel connected to each of those women. I went through a similar experience, a time when I was in need of help and everyone came to my rescue. In 2013, I gave birth to my triplets, more than 17 weeks premature. My children had less than a 10% chance of survival, and within hours, my daughter passed away. Nearly two months later, my son joined her in Heaven. During this time, I was extremely sick and had a slight brush with death. And it was there, in that ICU bed, that I remember getting a text message from a sorority sister wanting to help. It had been two days since I gave birth, and already, a team of friends and family had sprung into action. A medical fund was set up for my family, even though I didn’t think we needed it. We both had jobs and health insurance, and I didn’t want to feel like a charity case. But in the end, I am beyond grateful for what they did. That fund has helped my family as we continue to endure medical bills nearly two years later.
As donations poured in for our family medical fund, I began to realize that this wasn’t about charity, it was so much bigger than that. People I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years were donating money to my family. Fellow triplet moms who were complete strangers, sent prayers along with donations. It was like a community of strangers from around the world, spreading their arms for a group hug around my family. And it was then when I realized the importance of giving back. When something goes horribly wrong, people want to lend their support. And as a friend kindly told me in our case, we could either receive monetary donations or hundreds of frozen meals for our family. Hundreds of people wanted to help our family and I had to learn to graciously accept that.
20 months later, I’ve made it my mission to give back when I can. In the past, I would glance at a charity post and consider donating. But now I try my best to help all those people who have helped me. Whether it be through a small donation, a warm meal, or a simple prayer to their family, I can do my part to help others. That’s one of the most important traits that has come out of the birth of my triplets. Despite the tragic deaths of two of my children, my heart has grown and my babies have passed along compassion to me…a trait I plan to pass along to others.