Inspiration to be a better person comes in many shapes, forms and colors. I have found it in unique places, different faces and extraordinary stories.
Last week, a local woman who gave so much to the community lost her life. I didn’t know her but just by , I felt like I did. My heart goes out to her loved ones. Her life, her story and her selflessness inspire me to live better and be more aware of the struggles and difficulties that others face.
In December, an old friend of mine lost her 12 year old daughter. I can’t even imagine. I met her beautiful little girl maybe once or twice but the stories of her zest for life always touched me. She was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma before she was 2 years old and conquered the cancer. Unfortunately complications and chemotherapy weakened her immune system and she couldn’t fight off other ailments. She truly was a gift from God who has inspired many including a Cinnaminson girl scout troop whom she spoke to about Neuroblastoma and Alex's Lemonade Stand.
I hope that comfort finds its way back into the lives of those who have lost so much. I'd like to think that knowing that their loved ones live on in the hearts of many people, even those who never met them, may help to ease their pain.
Stories like those above remind me of how short and delicate life really is and how it’s important to take time to make a difference and teach my kids to do the same.
At in Cinnaminson this week, faculty and students showed off their unique colors and made a difference in the world. Brightly hued bandannas were worn on Friday, January 27 in support of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation and teen cancer awareness.
Mrs. Monnoleto, a 4th grade teacher, spearheaded this event with the help of the student council. She has been involved with this local organization for several years, recently hosting a kit making party at her home with her teenage daughters and 4-H Club Members.
The foundation’s sole mission, cited on their website, is to help teens fighting cancer to “maintain a sense of connection to their family, friends, and lifestyle so that they can battle their cancer with full hearts, a solid frame of mind, and determination.”
The organization was founded by the family of Alicia Rose DiNatale. DiNatale was a 17 year old who sadly lost her battle to cancer but inspired those she left behind to create this wonderful organization that provides much needed support for teens hospitalized due to cancer or other life threatening illnesses.
In-hospital teen lounges have been created all over the country and in England due to efforts by the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation. Teens can mingle and socialize in an atmosphere similar to what life would be like outside of the hospital.
Teen Kits are distributed to patients and include lip balm, slippers, video games and other essentials that are vital to the life of a teenager.
Bandannas are sold to help raise money for the Foundation and at last week, they sold out quick. Some students bought three or four each.
Mrs. Monnoleto was overwhelmed and literally had to take bandannas off of the advertising posters on the walls. She was happy to report that the students and faculty at Rush raised over $1500 for the foundation. Wow!
Alicia Rose DiNatale may not have lived very long but in her short life, she inspired and encouraged so many and made a difference in the world she left. Kids here in Cinnaminson know her story and want to help other teenagers facing cancer. That is amazing to me how her life has influenced the lives of those she didn't even know.
Inspiration comes in many forms – a gesture, a token, a gift, a song, a word, a moment, a life, a death, or a lifetime.
Unfortunately, tragedy often inspires us to be better people but why wait for something bad to happen?
Be inspired now.
Make a better world where you live.
We can't all set up charitable organizations but we can support them.
What we can do is set an example for our children, help them to be better people. Why not open doors for people, be polite, stop complaining, be nicer to our spouses, give our kids extra hugs and kisses, forgive others, smile more often, and appreciate how wonderful life really is while we're living it?
We all need to show our true colors more often and be inspired to make a difference. I know I do!