Making Miracles in the Blogosphere

BlogHer Original Post

With so many people in need, so many problems in the world, how do you pick the things you give to, the people you help? I tend to pick organizatons that I think will do something I approve of with my money: Global Giving, Heifer International and the like. One woman decided to get very specific on her blog and she managed to help raise enough money to allow some friends of hers to avoid foreclosure and stay in their home.

The original post asking for donations was on Jaki Grier's blackperson. She asked for 10,000 people to donate one dollar each. That's all her friends Daniel and Ebony Sampson needed to catch up on their mortgage and not be ousted from their home at a time when Daniel had lost his job due to illness. The Sampsons are from Aberdeen, Maryland.

The story hit the major media after the money had been collected. Media reported the event as a Christmas miracle. Blog 'miracle' saves Christmas for hard-luck family at CNN is a good example. You can get most of the background information from this one story at CNN. The local media in Baltimore aired the story, which you can see at WBALTV.

One aspect of the story that I love is only mentioned in passing in the media reports. That is the fact that once the money needed had been donated, Grier took the PayPal donation button down from her blog. The total needed was $10,000. Grier took down the button when the donations reached a little over $11,000. I like that nobody got greedy, nobody tried to take advantage of the generous souls who were helping the Sampsons stay in their home. They accepted just enough and no more. And, Daniel Sampson got a job interview from someone who heard about the story.

When Grier posted the update to the story, We saved their home! she said,

In five days, with everyone's help, we raised over $10,000! . . . I've taken the Paypal button down. My goal was never to make a profit, only to help my friends reach their goal. So, thank you all so very very much for your help and support.

The power of Jaki Grier's plea at blackperson was amplified by other bloggers, who heard about the story and encouraged readers to donate.

One helpful blog post was Shakesville's The Power of Teaspoons, who said,

one of its [the blogospheres] best bits is the ability of bloggers and blog readers to pull together to help someone out.

ginmar asked her readers to give a dollar.

Spread it around, would you? Just a buck, maybe a little more.

This story inspired me this holiday season to try for a "miracle" for my friend Carrie. Carrie is a massage therapist who spends her days making other people feel better. Recently she had oral surgery for a tumor on her jaw. The tumor turned out to be benign, but it also turned out to be agressive and invasive and is still growing, even after the surgery.

They want to do two more surgeries. One to remove the rest of the tumor and a good-sized hunk of her jaw. Later, they want to rebuild the jaw using bone from her leg. She has a rare condition called desmoplastic ameloblastoma. When I say rare, I mean rare. Only 54 cases have been reported, according to an article in the Journal of Oral Pathology and Medicine.

Carrie has no health insurance. Like the Sampsons foreclosure problem, Carrie's lack of insurance is an all-too-common problem these days. She has a job, but she only makes money when she's able to give a massage, and when you're laid up for several weeks recovering from three surgeries, you don't give massages. Even if she worked all day, every day, she wouldn't have enough money to cover three surgeries. Add "rare condition" to that and it sounds even more difficult and expensive.

Naturally, all of Carrie's friends are concerned about her health and she's overwhelmed with messages and emails from friends right now. She asked me if I would help her set up a blog so she could keep everybody informed about how things are going and how she's feeling. Instead of answering multiple emails, she could send everyone to her blog.

I told Carrie I'd help her start a blog, of course, but I also thought about the Sampson's story. I suggested that we add a PayPal donation button to the blog where people could give a few dollars to help cover the expense of all that surgery and lost time at work. Carrie agreed; any help would be a blessing.

We just worked on her new blog yesterday. The blog is Maisy's Mom and may not have a lot of information yet, but we did get a link to a donation form ready. Give a dollar if you can. More importantly, please help spread the word and the link in hopes that a whole lot of other kind people can give a dollor or two as well. Your link can help create another miracle in the blogosphere.

Virginia DeBolt
BlogHer Technology Contributing Editor
Web Teacher
First 50 Words


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