Monday, April 13, 2015

Pay It Forward

Dear friends,

When my daughter Sofia was born with Down syndrome, our family became part of a very special community. Our connections may be in person, or just over the Internet. We may live near each other and get to see each other regularly, or we may live so far apart that our “In Real Life” connections are few and far between. But our ties are strong. We are there to support each other, through good times and bad.

This past winter, Sofia was entered in a contest, to try to win a special adaptive bicycle. She didn’t win. But one of my Down syndrome friends, a local mom who had tragically lost her own daughter as an infant, surprised me. At her suggestion, the First Congregational Church of Holliston (MA) raised the money, and are buying Sofia an adaptive bike! The members of the church have never met Sofia. We are not part of their direct community. But because of our connection to the amazing Down syndrome community, they raised nearly $2000 to purchase this special bicycle for Sofia.

Now it’s our turn. My friend Rebecca lives in Iowa. We met via an online support group for parents of children with Down syndrome, and we managed to meet in real life several years ago. Rebecca is a single mom. She has a Masters Degree, and works as a researcher. She is also a talented designer; she designed this Blog layout for me years ago. She has two children at home. The glorious Elainah has Down syndrome, as well as Epilepsy. She is a year older than my Sofia. Her big brother, Chandler, has Aspergers, and has been bullied so much in school that he now has PTSD. Both of these children have frequent medical appointments, and the occasional emergency trip to the ER.

On April 1, Rebecca’s car was hit. She was actually sitting at a light when another car slammed into her. The insurance company declared it totaled, but did not actually give her enough money to purchase a replacement. There is no public transportation available where she lives.

She needs another $3000 to purchase a vehicle. In her own words, she needs, "something small, that isn’t too old, gets good mileage, and doesn’t require much financing. I won’t have money for ongoing repairs, so I need something that won’t likely have many. A car like this would certainly reduce the odds of extra expenses right away."

I would like very much to “pay it forward” and encourage my friends and family to help raise that money for her.

In Cantor Ken Richmond’s very moving speech before Yizkor, the Memorial Service on the last day of Passover, he spoke about the custom of giving tzedakah in memory of a loved one. Here is your opportunity.

Please consider helping Rebecca, a complete stranger to you, just as Sofia is a complete stranger to the First Congregational Church of Holliston community. Every little bit will help. Thank you for considering being a part of this special mitzvah.

UPDATE: I guess it would help if I posted the link! Here is the fundraising site and here is the video.