Tag Archives: holidays

What the Holiday Season Means to Me After a Spinal Cord Injury

In 2009, Kirk Williams was a motivated Colorado sociology graduate who filled his downtime with outdoor adventures and sports. In November of that year, a “complete freak accident, like trip-over-your-shoelaces kind of crash” changed his life: Kirk sustained a C5 spinal cord injury as he flew over the handlebars of his mountain bike. The injury left him paralyzed with a limited amount of feeling in his legs and limited use of his fingers.

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Kirk didn’t want his injury to put the brakes on his full and active lifestyle

As soon as he was able, Kirk began to immerse himself once again in outdoor adventures and sports. “My injury did influence my hobbies but I haven’t stopped doing what I love,” he explained. “I still do photography, camp, mountain bike [and] new hobbies like wheelchair rugby, scuba diving and hand cycling. I love travel and I was not reluctant at all to travel after my injury.”

Photo by SCI Recovery Project via Facebook.

Rehabilitation helped Kirk to reclaim his adventurous lifestyle, little by little. Source

Kirk is the founder, director and pilot/camera operator of the UAV-powered video production agency Birds Eye Optics. “It’s wild to think that while most people may think that since I’m in a wheelchair, my perspective is limited,” observed Kirk. “Actually, with my career, I see further than ever before.”

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“With my career, I see further than ever before.”

He credits fundraising and community support as essential parts of his journey. “My community of family and friends has been one of the most significant parts of me getting where I am today,” said Kirk. “Without the help of friends, family and HelpHOPELive, I wouldn’t have been able to afford the amazing equipment and lifestyle that I love to live. With my incredible support system, I’ve surpassed even my wildest dreams of what is possible.

I see each [injury] anniversary as a day to look back and see just how far I’ve progressed. I remind myself that anything is possible. I’ve taken the cards I’ve been dealt to not only survive but thrive in what first seemed nearly impossible circumstances.”

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On each injury anniversary, “I remind myself that anything is possible.”

Asked about the end of the year approaching, Kirk captured a sentiment shared by many of our clients, whether they are living with an injury or waiting for a transplant: the holidays are a time for hope, family and looking to the future. “The holidays are always a wonderful time of year,” explained Kirk. “I can catch up with friends and family and we can enjoy each other’s company. As crazy as they are, it’s always rewarding to have my entire family together in one place.”

The hustle and bustle of the season doesn’t appeal to Kirk, who said, “my favorite part of the holidays is being able to relax with the ones you love. It’s not about the busy times for me…it’s the downtime that I cherish the most. And the food!”

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What do the holidays mean to Kirk? Hope, family and looking to the future.

I usually make a New Year’s resolution,” said Kirk. “It’s a good chance for me to attack my goals with a refreshed set of eyes.”

His advice for others entering the holiday season and looking ahead to the new year? “Life is short, so why not try to experience it to the fullest? Get out there and try everything you can. You can be as happy or as upset about your injury and your life as you choose to be. It’s entirely up to you.

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Kirk says happiness after a spinal cord injury “is entirely up to you.”

What does hope mean to Kirk? “Hope means having my eyes set on what lays ahead, and knowing there is always a possibility for positivity given the right mindset.”

We know fundraising can make a significant impact on an individual’s life through the power of community, both financially and emotionally. As you continue to trust our nonprofit for a lifetime of medical fundraising support, we hope this holiday season brings you memorable times with friends and family and plenty of opportunities to look ahead, with hope.

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From our family to yours! Photo by Kirk.


Kirk Williams continues to fundraise with HelpHOPELive for the lifetime out-of-pocket medical and related expenses associated with his injury.

Bella Da Dawg is Kirk’s four-legged companion. She “spends most of her days dreaming of tennis balls” and “screwing up sound from her habitual snoring and striking good looks.”

Meet My Second Family: HelpHOPELive

Liam Murray began volunteering with HelpHOPELive two years ago and has been a member of our board of directors for the past year.  He also serves on our Development Committee. We sat down with Liam to talk about what charitable giving means to him and his family.

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Liam and his family enjoy the Radnor Hunt Races, a Kolff Society event


Why do you donate to HelpHOPELive? 


I donate because I love the mission. I love that the organization serves a very practical purpose at a point in a person’s life when they are most vulnerable. When someone is diagnosed with a life-changing illness or suffers a sudden catastrophic injury, the last thing they should have to worry about is who is going to pay for this.

I personally know three people who could have benefited from HelpHOPELive, but neither I nor they were aware it existed at the time. This organization is absolutely needed in communities around the country and making people aware of its existence is a personal mission of mine.

This is why I donate specifically to the unrestricted (general operating) fund and volunteer with the development committee to position more people to support HelpHOPELive to help us expand our reach even further.


What does charitable giving mean to you and your family (not just financially)?


Being able to donate means we are very lucky as a family. Life can change in an instant. Today I have the ability to give a little bit of time and money; tomorrow I may rely on others to donate that time and money to me or my family. We give while we can because you never know when you’ll be on the other end.

There is also something about being part of the organization to which you are giving which has deep meaning to me. I absolutely love the people at HelpHOPELive. They have welcomed me as if I were a member of the family, and that means a lot. My ideas, even the terrible ones, are considered and I’m asked my opinion all the time.


What do you hope to share with your children about charitable giving?


I hope to lead by example. I hope they understand how lucky they are to be in the position to give, and that it is both a privilege and a responsibility. It is also not something you do and forget about. I hope they see for themselves that it needs to be something that becomes part of your life so long as you are able.


Do you have any advice for first-time donors?


Every dollar you give, you get two back. Not sure why it works like that, but it does.


What if I don’t have a lot of money to give away? Can I still make an impact?


I might just suggest that there is power in community. When the HelpHOPELive Fundraising and Patient Services Team works on a new campaign, they don’t expect a single donor to give thousands of dollars, they know it takes a lot of small donations to reach their fundraising goals. Donate what you can, whether that is time or money and you will be surprised how far it can go. At least I have been!

The team at HelpHOPELive, across all departments, has a magical ability to take modest amounts of money and accomplish incredible things. I wouldn’t donate unless I had profound respect for the team putting my money to work for a good cause.

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Liam with his wife, Ashley, and his daughter, Joee


Can you open your heart this year to help us provide meaningful fundraising assistance to thousands of families? Donate now at helphopelive.org.

A Day Tue Give: How To Celebrate #GivingTuesday

December 1 is #GivingTuesday, a global celebration of good that includes supporting charitable causes and nonprofit missions. #GivingTuesday is a day to give back and make a lasting impact by helping good go viral. Here’s what you can do to join the movement.


Share The Message


Post on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to let your followers know that there are NO fees on all donations to HelpHOPELive Campaigns today.

Here’s a sample post you can edit and use:

Today is #GivingTuesday! Today only, you can donate to [my, my brother’s, etc.] HelpHOPELive Campaign with NO credit card fees! You will make more of an impact than ever with your donation today. Click here to donate in [my, my brother’s, etc.] honor: [add a link to the HelpHOPELive Campaign here]

Need a picture to include? Here are a few that you can save and share for free. Click to open the image in a new window, then save the image to your computer.

#GivingTuesday 2015

#GivingTuesday 2015 HelpHOPELive

#GivingTuesday 2015 quote Winston Churchill


Give If You Can


If you are not actively fundraising but you are still interested in celebrating #GivingTuesday, consider donating to HelpHOPELive’s General Operating Fund. Your donation will help us to continue providing one-on-one fundraising support to thousands of patients and families nationwide who are facing significant financial hardship because they need a transplant or are living with a catastrophic injury or illness.

If you’re not able to give, you can still Like and Share the posts, quotes and promotions that matter to you! Give support to your favorite nonprofits and causes so that others can donate and join the movement.


Be The Change


#GivingTuesday isn’t just about money: it’s about doing good. Put your focus into something good today, whether that’s a volunteer opportunity or a random act of kindness that will brighten a stranger’s day. Don’t forget to keep the holiday spirit alive throughout December and beyond! Together, we can help good go viral, today and all year ‘round.


Join us in celebrating this day of giving and gratitude! Find us on Facebook or tag @HelpHOPELiveOrg on Twitter and join the movement.

Your Next Selfie Can Make The World A Better Place

During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and become fixated on shopping and spending. #GivingTuesday is meant to counteract those rampant indulgences by encouraging all of us to donate to worthy nonprofit causes.


What is an #UNselfie?


An #UNselfie is a picture of you showing how you support worthy causes during the holidays or all year round. An #UNselfie could explain why you support a particular cause, highlight your #GivingTuesday plans or even reveal a random act of kindness that you took part in this year.

Little by little, your #GivingTuesday actions and #UNselfies can help to perpetuate a massive movement that encourages all of us to give just a little bit more during the holiday season.

#UNselfie #GivingTuesday

You can also use your #UNselfie to highlight a HelpHOPELive Campaign that you support in order to gain traction for #GivingTuesday on December 1, when there are no credit card fees on all donations to HelpHOPELive Campaigns.


What does an #UNselfie look like?


Here are a few examples from our staff. Find additional #UNselfies on our Facebook page.

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How can I join the movement?


You can join the #UNselfie movement in three easy steps:

  1. Download and print the #UNselfie template
  2. Write down an act of kindness, a charitable cause or a selfless wish for the holidays
  3. Share on social media with the tags #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday. Add #HelpHOPELive and #GiveHOPE if your #UNselfie involves a HelpHOPELive Campaign!

Visit our website for additional #GivingTuesday tips and suggestions.

4 Easy Ways To Get Ready For #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is less than two weeks away! On Tuesday, December 1, there will be no credit card fees attached to donations to your HelpHOPELive Campaign. This is your opportunity to rally your community to participate in a universal day of hope and selflessness! Here are a few easy ways to prepare.


1. Understand The Mission


#GivingTuesday

  • …celebrates giving and selflessness
  • …counterbalances Black Friday, Cyber Monday and heavy holiday spending
  • …brings together nonprofits, businesses AND families to give together
  • …is all about “small acts of kindness”

2. Spread The Word On Social


…With These Hashtags:

  • #GivingTuesday: use this whenever you mention the event
  • #UNselfie: use this when you post a selfie that highlights a good cause. Download the template at givingtuesday.org.
  • #GiveHOPE: use this when you post a #GivingTuesday message about HelpHOPELive

…And These Pictures:

Share these pics on social media to help good go viral!

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Size: 470 x 352 (Facebook)

 

Today-Only---Enjoy-No-CC-Fees-(Instagram)

Size: 511 x 511 (Instagram, Facebook or other social sites)

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Size: 511 x 511 (Instagram, Facebook or other social sites)

 

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Size: 511 x 511 (Instagram, Facebook or other social sites)


3. Update Your Outreach


If you plan to contact a news outlet or send an email to friends and family before December 1, make sure you mention #GivingTuesday. It’s a great way to tie your HelpHOPELive Campaign into a major social movement. If you need help figuring out how to explain or incorporate #GivingTuesday, reach out to your Fundraising Coordinator today.


4. Show Your Gratitude


#GivingTuesday is an opportunity to give AND receive. For that reason, it’s a great time to reflect on what your community has already helped you to achieve. Here’s how:

  1. Jot down a few things that you’ve been able to do or accomplish thanks to donations.
  2. Snap a few pictures if you can!
  3. Post an Update about #GivingTuesday that focuses on thanking everyone who has donated so far.
  4. Share your Campaign Page on social media to engage even more friends and family members.

Your friends will be more likely to donate if they can see how they have impacted your life through donations.

HelpHOPELive Campaign Page

Add a #GivingTuesday Update expressing gratitude.


Questions? Have #GivingTuesday ideas to add to our list? Reach out to us on Facebook or on Twitter to connect.