And today was my first day.
During recess, a little boy named Alejandro gave me these flowers, made from colored paper, straws and some ribbon. He poked me and nervously said, “I made this to give you.” He then handed me a note that read:
“Thank you for coming of our school and teaching me English. Love, Alejandro.”
Needless to say, I was in utter shock. It’s clear that these flowers took hours upon hours to construct. I’m sure there are many other concerns going on in Alejandro’s home, other than giving the new English assistant a present. But it was him, not any of the other kids, who took the time out of his day, and even more impressively- his RECESS, to share this gift with me. More so than the beautiful flowers itself, he reminded me of the gift of giving. It seems corny to say, I know. But it couldn’t be more true. Doesn’t it seem as though the people who suffer the most, are often the most selfless? Why does the threat of life have to remind us of the beauty of giving?
It shouldn’t have to be this way.
Alejandro was also an incredible reminder to me how THON is truly a global effort. For those of you unaware, Penn State University’s THON is the world’s biggest student run philanthropy, raising money annually for children with pediatric cancer, through the Four Diamonds Fund. Last year, Penn State raised over 13 million US dollars “For The Kids.” I was lucky enough to be involved over the past 4 years of my time as a student.
To get a better idea, here’s a little video I put together last year about what THON means to those involved:
Unfortunately, children suffering from pediatric cancer are not just limited to Hershey Medical Center, or in PA, or in the US. The problem is everywhere, and the resources, awareness, and medical care are not. Alejandro has reminded me that my efforts should not stop just because I am no longer a student, nor because I am no longer in the states. The THON 2011 theme was #TogetherWithoutLimits. Chef Alejandro has cooked up a whole new, global meaning to this: #Wandering cross the Atlantic, into Spain, and landing right here in my lil’ Fregenal de la Sierra.
#YoungWildWanderingandPhilanthropic … #AndstillHungry.
To learn more about Penn State’s THON and donate, visit the wonderful THON website.
Have you had experience volunteering your efforts to pediatric cancer? Do you know of any global organizations that we can get involved in? Comment below and share your experience!