The Wednesday before Christmas was like any other day at the Fistula Foundation. Until it wasn't.
Santa came early.
The phone rang and the company that processes our credit card transactions said someone was trying to donate $20,000 online and hit a glitch. Since our average donation is under 100 bucks, this created a near panic amongst our tiny team to get the donor's problem fixed. And fast.
Turns out this donor was not one of our regular donors. In fact, this person had never given to us before. And the donor was a he. Since 85 percent of our donors are women and we work to repair broken vaginas -- seriously, no easy way to put that, since we treat the childbirth injury obstetric fistula -- this donor was unusual.
And here comes the fun part. The guy's name was Louis C.K. Who? Someone in the office asks. Louis C.K., like the comedian Louis C.K. -- the brilliant, hyperbolic, edgy, profane, hilarious Louis C.K. Yep. That Louis C.K.
I'm not a tweeter. Confession: until that day, I was a tweet virgin. Who has time? Well, Louis C.K. does, and just as his donation hit our account, one of our team found him on Twitter. Turns out, Louis C.K. decided to donate over 25 percent of the proceeds from his recent Beacon Theater show to charity ($280,000 in total), and he picked us to receive some of it.
So, of course, we scrambled so I could send him my first tweet... something ecstatic and grateful, but that ended up sounding silly and forgettable like a high school yearbook entry: WOW Tks UR Amazn don't ever change WOW. (There is clearly an art to these things, which I haven't come close to mastering.)
I sent an email too, longer and gushier about how this was a very big deal for us, which it is. And that it would help us help many women, which it will. And that his generosity combined with his comedy -- that gets people to think and laugh at the same time -- made him basically a super-hero from our perspective.
So then, the truly amazing thing happens. He emails back and said he's given us another $20,000. Sure enough, like Santa, but better, the money hits our account.
That night, he's a guest on the Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and everything he said about his amazing donation was right, with one small exception. While some of our funds go to treat women injured by rape, we mainly help women injured just trying to bring a child into the world. And when you think beyond the presents, mistletoe and elves, Christmas celebrates a birth; Louis C.K.'s gift to help treat women injured in childbirth makes his huge donation to the Fistula Foundation even more incredible.
As one of my missionary friends might say, it feels like the hand of God. Or like one of my atheist friends would say, it feels like the hand of a very talented guy with a heart as enormous as his brain.
Either way, in places where we work, like Congo and Afghanistan, where life is tough, particularly for women, Louis C.K.'s donation will be helping would-be moms injured just trying to have babies get life-transforming care.
Thanks, Louis! And as my mom might say, thanks to your mom, too, for raisin' you right!