Today I am living on $1.50 for all of my food and drink costs. Why? Because 1.4 billion people around the world don't have the option, and because I want to support a friend who showed me how to be a better man, a more gracious leader, and a more inspired human being. His name is Wilfrid Macena.
I met Wilfrid more than two years ago while volunteering in a field hospital run by Project Medishare in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. Wilfrid had his leg trapped under the rubble and endured an arduous 7-day journey to receive medical attention for his severed leg. He is a man who through tremendous pain and hardship had the courage of a relentless smile and the boundless spirit to see opportunity in challenge.
I was with Wilfrid the day he visited the prosthetics lab for a fitting to receive his prosthetic leg. While others adjusted to a foreign appendage, I witnessed Wilfrid joyfully breakdancing and kicking a soccer ball within the first half hour of receiving the leg. His courage and will were so immediately apparent that he was offered a position at Project Medishare to train in creating prosthesis for other amputee survivors.
While this in itself is remarkable, what is truly extraordinary is what Wilfrid did afterwards. Wilfrid founded and became the captain of a soccer team composed entirely of amputees. They practice and play competitively, and Wilfrid recently concluded a tour across the United States where he also spent time training returning US veteran amputees in playing soccer with crutches.
Wilfrid now has his sights set on growing his team the Tarantulas (named as such because a tarantula will regenerate their leg), and he is also training for the Olympics as a runner. He told me nearly as soon as he could walk, he wanted to run.
Wilfrid is a hero to me, a man who leads through his hopeful and determined worldview. Where others saw a victim, he saw a potential victory.
When I asked Wilfrid if he would want to join me in Living Below the Line to support Project Medishare's work, he said characteristically, 'Of course, I would do anything to help Haiti.' So today, Wilfrid and I live below the line. I do it to support the man who inspired me to be a better version of myself, and I hope in the process we can help provide others with a new sense of possibility.
To learn more or support our campaign visit: http://www.livebelowtheline.com/us