Trends come and go in our world, some of them good, and some can't leave soon enough. A recent popular craze has been the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for ALS research. Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably see fifty videos a day of people dumping buckets of ice water over their heads for the ALS Association. While many may be participating because it is fun or the thing to do, seeing people do good in the world makes me happy. In line with that sentiment, I would like to spread awareness of other ways to bring good to those around us.
I would like to introduce you to Miyya Sifford. Miyya is a joyful, honest spirit whose courage and determination to get her story told really touched my heart. I would like to share her story with you.
At age 5, Miyya woke up one night in extreme pain, as she realized her shirt had caught fire. With 3rd degree burns over 30 percent of her body, Miyya is grateful every day to be alive. However, the moment that fire hit her flesh, her life was forever changed. People, including friends and family, treat you differently when you look different; when you are physically scarred. Missing three years of school and being put back two grades, Miyya endured endless ridicule and bullying from her classmates. Everywhere she went, she felt different and left out. This left her insecure and depressed. During this time, her mother was strong enough for the both of them and taught her that she is beautiful and should never hide who she is. This is such an inspiration to me. Today Miyya is comfortable with herself, and that is something everyone should feel, physical scares or not. Everyone should be confident and happy with their own body and who they are, no matter how many people try to bring you down.
Miyya is an amazing young lady who went through a horrible injury at an early age that scarred her for life. She could have become an outsider, as people called her a freak. But Miyya was courageous. Instead of letting this tragedy halt her life, she continues to inspire those around her, demonstrating that nothing should stop you from living.
In September, the staff from my non-profit organization, Project Smile, and I will visit Miyya to give back a little of what she has given to so many people out there. We are currently raising money to give Miyya the special day she deserves. Project Smile will take Miyya and her sister out of a day of shopping, pampering and fun.
Our self-worth must not be determined by the tone of our skin, the length and texture of our hair, the size and shape of our hips. Our mission and passion at Project Smile is to build self-esteem in these precious young ladies. Rather than letting society's standards push her to the sidelines, Miyya continues to bravely share her story with tens of thousands of people around the world. She lets young girls know that it's okay to cry, it's okay to hurt, but it's never okay to let your wounds define you.
With the help of International Emmy award winner Chris Silber, we will be filming a documentary to show the world how amazing Miyya is.
Please join us in helping make this special girl's special day a reality by learning more or donating here. Watch her video as she tells her story: