Kaela Cruz is an unlikely hero who, after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) at age four, had to have her left leg amputated above the knee. Since that time Kaela has become an accomplished swimmer, martial artist and has even completed triathlons.
Do you think everyone believes they can make a positive difference in the world? I have been lucky enough to witness many amazing stories of people making a difference and changing the world over the past 10 years. I know I would not have been lucky enough to see all of these things if my four-year-old daughter Alex had not come up with the crazy idea that she was going to help her doctors fight childhood cancer by setting up, of all things, a simple lemonade stand on our front lawn.
One of the many memorable examples of unexpected selflessness was a time when we received a call from a social worker at a homeless shelter in Austin, Texas. The residents at the shelter had seen Alex's story on the Oprah show and were moved by her determination to make a difference and they wanted to know if they would be allowed to help even though they were homeless.
One of our founding principles at ALSF is that everyone can be part of Team Alex. We, of course, told this social worker we thought it was a great idea for them to host a fundraising event. As a result, the shelter raised an incredible $700 to fight childhood cancer.
We were incredibly moved and inspired by this group of people who had almost nothing of their own but decided they wanted to make a difference and help find a cure for kids with cancer. It gives us a little glimpse of the 'power of one' and proves that everyone can make a difference in the world. This group are my heroes and I hope that I can someday meet them and personally thank them for their selfless actions.
I would love to hear other stories about people who are unlikely heroes, making a difference in the world. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll share the best in a future post.
Until then, remember curing childhood cancer can happen only one cup at a time.