Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Amazing Eye Transplant

No, of course not really. I've still got 20/40 vision and my new best friend, eyeglasses with progressive lenses. But what's taken me away from blogging these past two months has given me the gift of sight – a way of looking out on the world with new eyes and a new sense of wonderment.

It all started because my family needed help. And much to my surprise, asking for help has transformed my thinking.

If you know my family’s story, you know my son has had a long road dealing with neurological problems. My child has overcome some huge obstacles that made the arrival of his college acceptance letter in the spring a great victory for him. But obstacles still remain for him to be successful once he starts college just a few weeks from now. True to his tenacious nature, he got himself accepted into college and also accepted into a selective transition-to-college summer program for disabled students. Great program, big pricetag.

In searching for resources, I stumbled upon and knew right away this was something special. Folks with one-time needs due to trying circumstances can post applications for very specific situations, and donors contribute directly to stories that strike a personal note. Each application is carefully vetted by the organization, which vouches for its authenticity. I had to work up the nerve to submit our application to Modest Needs. Our family has never asked for financial help. From anyone. Ever.

In the end, 44 people – family, friends and strangers – contributed more than $2,500 so that my son could attend the college transition program at Landmark College in Vermont. He just arrived back home with a huge binder full of practical information on how to navigate college coursework and a fabulous taste of dorm life that’s got him itching to move out of our house, like, yesterday.

As wonderful as the college transition program was, the lasting effect for me will be this lesson: that acts of goodwill and generosity can change the course of our lives and our outlook on life forever. For me it's been a lesson in generosity of spirit. I am just overwhelmed to see how much others value what's so important to our family- that our son gain independence and education to live up to his full potential. Anyone who has dealt with disability or chronic illness knows how easy it is to let expectations slip, because keeping them high sometimes feels like climbing Mt. Everest in lead boots.

Thank you to Modest Needs for this gift of sight (insight, actually) that we will never forget.

1 comment:

Brittney said...

Dear Elaine,

Thank you so much for sharing your story about your son and the wonderful donors at Modest Needs.

It is great to hear your son is doing well, and that he is yearning to get to school. Not all kids are like that. :)

Your blog post is a touching testimonial. Thanks for spreading the word.

Brittney Gilbert
VP of Marketing and Outreach