Purple Pins and Other Heartfelt Things

I usually talk about slogans, brand campaigns and creative writing here but this time around, I wanted to tell you a little bit about how I spent my Sunday afternoon. It was both fun and inspiring, and a reminder of what we little blobs of protoplasm can do when we are encouraged to have some compassion for others.

On Sunday, High Hopes in High Heels, a local group I recently joined, coordinated a fundraiser for a young man named Pierce Peddy and his family. At the age of three years old, he experienced his first seizure, and his family soon learned that he had epilepsy. As any parent might expect, the diagnosis came as quite the shock. It has been a long, tough ride for this family that has sought answers for his uncontrollable seizures and tried a number of different approaches to eliminate the seizures including drug-induced comas. A few years later, Pierce’s  heartbreaking story continues and is shared at a family website.

Pierce now has a tracheotomy, a shunt (to relieve fluid from his brain) and his bones have been terribly compromised due to the coma. He cannot sit up without assistance; he doesn’t stand and cannot walk. We don’t know if Pierce can see; he doesn’t talk. Our Superman has a lot of hurdles to leap yet, but we have faith he will make progress.

On Sunday, dozens of bowlers – good and bad alike – took part in Pins for Pierce at Pin Chasers-Midtown in Tampa, a fundraiser designed to raise funds to help the Peddy family with its medical expenses for Pierce. Proceeds were raised through the participants’ bowling, raffle tickets and other items sold.

This item below is one such item that I purchased there, hand-stitched and sold by this small group of young girls who on their own decided to make and market from lane to lane their little purple heart pins as a tribute to Pierce and his family. I was really touched at the little innovators’ determination to do something all on their own to make a difference. And as they approached folks with their big bowl brimming with purple handmade love and care, well, really – who could honestly say “no” to that?

So I returned to the lanes for the first time in about five years, a former leaguer for 10+ years. (Our team even won the championship two years in a row.) But since those fun days of booked Wednesday nights, my knees have gotten crunchy, my elbow and wrist have begun to ache with joint pain and I really wasn’t sure if I could even take the approach without slipping on the slick boards. Thankfully, I got over that initial fear and actually bowled near my old league average (high 130s). My friend Kim joined me, and we had fun setting low score expectations for ourselves (and thankfully, not falling on our tookuses!)

But Sunday wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about any of us. It was about putting aside your Sunday routine and taking a little time out to remind ourselves that there are folks out there with needs greater than our own and easy ways to step in and help in as small a way as taking part in a fun recreational activity or buying a little felt pendant. There are families who have found themselves in tough circumstances who simply need a little support.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, epilepsy affects nearly 50 million people worldwide, 3 million alone right here in the U.S.  Every year, about 200,000 people are diagnosed, of which 45,000 are kids under age 15.  It impacts so many families physically, emotionally and financially, and because of its growing presence, it’s become increasingly important to know what to look for. You can learn more about Epilepsy at the Foundation’s website at www.epilepsyfla.org.

We just entered a new month with a long weekend upon us. I encourage anybody reading this to absolutely take some time for yourself this weekend, enjoy being with your family and friends, and stop working for Pete’s sake! But also ask yourself – what can I do for someone else this week? Is there an event I can support? Can I do something to make a difference in somebody else’s day?

Let others inspire you to take action in some way…participate in a fundraiser, help someone directly, do some research and write about it! Purple it up, my friends. But please be smart and stay safe this weekend…

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