I know a little girl whose momma had breast cancer this summer. As soon as the diagnosis was announced, that young lady, though she was just 11, set out to do whatever she could to spread kindness throughout the house. She helped her daddy with chores, kept peace with her brothers, and delivered food and water to her mother when she was too weak after surgery to get out of bed.
This little girl loves to sew, so one day, right after the mother’s second surgery, the little girl asked her mom if she could sew something to sell in hopes of raising money to help other women with breast cancer.
An idea was born: Cozies for the Cure. The little girl set up a webpage through the Susan G. Komen foundation and started sewing lots and lots of coffee cup cozies.
One night, the mom put a link on her Facebook page, and by the next morning that little girl had raised more than $500. Within two months, she was $150 shy of reaching her goal of $3,500.
Her momma agreed to give one more shoutout on Facebook. The $3,500 goal was met within 15 minutes, but over the next 24 hours, hearts were moved to continue giving. In all, more than 100 people donated to the cozy cause and $4,500 was raised.
This story is special to me, but difficult to write because it’s the story of my family. That little girl is my daughter, Jordan.
Cancer wanted to steal, kill and destroy, and there were moments when it felt like it might be successful. But like any form of adversity, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Without cancer, my daughter would have never gotten to see the generosity of an entire community. She would never have learned that a big impact comes a little bit at time. And she would not have felt the pride that is born from being the top fundraiser in a philanthropic event that included more than 1,500 people.
Jordan raised enough money to provide more than 40 women with mammograms. If the statistic holds that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer—and early detection is the key to saving their lives, then my daughter has spared dozens of other children the tragedy of losing their mothers.
The scars on my chest will forever tell the story of my summer with breast cancer, but thanks to the generosity of people in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, Florida, the Carolinas and California—and the one little girl who brought them all together—those scars also tell a pretty special story of kindness.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.