It’s been a long time since I actually received personal satisfaction out of doing my job. Sure, there’s the enormous triumph of getting a new client, great pride when I land a great media hit for them, and that sense of accomplishment when I help them achieve their ultimate goals. But I’m talking about walking away with the feeling that I truly helped someone with the smallest of gestures.
The Hannah Storm Foundation, which raises awareness, funds treatment and provides educational information for children suffering from debilitating and disfiguring vascular birthmarks, has been funding surgeries for a little boy from China, Tingyi, for the past two years. He and his parents come to New York City and stay for months at a time while Tingyi undergoes multiple surgeries to remove the very large Port Wine Stain birthmark on his face. These are serious surgical procedures, especially for an almost two-year old, but thanks to Dr. Milton Waner, a world-renown surgeon specializing in vascular anomalies, they have all gone successfully and because of his young age, he’ll probably have little to no memory of the whole ordeal.
So what does any of that have to do with my feeling personal satisfaction? I mean I’m not funding the surgeries and I’m certainly not doing the heroic work of Dr. Waner and his staff to make Tingyi a new child. But I did know how I could contribute, and with what…new clothes; well actually hand-me-downs from my son, Jack!
Now we all go through our closets and collect bags and bags of clothes and various items to donate to charity organizations each year, and be honest, this act is mainly for the tax deduction…I know it is for me! It just so happened that at the time of my closet-cleaning bonanza, Tingyi and his parents were arriving in New York for the first round of his surgeries. It dawned on me that Tingyi, especially his parents, would probably appreciate new clothes because let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, everyone loves new clothes!
Luckily I have a clotheshorse for a son (an inherited trait from both parents!), and he had outgrown the bulk of his wardrobe. Instead of trekking to the local charity drop box, I decided to give Jack’s clothes to Tingyi. This was such a simple gesture that I really didn’t give it a second thought. That is until I started seeing pictures of Tingyi wearing Jack’s clothes. He’s an amazing little boy and looked so great in his new clothes.
Here are two little boys who will probably never know one another, but they will forever share a connection through clothes. Tingyi’s parents were so thankful and couldn’t say enough of their appreciation. I promised them that when they returned to New York the following year I would bring more clothes. And that’s exactly what I did. This time two huge bags because for some reason I went a little crazy with the previous year’s wardrobe for Jack. Outlet Malls are my weakness!
Beyond how this very small gesture made me feel, even better was watching the great sense of pride on Jack’s face when he saw Tingyi wearing his clothes. Nothing better than that!
Continued success to Tingyi as he undergoes his surgical procedures and I can’t wait for the new round of photos of him wearing more of his “new” clothes!
To learn more about the Hannah Storm Foundation and how you can help please visit the website.