While it may be hard to imagine anything upstaging the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread (my Nana's recipe) and the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears football game taking center stage today; GPP's Top Ten List of Gratitude may outshine your Aunt Betty's green bean casserole... (Shhh it will be our little secret!) Please feel free to pass #GPP's list around the table and save room for a second helping; there's always plenty of gratitude to go around! What tops your gratitude list?
10.) Harvey Parry's gold medals
I can't keep track of Harvey's gold medals; (by the time he was seven years old, he had eight)! This super star contracted meningitis as a baby leaving him without the use of his lower legs but as you can see this isn't slowing him down one bit. Every time, I see Harvey's smile I am reminded that nothing is impossible!
9.) Chocolate bar, the book
When I grow up I want to be like Dylan Siegel, the author of Chocolate Bar, the book. Did I mention he's not even 10- years old? Dylan and Jonah (pictured above) may not be wearing capes but they are real life super heroes! At 6- years- old, Dylan knew his best friend, Jonah was sick with a rare liver disease (GSD, Type 1 b) and wanted to do something to help. His parents suggested hosting a bake sale or a lemonade stand but Dylan had a sweet tooth for writing so he put his creativity to work and wrote Chocolate Bar, The Book. Wait for it... Wait for it... The book has raised more than ONE MILLION DOLLARS, which is #sochocolatebar (AKA Dylan's terminology for TOTALLY AWESOME)! All money raised goes directly to Jonah’s research fund at the University of Florida where his doctor, GSD expert Dr. David Weinstein, is actively seeking a cure that will have applications for other liver-related diseases as well. Got a craving for a story sweeter than chocolate? Buy the book at http://chocolatebarbook.com/.
8.) Daring doris' hard hat
This 101- year- old Great Grandma holds the World Record for being the oldest abseiler (AKA scaling buildings like Spiderman). She's coined the nickname 'Daring Doris' for scaling buildings like Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower in the United Kingdom, which is taller than an American football field is long. Doris Long's secret to staying young is quite simple: "helping others." Every time this centurion makes a daring descent she raises thousands of dollars for Rowans Hospice in Waterlooville.
7.) the superman shirt aDel Termos' son wore at his daddy's funeral
Words fail me but this picture says it all. It's only fitting that Adel Termos' son be sporting a superman shirt at his daddy's funeral. Adel Termos (the man whose picture his daughter his holding) threw himself on top of a suicide bomber and saved the life of his little girl and hundreds of others in a crowded marketplace in Beirut, just one day before the #Paris attacks.
6.) Ben's bells
"Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny."
Every time I hear that quote by C.S. Lewis; the face of Jeannette Maré (pictured to the right with her baby boy, Ben) pops into my head. Jeannette endured the greatest tragedy any mother can imagine when Ben, her two and half year old son died, unexpectedly. This mother of two transformed her grief into the most colorfull message of kindness, which is the centerpiece of her non-profit, Ben's Bells Project. Thousands of Ben's Bells can be heard ringing in trees across the U.S. offering a message of hope, love and kindness. To find a Ben's Bells art studio near you and for more info about this movement visit Ben's Bells.
5.) The Capes these superhero parents are wearing
As a parent you wake up each day unaware of the kind of super hero feats you will need to pull off that day to help your child succeed. While you may not be aware of the cape that is hanging in your closet; your love, dedication and selfless sacrifice are evident in your super hero kids I meet during our Greater Purpose Project School Heroes Tour! It was my honor and privilege to kick off the school year with the parents, leaders and mentors of Gilbert Public Schools VNET (Volunteer Network). I was honored to give the keynote "How to Inspire a Super Hero Campus" along side Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. When I asked Dr. Kishimoto about her own mother, she told me she was her "Super hero." I'm willing to bet if I asked Maria, Dr. Kishimoto's daughter about her mom she would tell me the same thing!
4.) The Mighty Ducks movie
"Quack, quack, quack!" U.S. Women's Hockey Player, Olympic Silver Medalist, Lyndsey Fry credits the Disney's Mighty Ducks for encouraging her to follow her dream of being a female competitor in a male dominated sport. Lyndsey, an Arizona native grew up playing on all boys teams. Correction: She grew up being the Captain of the all boys' teams she competed on. Lyndsey recently graduated from Harvard University and is a rock star, role model to children everywhere. GPP is honored to have Lyndsey headline The Greater Purpose Project, School Heroes Tour! For more info about GPP's School Heroes Tour click here.
3.) Robbie Gould's Cleats
If you're a football player in the NFL, kids are going to look up to you. Whether you choose to be a role model is also "up to you." Chicago Bears Kicker, Robbie Gould holds the NFL title for being the "most accurate kicker" in the league but that is only the headline to his story. The founder of The Goulden Touch Foundation, Robbie and his team are committed to helping the underserved and those in need- especially when it comes to children. It was my honor to kick off the first ever Greater Purpose Project School Heroes Assembly with Robbie at San Marcos Elementary School in Chandler, Arizona.
2.) Bob Votruba's KindNess bus
One guy Bob, his dog Bogart, a bus and a bike touring the U.S. to promote kindness... You better believe there's a story there! I'm not saying I support the notion of "cloning human beings" but if I had to recommend a human to be cloned; the founder of One Millions Acts of Kindness, Bob Votruba would top the list! Bob sold all of his personal belongings and transformed a bus into his home to make his goal of "kindness" reach schools in the lower 48 states. His inspirational journey has also included a couple invitations to the White House to address our nation's leaders. For more information please visit www.OneMillionActsofKindness.com.
1.) Patrick Taylor's wheelchair
I will never forget that brisk November morning when Patrick Taylor wheeled into my life. At the time I was a reporter at the CBS affiliate, KOLD-NEWS 13 in Tucson performing my morning 6 am live shot when I met Pat. The station was collecting food for the local food bank and Pat rolled up with a donation in his lap. The retired firefighter and Multiple Sclerosis Warrior was on a 15 mile ride in his wheelchair training for the Paralympics. I knew that I wanted to tell this man's story, but I had no idea he would be the inspiration behind my "Greater Purpose" in life. My dear friend, Pat lives on in my heart everyday and his life's motto "Never Say Die," is the legacy of The Greater Purpose Project. We are hosting the first annual Greater Purpose Project, Patrick Taylor Memorial Wheel, Walk, Run event in Tucson, 2016, I hope to see you all there!
Somedays we need more than just a positive quote on a coffee mug to get us through the day... We need connection, conversation, laughter and LOVE. As a journalist I am on a passionate pursuit of sharing the stories that get me out of bed... Stories about real-life superheroes (just like you.) May this blog fuel your super powers, imagination and greater purpose. Tune in for inspirational, uplifting, fist pumping and sometimes LOL content. Please join in the convo!