“Good heavens!” Was the phrase on my lips repeatedly during those first 48 hours. That “Good heavens!” feeling was first incredulity – what’s happening?, are people really so kind?, and then it grew into an immense respect for humanity, for communities of people large and small, and then progressed into all sorts of thoughts of “I really don’t deserve this money.” And before anyone contradicts me, let me say clearly, I don’t deserve the money. There are many places in this world where life saving surgery is itself a luxury – an expensive operation to save my arm is not – on a global scale – a high priority. What moves me, shocks me and humbles me is that you, all of you, regardless of the size or nature of your support, believe in the integrity of humanity. You believe that you can change things to make life better. Your support is more than just money – it is an affirmation of values which go beyond saving an arm, beyond pressing the SEND button so that an amount moves from your account to appear on someone else’s. They go beyond even the thought of “what if it was me in that situation”. I have come to realise that the last few days have been about the value of being a community – a community that you belong to and that I do too. Belonging to that community has supported me (in very tangible ways), but nourishes us all in showing us what we can achieve together. In each of you is something that makes you unique, but these last few days have shown us how well we fit together as one Whole.
Peak “Good heavens!” occurred on Monday. I woke to find all sorts of screens flashing around me as they registered more and more donations. As my confidence grew, I tried to write calmly to the hospital to respectfully request a date for the operation. By lunchtime, I asked my husband to check whereabouts we were with the appeal as I had a feeling that we must be almost there. It seemed we were roughly at the right amount, perhaps a bit over, so I quickly tried to stop the flow of money – which was not as easy as I had imagined. My “Stop!” was met with some indignation “it all happened so fast and I haven’t had a chance to get to the bank, please don’t close the appeal just yet, let me make a donation too!” … and to everyone I tried to explain that I understand, but that I have the money I need for the operation now, the frightening prospect of raising so much money is behind me.
On Tuesday morning, the hospital replied: I will be admitted on 14 August and the operation is scheduled for 15 August. The operation does not cause me concern. I have such an overwhelming feeling of peace, I know that I am in good hands and that all will be well.
I would though like to share with you a request (to urge you even) I feel it strongly: Never underestimate the power of community! Be an active part of it, respect it and lovingly help it to grow better, because as you do so, your community will lovingly help you to grow.