This is a series of articles (I hope) that will make you consider pledging for Blogathon. As I won’t be around then to lend my support directly, I hope this helps.
I was walking in Midvalley today, on the way to San Francisco, when I turned and saw the lift doors opened. A harried young woman came out, pushing a rather stern-looking younger boy out. The first impulse I had was to go over him and tell him, “Get well soon,” till I saw his legs. The second thought was that they might not have appreciated it. There was this certain air about him that defied sympathy.
Barely three seconds after that, I saw this chubby toddler run to his mother with this huge smile on his face and laughter in his voice as she held her arms open. He grabbed a hand of hers and tried to pull her inside a nearby bakery. She laughed and followed him in. It was an impulsive gesture, but it made me think very hard. That child was blessed that he could show his wonder, his delight, his emotions in such a carefree and spontaneous gesture. What about children who were born crippled? How would they show their delight, their wonder? Would they be deprived of the usual sensory experiences we had when we were kids?
As I sat down in San Francisco, my mind drifted back to Peter Tan. Peter is one of those people who perseveres in the face of adversity, who isn’t afraid to show he’s human. The disabled don’t want our pity, nor our sympathy. They want to be accepted as normal people. They want to contribute to society, not be a burden. They want to be independent, not dependent. They have their own dignity and pride, and it’s time that we acknowledge them as such. They don’t want to live off handouts.
This then drove my mind to a Petronas Merdeka ad, the one about the old man advising the young boy about buying shoes. He wore a prosthetic leg, having lost his real leg, but that did not stop him from walking. One of my favourite moments in that ad is when he plays football as a child, and when he kicks the ball, his leg went flying as well. While it was hilarious, it was heart-warming to see the children return the leg to the boy. That was not the scene that stuck in my head though. The scene that came to mind was when the young boy was helping his mother, and there were some men who came to inform the mother that there were government programmes that would help the boy by giving him money, which the mother declined.
Independence is something we should all value. It’s important not only to teach an adult how to be independent, but perhaps more importantly, how to teach a child to be independent. Programs should not only focus on helping the person get through their current difficulty, but they should focus on teaching the person the skills they will need to survive. That’s why programmes offered by the likes of Eden Handicap Society is so important. From walking to running is but a simple step, but you need to learn how to stand, and that may be one of the most difficult skills to learn.
However, don’t forget the children, two of whom inspired this post and series. Children are dying needlessly in the world today because the medicines they need to conquer common childhood diseases are not widely available where they are. Children are spending long, cold nights in the hospital due to diseases which we’re still trying to find a cure for. Children are dying needlessly.
So this Blogathon, open your hearts to the bloggers who are doing it, and your wallets (if you can afford it) to the causes they support. Take a moment to have a look at Eden. Remember the children at Unicef. Lend some support for the Association For International Cancer Research.
Sponsor the bloggers and their causes. To check out the full list of causes being supported, or to sign up as a blogger, check out the list here.
Spread the word.