More Inspirational Girls Blogs
- Dyslexia: One Girl's Story from Tragedy to Triumph
- A Guide to Being Glamorously Green
- ROLE MODEL: Hazel McCallion
- Working Your Way Up
- Big Things Happen ...when you don't give up
- What Are YOU Meant to Do?
- Turning a Challenge into a SUCCESS!
- Meet Our Sisters from JAPAN!
- Sisters from Poland
- Beauty and the Beast
- "Only dead fish go with the flow."
- On your mark, get set...GO! Women in the Olympics.
- Mary Wollstonecraft
- Ponytails of Love
- No Matter What!
- Friends & Sisters - the perfect combo!
- Facing Fears - a real life story
- SAPPHO: The Poetess of Greece
- Dreaming Big Can Be Hard
- Goddess of the Month - SOL
- Tuareg: The Blue People
- Inspirational Girls - More Than Just a Hobby
- The Life of Pocahontas
- Girls on the Run
- Belief in a Dream, Dr. Jane Goodall
- Goddess of the Month - Dou-mu
- Inspirational Girls and Women - Lorene Hatelt
- Be Your Own Goddess - Ganga
- Sisters Around The World - Egypt
- Inspirtational Girls and Women - Silken Laumann
- Struggle for Identity - being a young woman during the times of the Renaissance
- Girls Honouring Outstanding Women
- Be Your Own Goddess - Selene
- Life in Africa as a teen of the Masai Tribe
November 2009 Blogs
- Real Girl: Adisa
- DATING: 10 Do's and Don'ts of Having a Boyfriend
- Big Things Happen ...when you don't give up
- How To Make Your Own Bath Salts
- Choosing Careers ...when you have more than one interest
- Focus on Your AWESOMENESS!
- Pay Yourself First
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
This month's Book and Music
Big Things Happen ...when you don't give up
INSPIRATIONAL GIRLS, November 2009, by Alex Papaconstantinou
BIG THINGS HAPPEN
When You Don't Give Up
My name is Alex Papaconstantinou and I am 15 and in grade 11. I like to dance, read, camp, play sports, and have a blast with my friends. I usually spend my summers doing these things, but this past summer was different. A little boy I used to babysit who is also a family friend was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma cancer in his stomach. 'Connor' is only 2 years old.
Deciding To Help
When we first got the news we were all devastated, of course. Personally, I wasn’t dealing with his diagnosis very well. After a couple of days of me moping around the house, my mom told me that instead of giving the situation all of my negative energy, I should be contributing positively. So I went to visit my friend Jaimi for help with brainstorming. We made the decision to do a neighbourhood car wash and barbeque to try and raise money for the little guy. When I proposed the idea to my mom, she said that a bottle drive and a bake sale were also good fundraisers so we decided to make it one big event instead of a couple little ones.
Turning Challenges Into Successes
That week, I went around my area to different businesses and stores and handed out flyers to see if I could get any donations toward the occasion. This part was probably the biggest challenge because not a single business wanted to donate anything to a teenager. After experiencing many “No’s” from business owners, I was feeling extremely discouraged because support was crucial for making this happen. I told my mom about it and her and my neighbour went with me to go and try again. On our second attempt we got many donations; department stores gave us credit to buy supplies, small businesses donated food for the barbeque, dollar stores supplied us with stuff like sponges, cloths, buckets, and soap for the car wash, bars and pubs presented us with their empty bottles to go towards our bottle drive, and print shops made copies of flyers for us for free. Our local newspaper even gave us an advertisement and covered the event with two articles! Boy was I ever glad I didn’t give up after the first try.
Getting By With a Little Help From Our Friends
The next thing we needed to do was recruit volunteers. By the time we were at this stage of organization, many people around our neighbourhood had already heard about our event and expressed interest in helping and/or donating to the cause. So we had a meeting for all of the volunteers and planned everything out. That's when we decided to call it 'Car Wash 4 Conner.'
The week leading up to Connor’s Car Wash was really busy. Every day was spent baking, organizing, delivering flyers, and making posters. Luckily I had a lot of good friends come over to help me.
Nothing Can Stop A Good Thing
On the day that the fundraiser was supposed to occur, it poured rain in buckets and there was thunder and lightning all day! Unfortunately, we had to postpone it to the next day. A couple of the volunteers and I sat in the parking lot and collected bottles from the people who loyally showed up despite the rain. It was amazing to see how many people still came to support Connor. Two little girls went out and bought him toys. A little boy about 8 years old that read about Connor in the newspaper came with his father and brought a card saying “To Connor, Good luck buddy. Health is more important than money,” and in the card was $100 – a combination of all his life savings from his piggy bank and money his dad matched his contribution with. It made me cry because it was such a nice thing to do. That day we ended up making 4 trips to cash in bottles because that many people showed up!
An Amazing Success
The day of the actual fundraiser went flawlessly. The line-up for cars was around the corner! Connor was even well enough to visit for half an hour and he had fun. By the end of the day we had to turn cars away because it was getting late and we had to close up. The final count for the funds raised was over $7000, and man was that ever a shock! We didn’t expect to do that well at all. Hopefully we helped out Connor’s family with the money we raised.
The Beauty of a Community
Just experiencing this entire thing has made me realize how fast and strong a community can come together when someone is in need. It has opened my eyes to the willpower and the readiness that many people have for participating in aiding other people. 'Car Wash 4 Connor' would not have been nearly as big and successful as it was if it weren’t for every single one of the people that stepped up to the plate and supported Connor.
My message to other girls is to never give up and NEVER dream smaller than you can imagine because you will surprise yourself at what you are capable of accomplishing. You may not know it, but there is a fire that burns inside of you and it inspires you to move mountains! Don’t ever let someone else let you believe that you can’t achieve something.
Message from the Editor: Dear readers, there are many people like Connor out there. Maybe they have cancer, or maybe something completely different. If Alex’s inspirational story touched your heart, then pay it forward and take this example to make a difference for someone you know or love. We don’t have to travel any farther than within our own communities to make massive positive change.
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sports, friends, dance, read, Inspirational Girls, Alex Papaconstantinou, grade 11, diagnosis, fundraiser, bottle drive, bake sale, car wash, donation, neighbour, newspaper, article, colunteers, Car Wash 4 Connor, thunder, lightning, rain, piggy bank, community, never give up, achieve