Join Me In Helping Erika
A few weeks ago I was sitting at work catching up on email. Nestled among the ordinary was a story about a young woman named Erika. Her words still linger in my mind:
"I am a miracle. I thank God every day that he spared my life and gave me the chance to tell my story.
It was an icy day when I was the passenger in a car flying down the road at twice the speed limit. I was 21 and full of life. I had a beautiful baby girl and was a semester away from receiving my nursing degree.
Suddenly, the car lost control and flipped seven times, my body thrown 75 feet eventually being slammed against a tree, breaking my spine in two places and leaving me paraplegic.
It has been 7 challenging years since my accident, and I'm doing my best to get back to a normal life. There were so many days when I didn't want to get out of bed and just wanted to lay there and cry for the rest of my life, but my daughter gave me a reason to live.
I've enrolled in college again - this time to become a social worker and counsel other young women. I have found that my story, and optimism about the future, motivates each woman I share my story with. My accident and paraplegia are blessings - they have helped me grow stronger as an individual, as a mother, and as a woman.
My days are not without struggle. Today I live off of a $650 a month disability benefit - which barely lets me put food on the table, much less pay for other necessities. I can no longer afford the cost of transportation and childcare. I never asked for this to happen, and the last thing I want to do is to live off the government, but I am afraid that without a college degree my options are so very limited. My disability has come to equal poverty. I want nothing more than to get out of the welfare system and be able to support myself and my children."
So, although we now have the facility to enable members to help other members, I did want to take some time to ask the world to listen to Erika's story and think about whether you or someone you know can help. It's so easy to say "no" in these tough economic times, but it's also during these times that saying "yes" makes the biggest difference.
First and foremost, we want to share Erika’s stories of hope and inspiration since we think through that we’ll help her reach her goal (read her story here and here). I’d like to ask you to take a minute from your day to help share this in any of these simple ways:
1. If you are on Twitter, join our Retweets for #Erika campaign on Twitter, by tweeting: "I support #Erika, a paraplegic single mother trying to graduate. Each tweet raises a nickel. Please Retweet http://bit.ly/erika" (you can do it by clicking here). I will be donating a nickel for every person with 50 or more followers that sends out this tweet in the next week. I’ll contribute the first $100, and hope someone else can pick up the dollars-for-tweet matching from there (e-mail me at email@example.com to match tweets with dollars).
2. If you are on Facebook, you can help by joining our group here and then reading about how you can help on Facebook by donating your status
3. Finally, forward an e-mail to your friends with Erika's story. I have pasted her letter as I received it and as I forwarded it to many friends before writing this post. You can forward my e-mail right here as if it were forwarded from the original message
Of course if you're a blogger or journalist, help us by writing about this.
If Erika’s story has touched you like it has touched me, I ask you to consider making a donation (you can do so through ChipIn below via credit card or Paypal). If you want to donate a used car, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.