Social Media + Generosity = Social Good

Let me share with you a very heartwarming, inspiring story, one that happened last weekend.

I received the yearly Cancer Warriors Foundation Christmas wishlist via email from James Auste last friday. He is the founder of the foundation, a very inspiring guy with a mission. I’ll write about him in another entry, for sure. The wishlist includes the names of the kids with cancer they are currently supporting, their ages, and the gifts they wish to receive this Christmas. I went over the list the next day and several things caught my attention – many of them wanted bicycles and guitars, and there were a few who wished for things that would help them have more comfortable lives. I don’t think there are a lot of kids who wish for wheelchairs and nebulizers for Christmas…

And so I posted on Facebook, asking how much a wheelchair and a guitar would cost. People responded, and in the course of the online conversation I told them what the items were for. I wanted the post the list online, but I wasn’t sure if I could, so I asked around first, and asked James through an email reply. In the same reply, I confirmed the wheelchair and nebulizer. I was too moved not to. A friend saw my post, and confirmed 7 guitars! I was so overwhelmed and kept thanking him via text and he said simple – “music and charity – I couldn’t say no”.

My husband was home that day, and I mentioned it to him. He is a cyclist. He founded the Philippine Cycling Network (PCN) and started the blog Bisikleta.ph. He posted on his Facebook account and immediately got a pledge or two. Inspired, he told me to confirm all the kid bicycles. There were 10! Slowly, we got more pledges, mostly through Twitter, Facebook, and the PCN mailing list. He contacted the owner of Joven Bike Shop, and asked for the prices. The owner, his friend, said that he would give the discounts, as his ‘donation’. As we got more pledges, we were more inspired, so we also asked for the prices of the mountain bikes, which the older kids wished for. There were 5. The bikes are pricier so we weren’t sure if we could get pledges for all right away. Boy, was I wrong to doubt the generosity of people. A friend who’s out of the country messaged me on Facebook and pledged 2 bikes. She even sent the money right away. The next morning, we woke up to a text from the man who started TLBF (Terry Larrazabal Bike Festival). He said “sa akin na lahat ng natira”. Wow.

In less than day, we were able to get pledges for the following:

  • wheelchair
  • nebulizer
  • 7 guitars
  • 10 kid bicycles
  • 5 mountain bikes

We will make sure we also give helmets with the bicycles.

I am moved by the generosity of people.  And I am amazed at the power of Social Media.   This is a perfect example of Social Good*.  People are willing to help and donate, sometimes we just have to let them know about the opportunities.    And Social Media is the fastest way to share information about these opportunities.

*If I’m not mistaken, this is a phrase coined by Mashable.  They have one channel dedicated to Social Good news and information, events and resources.

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