Good afternoon everyone! Is everybody ready to see summer winding down? I know a lot of my friends are getting their kiddos ready to start school or preparing to return to college themselves. For me, it’s just another week where the weather is gradually growing cooler, and the promise of Fall is in the air. I for one can NOT wait and am counting down the days until Halloween season, as I call it, begins.
Today, instead of focusing on my bucket list journey and my reasons for embarking on it in the first place, I’d like to focus on the journey of others who are attempting (and succeeding) to live every day to the fullest as well as trying to find a little goodness in dark times. Before we begin, I would like to state that I learned about both of these stories on the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, a (week)daily radio show out of New York that is hilarious, informative, and sometimes just downright uplifting. You can check out stories and videos from the episodes as well as listen to the episodes and other podcasts associated with the show here or on any podcast app.
The first journey I would like to share is that of Jarielys Quijano. Jarielys is a young woman who was diagnosed three years ago with an extremely rare form of Osetosarcoma that is located in her spine. Unfortunately, she found out recently that there is nothing more doctors can do for her. It is possible that experimental trials may help, but there is no guarantee. Jarielys has decided that instead of making herself feel miserable attempting to simply prolong her life, she is going to start living it. She created a bucket list, which she is currently powering through, of items that she has always dreamed of doing. You can see her full bucket list as well as donate to help her fund her journey on her fundraiser page.
She went on the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show as part of this bucket list. He, and the other members of the morning show, being the amazing, generous human beings they are, went down the list seeing what they could make happen for her. Among these were giving her tickets to the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas, paying for her stay at a resort of her choice in Montauk, getting her a spot on the Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship to Alaska so she can go whale watching, and trying to get her to a taping of the Ellen DeGeneres show. They are also buying her a $25,000 electric wheelchair so she can get around more easily, since she became wheelchair bound a few months ago.
To hear this girl who is facing something so terrifying talk about bravely facing the inevitable and living every single day to the absolute fullest was unbelievably inspiring. Jarileys believes there is no point in waiting to do the things you’ve always wanted to because you never know how many days you will be granted. You can hear the episode for yourself by going to the show’s webpage and selecting “The Day We Made a Bucket List” (aired August 9, 2018). Seriously worth the listen.
The second story I would like to share with you is that of Mary Latham. In 2013, Mary and her family spent a week in a hospital because her mother was passing away. Feeling helpless in that time, Mary wanted to do something to prove that there is more good in the world than bad (something her mother had said to her just months before her passing). So a year and a half ago, she got in her mother’s car and began a road trip across all fifty states in search of stories of human kindness. Once she visits all fifty, she will compile the stories she has collected into a book that she will donate to hospital waiting rooms so that people who are feeling hopeless, as she did, have something positive to keep them in high spirits.
Along the way, she relies on the kindness and generosity of strangers who donate money to quite litterally fuel her journey and offer her a place to stay. As of posting this, she has driven 25,902 miles, visited 29 states, and stayed in 104 homes. I have reached out to Mary and, while I am unable to provide a spare room for her to stay in, have offered to buy her dinner when she rolls through Omaha. She has graciously accepted, but says it’ll be a while before she gets over here. So stay anticipated for that. This woman’s optimism as well as the inspiring stories she’s already collected are enough to put a smile on your face even when it’s pouring rain. You HAVE to visit her website and read her incredible story. You can also track her journey, watch her TED Talk, donate to the gas tank, and buy More Good T-shirts.
Well, I hope these stories inspired you to keep on your own journey and lifted you up even just a little. Please do take the time to visit the links I included above, and if you are able, donate to either, if not both, of these incredible women. Until then, have a wonderful week everyone.