One in a Million: The Birthday Girl

The Ball Pit

I am a person who loves birthdays, which makes me nauseatingly annoying to those in my life who don’t. But for me, it’s the idea that one day out of the year, we get to make a special fuss over being alive and roll around in the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese (the Chuck E. Cheese of my childhood wasn’t the felony farm that it is today).

But it’s not what you think – I’m not interested in being celebrated – if ever I’m a wilting flower (a rare thing, indeed), it’s on my birthday.  I prefer to slink away (I never work on my birthday) and spend the day doing the things I love.  This usually involves high caloric intake.

But a few weeks ago, I saw this video about a little girl who told her parents she wanted to give up her birthday presents for her 9th birthday and, instead, asked people to donate $9 to a charity building clean water wells in Africa.  Her goal was to raise $300.  She raised $1.2 million.  It’s a heartbreaking story with a heartwarming ending, and I urge you to watch the video – it will change you.

She’s been on my mind a lot since then – her story is transforming the way I think about how we celebrate life.  Volunteerism is a very big part of mine, so I’ve been researching ways that I could express my thanks for another year in a more impactful way and hope you’ll join me in changing the conversation about birthdays!  Just think what fun traditions we could start.

This guy is doing 30 good deeds before his 30th birthday and writing about the experience, and here are some other ideas for how to pay it forward.

What do you think would be cool ways to “donate” your birthday to others?

And here are some other amazing kids who started charities!

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