Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Donna's Good Things, Online ...

This is not hyperbole: My friends Sheila and Jeremy are two of the most amazing people on this planet. (Sheila just saw those words on Facebook. She wrote to say that I am overselling the two of them. I assure you I am not.)

Sheila and Jeremy are Donna's parents. (They are also Jay's parents, but this particular post is about his sister.) Last October, Donna died. You may have read this little post about her. "Donna was singular," her parents wrote in her obituary.

Indeed she was.

Donna loved to dance. And so, to honor her, Sheila and Jeremy established Donna's Good Things, a foundation to fund, among other things, dance scholarships. This past June, they raised enough money for four scholarships, enabling four children to take classes who otherwise could have not. (You can read about that here.)

This past October, on the anniversary of Donna's death, Sheila and Jeremy invited a group of family and friends to gather and carve pumpkins. The previous October, pumpkins began to appear in the parkway in front of their home, a pumpkin tribute. And so it was only fitting, one year hence, to pay tribute to Donna once again. We carved our pumpkins and ate Donna's favorite macaroni and cheese. And when evening came, we lit the pumpkins and gathered 'round and sang the songs that Donna sang. It was more than a good thing. It was one of the most profound moments of my life. (There's a picture of the pumpkins here.)

And today, Sheila and Jeremy launched donnasgoodthings.org, a site that celebrates Donna and her singular spirit, a place to share good things, and keep up with Good Things happenings, and contribute to enable even more Good Things in Donna's name. (In addition to dance scholarships, Donna's Good Things also pays for portable DVD players and iPads for children and their families to use while at the hospital, undergoing treatments.)

I never had the privilege of knowing Donna, but as is true for so many others, too, I have been forever changed by her story. She is one of the greatest inspirations in my life. As are her parents, who I am grateful to call my friends.

This is Donna. And these are the words by which her parents elect to live. So should we all.

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