To Tanzania with Love | The Laurita Spina Bifida Project wants to donate wheelchairs

“How sad it is that we give up on people who are just like us.” — Fred Rogers (“Mr. Rogers”)

I don’t really remember what it’s like not being able to walk. As parental anecdotes recall, I was about two years old when I took my first steps. My parents were overjoyed, of course, but probably more than most parents, because I have spina bifida. According to my doctors at the time, I wasn’t supposed to be able to walk.

I may not remember what it was like crawling around the house or not being able to stand up, but, at age 30 now, I am beginning to grasp what it means to have limited mobility. My knees and back hurt constantly, and my wheelchair is getting much more mileage than it used to.

As I recently learned through a good friend I’ve never met, there are people in Tanzania, and in many other countries, who do not know the privilege of owning a wheelchair— what a blessing it is to have the equipment to facilitate mobility.

Little did I know until these past few weeks, that there are people on the other side of the world who would give anything to have the freedom I am often complaining about— the freedom to move.

That’s why my non-profit organization, The Laurita Spina Bifida Project, has offered to help the Association for Spina Bifida And Hydrocephalus Tanzania (ASBAHT) by raising funds so they can purchase wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, and a prosthetic leg for a young girl with spina bifida.

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Image courtesy Sifa Sylvia, ASBAHT 

A shifting perspective

It really gives me pause to reflect on how grateful I am for my “inconveniences.”

Over there, where my friend lives, people aren’t griping because someone took the accessible parking space. Or because their wheelchair won’t fit in their friend’s car when she offers to give me a ride.

They don’t complain about these problems because they don’t exist. Because access to the mobility devices they need doesn’t exist.

Many moms of children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus must push their children in strollers instead of carrying them. If they don’t have access to the brain surgery to have a shunt placed, the children’s heads grow until the parents can no longer carry them. Even these strollers are very hard to come by. As for me, I am only vaguely reminded I have a shunt in my head when the weather changes and I feel a slight headache.

This holiday season, I am fully committed to making the freedom of mobility a reality and not just a dream for at least several people in the Tanzanian spina bifida community…people who are much like me.

Maybe this will make a huge, life-altering difference for them. Maybe it won’t. All I know is, everyone needs someone in their life who refuses to give up on them.

I have you guys. Now, it’s my turn to be that person for somebody else.

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Image courtesy Sifa Sylvia, ASBAHT 

How you can help

What we need, first and foremost, is monetary donations. Whether it’s $5 or $500, every dollar makes a big impact when you add it all up. Trust me on this! How incredible is it that for the price of a latte macchiato you bring us one step closer to giving a deserving human being the gift of mobility?

 

Here’s a rough estimate of what each item costs, in U.S. dollars:

• Wheelchairs – $140.00 each

  • Walkers – $70.00 each

• A prosthetic leg for a youth with spina bifida – $460.00

Other ways to help out

If you own a company or know of a company or organization that might be interested in partnering with us to help raise the funds, please reach out to me at laurita.tellado@gmail.com. I truly believe “it takes a village,” and you are all my shining example of that!

Consider this campaign for your company’s end-of-year charitable contributions. Every donation is tax-deductible.

Also, since there are just so many wonderful social good campaigns during this time of the year, we need your help with getting the word out. Please, post to Facebook, Tweet, share, blog, Pin, Instagram post, etc.! There is truly no action that is too small to make a difference.

Please share / post using the hashtags #TheLSBProject , #SpinaBifida, and #Give5ToThrive (because we want to encourage that no amount is too small!).

Keep up with this campaign by following and connecting with us on social media:

The Laurita Spina Bifida Project on Facebook

@TheLSBProject on Twitter 

@TheLSBProject on Instagram

Remember what it’s all about

Finally, keep in your mind and heart that we are doing this to pay it forward. We have been so Blessed throughout this entire process, and I’m grateful for each and every person who has been part of The Laurita Spina Bifida Project’s journey thus far.

In the words of my friend Sifa of Tanzania, the angel behind-the-scenes who has put me in contact with the ASBAHT: “It will be an honor for ASBAHT to partner with you or any other organization or individuals out there with the heart to help the forgotten children, youth, and adults living with SBH in Tanzania.”

Thank you, Sifa. We’ll do our best.

Love,

Laurita ♥

Make the 2012 ‘Nice’ List: A BRITAX BOB Stroller Giveaway!

With the holidays already here, many families have already celebrated Hanukkah, and many more are gearing up for Christmas, as well as commemorating other special days with family and close friends.

But of course, the holidays aren’t just about getting presents, or even giving presents. They’re about taking the time to give of ourselves and reach out to others who are not as fortunate as we are.

This year, I was able to raise over $2,300 for the Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida. And guess what? Donations are still open! I’m not mentioning this at all to “toot my own horn,” so to speak. But really, it’s about the power of social media and a wonderful community to make a big difference. Donations are still open and definitely welcome!

This Christmas, I also decided I wanted to participate in one of the many “Angel Tree” gift collections going on, this particular one being held at my Church. Angel Trees are fast becoming a tradition for many non-profit organizations and charities. The way it works is that you visit an Angel Tree at a specific location (say, a mall, Church, or school) and take one of the paper angels from the tree. The angel has the information of a person (often a child) who might otherwise not be able to receive a gift this year. The person’s task is then to purchase a new, unwrapped gift for the child and return it to the Angel Tree location.

I was surprised at how eager I was to participate this year. I chose to buy for a little girl, and I enjoyed visiting the toys’ section of a retail store and picking out princess-themed toys and clothes.

Strangely enough, it was not the events of December 14th which inspired me to take part in the Angel Tree tradition. I did this before. But now, reflecting on the tragedy that has happened recently, it reminds me not to take the lives of anyone– particularly young children– for granted.

So, I encourage you all, whether it’s participating in a local or national charity event, making cards for children who are in a hospital, or simply taking the time to reach out to a friend or relative who’s going through a difficult time– to take that step and touch the life of someone else.

I’m probably nowhere near making the “nice list,” but I do enjoy giving back and hope that even the smallest of my actions will make a difference to someone, somewhere.

In celebration of the holidays, I’m giving away a BRITAX BOB stroller (valued at over $400) to a lucky reader!

 

*Pictured stroller is similar, but not necessarily the exact stroller, that the winner will receive.  

 

Last year, BRITAX announced the acquisition of BOB, “a leading, innovative, high-quality maker of jogging strollers.”

The BOB strollers are compatible with BRITAX’s line of car seats, making it super-easy for you to protect your child, no matter where you are on the go– in the car, or in the stroller.

How to Enter to Win a BRITAX BOB Stroller: 

  • Using the Rafflecopter form below, there will be one (1) mandatory entry and several optional entries you can choose for extra entries.
  • For the mandatory entry,  please comment below as to how you plan to make the “Nice List” this year. Good deeds should be done for their own merit, not for getting a pat on the back, but feel free to “brag” here and feel proud of what you’ve done or plan to do! The goal here is to inspire everyone to take action, in whatever way possible.
  • For additional entries, do any or all of the additional entries using the Rafflecopter form. Each action you take will earn you one (1) extra entry.
  • Entries will close on Wednesday, December 26th at 11:55 p.m.
  • A winner will be chosen at random on Thursday, December 27th and announced on this blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!

Love & Blessings during the season and always,

Laurita ♥

 

**Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Britax (follow on Twitter) and I will be compensated. I am a member of the Britax Latina Advisory Board. All ideas and opinions are my own.