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 ♥

Blogging, Speaking, Walking & Rolling: An Update for Good

This year, I feel I’ve especially committed myself to doing whatever God has in store for me. If it’s not meant to be, it’s because He has better plans for me than I could have made for myself. 

As it turns out, the purposes of those plans often overlap with each other– creating just a little confusion in my life! But I need not be too stressed about it– it’s all for good. :) 

So here’s the lowdown on what I’ll be up to in the coming weeks and months: 

  • In just 10 days, I’ll be speaking at CFLBlogCon, formerly known as the Central Florida Blogger Conference, on the topic of “Blogging for a Cause.” (I know, right up my alley, isn’t it?) I’m very excited to be invited to speak at a conference that was founded last year. The very talented organizing team is doing a fabulous job of bringing together bloggers, entrepreneurs, and social media diehards from all walks of life to present a diverse, educational, and entertaining program throughout the day. Check out the Official CFLBlogCon guide for more details!
  • The CFLBlogCon team is also debuting its Blogging for Good program this year, and it aims to raise awareness and funds for some great organizations, among them the Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida, and the Valencia Foundation. While almost everyone already knows why I support the first organization, you might be wondering about the second one. Well, I’m a graduate of Valencia College, and while I completed my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida, Valencia will always hold a special place in my heart as my first college alma mater. The foundation is committed to improving education for all students, and they have often given me a platform to promote my cause. Of course, I would encourage you all to support the SBACFL through this program, as well. Please visit this link to find out how you can make a difference for good.
  • My goal is to continue the work I began last year as a Team Captain for the Central Florida Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida. So, I need your help. Can we exceed our goals from last year and raise the bar? Team Holdin’ Out for a Hero is at it again, and we need more members, and more fundraising. We need all team members to be actively seeking out donations. That being said, any way you can promote it would be awesome. 

  • While I can’t share all the details with you yet, I know I’ll be speaking on a panel at the LATISM ’12 conference in Houston in October!! Yay. I can’t tell you all how excited I am, but because I’ll be in Houston– dun dun dun— I’ll unfortunately be missing out on attending the Walk-N-Roll in person! :( So that’s why I’ll need extra support from you all to make my dream of raising even more funds a reality. We can do this. I do know I’ll be speaking on a health-related panel, so I will definitely be plugging The Cause. :)

So that’s life on the cause front for now. Stay tuned for even more updates. Thanks again to all of you who posted comments, supportive Tweets and wall posts on Facebook in celebration of our 3-year anniversary. Rest assured I read and appreciated them all so much!!

 

Love,

Laurita ♥