Dear Sparrow Club students, faculty, sponsors and donors,
I am crying as I think of what to write in this letter. The Sparrow Club program was literally life-changing for me and my family and I don't even know where to begin.
I suppose to start, I must thank the 3,000 people packed into the DDHS gymnasium last May, every one of whom stood up to signal their willingness to help me and my family. Beyond any amount of money, that in itself inspired more change in the way I feel about my son's disability and our chances of everything working out OK. Standing in the middle of so many people from so many different cultures and beliefs all saying with their entire bodies that "yes, we want to help you," was the most powerful and beautiful thing I have ever witnessed. I will never forget it, and I don't think I will ever be able to remember it without tears in my eyes.
From that moment forward, I began to feel less fettered by fear and more empowered to ask my community for what my son needed. Before, I couldn't imagine going to my friends with my hat in my hands and worried endlessly about what they would think of me if I did. But the Sparrow Club showed me the enormous power of giving and its hidden secret: It feels good to give. People want to help their friends and neighbors through life's struggles, but they need to be given an opportunity.
So I began preparations for our own fundraiser for the month of June. I had written a children's book, called "Dark & Light: A Love Story in Black and White," and aimed to sell it through the online crowd-source funding platform Kickstarter. My lofty goal was to raise $5,000 in 30 days to start a business printing "Dark & Light," using the profits to fund Malachi's treatments in perpetuity. By the end of the campaign, we raised more than $10,000 and had five major media outlets, including The Huffington Post, do stories about the campaign. I am certain that this Kickstarter campaign wouldn't have been nearly as successful without my experience with the Sparrow Club.
But the lessons I've learned from these fundraisers haven't benefited only my family. I have also given several modest donations to other friends' fundraisers and have pledged 10 percent of "Dark & Light's" profits to be "paid forward" to other kids with special needs. Two $500 grants have already been sent. It is in this way that the Sparrow Club has made ripples throughout the community.
Before, I would have thought it was crazy for a person to simultaneously fundraise AND donate to other causes, but it is the strangest paradox — the more one gives, the more they get. I've learned that hoarding, consuming and even acquiring money never satisfies a person's desire for more — only through giving it away can we finally feel we have enough.
I also want to thank Sparrow Club sponsor Adidas for giving my family a $500 shopping spree at their company store!
And thank you to the wonderful volunteers who sewed those beautiful blankets for the boys. They are just the perfect size and weight and they still use them every night.
Finally, I am sure you want to know how Malachi is doing after all of this fundraising towards his treatments. The combination of all of these efforts meant that we were able to take him down to the Anat Baniel Method Center in San Rafael, CA., a staggering four weeks this summer, broken into three trips. He is now talking, he knows his ABCs, can count to 30, and is eating a bit better. But perhaps the most dramatic difference is that during our trip at the end of August he finally learned how to crawl and has been doing so with greater and greater speed all across the house!
Thank you, thank you, Sparrow Club. And be proud, David Douglas students and sponsors. Without you, I am certain my son would not be doing as well, and neither would we, his family.
Shasta Kearns Moore