Monday, June 7, 2010

"Service is the rent we pay for living"- Malaak Rock

Today's quote is from the gorgeous, drop-dead, stunning wife of the funniest man in the world - Chris Rock. Yet again, I was watching my daily episode of Oprah, and Malaak was taking part on the show, sharing her views on volunteering (and plugging her book "If it takes a village, build one"). When she said "service is the rent we pay for living" I thought it was a great way of looking at volunteering, or helping those who need or want help.

Yesterday, my eldest son and I took part in the "MS walk and fun run" here in Melbourne. It was something I decided to do when another friend on facebook posted he was doing it with his sons. I already knew four people who were living with MS, so it was something I felt was quite close to my heart. As I set the wheels in motion and asked my friend if I could join his team, I put two and two together and worked out that his gorgeous wife (who I had known for a couple of years whilst being kindergarten mums together) was also living with MS. So this then pushed me on and made me even more determined to raise money for the cause and raise awareness of a disease that was becoming much more common than I would like to acknowledge.

A few weeks later, I was overwhelmed by the support and sponsorship of friends and work colleagues and had raised $420 (my son raised $180)! So yesterday, Lochie and I made our way in to the city, in the freezing cold and rain, and joined thousands of others on a 5km walk (braver and fitter people took part in the run!) around Albert Park Lake!

Spending a few hours surrounded by people who had taken the time to register, raise money and take part in a fundraiser, to raise awareness and money for a cure, was very humbling and surprisingly - given the dodgy weather - enjoyable. It was also a great teaching lesson for my 11 year old son, who was complaining to me about having a sore foot......It was then that I explained exactly what MS was, and how it affected people living with it. I told him to have a good look around at all of the people who were taking part in the walk - because not only were there people like us who were doing our parts on behalf of people with MS, there were hundreds of people with MS either making their way around themselves, with the help of family and friends or being pushed around the course in wheelchairs. He soon stopped complaining.

Volunteering, fundraising and general service to your fellow human beings is a wonderful way to get a wider view of your community. Sometimes I think we focus way too much on ourselves, community service can be a wonderful way of shifting that focus and and giving our time and energy in ways that help us to appreciate how great our lives really are.

I am now going to keep my eyes peeled for the next stint of fundraising or volunteering I can contribute too. But what has made me most happiest about yesterday, was that after our walk Lochie asked me to wait a minute whilst he strolled over to a tent set up with information about the MS Readathon. He picked up a flyer and said "This is something I could do Mum". Made my day!

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