well i was gonna say good morning, but suddenly realised you could be reading this blog am, pm, today, tomorrow, next year, who knows, so opted for the generic hello, which knows no time or date in the blogasphere.
phew, glad we got that sorted.
so, how was it then?
how was mine?
not too bad, thanks for asking.
how is emily?
well, now that you ask, she is great, and her mum text me last night which was lovely, but here is how she is doing in her own words.
"I've had the transplant!
It was a very casual affair and I just sat in bed as the donor cells dripped into me.
I will never be able to thank this incredibly selfless donor who donated for me, a total stranger enough. THIS is why I campaign for people to sign up....it really does save lives!
I've got a tough few weeks coming up while my body accepts my grafts with the donor cells, but before long my blood genetics will be different to the rest of me!
that's pretty brilliant news i reckon, and we will keep you updated on how emily progresses, but keep all yer digits crossed for her please, she is such a lovely young lady, and is going to do so much in her life i'm sure.
there will be a lot of you reading this who have been touched by emily's story, in such a way that you have registered to go on the bone marrow donor list, and if you have thank you so much you can now see the direct effects of your action, and what an amazing thing to be able to offer to help another human being live, and if you have been running with our updates on emily, and have intended registering, but just haven't had time, which we all find ourselves in that position sometimes, don't feel bad, but what you could do is hook up with these guys this weekend when you've got a spare ten minutes, and you could actually be the person that saves someones life, which i'm gonna be honest when my times up if i could look back and say just that, i'd be pretty proud of myself, so come on, now's the time, help someone like emily live.
so, that was great news, and was closely followed by some bigmoose news on project 15, which i think i have to share a little about, as i am starting to wind myself up by not talking about it, let alone you lovely reader.
project 15 is the 'secret codename' for our next bigmoose project, that is going to be pretty lofty, and will deffo be the biggest thing i have ever done in my life, and will, with your help be something we can all be extremely proud to be associated with.
so what is it i hear you bellow?
(either that or you are muttering profanity's under you breath, casting aspersions upon my parentage)
well as mentioned a few blogs ago i have a dream, no i'm not gonna go all martin luther on you, but i do truly have a dream, and that is to emulate my mate in l.a. tim medvetz and his charity cycle fundraiser.
to reiterate for any new blogreaders, i met this guy on everest, and he runs a non profit called the heroes project, and they are doing an amazing film project that you can check out here http://theheroesprojectfilm.com/ and he does an annual fundraiser using 300 spin bikes in a 3 hour sponsored spin, and last september i watched the event as he generated $220,000 for charity. here's a pic as the bikes were set up on santa monica pier in l.a. pre gig.
now i am going to copy his model, but spin it a little. (did you see what i did there ;))
project 15 is what i am calling the project until we unveil it completely, but my goal is to buy 300 bikes to get project 15 up and running, but that is a big wad of cash, so i have succumbed to the idea of doing this a step at a time, i.e. eating the elephant a bite at a time.
i have a plan, which i will share with you very soon, and would love you to be a part of, but for now, i have ordered and paid for 5 bikes, which will be landing in the uk very soon, and once we've branded them up will look something like this.
these bad boys are going to be what we're calling 'charity warriors', and are gonna help us on our journey to doing something pretty amazing, so, please bear with us, as project 15 will soon be launched, and we are hoping you will love it, and want to be a part of it.
i have shared the full project 15 idea with a few people to see if they think it can work, and the response has been unanimously positive, and has led to us being given the go ahead to have a feature done on a local tv station, and for one of the most well known high street stores in the country confirming they want to do a co-branded event, and we a have a date planned already, so i am rather excited to say the least, mainly because of the big hitters who seem to be liking the idea enough to support it, so exciting times, and we'll tell you more over the coming weeks.
my last story this week is about a guy we have met at the cardiff feed the homeless evening some time ago, and he is a portuguese chap called joão, and i mentioned him a few months ago, when one of the other volunteers steve western campaigned to try to find joão a job, but unfortunately to no avail.
well the last evening we went to volunteer, joão was there early, as were we, and we started chatting.
now joão is probably late 30's very smart, 5'6"ish, and speaks extremely good english, and if i had a position within my company i would employ him in a flash, but unfortunately i don't, but i am going to try to see if i can help him in some way get himself back into our civilised society.
as we chatted, i asked joão how he had found himself in the situation he was now in, and he relayed his story, which was a very simple, and a very quick one.
he had been working happily for a spanish restauranteur in cardiff, who had reached the stage in his life where an opportunity had shown up to sell his business, and he could retire happily to his homeland, but unfortunately the new owners brought their own staff in, leaving joão without the job he loved.
the next part of the story was very quick, as joão fell into arrears on his rent, and with a very forthright landlord, he found himself without a job or an abode.
he applied for many jobs, but just couldn't seem to get the break he so wanted, and without an address to give potential employers he slid further down the spiralling staircase of life, as without one he couldn't get the other, and vice versa.
now as i spoke to this guy i felt a mix of emotion, but mostly i felt this could happen to anyone with just the wrong breaks, and without a support network of friends or family to help you survive.
as joão's eyes moistened, i cast my mind back to when i was 14 years old, and boarded my first plane to fly to lisbon to spend a summer with my best friend at the time john rego, with his family in vila franca de xira.
i love portugal, and the two summers i spent there i learnt a sprinkling of words, including a variety of swearwords, that my buddy john's family used to get me to say in front of any friends that came to their house, which was kind of weird, standing there cussing in portuguese in front of these people as they laughed heartily, i was somewhat of a trick baby, but an easy skill that i still possess.
i can also sing one popular portuguese song quite well, and much to the chagrin of my family, always sing it to any portuguese that we come across, and the memories of portugal, and helping fishermen pull their sardine nets onto the shore, to be rewarded by collecting carrier bags full of these delicious fish, and running home to barbecue them immediately, have never left me.
so it was then that as joão talked, i thought that i needed to help this guy get back into the life he had lost.
the fact that my mate john's name in portuguese is joão was only a slight coincidence.
my brain whirred as i thought of a way we could facilitate joão's climb back to where he longed to be, and i thought of how great social media has been for bigmoose, and thought of a way we could possibly get this plan implemented.
a video of joão telling his story would be the way i thought, film him with his raw emotion, and people watching would empathise, and somewhere the person i was looking for would gravitate towards us, sorted!
i told joão of my idea, and he agreed it was a good idea, so i suggested we do it there and then, in my own inimitable do it now fashion, but joão explained that he didn't want to do it immediately, as he was feeling quite depressed, but said that he would do it another time, when he felt better.
we chatted some more, and not wanting to let this opportunity to help joão slip away, i suggested that we could come back the next night if he would prefer, and he agreed that would be a better idea.
as chloe my daughter and i set off to meet joão the next night, we discussed keeping our expectations low, as he may not turn up, and we mustn't be disappointed if this was the case.
but as we waited with the other homeless people the next night waiting for the van with the food and drink that is supplied, i saw joão walking towards us, but his body shape was more hunched than normal, and he looked like a man beaten, and his eyes were very listless.
he said hello, and i knew this wasn't going to happen, but engaged him in an upbeat manner asking after his wellbeing.
he told me that he just wandered the streets with nothing to do, just drifting, and he didn't want to do the filming tonight, as he was feeling very depressed.
i totally respected his feelings, and chatted with him, giving him a card with my contact details, and telling him that when he felt ready, to give me a call at any time and we could try again, and also if he felt crappy, he could always ring me even just for a chat if he could access a phone, which as i said it i thought possibly sounded a tad daft, but i'd already said it.
as we walked to our car i felt sad, i really wanted to help this man, but had struck out, and hadn't realised the effects of his depression.
as we talked in the car, chloe suggested that maybe he just didn't want to be video'd, and referenced a recent corporate video i had done, which i hated having to do, as i'm not a fan of looking into the camera, and as one who is wise beyond her years, she pointed out something that in my enthusiastic state hadn't seen.
we turned the car around and drove back to try another approach, and to suggest just taking a picture of joão instead of a video, thus removing one obstacle, but still keeping the emotional connection to this man.
my enthusiasm for this approach was met with a similar response, 'not tonight, i don't feel good, another time'.
i had tried, but my plans hadn't worked, so on the journey home i decided i had choices.
1. accept that this chap didn't want help, and was in a very dark place that i am not trained to deal with, and walk away to my comfortable warm life.
2. reach out to you, who might, just might, be able to help in some way, you may be able to help directly, or you may know someone who could help by offering joão some work and a step up the ladder, back into the society he wants to live in.
so, if after reading this you think you might be able to help in any way, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07977585548, i would love to hear from you.
i realised many years ago that i cannot change all the worlds ills, but i sure as heck would like to try in some small way to help joão, and if you can play your part how cool would that be?
so, in conclusion, thanks for reading this very long blog, and even if you can't help directly as you are not in this neck of the woods, maybe e-mail with some positive words, and i will print your e-mails out and give them to joão when i see him next, as they may give him hope.
have an awesome week, do good things, and thanks again for reading.