Sometimes Charity doesn’t need a non-profit but rather a simple act of kindness. A few years ago I received a call from a friend about a young 10-year-old girl dying from bone cancer and he needed help.
My friend, Father John, was a chaplain at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. It was days before Thanksgiving weekend and this little girl really wanted her First Holy Communion and the celebration that went with it for her family. However, her family was very poor and could not afford a dress, a veil or a cake. The Chaplain asked me to help.
I spent 2 days trying to track down a white dress, size 14, in November and gave up. I had a lot to do for the holidays and my goodwill was running low. I did, however, go to the bakery, tell the little girl’s story and they made the most beautiful cake which through teary eyes they gave me as their gift.
Next, I ran into a friend and complained about my challenge with finding this dress and she ran into her house and came down with the most beautiful lace veil to cover the little girl’s now bald head.
My own children were about the same age at the time and made this little girl cards and asked their friends to do the same. One friend’s mother owned a jewelry store. When she heard the story she asked me to come by and she would have something special for the family to give her on her special day.
Things were coming together, however I still didn’t have the dress. I had asked everyone I knew with daughters, called every store and was telling my dear friend on the phone the night before this celebration was to take place. As we spoke she was opening a package from her cousin in Virginia. My girlfriend had young daughters not even close to the size needed for this dress.
As she opened her package, with the phone in one ear she said, “You are not going to believe this, but my cousin just sent the most beautiful new white dress, size 14 for the girls.” We were speechless.
Thanksgiving day Father John came by and I had cards, a beautiful lace veil, a gorgeous wedding type cake, a perfect white dress, size 14 and a navy blue jewelry box that contained a diamond cross on a delicate platinum chain. Father John was near tears as we all were.
That day he gave the little girl her First Holy Communion in the hospital with all of her family there. She told Father John. “She felt like a princess.” The family was in awe of everything. One month later, a few days after Christmas she was buried in her beautiful white dress, her white veil and wearing the diamond cross she loved so dearly.
I think of this story and this girl often and every time I think of the miracle of kindness. The difference that simple gestures make and just how much Charity really matters.
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