28th Random Act

28th act ronaldRonald DeBernard was diagnosed with PNET brain cancer Easter Sunday of 2013.   PNET stands for a Primitive neuroectodermal tumor. It is a very rare tumor that is typically found in children and young adults under the age of 25. Ronald was 25 years old when he was diagnosed, and 26 when he passed away on the 5th of June.

Right from the start, the cancer was very aggressive and hard on Ronald, as well as his family. Doctors didn’t really have an idea on how to treat it because it has rarely been seen in someone at Ronalds age. Treating the brain at his age was completely different than treating a 5 year old child with the same cancer.

Originally, the doctors told Ronald and his family that he would only have 2-3 months to live, due to how aggressive the cancer was and how little they could treat it. This didn’t prevent Ronald or his family from doing anything and everything to fix it. He was always up for a cure. He was willing to fight for his life. Those short 3 months turned into 14 months of a strong fight.

It was December when the tumor started developing more in Ronalds brain. With a 3rd of his brain already removed, the doctors couldn’t operate again. He started to grow very weak. In the morning he would struggle to get out of the bed. He also had a lot of trouble walking around. Slowly, his body started shutting down. He couldn’t talk well at all, and was tired all the time.

As things started to get harder and harder for Ronald, days became shorter and shorter for him. All he wanted to do was rest his eyes because he was too tired to do anything. Its at times like these that true family and friends are recognized. Siblings, cousins, niece’s and nephews all stepped up to help out with things. His family was there for him every step of the way, even when they needed others to be there for them. They stayed strong even though they were hurting on the inside as well.

My best friend and roommate Priscilla, is Ronald’s niece. Her mom is Ronald’s sister. Her grandmother is his mother. So many people who were so close to him were in a lot of pain, and thats when the community stepped up and wanted to help.

Its the little things that people did that really stood out to Ronald’s family. His friends would come and sit at his bedside while he slept, and would speak of all the memories they shared. There was laughing, there was crying, and along the way, friendships were made that were very unexpected. People traveled all the way from California and even Costa Rica to see Ronald in his last few days.

Nobody wanted to grieve his sickness and instead they celebrated the wonderful life that he had. He brightened so many people’s days, and made a mark on this world that we live in. You could say he was quite the intellectual human being.

I sit here smiling writing about this because I know how important Ronald was to his family, his friends, and frankly, everyone around him. Even though I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him as well as everyone else, I feel that his story should not go unnoticed.

After Ronald passed, the surrounding community sent flowers, dinners, cards, and just stopped by to keep Ronalds family some company.

Ronald’s sister, after everything happened, shared a pretty meaningful quote with her daughter, and my best friend, Priscilla.

She said, “True friends are recognized in some of the darkest moments, in prison, and in a hospital”

So many people were there for them when they needed it the most, and that never went unnoticed.

Priscilla was talking to me the other day and she said, “Its really a shock that something so beautiful, like the friendships I have made, have come from something so terrible. “

Ronald was able to bring so many people together through such a dark time for him, and that, in my opinion, is one heck of a random act of kindness.

 

27th Act of Kindness

23ee306628ee075e97d319fe0e6292abAt my school we have this cafe’ called Rifkin. Everyone makes frequent stops there in between classes to grab something quick to eat before their next class is scheduled. It is a pretty popular spot because the food ranges anywhere from sandwiches to burgers to salads. There are also chips and drinks and candy and what not. 

I like to stay on campus for most of the day because I have a little bit of a walk to get back to my house. I would rather just stay on campus, sit at the cafe’, and get some work done. It seems like a lot of other people do that same thing. 

Well, I know that a lot of people have been having trouble getting “rifkin money” added to their swipes. Our swipes are what get us into buildings, events, and the cafeteria and places like that. I usually just purchase flex dollars because they work only at Rifkin, where I usually am. 

Anyway, like I said, a lot of people have been having trouble. I am not sure if the system has been down or what, but so many people haven’t been able to purchase the food they order because of this problem. 

Well, today was like any other day. I went to Rifkin to order my usual plain bagel with butter. I went and got my naked juice and waited for my bagel to get ready. There was a girl behind me in line who ordered a sub and grabbed chips and a gatorade. When I finished paying for my chips I noticed that she was having trouble paying for hers. I offered to pay for her lunch because I knew so many people were having issues lately. 

She was so appreciative and told me that she would repay me when her card started working! I could tell she was really stressed, probably with classes and her card not working, so I figured it was just a nice thing to do. I would really appreciate it if someone did that for me as well. 

I enjoyed this random act because it really was random. I didn’t have anything planned, I was just helping a stranger out. 

I hope that that led her to do something nice for someone else today, as well. 

24th Act of Kindness

5e9f26200148a7e6b7f1bd62b641fa3b

Todays act of kindness was probably one of my favorites. It wasn’t that it was one of this extravagant acts, but the reaction that we got was amazing. 

Like I said in my other post, I just got to school on Friday. Tomorrow I start my last first day of classes, which is so weird. If i start talking about it too much I get emotional, so I need to stop. 

This morning when my roommate Priscilla and I woke up we were both craving pancakes. We did not feel like making them ourselves so we decided to go to this local diner down the road from our house. As we were sitting there, gossiping about anything and everything, we noticed the most adorable elderly couple sit in the booth behind us. 

We could tell, that even with age, they still were very much in love with each other. They sat on the same side, him with his arm around her, like they were in high school and on their first date. 

Priscilla and I were so taken back by how cute they were that we just HAD to buy their breakfast for them. 

The thing about this diner is that they give you your check and you go up and pay at a register, so we didn’t know how much their check was going to end up being. 

We still really wanted to make their day even better, so when we went up to the cashier we pulled out a twenty and told her to put it towards their check and tip! We saw them walking up behind us and made a run for it so that we could see their reactions without being too in their faces about it. 

As we were hiding in Priscilla’s car, we noticed the couple coming towards us, with the biggest smiles on their faces. 

Couple- “Are you the two girls that paid for our breakfast?”

US- YES!

Couple- “I don’t even know what to say. Who are you? Do we know you? Why did you do that?”

US- “We just wanted to do a random act of kindness for the both of you!”

Couple- “WOW! Do you want a free pizza? Will you be here next week?” 

***so many questions****

US- “Probably not! But thank you so much for the pizza gift card that is so nice!” 

Couple- “WOW I just do not know what to say, thank you so much, you girls are beautiful!”

Let me tell you….it was the sweetest reaction I have ever seen. Reactions like that are what makes it feel so good to help others. 

As we were driving away Priscilla looked over at me and said, “That just made my day!” 

AND IT DID. 

 

23rd Random Act of Kindness

images-10

Oh dear, I am in trouble…

Sitting waiting, wondering what is taking so long I am thinking to myself. I see a doctor walking towards me in the waiting room and he says, “Laurie, will you come with me please”. Well, you know this is not going to be good news.

We go back into the examination room and two other people come in the room and I know, oh man, this is really bad. My heart starts to go a million beats a second and my whole body has this shaking that will not stop. The doctor proceeds to tell me they have found a calcified tumor in my breast that looks like cancer and I need to find a specialist as soon as possible.

My Mother was just diagnosed with stage three-breast cancer 3 months before so my sister and I thought it was a good idea to get checked. I had been many times before with no issues but this time was different. It was the look in their eyes. The look you know you are in deep trouble. The look that has tears in it. The look that feels sorry for what you about to go through. The look you never want to see.

I was walking out of the office in a daze, with my imaging, doctors note in hand and I entered the elevator and saw my OBGYN who had delivered all of my babies. He knew I had this appointment today and we had become very close over the years. We are about the same age and had children at the same time. He also knew I never took things very seriously. I had been in his office the day before and he found this lump and set up the appointment with the radiologist for the next day. He looked at me with the look that I knew he had heard already. Man, does bad news travel fast. I looked at him and just broke down. I do not cry EVER, so this was truly an event. We walked outside the building, I am just sobbing uncontrollably and we sat on a bench. I cried for about 10 minutes, and then I was done. I actually never cried again. We started to make a game plan.

 By the time I reached my car I had an appointment with the best surgeon at Georgetown University Hospital in two hours. Sometimes it is really nice to know people who can work that quickly. While driving from Bethesda to Washington DC I called my husband to fill him in but with an attitude I was fine and everything will be ok. I did not want to alarm anyone and I was truly very good in bad situations, I always have been.  Something comes over me and I just do not stop until everything is in place. If you are sick, I am your girl. I will do everything in my power to make you well.

So finally after a very long wait, this tall blonde beautiful women comes into the room and looks at me and says, “So I hear we have a problem!” Look at it this way; you will have great new boobs. I just started to laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. I knew she was the doctor for me. Her opinion of this awful tumor was no different then the other doctor, so I knew my life was going to change forever.

So the dreaded day comes and I am in this bubble gum pink robe with these wires poking out of my boobs. They had found more tumors that needed to come out. My sister Shelly came with me because I really never said how serious this was to my husband and my children. I needed this to be very understated so I could make it through. I had told very few friends and family about this and wanted to almost keep it a secret.

As Shelly and I were walking down this hospital hallway, we both started to laugh uncontrollable; you know the nervous laugh where you cannot stop. Literally, we were told to stop three times. We just could not, every time we looked at each other it just started again. I think it may have been the “I am gonna die” jokes they did not like. They come to get me and I was walked into this room where your robe comes off and you lie on this table with your arms out like a cross. My doctor says, “I hope you do not mind but I have some of my students that will be in here for the procedure”. I am fine with that until I see 15 doctors that looked 12,  whom all want to touch me. I just went with it, made friends with all of them before they put me out.

I wake up in recovery and find my sisters eyes. My doctor and nurses are looking at me saying how do you feel? I’m okay but why are all of you looking at me like that. I have very low blood pressure so I have a hard time with anesthesia and I was having some issues with coming out of it. Worried looks is all I see and to make things even worse she says it does not look good for me and we have to wait a few days for pathology. At this point, I am starting to prepare myself for the worst. My first thought is my hair, how will I look bald? Seeing a person go through chemo is no picnic and I wondered to myself, would I be a trooper like my Mother.

I am at home talking to some friends who are checking up on me, Shelly had left to go back to Boston and I am just recovering from the surgery. It was a snowy, gloomy day and I was in bed feeling a little sorry for myself. I get a phone call from my doctor and she says, “Are you sitting down”? I am thinking, oh man, here is comes, the dreaded words of, you have cancer. I could tell in her voice that she was holding back tears and that just really threw me off and I was just waiting, almost hurry up already. She starts off with, I had them run this twice just to make sure but you have just won “the lottery”. I have only seen this 3 times in my career and you are the luckiest girl. NO CANCER…

I jumped out of bed so fast it would make your head spin, yelling for my kids and husband, guess what NO CANCER. Are you sure Laurie, my husband says? Yes, I won the lottery. They are all hysterical and I am running around the house jumping for joy and just so elated I am not sure what to do next. I start to make some calls to my family and friends to let them in on the news so no one has to worry anymore. What all of them said to me was you have no idea how many people were praying for you. I would have been so mad at everyone if I had known anyone knew about my situation. They all know how fiercely private I am and I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me. Unbeknownst to me, I had been put on everyone’s prayer lists, that friends of friends were praying for me, Churches were praying for me, strangers praying for me. Even our children’s school was praying for me. I had know idea that the world could be so kind and people you do not even know have your back in the worst of times…

The power of prayer and my miracle. Thank you to all of you for your random act of kindness.

 

17th Random Acts of Kindness

 

1526670_10152159128606170_103337706_n

With your motto #makeloveaverb you want to buy these t-shirts and spread the good deeds of this Company. It FEELS good. I just cannot explain it but I will try…

Kristin and James walked into my home and I really wanted to find a reason, any reason to say, “oh lord, hold on here, who are you”?  You see, I have known this wonderful girl since she was a child, watched her grow into a beautiful woman and I would even go, as far to say, “she is one of my own”.

Kristin is part of a trio bound by faith, friendship and also known as one of “the 3 musketeers”.  Jessica my daughter, Delaney and Kristin were inseparable for all of junior high and high school. She lived with us, vacationed with us and loved us as we did her. They all went their separate ways for college but have remained and will always remain sisters bound in faith. Friends for life.

We were all standing in the kitchen and James looked me in the eyes and well, said, ” he was in love with Kristin and had asked her to marry him”. He wanted our approval because he knew what she meant to us and what we meant to her.  I was stunned at his candor. I was taken back and at a loss of words. Something that usually never occurs.   All my brain would say to me was, oh dear, isn’t this to soon? They had only been dating for a short period of time.

Now, it was on. I wanted to know everything about this man. He started to tell me the story of him and I could not get enough of this guy. All I kept thinking to myself be, is this guy for real?

A story that will stick with me forever and this is just one of his “random acts of kindness”. He was a successful businessman and worked as a financial planner at JP Morgan Chase and was not finding any satisfaction in his success and was just not happy. He decided he wanted to give up all of his worldly possessions and live as a homeless person, just to see what it was like and how they felt. For TWO YEARS not a day in the life…  At first, I thought James was a nut bag but the more I actually listened to him, the more I wanted to know.  Not because I wanted to find something wrong with him but because he made me want to be a better person with every word. Every time I talk to him, his soul is beaming like a light that cannot be contained. He loves Jesus insanely, bleeds love and sacrifice but he actually lives his life to better the life of others. I could not have handpicked a better guy for her. They are meant for each other.

Clothe Your Neighbor as Yourself

Is a 100% not for profit group that just does good deeds everyday? This can be found on their “Who We Are” page.

On each product page, there is a description of which that specific product benefits. Your purchases empower people across the globe. You provide seamstress jobs to women rescued from the sex trade in India, school uniforms to orphans in Kenya, interview attire to homeless friends, wigs for women affected by cancer, diapers for single parents, and school backpacks for kids living in poverty right here in the USA. This isn’t charity. This is empowerment. How do we do so much as such a small operation? We identify organizations that have big hearts and are already doing well in their field, and then we provide financial backing so we can keep changing the world together! We can proudly say that we use 100% of the profit from your order for those in need. Please consider giving to our cause to keep our operations running.

Facebook

James, you are an example of what we should all be like…  Keep being a do-gooder…

10th Random Act of Kindness

DC Sail Club
Image 14

Well,  talk about random…

We set out to have a day of walking the monuments of Washington DC spending time with my daughter Jessica, her fiancé Matt and my husband David and of course looking for “random acts of kindness”. I have become a little obsessed with this whole challenge.

One thing about me is,  if I sign on to do something, it is 110% on my mind.  All the time.

I am looking everywhere asking my family what we should do. I say, “maybe I can take a picture for someone” and everyone says, “that’s really not so random”.  Jessica says, “it will just happen Mom when you least expect it”. I had all but given up and we set out for dinner for Cantina Marina which is in the DC wharf.

The band was playing, the sun was setting and I am HUNGRY. It was the perfect night for a margarita with a warm wind blowing overlooking the Potomac River.  We had walked for quite a while and we were all starving and truthfully I just wanted to sit down and relax. We walked down this narrow walkway to the back of this marina and the gentleman was sitting at the entrance on a stool and puts his hand out. I looked at him inquisitively and then realized he was carding me. I have not been to a bar in a long time nor have I been carded. I’m 47 and started to laugh. I said “do I not look 21?” He looks at me with a bright smile and says “no”!  Oh, I’m thinking I like you-alot…  We just wanted dinner and he says in his funny little voice, “Ma’am, we are having a fundraiser tonight and it will be $40 a person. That includes a buffet and 4 drink tickets. So we all say ok, we are in, let’s go and have some fun.

The bank was playing “brown-eyed girl” by Van Morrison and I knew it was going to be a fun night. We were walking down this ramp to get to the restaurant and outside bar with decks everywhere and they had set up a place for raffle tickets to raise money and of course I give them my money. I love to win anything. So competitive with everything. Even raffle tickets.

Image 8

We head for the bar with our wrist ban which has these tear off pieces you give to the bartender each time you order a drink. So we all tear off the ticket. We all get margaritas which I just love once a Summer. Alcohol and I do not mix. It just makes me loopier than I already am. Heck, I am drunk without being drunk all the time. But in a good way.  We head to the buffet, grab a table on the deck and just sit and listen to music, talking about our day. By the end of my drink I am standing, singing and having a grand time.  We had a few drink lefts and we just gave them to the people next to us. They were certainly happy. I’m sure they thought that was random.

Image 6

I have just recently been introduced to sailing last month while visiting my sister Shelly. We went out on a friends Olympic Sailing Boat which I sailed all by myself for two hours. I loved it so much I asked if I could be part of their sailing team and of course Shelly broke out into a belly laugh because she knew I was serious.

I would have to say that Jessica is right, “random acts of kindness” just happen.

Image 15

Just let it find you.

9th Random Act of Kindness

Sometimes it is just so random you miss it…

 

We are in our 9th day of our Random Acts of Kindness challenge and boy has it been busy and challenging to be truthful…

 We want this to be completely authentic for you the reader but importantly for us. WE are all busy people me,  you,  everyone we know but taking time out of our day to realize the importance of not running through life so quickly and slow it down a bit to see the beauty in small acts…

We started our run earlier than usual, mid afternoon so that we could get in some furniture shopping for our new home. Today we had our daughter Sam join us for our daily run. In the first mile we run past my old high school which is the hill I hate most but I love to run down it of course. On the way down, my husband notices a bowling ball nudged between the guard rail and the pavement and quickly comments “I bet some kids rolled that down the hill” and of course my quick witty comment back was “they could kill someone”…  Always the worst possible scenario plays out like a movie in my head. Second thought is, I hope it was not my Son and his friends! So we comment back and forth with Sammie about the bowling ball and then I quickly get back into my concentration mode for the 6 mile run to Lake Needwood and back.

So of course, I dart out in front trying to beat my last day,  thinking always about the d*#@ hill that I have to encounter at the half way point to enter Lake Needwood.

David and Sam are not far behind and I just turn around at the top of the hill and head back. I pass them on the way down and just keep going until we are at the hill I hate the most. The hill that I have to envision the support of my Grandparents running behind me encouraging me not to stop and stay the course.

While running up this hill in a pretty fast pace I look behind me and see my husband David and daughter Sam a little bit further back than usual. I stop at the top of the hill to wait for them and I see David running with this bowling ball. I’m thinking what the heck, he does not even bowl what is he doing?

Well, he of course was doing something he always does. “He is the MAN”. Always looking out for everyone, doing his best to make the lives of his family, employees and strangers a better day with him in it. He truly is a great example of a significant human being. He really cares and wants to change lives for the better. He truly is the man, yes he is, he is the man…

AND, check out the guns… Really honey, you are hot.

AND TO YOU… Slow it down, I am.

 

6th Act of Kindness

Not just a water

Not just any water…

I am an avid runner and try to at least get in 25 miles a week.  Hard runs especially on HOT and HUMID days if you know anything about Washington DC weather.

Here I am trucking up the hill I hate most rocking out to my favorite running music playlist with Pink, David Nail, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Adele, Live, Bruno Mars and many more saying to myself I am not going to make it up this damn hill which I literally say every time. Then I envision my Grandmother running behind me saying “get your ass up the hill and don’t quit for goodness sake” and she is in heaven. A little weird but true. That is what gets me not to stop and actually run faster lol… Whatever it takes right?

If you are a runner you know what I am talking about!

Well, I get to the top of the hill coming out of a fast run, my face red as an apple with sweat pouring off me looking as if I might keel over at any moment and at the Church they are having “Police National Night Out”.

IMG_2075

I am walking through the crowd trying to get to the street to cross and I hear a voice saying “hey, runner girl” do you need a water?

Up until this moment I had been frantically thinking throughout my run about these challenges and what will be next along with my Nana screaming at me not to quit and to run faster all while singing out load to my favorite songs with yes people staring at me. If you know me well enough you know I do not give a darn what people think and I beat to my own drum. I am a quirky little thing. So,  I am singing out load to David Nails “Whatever She’s Got” and the voice is in back of me so I whip my head around to see if someone else is running but lo and behold she points at me and says “yes you”.

Immediately my mind is in a whirlwind of OMG another “Random Act of Kindness” bestowed upon me. Because the whole idea of looking of what I can do is floating around in the land of Laurie I forget that others are doing it everyday as well without even knowing it. Of course in all of my excitement I am in a fast walk,  almost a run with a huge smile on my face,  eye to eye and finally when I reach her I just hugged her. She was a little taken back at first until I told her my story and what we are doing and she just said “well then, it’s just not another water”.

She got it and understood. It is the smallest things, like a bottled water that matter and the little things you do and say to brighten someones day.

It changes things and starts a ripple effect. I hope that this journey we are taking together brightens your day and that you recognize the wonderful things people do for you and then you turn around and give love to others.

What a day this has been… I ran all the way home with a smile on my face rocking out to wonderful music and spending a little time with my Nana. Who could ask for more…

2nd Act of Kindness!

IPS GROUP, INC. M5 INDIVIDUAL METERYesterday we wanted to walk up and down Rehoboth Avenue feeding the meters for people that were close to running out of time. We know from experience how irritating it is trying to remember when to run back to your car and feed those DARN THINGS

As we were franticly trying to find a meter that was close enough to running out, we saw this young boy coming to feed his. Laurie…being laurie, took it upon herself to MAKE THIS BOYS DAY! She went on up, and gave him an hours worth of quarters, and man was he all smiles. 

Not sure if he was afraid of us or a shy one, but we totally had a blast helping him out! Check out our video on Laurie’s Bare and Me Youtube Page 

Ps: Remember guys, not only are we telling you our stories, but we most definitely want to hear about yours!