Let’s get deep right away. I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you this, but you truly have no idea how your actions impact people. When you throw a pebble into a pond, you get a bird’s eye view of the ripple it creates. You see everything it touches. But when you say something or do something during your day, you don’t get to see how far the ripple goes. It’s a frustrating and beautiful fact about life.
Six years ago a ripple was created when a teenage volunteer walked through the Duke Children’s Hospital handing out small gifts to the patients there. One of those patients who received a gift that day was a 12-year old girl named Leanne Joyce. A month prior, Leanne had been given some life-changing news. She had been diagnosed with a congenital heart problem called Aortic Valve Stenosis that prevents proper blood flow throughout her body.
While the gift she received that day did nothing to change her diagnosis, it did have a significant impact on her stress levels that day in the hospital. So much so that Leanne left that day with a mission; she was going to find a way to provide that same positive experience she had for hospitalized children and teenagers across the United States. And that was the moment the ripple began to get a whole lot bigger.
Unbeknownst to that gracious teenager in the hospital that day, her act of kindness to Leanne was the genesis for a beautiful non-profit: Positive Impact for Kids. Since 2011, Leanne’s organization has been raising funds to help hospitals improve their inpatient care by providing gaming systems, iPad minis, gift cards and laptops for the children to use during their hospital visit. With these gifts, students are able to socialize with other patients, better learn about their condition, experience reduced anxiety, and have a positive and appropriate distraction from the dramatic changes they are going through.
The concept is beautiful. Bringing normalcy and comfort in a place that can be so unfamiliar and frightening. But honestly, what gets me most excited about Leanne’s mission is that every single positive moment she creates has the potential to be another ripple moment. And on and on it goes. Seemingly small things become great when they are done with love.
Do Something That Matters
1. Sign up to donate to Leanne’s cause here
2. Get a wristband or t-shirt and spread the word!
3. Encourage someone young to follow their dreams. Never underestimate someone’s capabilities because of their youth!
Written by Brandon Henderson
Brandon is a co-founder of That Matters. If he’s not mountain biking or buried in a book, he can be found teaching history to 6th grade students. If there’s one thing he’s learned from the classroom, it’s that all great things start small.