What is Pay it forward?
The definition of Pay it forward is to respond to a person’s kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else. I am a big fan of this concept and truly find myself believing in the power of creating ripple effects to help contribute to a better world.
It may seem cheesy or hard to grasp it by a few sentences. So please let me walk you through a first hand story of mine where I actually experienced something truly incredible. WARNING: Goosebumps or chills may occur reading further!
As I was making one of my first visits to the hospital before loosing my leg to cancer, I was concerned about what kind of prosthetic would be able to replace my leg in a great manner. A knee is so complex that no prosthetic exists that is as good as a regular knee. The complexity is huge and constructing a prosthetic that is supposed to move so elegantly and gracious as a regular knee, is hard and difficult.
I was informed about it and I was also informed that you couldn’t just ”get” the prosthetic that you wanted. In Sweden every region decides based upon their budget what you will get. All matters where in the country you live, as different regions have different priorities and will make a decision upon their policy. It turned out, I wasn’t living in a great region. In fact, I was living in one of the worst regions in Sweden when it comes to help with prosthetics.
Hearing this, I froze inside. What if I couldn’t get back playing golf again professionally just because my leg wasn’t ”good enough”? Golf was my all at the time and the scenario frightened me. What if I couldn’t walk stairs? or walk good at all?
My orthopaedic technician at the time turned to me and played a youtube clip. I watched a guy walking nearly as good as a regular person with two knees, he took on the stairs and moved so elegantly.
- "I want that leg!"
The prosthetic was called Genium.
But it was nearly impossible to get due to the costs and the procedure was long. I started talking about my dream of getting the leg and suddenly a reporter wanted to do an interview for a magazine. I told him about my big dream of not only being able to come back to play professional golf, but also to live and walk as if I would have two regular legs.
Three weeks later the telephone rang and I picked up.
What happened in that telephone call was one of these magical moments I could only read about in fairy tale books! The man on the other side of the line told me he had read the article and decided to help me fulfil my dream by paying it forward. He simply offered me the prosthetic wanting one thing in return, that he will forever stay anonymous.
Did I say goosebumps?
Yes I know! I love to tell this story as it is so beautiful! But there is one more piece to the puzzle and that is. When the prosthetic arrived it came with a note: ”Today I help you fulfil your dream, maybe you can pay it forward and help someone else in the future”
Since then. This have become my calling, my mission and my big why I show up every single day.
For three years now I have been sponsoring about 600 kids in South Africa with education, together with more donors. The kids are between 4-13 years old and they live in the most exposed areas to HIV & AIDS in South Africa. Most of them do not have any parents and they live as many as 11 people in a household of only a couple of square meters. In school they have a safe place to come to every day where they get education and the possibility to craft a dream for the future. A dream is needed to keep going and to make educated decisions along the way, most of all to stay away from drugs and unsafe sex spreading the HIV even more if not done.
The foundation who organises the education and the coaches at my school is called Star For Life. If you haven’t bought all Christmas gifts, feel like you also would like to make a difference you can buy their 15€ bracelet to support one child for half a year in school! The link is here.
Have you seen the movie Pay it Forward from 2000? It’s based on the story about the young boy Trevor, who gets inspired from an assignment in school and comes up with the idea that changes many lives. He decides that instead of returning a favour, he will pay it forward by doing good deeds for three people.
So today, maybe this text and story inspires you to do exactly that - help three more people. With Christmas on the doorstep maybe you even feel compelled to help one of the kids in my school! Buy your bracelet here.
Anyway you decide to pay it forward, notice the great and beautiful ripple effects you are creating!