Who gets depressed when they read the daily news lately? I know I find it easier to steer away from the likes of CNN because the headlines are often graphic and depict verbiage that describes death or rather horrible manners in which humans treat their fellow humans. I am not apathetic, but I need a bit more balance in my life when it comes to the stories I read.
Swing over to social media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram and there are more positive inspired posts <okay, okay and thousands of selfies galore> for one to be lifted up by. My newsfeed is filled with several people getting healthy and encouraging others to do so (myself included), stories shared of laughing babies, bleating goats (how can one NOT laugh at a bleating goat?), and more silliness. My newsfeed is also streaming with those who continually applaud themselves for all the *good* they are doing in the world. Please do not get me wrong, I absolutely adore and admire people who are making pervasive change in our little universe. However, there is a big difference between just *doing* and *talking* about all that you are doing in exchange for the public accolades or trying to make others feel badly because they may not be doing what *you* are doing for the greater good.
However, in my futile attempt to steer clear of being negative myself – I thought, “What about all of those that are doing good deeds, paying it forward and changing our world *WITHOUT* the self-promotion on social media?” As I thought about this premise, I realized that even in my own little Central Massachusetts community, there are SO many people who are indeed undertaking amazing deeds of kindness every….single….day…..and yet, they are not asking for anything in return. These people I have named The Doers.
Circling back to my desire to read more positive news that will soften the disheartening stories of the barbaric acts of ISIS, or those dying in awful and tragic accidents; I had an epiphany! Why not use my blog as a method of sharing positive stories about The Doers? The people who are choosing authentic acts of kindness deserve to be applauded in a bold way……so here in my Authentically Bold: Rebecca way, I will pay it forward by highlighting a special Doer each month (with their permission, of course).
My first nomination: Amy Conley McManus
I have known Amy for well over ten years now, possibly a few years more. My friend recommended Amy to me as a hairdresser when my other hairdresser decided to leave the field. My relationship with Amy was pretty much love at first sight as she knew what I wanted and/or needed nearly every appointment at her salon, Trinity Salon in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
Amy is nearly the same age as I am and went to another local school, so often, my appointments would share stories from days gone by or include updates on who we may have run into or had conversation with.
Amy shaved my head for me when I started chemotherapy for the second time and was about to lose my hair again. Despite the sadness in her face to have to perform a hair service I did not ask for, she stoically and gently moved the razor around my large skull. Amy gave me suggestions and products to care for my scalp while my insides were poisoned. She laughed with me as I went in a few months post chemo and had this wiry, unruly “pubic” hair as I called it.
As the years have surpassed, I have noticed that Amy’s giving spirit seems to be increasing and rubbing off on those who surround her. Without any hoopla, Amy hosts fundraisers and collects donations or physical items for soldiers who are stationed overseas or currently, an animal shelter that has significant needs.
Most specifically, last year in 2014, Amy hosted the fundraiser of all fundraisers to help some crazy lady who had the idea to run the Boston Marathon as a means of not only celebrating life after cancer and a 40th milestone birthday, but as a way of showing the world just how Boston Strong we all are after the horrific marathon bombings just the year before <hint: that would be me>. Knowing that in exchange for my race bib to the marathon I had a very lofty fundraising goal, Amy approached me and offered to do a full day event with all proceeds going to help my Team Eye & Ear efforts. Amy rallied the entire salon of stylists and nail technicians, all of whom follow in Amy’s giving spirt and they donated their time, their products, their services and so much more to raise over $2,000 for Team Eye & Ear.
Despite a hip labral tear at mile seven, I knew I had to push through and finish the race even if it took me many more hours. I personally knew so many cancer survivors that were counting on me to finish, but when the pain became blinding – taking a minute to recall how much effort Amy and her staff had put into propelling me TO the marathon helped me plow forward and eventually cross that blessed blue and yellow finish line on Boylston Street in Boston.
Amy will be the first to tell you she does not do “much” and what action she takes is minimal compared to others. By highlighting her as The Doer of the month, I hope she realizes that there is no such thing as doing too little or minimal good deeds. The impact of her actions flows beyond her desire to do a little, by rippling outward to those she works with and further to those who are the recipients of her acts of kindess. Ask the soldier(s) who were on the receiving end of her care package and one may assume the response is a heart full of gratitude. If the animals could talk, I am certain the items being collected will ensure an unlimited amount of tail-wagging, tongue licking, barks and meows.
More examples of the DOING that Amy and her salon gals have DONE:
- Raffle for the Healing Garden in Harvard, MA
- Dancing with the Realtors for Habitat for Humanity in 2007 and 2008
- Donation to a client’s 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer
- Cut-a-thon for the Ayer Relay for Life
- Care packages for overseas soldiers serving our country
- Countless gift certificates and baskets for several other fundraisers.
Personally, my heart is full and knowing the acts that Amy undertakes for no reason other than it feels good to pay it forward, makes me authentically proud to call her a friend and a fellow Doer.
If you have a DOER you would like to nominate for a future edition of The DOER Series, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.