Greetings from the team at the OM@home blog, a blog about children and young people, written for children and young people . . . . For young people just like you, about young people who inspire us all at OM HQ.
Young people like Raymond Mohler . . . .
In 2003, aged just four, Raymond often found himself in tremendous pain . . . .
Suffering from a rare musculoskeletal condition that centered around his hips, he had no choice but to wear braces on both legs for two years. That he looks back upon this troubled time and considers himself fortunate says everything about Raymond. That he is amongst those inspiring our efforts here at OM HQ is beyond question.
You see, when Raymond left hospital behind, the understanding eighth-grader's overriding emotion wasn't happiness for himself, but sympathy for others . . . .
'I felt so bad for the children I left behind,' he explains. 'The children who were not coming home for the holidays. I felt I had to do something to take their minds off the pain that they were in.'
Such pain is something that Raymond, who recalls a time of 'tremendous fear and anxiety', can relate to. To be so empathetic at such an age is something we find remarkable.
Back home again, Raymond began to think about the pediatric playroom that he had spent so long in during his treatment. It had, he remembered, been lacking in toys and equipment for the sick children it served. He resolved to do something about it.
Christmas approaching, he donated his presents to the hospital and asked neighbors, friends and relatives for contributions to help further his efforts. The impact astonishing, he set about taking his project to the next level . . .
These days, that project is known as the Little Saint Nick Foundation and is a thriving non-profit organization that has raised more than $250,000 to make hospitals friendlier for children and to help alleviate the pain, fear and anxieties of those undergoing treatment.
Raymond's efforts include providing toys and mobile entertainment centers, arranging hospital visits from top sports stars and packing and distributing gift bags. The Foundation also grants wishes and has, in recent times, raised $80,000 to build a much-needed home extension to help a severely-disabled child.
Like Emily Kladar, whose humanitarian mission featured on our blog last time out, Raymond has, this summer, been named one of the top ten youth volunteers in the United States. It is an accolade that couldn't be more deserved.
Here at OM HQ, we'd like to add our voice to all those congratulating Raymond and his foundation. You see, he couldn't impress us more . . . .
For his empathetic nature, for his ambition and for his determination to use his own bad experiences to do good in the world. For helping others. For making a difference. For connecting.
Raymond has shown that setbacks can be overcome and that age is no barrier. Here at OM HQ, we hope he inspires you as much as does us . . . .