Here at OM®, we spend a great deal of time each week researching the topics and themes for this blog . . .
Our latest post, however, didn't take much finding. You see, it came to us.
Earlier this week, we received a message from Shala Indelicato, a proud mom from Texas. Shala had read a blog we wrote, some 18 months ago, about Rachel Scott, and felt compelled to make contact.
Shala's daughter, Katelyn, has - along with her third-grade classmates at McClure Elementary, in McKinney - experienced Rachel's Challenge for herself. The best bit is that the thing that Rachel most believed in - that doing a good deed can cause a chain reaction of kindness - has turned out to be true. Katelyn is the proof.
You see, having been told about Lukas Da Cruz - a 21-year-old local man, who she had never met - Katelyn decided that she had to help. The subsequent story is beyond inspirational . . .
Lukas was the innocent victim of a shooting in Dallas last summer. He spent 20 days in hospital, undergoing two major operations. One bullet lodged in his neck. His injuries are so severe that Lukas is paralyzed, confined to a wheelchair, and facing the prospect of never walking again.
Times are tough for Lukas - physically, mentally and financially, with the mounting costs of his physical therapy sessions something that has been giving him sleepless nights. Katelyn had $40 in her piggy bank. Inspired by Rachel's Challenge, she had no qualms about sending Lukas the lot.
'I said [to her] 'I understand that you want to help, but are you sure that you want to give all $40?',' explains Shala. 'I said 'You could give $10 or $20', but she insisted that she wanted to give him everything she had'.
Physical therapy, of course, is expensive and, as kind as the gesture was, that initial $40 didn't go far. But Katelyn wasn't done . . .
She set up a lemonade stall that raised $200, and gave a talk that brought in a further $400. Even better, she inspired her classmates to aid Lukas' cause too and, as the chain reaction began to grow, so too did the total. Right now, it stands at a quite remarkable $10,000, a sum that is helping to change Lukas' life. This has all been done, don't forget, to help a complete stranger.
'I know how Lukas wants to get back on his feet and I know he wants to do the things he used to do before,' Katelyn says. 'I know how important that would be to me and I wanted to put myself in his shoes and think about how he might feel about it. I'm trying to help him to get back to the way he wants to be.'
For his part, Lukas is struggling to comprehend Katelyn's kindness (until recently, remember, they'd never met), but those who do know the inspirational eight-year-old are far from surprised.
'She's got it,' says her teacher, Jodie McCloud. 'She understands what it is to care about someone and that's the most important thing [in life]. There's something about Lukas' story that just connected with my class. This has touched a lot of people because sadly, I guess, it's rare to tackle something so big and to have an eight-year-old at the helm of this ship is even more incredible. It makes sense to me, to have an eight-year-old at the helm, because [kids] know what they're talking about and we need to listen to them more.'
It sounds like excellent advice to us, and we'd like you to take five minutes to watch this short film . . .
There's little more for us to add, except to underline our admiration for Katelyn and her classmates, whose example is one that we'll be doing our best to follow from this point on.
We'd like to thank Shala, for sharing this story, and we'd like to wish Lukas well in his continuing rehabilitation program. More than anything, we'd like to applaud Katelyn, for demonstrating the power of kindness and for proving, in Rachel's words, that a little can go a VERY long way. Katelyn, we're proud of you, your mom is proud of you and we have no doubt that Rachel Scott would be proud of you.
Here's to kindness, and here's to you . . .