Steve Bartlett: Traded to Globetrotters
How does a 49-year-old gravitationally challenged man end up on the Harlem Globetrotters bench?
If you ever want a humbling moment of “there but for the grace of God go I” — or any similar sentiment — take a spin through your local GoFundMe campaigns.
GoFundMe is a business that runs campaigns for those in serious need who want to crowd-source funds. The operation is financed by fees deducted from individual donations.
It’s simple enough to see what’s going on around you: go to the website, and search your town or city. Usually, the campaigns come at you through social media — a friend, or a friend of a friend forwards you a link, and you decide whether you want to help fund the campaign.
But you can also see the people who need help and have few options right in your neighbourhood. And it’s a good lesson in just how lucky you are.
You, for example, might not be trying to raise money to help someone cover thousands of dollars of damage from the Thanksgiving Day flooding in Sydney, N.S. You may not completely enjoy your current lot in life, but you probably don’t have a 13-year-old who has to travel back and forth from Sydney to Halifax for treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma with all the associated costs and worries involved, or have to face the loss of your home and possessions in a house fire.
You might have had an awful weekend in Charlottetown, P.E.I., but you’re not depending on the kindness of others to help defray funeral costs for another family’s child or, in St. John’s or Corner Brook, be trying to bring a family member’s remains home. Middleton, N.S.? A campaign for a new roof for the town rink. Mount Hanley, N.S.? Funding for a family of six who lost their home as a result of a house fire.
The list is almost endless: there are people trying to raise funds for travel expenses to get a family to a new job in B.C., to buy special formula for an infant with allergies, to defray the costs of transplant surgery, to battle cancer and all sorts of other medical conditions, to pay for dental surgery and assistive devices and even pet surgery.
Some requests, of course, are less intense: calls to fund travel to fund sports teams or other travel or people trying to raise money for textbooks.
Some verge into the trivial: requests for funds to buy graduation rings, a new phone or even donations for a pizza.
But the more serious ones?
Well, you can take a quick skim through those and see that, all around you, there are people who are probably in more difficult straits than you are.
It might not be a lesson in humility, but it should be a lesson in gratitude — at least, unless, like the Grinch, your heart is two sizes too small.