Giving is a way to focus on what's right with me instead of what's wrong
Los Angeles (Vocus) July 28, 2008
Feeling desperate and hopeless after spending eight days in the hospital related to multiple sclerosis, 35-year-old Cami Walker, decided to take an odd "prescription" from an African medicine woman. The remedy? Give away one thing each day for 29 days.
"I thought the suggestion was crazy at first, but decided it wasn’t going to hurt me to try it. Things couldn't get much worse," said Walker. "I was shocked by how quickly things turned around for me. By day 14, I was able to walk without my cane and many of my MS symptoms subsided. I was able to start working part-time again by day 29."
Now, several months and many daily gifts later, Walker says she is still improving. Walker was so inspired by the changes in her health and other areas of her life that she decided to turn the 29-Day Giving Challenge into a worldwide giving movement. Today 29Gifts.org has givers taking part from all over the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.
Many of Walker's fellow givers are dealing with serious health challenges, including various forms of cancer, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, post-polio syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. And many are reporting positive changes in their conditions.
Givers commit to the Challenge by signing up on a social networking website where they can share stories in personal blogs and meet other givers. Their gifts can be anything: time, money, things, or kind words. Over 1,200 inspiring giving stories have been posted on the community site at http://www.29Gifts.org.
Sarah Conner, age 43, started her 29-Day Giving Challenge while in treatment for breast cancer. On the 29Gifts.org community site, Conner shared with another member who also has cancer, "My tumor is responding to treatment. The 29-Day Giving Challenge has been important for me in retaining a sense of myself as someone who can give things to others. I was getting so much from my support network -- emotional support, practical help, little treats -- I wanted to focus on giving back."
"Giving is a way to focus on what's right with me instead of what's wrong," said Walker. "The simple addition of giving mindfully to another person each day has improved my state of mind and had a positive impact on my health--far more than any medication I take. I'm experiencing fewer MS symptoms and when problems do flare up I cope better with them."
More information about the 29-Day Giving Challenge, and a video interview with Walker, is available at http://www.29gifts.org.