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What if they had given up?


“Merlin’s beard!”, as a few characters in a certain story might say. Always ready for a good book (or series of books), I recently started reading the Harry Potter novels. Yes, I’ve seen all the movies, but as my son often reminded me, “Mom, you’re missing out on so many details by not reading the books!” That turned out to be a real understatement.


While I downloaded the books to my Kindle, I found some background information about the author, J.K. Rowling. Did you know that she was on welfare and really struggling to make ends meet while she wrote the first book? Talk about perseverance. While she’s not the only person, of course, to rise above their situation, here are a few other examples:

  • Walt Disney was fired from his job as a newspaper editor for “lacking imagination and not having any good ideas.”

  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

  • After his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry, the concert manager told Elvis Presley that he wasn’t going anywhere and should go back to driving a truck.

What’s the point of these stories? Never ever give up. That phrase also happens to be the call to action of the Jessie Rees Foundation in Irvine, California. Their mission is to encourage every child fighting cancer to NEGU—Never Ever Give Up! They distribute “Joy Jars”—small, brightly-colored jars filled with fun toys and activities—to children fighting cancer. A few years ago, I was given the wonderful opportunity to distribute some Joy Jars at a children’s hospital. It was truly an amazing and humbling experience. I witnessed first-hand young children (and their families) actively living the motto of the foundation.


Volunteering allows you to help others, certainly, but it frequently results in a memorable, life-changing experience. It could be something as simple as being on the receiving end of a smile, to having a heartfelt conversation that changes your outlook. Some might consider such events insignificant or meaningless, but at Give3600, we believe that every single act of kindness makes a difference.

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