Individuals

Lowry (Portland, ME)

“It’s so nice to be treated not as a sick person, but just as a person. Often, people are willing to help disabled people by running their errands and doing everything for them. However, they would rather do it for you than with you because they don’t want to be slowed down. Sometimes I get embarrassed when I’m stumbling around. But, there is one woman from a church who visits me twice a week to just spend time with me. I don’t even go to her church! She’ll run my errands and take me with her without getting embarrassed, I can’t believe it! To have the patience to wait for me, without burden or guilt, is amazing. I love going to the grocery store and being in a car, even for 15 minutes, it’s so valuable for my emotional health. It has totally changed my life to have someone to spend time with every day. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been.”

IMG_6315

Individuals

Rick, a volunteer “pilot” with Portland Wheelers (Portland, ME)

 “I’m motivated to give back to those with disabilities because my mother and father-in-law have Parkinson’s.  I decided to be a volunteer ‘pilot’ with Portland Wheelers, providing bicycle rides to those who are unable to ride. A story I’ll never forget was when I and another volunteer took a husband and wife, who were both 88 years old, on a bicycle ride. As I pushed the wife past her husband, he yelled, ‘Don’t let them pass us!’ The couple laughed hysterically and continued the race – they were happy as kids!”

Volunteer with Portland Wheelers, in Portland, ME, to help those with disabilities enjoy the great outdoors on a bicycle! Find more information here. 

IMG_6401

Individuals

Lowry, a rider with Portland Wheelers (Portland, ME)

“I haven’t been able to ride a bike in over 10 years, which is sad because there’s a much greater way to experience the outdoors when you’re on a bike rather than confined in a car. It’s just delightful to feel the sun in your face and watch the leaves change! And when I’m in a wheelchair, people will just walk by me and look away because I’m “disabled.” People can be a bit uptight! But, when I’m on a bike with Portland Wheelers, people wave, smile and talk to me!”

Volunteer with Portland Wheelers to provide those, who are unable to ride a bike, an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors!

IMG_6283

Individuals

Ray, a volunteer with Portland Wheelers (Portland, ME)

Everyone has a story and I’m fascinated hearing about the life they’ve lived. The elderly are often forgotten and rarely get to enjoy the outdoors outside of a car window. With Portland Wheelers, I volunteer to give people, with disabilities, bicycle rides. It’s a thrill for them to have the wind in their face, it really lights them up! But, I don’t know who gets more out of it, me or them?”

Volunteer with Portland Wheelers to provide those, who are unable to ride a bike, an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors! 

IMG_6439

Individuals

Krishna (Portland, OR)

“My husband and I came to America from Nepal for a better life. When we arrived to the states, we didn’t know anyone or speak English. Adapting was difficult, from riding the bus to something as simple as grocery shopping. It took a few years, but we’re now established in Portland and love our community. Knowing how hard the transition is for any immigrant, my husband and I help others adapt by teaching them English, how to use the bus, filling out citizenship documents, or anything else they need. And we just learned that those we helped are now helping incoming immigrants adapt to their new life.”

Krishna is a translator at IRCO, a nonprofit promoting the integration of immigrants and the community into a self-sufficient, healthy and inclusive multi-ethnic society.  Learn more about IRCO and how you can make a difference as Krishna has.

IMG_1709

Individuals

Simon (Portland, OR)

“I’ve never been the social type. I’m more of homebody, which can be really lonely at times.  But, being part of the IRCO community allows me to  meet and make friends from all over the world. We share meals, exercise together and genuinely care about each other.  Being here makes me feel more human. We don’t speak the same language and maybe different colors, but we’re really the same. We’re all human and have the same right to live, no matter where we come from.”

IRCO is a nonprofit organization promoting the integration of refugees, immigrants and the community at large into a self-sufficient and inclusive multi-ethnic society. Learn how you can make a difference here.

IMG_2126

Individuals

Tsering (Portland, OR)

“Life was hard in Tibet because of civil unrest, so I fled to Nepal and sought asylum. I was a refugee for many years until my daughter, who lived in the US, sponsored me to live in America. I didn’t know any English and never traveled outside of Asia, so I was pretty scared to fly alone. My daughter wasn’t able to accompany me, so her friends traveled to Nepal to ensure my safe journey to my new home.”

IMG_1325.jpg

Individuals

Mangali (Portland, OR)

“I fled Bhutan because our freedom was stolen from us – we couldn’t practice our religion, lost our jobs and were told what to wear, read and speak or else we’d be arrested. One night, the leaders of our village gathered all the women and girls and told us we must leave our homes and live with the army to work as servants. I opposed the leaders and told them, ‘Make your wives and daughters go first, then we’ll follow. Until then, I’m not going anywhere!’ That night, 7 other women and I stuffed clothes under our sheets so the soldiers on patrol thought we were sleeping. We then gathered all we could carry and escaped into the forest.” 

Individuals

Jack, Founder of Crack-Up Cancer comedy show (Tampa, FL)

“I’m what you would call a ‘Masshole.’ I grew up in an Irish, Italian, and Catholic household in Massachusetts and quickly learned to have an obnoxiously sarcastic sense of humor. The most challenging time in my life was when both my parents passed from cancer, between 2003 – 2007. For my mother, treatment was a rollercoaster. Even though she knew she would die soon, her sense of humor came in handy.  In fact, I remember her saying “cancer sucks” before it was popular. My parents were courageous, had a great sense of humor, and raised their children the right way – to show compassion for all, respect everyone, and to live your life truthfully.  When they passed, I started a comedy show called ‘Crack-up Cancer’ to support various organizations in the fight against cancer.  10 years later, we’ve raised over $100,000 for the community! My approach to comedy is similar to how my parents raised me. I am not the biggest schmoozer and probably can’t land thousands of dollars promising people the world. But, I am honest and have built this event with pride for 10 years.  I know if my parents could see me now, they would be proud – this is my driver. I don’t need to raise millions of dollars, I just want to do my part to help.” 

Want to see a group of hysterical, talented comics all on one stage for a GREAT cause?  Join my friend Jack at his 11th annual Crack-up Cancer comedy show on September 30th, 2017 at the Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa, FL. Tickets are only $25 with proceeds benefiting cancer support programs and research. Find more information here! Please Love, Like and Share!

DSC_5515_edited-2Crack up cancer graphic

Individuals

Bud (Trinidad, CA)

“There was a time in my life where I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore. My mother passed away and I was completely alone. I fell to my knees and prayed to my mother to help me find my heart lickety split (because we’re Irish). A few days later, I was driving and a white dog with black spots was running between the cars. My gut told me to open my car door and yell for her and to my surprise, the dog turned around and jumped inside! Since then, that dog, now my Emilie, and I are best friends. She’s the reason I’m still here. She makes me feel like I matter and doesn’t care I was homeless, talked a lot or smoked cigarettes. She loves me for me, every second of the day. She even has a spot on her back in the shape of a heart. That’s my heart and she’s my miracle.”

IMG_0740IMG_0758