Turning a Devastating Problem Into a Positive


My beautiful friend, Kelly

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist, author, and speaker from the 1960s and 1970s, said this, and I used to have it hanging in my office when I had an office. I like it so much because as individuals we often ask, “What can I do? What difference can one person make?” And if you look at history or even at the world around you or in your own community, you will see this quote in action.

I’ve probably talked about my friend Kelly on here before–I know I have on my own blog. She was diagnosed with Scleroderma several years ago and has undergone many different medical treatments–one experimental, and tragically, the disease still plagues and affects her every day of her life. But does Kelly let this get her down? NO! She is amazing to me. Just recently, she was out in San Francisco for a huge gala to raise money for Scleroderma research and posted selfies of she and Bob Saget, who narrates a documentary about Scleroderma, on Facebook.

What is Scleroderma? This is from Kelly’s website: “Scleroderma (skleer-oh-DUR-muh) comes from two Greek words: “sclero” meaning hard, and “derma” meaning skin. Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disorder which means the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system. In the simplest of terms, Scleroderma is an overproduction of collagen that can result in thickening or tightening of skin and scarring of internal organs.”

Why I think of Kelly when I read the Margaret Mead quote is Kelly has taken a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens and created the Relief Foundation. Through this foundation and in spite of suffering from Scleroderma herself, she has raised money to help children and adults across the country with medical and living expenses. THIS IS AMAZING! The other thing she has done is educated people about the disease, which many people have NEVER EVEN HEARD OF, but which can be deadly. A friend of ours from high school’s mom died at a very young age of this very disease.

Kelly is strong! She did not back down. And if you live in the St. Louis area, you can join my mom and I and some of our mutual friends at a screening of a documentary which Kelly is in and sharing her story, titled, “Project Scleroderma: Beneath The Surface.” A special screening is being held on June 19 at Landmark Theater in Frontenac Plaza. Tickets can be purchased for only $15 here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/622894

If anything, I urge you to watch the 3 minute video from the documentary, which my friend Kelly IS IN, and was created by another woman who fits the The Margaret Mead quote above perfectly. You can watch it here: http://projectscleroderma.com/

Who do you know that exemplifies this quote? A 10-year-old neighbor who created a lemonade stand to raise money for the homeless? A woman who lost her husband to gun violence and started an organization to help other women? Share a story with us–from a garage sale with profits going to a shelter to someone running a national organization. It doesn’t matter how big or how small–but these are the people who are changing the world.


  • My friend, Kate, changes the world one step at a time through the many races she runs benefiting different charities. She’s lost a LOT of weight in the process. I love her no matter what size, but she inspires me with her stick-to-it-iveness. She’ll run through pain, injuries, bad weather.

    • That is amazing strength! I am not much of a runner, but I’m doing my first 5K walk for the Arthritis Foundation and they also preach that every little bit helps!

  • Thank you for sharing this story. It’s so good to be reminded how people turn tragedy into triumphant selflessness. It inspires me to remember to do the same.

    • Some people are so amazing to me!

So, what do you think?