I would have to agree with Friends’ Phoebe Buffay that there is no such thing as a selfless good deed. People do good to feel good, and doing something so you feel good is a selfish act.
Well then I’ve been really selfish in the month of May this year, because I said yes when my good friend, Shanti Persada, asked me to be a campaigner for a crowdfunding charity to help a 1 year-old child named Aleena who was initially diagnosed with tongue cancer, but is now looking to be re-examined.
Aleena went through an operation to remove a tumor from under her tongue when she was three months old, undergone six times chemo session, but there’s no change in her condition. So she needs help to get better, see more doctors, be examined thoroughly until they can find what’s really wrong with her and why that other tumor just won’t go away.
So along with the great people behind Kitabisa.com (Kita bisa means ‘we can’ in English), we started the campaign on May 8th (or 7th, I don’t really remember). I was a bit skeptical: will people actually help? They know nothing about this baby. Will they believe this campaign? Won’t they think this is a scam? If they do help, how do they know it’s legit?
I kept quiet and let all those questions remain inside my head. Because I was also curious.
Day one went by, and suddenly we’re on the 10 million mark. I mean, wow. People DO donate. And most of them are strangers. My Twitter followers, a friend of a friend’s friend, some distant relative I know for about 5 seconds… ok, basically they’re all strangers.
Almost at the end of the first week, we reached our first goal and of 50 million rupiahs. I went bananas, because I didn’t expect so many people to immediately donate.
I guess I’ve been living with cynicism for way too long.
So we upped the target and aimed for 100 million rupiahs. This time I wasn’t anymore skeptical, I was excited. Every morning, the first thing I do when I woke up was refreshing Aleena’s donation page at Kitabisa.com. And guess what? The numbers kept rising.
There was a moment where I almost cried in the office when I refreshed the page at lunchtime, touched deeply by the kindness of strangers. And by the third week, we reached Rp. 100,465,961.-, a wee bit over our target of Rp.100 million.
And I did feel good, happy and thankful that I am involved in the helping process.
So Shanti and Vikra from Kitabisa.com arranged for us all to meet Aleena’s family to symbolically hand over the donation -yes symbolic because Shanti will help manage the funds for Aleena’s treatments. We decided to meet at the Lovepink headquarters, Sunday, May 29, 2016.
I took my daughter to meet Aleena and her family that day, because I want her to know that there are sick kids out there who need help. As somebody healthier than all of them, Shera should know that it’s part of her duty as a human being to help those in need.
In the car, on the way to Lovepink HQ, Shera asked, “Ibu, why are there sick kids? Why should they be sick?”
The question instantly brought tears to my eyes because honestly I don’t know the answer and that’s what I told her.
She asked me one more thing, “Ibu, what is cancer? Is it contagious? Can I shake hands with Aleena?”
I tried explaining that cancer is a bad illness but not contagious so she can shake hands with Aleena when they finally meet. Ok experts, please help me out, how do I explain cancer to a three year-old? Hm.
We met Aleena and her mother, Asri, and were immediately drawn to the young cancer patient. Aleena has a tube attached to her nose to help her eat, and a hole on her neck to help her breathe. At one year-old, she’s quite tiny, but already walking. She hasn’t been able to eat through her mouth due to the tumor under her tongue, and she hasn’t been able to talk as well.
But is she a sad girl? Nope. Aleena enjoys company.
When I saw her picture, helplessly lying in her bed with all sorts of medical tubes around her, I felt pity. But when I saw Aleena in person, I felt hope. She’s an active little girl and I truly feel she deserves the chance to get the right and appropriate treatment.
And so with this post, although a little bit late, I would like to say thank you so much for every one of you who have shared your blessings with a little girl that you don’t even know. Thank you, good Samaritans, you helped a great deal because it’s more than just money. You’ve given Aleena and her family something more valuable: hope.
I will keep updating you with Aleena’s conditions and treatment results. Meanwhile, do head over to Kitabisa.com where Vikra and his friends are doing an awesome job gathering do-gooders from all around Indonesia to help shoulder others’ burdens.
Still think that selfless good deed is a myth? Your call, really.
If doing good really counts as a selfish act, like Phoebe Buffay said, then I encourage all of us to be selfish! I encourage us all to feel good by doing good. Because isn’t that what life is all about? 😀