On Friday afternoon, we spoke on Naya's behalf at a beautiful lunch honoring the best in Philanthropy. Naya was honored as Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, and we proudly stood up to represent her life and her mission: No More Kids with Cancer.
We were humbled to be in the company of incredible people who, for their entire lifetime, have given back to communities and causes that are close to their hearts. From volunteering time, to giving away hundreds of millions to others, the day was full of hope, motivation and courage. There wasn't an individual that didn't feel they needed to do more, even though their life was already dedicated to helping others.
As we celebrated philanthropy, Paris was being terrorized. Out of respect for the victims in Paris and elsewhere being stripped from the basic right to feel safe, I hesitated to write about our day. Then I realized this is the perfect time to share. As social media trends about red Starbucks cups, millions, and likely more than a billion of people are in need. They are suffering from hunger, sickness, terrorism, poverty, exploitation and discrimination. Imagine what they think when we're debating about the color of a cup!
Until Naya became sick, I didn't have a full appreciation of philanthropy. To me, it meant donation dollars, and we gave more each year to hunger, diseases, schools and anyone that asked. Now, we give more money, our hearts, voices and time. Imagine a world where you would give another 5 hours to people in need, or even $5 more of your pay to causes that do good. I can. For me, giving back and the amazing people I've met give me so much hope, even as I watch TV and pray for peace in our world.