Earth Angels do exist
Being the Communications Manager for Beyond Bank means that PR and external communication for the organisation either start at my desk or arrive at my desk for review. Usually the topic is finance – how to save money, hints and tips on retirement or wealth management etc. However, sometimes because of the work Beyond Bank does in the community, I get to read and/or write about topics that often warm the heart, and on some occasions I move away from my desk and get involved in activities that make me very proud to be an employee of Beyond Bank.
Here is one of those very proud moments…
I recently had the opportunity to visit Riding for the Disabled (RDA) at Raymond Terrace with Beyond Bank’s Community Development Manager Kylie Daniels. We were visiting to let them know Beyond Bank was providing RDA with a $15,000 community development grant to help with some of the cost to install a solar panel system that would help eliminate their quarterly $1200 electricity bills and reduce their environmental impact.
RDA has been operating in the Newcastle region since 1979 and currently provides lessons six days and three nights a week to around 100 children and adults with disabilities. The students travel up to 90 minutes for a one-hour carriage-driving or riding lesson that helps develop their gross and fine motor skills, improves their balance and builds their confidence and self-esteem.
However RDA have been doing it tough lately, besides the rising electricity bills, a month ago callous thieves entered their facility stealing hay and farming equipment, and the night before our visit, due to heavy storm activity, a tree had fallen on their arena smashing a portion flat to the ground.
When we arrived at RDA I had a lovely surprise – my friend Jessica and her daughter Mollyjane were visiting RDA. Mollyjane has a very rare terminal disease; it’s called Carnitine/Acylcarnitine Translocase Deficiency (CACT) and it stops the break down of fats to energy.
There are only 32 children in the world that have been diagnosed with CACT and until 2013 no child had lived past three years old.
However Mollyjane is a fighter, and teamed with a family who will never give up fighting for a cure, she is the longest surviving child with CACT and will celebrate her fifth birthday in January.
Jessica told me how important RDA was to Mollyjane and attending had given her a new sense of confidence; she has learnt to ride her horse Dora, and always looks forward to riding classes. In fact she has become so confident on Dora she has been awarded the Rider of the Week award on three separate occasions and has participated in the Ride-a-thon, personally raising $170 to help RDA.
While we were visiting RDA and watching Mollyjane ride Dora, Kylie informed them that Beyond Bank will also partner with them to fundraise a further $15,000 to convert power-hungry lighting in their arena to low-voltage equipment, to help reduce the energy consumption, especially for evening programs.
I left RDA that afternoon proud to work for a bank committed to making a positive difference in the community, and who does put people before profits.
Why I believe in Earth Angels
Jessica and I have been friends since 2011. I was in the bank waiting to deposit a cheque. While I was patiently standing in the queue I noticed a flyer on the wall that explained about a little girl with a very rare and terminal disease and her family who were doing it tough. By the time I got to the counter I was sobbing with sadness and I had decided the cheque I was holding would not be going into my account.
Not that I was aware of it at the time, but apparently everyone else in the bank seeing me holding a note and crying assumed the worst and thought I was there to rob them!
So when I handed the cheque over and asked them to deposit it into the fundraising account for Mollyjane, everyone in the bank was relieved and I was invited out the back of the bank for a cup of tea.
When I left the bank, I carried on with my day, went home – told my partner Mark “you know that cheque, I gave it away today,” explained why and went on with life.
Until a few months later I was at my gym and in walked Jessica carrying Mollyjane. I asked the owner if by any chance there had been some fundraising for that little girl and when I explained why I was asking she introduced me to Jessica. When I told Jessica about my experience in the bank and reading the poster about Mollyjane, she said “they told me about you, they thought you were there to rob them.” We have been friends ever since!
Jessica and Mollyjane have now been a part of my life for four years, and they show me daily to never give up, to always stay positive, and to make every moment count.
For more information on how you can help or get involved in any of our fundraising activities, visit the Beyond Bank website, give us a call on 13 25 85 or leave a comment below.