Wednesday, 2 May 2012
Others glean their thrils from the media in conventional ways -a thriller, motor racing or a piece of stirring music perhaps. Funny soul that I am, I became truly exhilarated after listening to the Radio 4 appeal this Sunday. Before you start to think that I have well and truly gone off my rocker and their no chance of return this time let me explain.
Starfish Greathearts is a charity that aims to bring hope and opportunities to children in Africa orphaned by AIDs. 'Whoah, that's too big a task to tackle!' some might think. 'There must be millions of them'. Well the organisation takes its inspiration from a story called 'The Star Thrower'. The version given most weight on Wiki is the original, which looks like a beautiful meandering piece of prose by a chap called Loren Eiseley that I'm just going to have to get my hands on. The version told on the radio was rather more simplistic and went something like this.
A man was walking along a vast beach covered in starfish when he came across a little girl throwing the stranded creatures back into the sea. 'I don't know why you're bothering' he said. 'There's so many that you're not going to make a difference. The girl picked up another starfish and tossed it into the waves. 'Well,' she said 'It's made a big difference to that one!'.
I like to think that my readers are a bright bunch. So the penny must have dropped and you'll see why I got excited by this fable, that brings such a powerful message of hope. Of course, its inspired me to dip into my Charities Aid Foundation pot and make a donation to Starfish Greathearts. But it has much wider implications at a philosophical level for my work and personal life.
It reminds me, in a cash strapped NHS, that the little I can do personally does actually make a difference. I can't help the entire elderly population of South West Devon suffering from dementia and other debilitating mental illness but I can continue chip away, helping them one by one. And my volunteering and giving seems rather like a drop in the ocean in the scheme of things but......
I'm on a mission now to share this story with others and who knows? If someone else listens two metaphorical starfish might be saved.