Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Saving Starfish

The glacial landscape that was the wallpaper on my laptop is no more. Behold! A motivational image that  will inspire me to eschew that well worn phrase 'What's the Point?'

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.

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