Inspired. Motivated. Determined.
That was exactly how I felt after reading the stories of 10 individuals who were named the 2014 Bakken Invitational Award Honorees.
The Bakken Invitation, created by Medtronic, was created to celebrate and connect people, who are contributing in communities around the world through charitable work and with the help of medical technology. It is named after Earl Bakken, who was the Medtronic co-founder and humanitarian.
Everyone is asked to share your story on the Bakken Invitation website and share with the world how you make a difference. For every story, Medtronic Philanthropy will donate $10 to Project Hope.
Anyone who shares their story on the site can then apply for the Bakken Invitation Award. Each year 10 people are selected as an Honoree and earn a $20,000 grant from Medtronic Philanthropy for their designated charity.
How awesome is that?
While each of the 10 honorees were extremely motivating and inspiring, there was one particular woman who struck a cord with me.
Krystal Boyea, a 27-year-old Barbados native, has become the face of diabetes in Barbados and the Caribbean.
Krystal was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 10.
It was the worst day of my life. Growing up with type 1 diabetes was never easy. As a child, I always felt different when taking multiple insulin injections every day, or testing my blood sugar, or having to pay close attention to my diet. Diabetes affected my personal life, and I struggled throughout school and in my hobbies. As a child, or even sometimes now, I would ask "why me?"
After struggling with diabetes and finding her way in life, Krystal received her first insulin pump in 2010.. and her life was changed forever.
Shortly after, I made a decision to start volunteering, to give all of my extra time to a cause that changed my life – diabetes. I was elected to represent Barbados at the first-ever, Young leaders in Diabetes Congress, held by the International Diabetes Federation. Inspired by that experience, I came home and founded the first youth chapter of the Diabetes Association of Barbados.
She has devoted much of her young life to sharing how she has lived a healthy, full life with diabetes. She has turned inspiring others into a career.
I completed my Masters of Public Health and co-founded a diabetes clinic that caters to the diabetes needs of my country. My ultimate goal is to be a voice of chronic diseases for the Caribbean people, and I have spoken internationally at the United Nations, at TEDx, the World Diabetes Congress and at NCD Child.
While my story is not nearly as inspiring or motivating as Krystal's it has still been life-changing for me to be open and honest about my struggles to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. I am honored to be able to share my ups and downs with the world here on my slice of the internet. So when I receive a note from a blog reader, I am ecstatic to hear my story has changed their life for the better... like Krystal.
Here are Five Ways YOU can Live On & Give On in your community:
*Note: These are ways I have tried myself or ones I am planning on trying in 2015!!
1) Volunteer At An Animal Shelter - Animal shelters are almost always looking for extra help, and how cute is it to spend your morning or afternoon snuggling puppies or kitties. While there might be some unglamorous tasks - hey poop - you'll also get to spend some quality time with some adorable animals, and nothing beats that!
Our Two Rescue Pups - Laney & Molly
2) Sharing Your Pet With Those In Need - My pups make me smile on a daily basis! While watching Dogs with Jobs I saw a dog that would visit local senior centers, veteran's clubs and hospitals to bring some joy to the residents.
This may not be the right choice for every pet or every location, so be sure to consider your pet and the policy of local location before you try giving back in this way.
Molly was a hit at the rehab center this summer
3) Share Your Knowledge With Others - Consider sharing your smarts with local students. Many schools and after school programs would be happy to take on a volunteer to help students improve.
I have quite a few friends who are volunteer tutors and it is amazing to not only see their students flourish, but to see how they grow as well.
4) Volunteer Your Time - There are a number of youth centers, community groups, local theaters and senior centers looking for your help.
I had a great time volunteering with Girls On The Run in the past. Girls On The Run (GOTR) inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
5) Donate To Charity - There are plenty of charities looking for help with funding! With any cause, every dollar donated is appreciated and needed.
If you are looking for a charity, please feel free to donate to Tedy's Team, which is associated with the American Heart Association, to #FightStroke. Donate here. :)
Now that you are full inspired, it's time to reward one lucky reader with an awesome $100 visa gift card.
Check out the 10 honorees and share in the comment section below which one inspires you to give back to your community.
Participants must be 18 years or older and living in the US.
Winner will be chosen at 5pm EST on Wednesday, December 24!
Thank you to Medtronic for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to give back to my community!