You've Got A Friend
Copyright 2010 by Larry Appleton
The story I’m about to tell you is one that will inspire any parent that reads it. It is a story of the hope and selflessness of a young girl’s soccer team that rallied around a fellow teammate whose father needed a new heart, but did not have the funds to even get on a recipient list. It will pull at your heart strings and amaze you with what can be done if you just put your heart into it.
I met Glen and Linda Newhart a few years ago when my daughter asked if her best friend Brooke could accompany us on a camping trip. They appeared to be a normal happy family, and I especially enjoyed talking with Linda and Glen about the planed trip we were making to some gem mines in western North Carolina. They asked all of the questions that concerned parents ask, and allowed her to come along. When we returned from the two day camping trip, Linda told me how much she appreciated us letting Brooke come along, and commented that she was happy that Brooke had an opportunity to go camping that she might otherwise not have. I did not understand the meaning of her words until recently.
In mid October 2010, my daughter came home looking rather sullen. Fearing that she had a bad day at school I asked her what was wrong. She said that Brooke told her that her father needed a new heart on the bus ride home. She further explained that her parents didn’t have enough money to get her father on the heart recipient list at Duke University medical center. She added that it made her sad. I was stunned to learn that Glen was in need of a heart transplant. Trying to cheer her up I suggested that if she wanted to help she could get with her friends and come up with a fundraiser to help them out. She immediately brightened up, and like most teenage girls, got on the phone and began calling her friends. I later learned that one her friends can up with an idea to help their friend out.
I didn’t think much about it again until the following week when my daughter announced that the girls on her soccer team had planned to have a bake sale, in order to help raise money for Brooke’s father. Most of the girls on her soccer team grew up together playing for the same team year after year, and they were a tight knit group that also attended the same schools. She asked me if I would donate some product, and deliver her early to the game so they could get an early start. I was taken aback with the enthusiasm that she had participating in the event to help her teammate’s father.
On Saturday, I delivered my daughter, and the bake sale items to the soccer game. It was a beautiful late October morning with a cloudless bright blue sky, a perfect day to sell bake items. On the way, I grumbled at the paving truck that was in front of me, slowing me down. Little did I know that the paving of the road to the soccer field was a blessing in disguise. Some of the other girls were already there, their blue jerseys blazing in the morning sun, and they were selling cookies, muffins, and cakes to every car as they waited to pass the paving truck. A local television station picked up on the story and broadcast it on the evening news.
The girls stayed all day selling their baked goods while explaining how the proceeds were going to help their best friend’s father pay for a new heart. They managed to raise over $1400.00 that day, and gave the money Brooke’s mother Linda. She gracefully accepted the funds as she wiped away her tears. I confess that I too became emotional at what I had witnessed this day.
You would think that the girls would have felt this was enough of an effort, but not for the team Canada soccer girls. They have also rallied around Brooke’s family by participating in dessert sales, and even scheduled a walk-a-thon at their local school. It is no wonder that the undefeated team refuse to give up until all of the money that is needed for Glen to get on the heart recipient list is gathered.
Every once in a while life will throw you for a loop. This is one of those life experiences that gives you hope that you never forget. For the team Canada soccer girls, they are in a league of their own, and I for one, am very proud of them all. These girls showed the power of friendship and the collective effort that triggered an entire community to help a fellow team mate in her time of need. Meanwhile, my family and I will pray for Brooke’s family, and wish Glen Godspeed in receiving a donor heart.
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