Saturday, June 9, 2012

Heroes, sung and unsung

Most days, news feeds batter us with financial disasters, killing fields and other disturbing results of human behavior. But sometimes people do things that are wonderful, and they deserve more notice than they usually get.
So here is a little story of two women who met while blogging:
Natalie Bahm
and Wen Baragrey

The vast Pacific Ocean separates them geographically, but they became critique partners, sharing their works-in-progress and the stories of their lives. (as a disclaimer, I should say I've known both Natalie and Wen through blogging for several years and have shared works-in-progress with Wen)

Enter the horrific earthquakes that tore apart Christchurch, New Zealand where Wen lived. During this, Wen's daughter was pregnant with a child who wasn't supposed to live. But Jayden did fight to be born and survive, and that meant being in hospital with a sick baby while the earth continued to rumble and buck.

To shorten this story, fast-forward to a decision by Wen and Jayden's parents to move to the stable ground of Australia. Jayden's health problems were far from over, however, and he needs special care and living environment.

I'm going to skip to what Natalie did. She decided to hold an online auction to raise funds to help Jayden's family care for him. I don't know all the behind-the-scenes work or who did what, but that meant calling for donations, setting up a website, writing the content for each item with photos and links, setting up payment option, hosting the auctions and contacting the winners.

The auction has been going on for a week with the critiques offered by agents garnering the heaviest bidding. There were many other contributors--authors and artists, who helped give this struggling family a boost. They all deserve thanks for their generosity.

Natalie wasn't done, though. She announced this: "After some thought, I’ve decided, as a personal gift to Jayden, to donate all of the proceeds from my middle grade novel UNDERGROUND to his family. UNDERGROUND is a sweet, back-yard adventure.  It will release early fall 2012, and will be available in both eBook and print.  My agent, Sara Megibow, has helped make this donation possible.
UNDERGROUND’s publication is sure to be an adventure, and, with any luck, it will also be another way to help Jayden and his family."

How extraordinary is that?

There are still a few items left to bid on until the auction is completely over, so please check it out. Or you can also make a direct donation to the family here. And don't forget to order UNDERGROUND--it should make a fine holiday present in more ways than one.


Wen Baragrey said...

You, my dear, are also extraordinary. Thank you for celebrating all that Natalie's done. Anything I've done, I've done for my own family, but Natalie did it because she is about the most lovable, generous, sweet soul on the planet (also, a kick ass writer, I might add).

Grandma's naturally fight for their kids and grandkids, plus, they get to enjoy all the snuggles and wonderful things about their grandbabies while they're at it. But to do all Natalie has done for a friend's family just shows what an awesome person she is.

I hope her book races off the shelves, not because of the help it will give Jayden's cause, but because she deserves to have her writing read, and appreciated.

Thanks so much for your support this week, Tricia. You've been absolutely awesome and our most loyal supporter! *hugs* You deserve a big round of applause too.

Julie Dao said...

What an extraordinary story of friendship and selflessness. I will be checking out both this wonderful book and the auction - thanks for sharing, Tricia.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wen: Aw. Thanks. I wish I could do more, really.

Julie: It is an extraordinary story and makes my heart full of gratitude that such stories are real.

Natalie said...

You are such a sweetheart, Tricia. Really, I don't feel like I've done much. I'm just so grateful for all the people who've donated and given money and time. It means a lot to me to see people coming together to help Jayden. He's a special little guy and I'm so glad we can all do this to help his parents out.


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Natalie: You've done a world of good. Shine on, my friend.

Erin Kane Spock said...

Thank you for sharing this story. My critique partner has become one of my closest friends. You get a very special relationship with the person who finds the imaginary people in your life as real as you do.

storyqueen said...

My eyes just totally teared up. This reminds me of something a first grader wrote the other day, "Take care of the world because it's a good place." The world IS a good place, populated by wonderful writer friends who touch each other's lives though separated by half the planet.

It's just so very inspiring.

Thanks for spotlighting them, Tricia!


Suzanne Casamento said...

WOW. God bless Natalie, Wen and Jayden.

Amazing what can happen when people really focus on helping each other.

Thank you for sharing their amazing story!

Jemi Fraser said...

What a lovely story of love and goodness. The auction's been wonderful!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Erin: Hi! You're so right about the relationship with a good crit partner. I love it when people talk as if characters are real.

Shelley: Your comment made me tear up! It's true the world is better than we're led to believe sometimes, and there are some truly amazing people.

Thanks so much, Suzanne!

Jemi: Hasn't it been great? I do hope it makes their lives easier. They've had so much trauma.

Liza said...

I'm going to click some links. Thanks for trumpeting the call Tricia.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Holy crap! That is an amazing story - and one I haven't heard about. I'm heading to the link. Thanks so much!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Amazing stories, I came to say thank you for stopping by my blog and I'm glad I did

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks for doing that, Liza!

Terry: It truly is amazing and so heart-warming. Thank you.

Shelli: I'm glad you did, too! :D

Robyn Campbell said...

Love WEN! And what an extraordinary thing for Natalie to do. I will definitely buy the book. Prayers for Jayden always. What a lovely post Pat! I heart you, I hope you know that! Always and forever. :-)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Robyn: You changed your photo! Love it. So glad you're going to put Nat's book on the buy-list. Love you, too, my friend!

Wen Baragrey said...

You know, this comments section just proves the point even more, doesn't it? The world IS a good place and people ARE good. Not just a few, but many. It's a wonderful thing to be reminded of that occasionally, and Jayden's life has proven that to me over and over. This is another wonderful example :)

Faith Pray said...

What a beautiful tribute! Real love. I'm so glad to see writers reaching out to help that little guy. Awesome.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wen: I love these comments, too. :)

Faith: Love all around!