When Wendy Fitzgerald was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2018, she and her husband left a paver, inscribed with a calendar of dates at the beginning of a local coastal walk. The aim of the paver was to inspire her to keep moving outdoors, and every time she walks up the steps to the walk, she marks off another date.
What started as a personal motivational tool soon received the backing of the community. Two weeks after placing the paver, they discovered trinkets of inspiration left by community members. These came in the form of cards, earrings, rocks with hand written messages. The messages said things like, “We support you”. “You are amazing” and “Hope”. It wasn’t long before they installed a second paver to place some of the trinkets on.
Wendy and her husband Mike were so touched by these messages of love and hope, they commented that most people did not realise just how much they helped. Wendy said that these messages, many of them from people she didn’t even know, inspired her to keep going when things got tough.
Hope doesn’t just happen, it’s a mindset that we cultivate, it’s who we choose to be.
Shavkat Tursunbayev spends his days scouring abandoned buildings in Uzbekistan looking for people who may be infected with TB, a disease he battled. Shavkat was initially infected ten years ago, then re-infected while serving a prison sentence. While undergoing treatment he received support from outreach counsellors, who are supported by Project Hope. Once his health was restored Shavkat decided to help others just as he had been helped, and he joined the multidisciplinary team that had supported him.
When Shavkat finds potential patients he encourages them to get tested and seek treatment. Because he has been through the experience himself, he is non-judgemental and people trust him and feel safe. By having the courage to hope Shavkat turned his own life around, and created a life that is meaningful. He says he loves his work and feels his life has a purpose. He has become a highly respected member of the outreach team.
Project Hope was set up in 1958 to provide health and humanitarian support around the globe. Since that time they have provided healthcare for tens of millions in more than 100 countries. Trained 2 million health care workers. Delivered $2 billion in medicine and supplies.
Organisations such as this do such wonderful work but we don’t need to be a large organisation to inspire others. Hope is the gift we give ourselves. By demonstrating hope in our daily lives we become positive role models and our actions can inspire others. Hope provides us with a rock solid foundation on which to build a happy life.
St Ignatius said, “Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.” Such a powerful way to live.
 Manly Daily, September 8 2018