Turning Lemons into Lemonade on Mother's Day


Turning Lemons into Lemonade On Mother’s Day

Melissa Williams-Platt | 12 May 2020

Sunday, was Mother’s Day and what a beautiful day it was. Despite my son having died almost four years ago, it was still beautiful. Despite it being lockdown, it was still beautiful. Yes, my heart was broken because a little five-year-old wasn’t greeting me with sticky kisses and sticky hands, but somehow Sam was with me through his Dad and through the beauty of the world around me.

Mother’s Day was filled with love, compassion, kindness, and friendship. It was filled with peace and beautiful happy moments. Messages and tributes to Sam from all over the world made my heart smile. It was a day of thoughtfulness that way outstripped anything I could have hoped for. It was a day preceded by our first Virtual Run for Footprints 4 Sam where more than 140 runners and walkers made up of health professionals, donors, friends of Sam and family all ran their hearts out for charity and in memory of a beautiful little boy called Sam, who is changing healthcare and pouring his heart and humanity back into other paediatric patients and the professionals who care for them. What an incredible weekend.

For Mother’s Day my husband, Fred, could not find any Mother’s Day cards so he made me two – one from Sam and one from him, and they were the most gorgeous cards I have ever received. “No more store-bought cards ever again!” I told him. I was greeted from the moment I woke with love. I was given these precious cards, flowers the day before, and sticky fig crumpets in bed, followed by the most amazing breakfast that any Michelin chef would have been proud to serve. Eat your heart out ladies and gents – my husband Fred is one in a million! Despite the sadness in his eyes, he made my day perfect in every way.

The lesson for me, yet again, is that we can choose lemons or we can choose lemonade. Life can be sour, or it can be filled with sunshine and hope. We need to make that choice and nobody can make it for us. It truly is a conscious and mindful effort. Yes, easy for you, you might say, and I would agree – I have a husband who loves me and three spotty dogs that shower me with love and sloppy kisses and crushing hugs. I have a home and all the comforts that come with that. How does one see the lemonade when one is wracked by poverty, thirst, fear and hunger? This I cannot even fathom – but if those of us who are blessed just paid it forward to change a few lives around us then fewer would have to know this crushing poverty and helplessness.

As I hit the road last week in preparation for my 10km virtual run (#sweat4sam), I met Vusi on the corner, who had nothing. Vusi was desperately thin and he took my breath away as he humbly approached me and asked if I could help him with a gift of a blanket. Nothing else, just a blanket. I had nothing on me (I was running), but I returned later with Fred and we gave him a blanket and some food. His deep gratitude was heartbreaking and it was difficult to hold back the tears.

We are all together in this messy life and we need to take care of those around us. If we all continue to selfishly exist then suffering will never be alleviated. If we don’t reach out and genuinely care then who are we really? To say this virus only kills the vulnerable and for this reason that life should just carry on as ‘normal’ is pure selfishness – what if one day I am that vulnerable person? Or you are? Would you want the world to treat you like you didn’t matter?

Footprints 4 Sam is about changing lives one day at a time. Our six key initiatives do just that. If you would like to reach out and make a difference, not just during COVID-19 but into the future, please check out the work we do and reach out to help others. One surefire way to cope better with this fear and uncertainty is to shift our own selfishness into looking outwards and caring for others. I am probably preaching to the converted here – each day we are so grateful to our many incredible donors – but South Africa has one of the highest Gini coefficient rates in the world. How sad to be known for having this level of inequality. This statistic was pre-COVID – imagine where it stands now!

At Footprints 4 Sam, we serve the most vulnerable of the vulnerable – underprivileged children with chronic illnesses. Help us to help them and in giving help yourself too as together we navigate the strangeness of this unprecedented time.

One thing COVID-19 has reinforced for me is that humanity is beautiful – humanity is the one thing we all share. The question for me each morning is: “How can we as a nation grow and spread kindness to as many vulnerable people as possible and how can we be kind to ourselves?”

Visit us on www.footprints4sam.org and help us by donating to change lives one footprint at a time. Join us in leaving a legacy, one that honours both you and those around you, and join us as we find innovative ways to bring hope, kindness, compassion and dignity to many precious young lives. For by touching just one life, we inadvertently change many, many others including our own.

Being part of something greater than myself is truly where I find my lemonade and trust me there is more than enough to go around!