I'm sure most of you from home have at least heard of Michael Collins and the #MCstrong Pay it Forward movement and the incredible impact it has been having on Central Illinois, the rest of the country, and even some other places in the world.
For those of you who haven't heard the story:
A couple weeks ago, Michael Collins and a few other college students were being driven home by a designated driver, when they were t-boned by a drunk driver who ran a stoplight. Michael received serious brain damage, and passed away on April 2nd after a 5 day long fight. As an organ donor, Michael was able to greatly improve or save over 200 lives. That alone is enough to inspire; however, the story does not stop there.
My little community in Central Illinois has come together to honor Michael in a way that never will be forgotten. A Facebook page was created by a friend of Michael to encourage people to perform random acts of kindness, and pay forward Michael's incredible act of love and kindness. So far, the page has 16,000 members, and posts from all over the country. While many of the posts are from friends of Michael, the vast majority are from people who have simply heard the story and have been inspired to Pay it Forward. These acts of kindness posted range from leaving a large tip for a waiter or paying for someone else's meal, to a free lemonade stand put on by young children, all the way to a family who pre-paid for cabs to take college students home from the local bars.
Not only have hundreds of people have told the stories of random acts of kindness they experienced or they performed in memory of Michael in just the past few days, but the accident and aftermath have inspired many people to become registered organ donors after learning how many lives Michael was able to save.
As this campaign continues, and I hope it will for a long time, I am filled with love and pride for my hometown. Though the story is still heartbreaking, as it is for anyone to lose their life at 22 years old, the incredible outcome of Christ-like love and kindness is absolutely amazing to me. I will be forever grateful to Michael Collins for what he did to change lives and inspire a movement to change our community, the country, and hopefully the world.
Pay it forward, and please, never drink and drive.