Sunday, February 13, 2011

Help Write a Chapter

I wanted to share a story with you. A true story. A beautiful, inspirational story that will end in a tragic loss for everyone left behind...I am on my knees, begging you to please take a few minutes to read it.

I'm sure you already made up your mind if you are going to even read or respond to my latest email being sent. You're probably already bracing yourself for another one of my heartfelt pleas to save some stranger, mom, child in Africa. I don't blame you, I really don't. The world is filled with people asking for help. You can't even drive down the street without having a person with a sign begging for money at your window. Every store you go to there are donation jars at the checkout and you are asked if you want to give, when in all honesty all want is to buy your milk and quietly slip away. The buckets are passed every Sunday at church, your children come home every few months with another cookie fundraiser, your mailbox is littered with free address labels in hope you will send money. Times are tough. We are all struggling economically and to be quite honest most of us just want to forget life's problems, ignore the latest world conflict. We don't want to hear about another starving child, a catastrophic event that killed 1000's, the latest unemployed stressed out mom or dad that killed their family....It's just all so much. Then to top it off I send out these emails asking for help for some cause or another usually involving some dire need.

I want to tell you my reason for this email is to just say, "HI"....but you all know me better than that (I hope:) The thing is I love you all too much to not share with you a chance to not only be part of a story that is beautiful and inspiring, but to help write it a few chapters in a young lady's life.

This is the story of The Beautiful Stranger.

Do you ever wonder why certain people are in your life?

I pass hundreds of people a day during my normal life of driving, shopping, schooling, work.


I look in cars as I drive by...wondering what are they thinking? How was their morning? Do they know they are loved? Do they know...really know that they are special? Has anyone told them, showed them that they are worthy.

That they are enough...

just as they are.

I meet people everyday.


I just know


I just feel..

are suppose to be a part of my life.

I can't help but to stop my life.

Look at them.

and love.

I met someone by chance a year and a half ago...

Normally she would just be a face...

another person that I pass by..

But not this time.

She was my waitress when I went to Phoenix to meet some blog friends.

Tattooed, outspoken, and intense.

I loved her immediately.

I have kept in touch through Facebook and visited her a few months ago.

When I was laying in my hospital bed last week...

so was she.

I had my husband and my church family around me...

she didn't.

She is 26 years old.

She had a 2 inch mass removed from her ovary,


an ovary removed

then the other one untwisted.

She needs probably a hysterectomy.

She is a student

and has no income.

She is waiting to see if she has cancer...


she was just a face...

of a hundred

that I pass by each day.


she has a name.

she has a cause.

Her name is Crystal.

(Since I first wrote that almost 3 years ago, I have had the privilege to get to know her even more. I think of her often, but haven’t spoken with her since last year)

Until I came across her blog.

Fast forward a year.....She now has stage 4 cancer. She is more beautiful than the day I met her. Her bald head from chemo gives her tattoos even more life. Each tattoo is a story in itself.






In January she was told she has 6-12 months to live.

I found out yesterday. I cried and cried. 27 years old filled with more passion and life than anyone I have ever met. She started a blog to journal her life with cancer.

On her blog she created a list.

A bucket list of sorts.

As I sat down to read her list preparing to cry....It hit me.

I can't save her life.

I can't put out some heartfelt plea on my blog to raise money to save her or stop death.

I can however help her live the life she has to the fullest and cross the things off her list.

1.Win something (contest)

2.Volunteer in a 3rd world country

3.Hold a newborn baby

4.Pet a lion

5.See an Elephant

6.Learn to knit.
7. Get a tattoo on my hand and neck

Without hesitation I called her and told her she won a trip (1) to Africa to volunteer with helping pass out and educate women on birthing kits(2) and in the process she will probably have to hold babies at orphanages (3). That we will visit the lion zoo and find an elephant (4,5) and one of the women we are working with who is bedridden and disabled knits scarves that we will be selling and would love knitting company(6). and there are awesome tattoo places in Addis that I was going to get a tat at too(7)

I have 48 hours to raise the money needed to cross 7 things off her list...and make some of her biggest and wildest dreams come true!

The only option is for her to come with me on my Because every Mother Matters mission trip to Ethiopia on Feb 27th! That is in two weeks. She just finished a chemo round and has her strength and at that time she will already be 2 months into her 182 days left! The October trip I have planned is too far out considering the circumstances.

* I do believe in miracles, I do believe she can live a long and full life and the Doctos can be wrong. I also do know that life is too short and all of our days are numbered...With that said...I will not pretend to be a fortune teller and I don’t know how many days any of us have...I do know from the depths of my soul that I believe we should all live as we only have 182 days left....and treat each other daily as it will be our last.*

This time I am not asking for help to save a life....I am begging you to help this girl who once was just a stranger in a the life she has left to the fullest! In order to mark these 7 things off her list though I need you!

The contest she won didn't even exist until the moment I saw her desire to win a contest on her bucket list just two hours ago. What is the contest she won?

It's simple....

The Beautiful Stranger contest.

I, being the sole judge, chose her because she has a name, a cause, and a dying to live life wish....Her name is Crystal and doggoneit... she won her first contest and she will be awarded a volunteer trip to Africa to hold babies in an orphanage, be taught to knit by a bedridden 20 year old orphan that is working hard to knit her way to her own home, pet a lion, we will find an elephant and have our hands tattooed!

Now here is how you can win a contest too.

First :Read her blog.
Second: Leave her a comment on her blog. She asked what you would do if you had 182 days left to live. I encourage you to think about that and leave your own list for her to read.
Third: I NEED TO RAISE $2000.00 IN 48 HOURS TO BE ABLE TO MAKE ANY OF THIS POSSIBLE! I FOUND AIRFARE FOR $1500 and we will need about $500 to cover her two weeks in Ethiopia.

So, what do you win? You get to help write the final chapters of a young ladies life and be part of a beautiful story of a young women who is dying, but refuses to spend her days waiting at death’s door. She is instead fully living more than most of us ever have.

I encourage you to

Give your heart

Write your own list

Donate to her wish list


get to know the beautiful stranger

You will be blessed.

Her name is Crystal


she is loved!


She has no idea I made up this contest to help her experience 7 of her biggest wishes.

P.S.- If you know James Franco her other wish is to kiss him;)

The link to donate can be found on my blog


Anonymous said...

Did she agree to go? What if you don't raise enough money? I want to help but I am confused because her blog does't mention your contest.

steffany said...

She agreed to go most enthusiastically! And I will raise the funds even if I have to sell my stuff. Not worried about that at all. The contest was a surprise. She didn't know until I called her. I actually only created the contest so she could win one (That was one of her list items:)
There are no what ifs....I'm buying her ticket tomorrow in complete faith the money will be there. about $1000 raised since last night!

Anonymous said...

Will she verify on her blog? It is just that since I don't know you personally I want to be sure no disrespect meant!

Anonymous said...

Will she verify on her blog? It is just that since I don't know you personally I want to be sure no disrespect meant!

steffany said...

none taken. You can call her and ask if I'm legit:) My name is Steffany.

Blair said...

A bit confused as I read her blog and it says she is going. You still need to obtain funding correct?

steffany said...

Oh. She is going!

steffany said...

Blair- I think you just left comment on my blog? Yeah, she's going. Still working on funding in country part, but got the ticket money and am buying the ticket today. I work a bit different than most. I jump in, commit and ALWAYS find a way. I have sold my cars, furniture, anything I have always work it out! I'm always amazed at the everyday hero that comes out of nowhere to fund my heart's desire to help. To date, I have raised the funds to build a maternity clinic in Ethiopia, A HIV woman's home in Addis, Deliver birthing kits to the remote villages of African countries, build a baby home, move a sick pregnant Ethiopian woman in with me for year, etc....People generally ROCK! She is definitely going and we will definitely cross tons of stuff off her list!
Oh and please know I am not trying to brag or be cocky..just the opposite. I work with no plan, only heart and am completely the least qualified to do anything...It's just I think people might like idiots with passion:) or at least to see what said idiot might do next and what else can she sell:

Blair said...

balls out.


lisa said...

Can't wait to read how the trip goes! I am in! Praying and spreading the word and donating.

and for the record, idiots with passion are my favorite kinds of idiots! ;)