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How $25, I Barely Had, Changed a Life – Including Mine

Kiva.org_Kelly McCormick

This is the story of how $25, that I barely had, helped someone halfway around the world. It’s also about how the same twenty-five dollars changed my life in ways that I’m now ready to speak about.

But first, I have to mention the accident.

The Accident Changed Everything

There’s always a before story. Here is mine.

Almost four years ago I was in a cycling accident. In a split second my life came to a crashing standstill. I was left with an extremely serious concussion. I soon found myself in non-stop pain, dealing with debilitating brain fatigue, while losing many of my cognitive abilities.

During the lengthy healing period, I struggled to stay positive, manage my affairs, and keep a roof over my head. My business, working as a growth and marketing strategist with entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized businesses, crumbled. Yet hope, and much needed inspiration, appeared in unusual ways.

Oprah Opened a Door

Prior to my accident, I had learned about an organization named while watching Oprah. Kiva is a non-profit organization that enables people to lend money, via the Internet, to low-income and under-served entrepreneurs and students in over 70 countries.

As a lifelong entrepreneur, the cause resonated with me. So I contributed $25 towards funding a $725 micro loan to Luzmila Esther, a 52 year old single woman living in Peru. She wanted to buy extra ingredients to produce additional food from her roadside cart.

After I lent the money, I didn’t think much more about it.

60 Year Old Gaioz Showed Up

Fast forward, to year one in my concussion recovery. I received an email from Kiva. The loan I’d previously helped fund had been repaid. Would I like to re-loan the money to someone else?

From a cognitive and health perspective, I was in bad shape. It took me weeks to be able to click on the link to find out who else needed help. But somehow I managed to do it.

The first loan I saw had a big banner on top. There was only four hours left to fund this loan, which was currently only 48% funded. Loans that aren’t fully funded are dropped from the list.

Beneath the banner was the photo of a middle aged man and his story. [Below is an excerpt.]

$25 Changes Lives

“Gaioz is 60 years old and lives in Georgia [a country near Turkey] with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. He is a very hard-working man. Gaioz requested a loan to purchase a milking cow and build a cattle shed. He plans to run a dairy business…[so he] will be able to increase the income of the family and improve their living conditions. Gaioz awaits your support.”

My Heart Ached

Gaioz’s story touched my heart deeply.

At 60 years of age not many people would be excited about giving Gaioz business startup money. Add to that he was male. Most micro-loans are lent to women too poor to qualify for bank loans. Women tend to use a portion of the money to employ others such as family and friends. They also have great re-payment track records.

Gaioz was the underdog. Time was running out.

I related to him. My situation also seemed impossible. I was sick, low on money, and had a long way to go to recover my former abilities. But that didn’t stop me. When everything seems to be gone, it becomes so clear, we are here to help each other.

I hit the ‘Lend $25’ button. Then I said a prayer for Gaioz and his loan.

Finally, Some Good News!

It worked! Forty six of us from around the world lent Gaioz a total of $1,225 USD to purchase a milking cow and build a cattle shed! I cried with elation.

That $25 Kept Me Going Emotionally

Over the next several years I remained sick and isolated. It took everything I had to get through each day. Yet when each loan repayment notice arrived my spirits where lifted. I might have been down but seeing Gaioz thrive gave me strength to not give up. If he could make it, against big odds, I would make it too.

Since my accident I’ve read articles and research that mirrors my own experience. Helping others contributes to our well being. This includes aiding in our happiness, eliminating depression and increasing our longevity!

How My Story Turned Out

If you’re curious, here’s how my life has turned out. To date, through, I’ve helped to fund 28 micro-loans in 17 countries to men and women of all ages. All without knowing how I would feed myself. “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you.” (A spiritual interpretation of Matthew 17:20.)

Regarding my concussion recovery, this is the first time that I’ve been well enough to speak publicly about my accident. I am so close to crossing the finish line to full health that I wake up smiling.

A second book is in the works. I’m currently writing about my experience of living through a serious head injury. I’m covering everything from what happened to me cognitively, to how I coped and survived, and the amazing things I discovered throughout the process. There are miracles, and profound insights, all around this story.

My marketing business has also reopened. And I have a renewed sense of purpose. I especially want to help entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations that are making a meaningful difference, either professionally or personally in the world.

I’m Not Waiting or Wasting Time!

I’m also realizing a BIG dream. While sick I kept saying, “When I’m well enough I want to be a spokesperson for Kiva.”

So today I am declaring myself a self-appointed Kiva Ambassador! Please join me in helping others to help themselves. It feels GREAT!

Hi, I’m Kelly McCormick, a Business Growth and Marketing Strategist. I help entrepreneurs & companies to identify opportunities for growth. Plus, I develop targeted branding, marketing & sales strategies. I can help you too!

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