It is a gift in life to be truly inspired by another. It allows us the opportunity to learn and grow in ways we might not have otherwise. Lucy Meyer, at 15 years old, has inspired and touched my life in this way. She is a special person and an extraordinary girl with an infectious laugh and the ability to draw people in — wanting to know more about her. For those of us who have the pleasure of knowing her, our lives are richer for it.
Lucy is the stepdaughter of my dear friend of 30 years, Jamie. When I met Lucy for the first time it was immediately noticeable that she was challenged to walk on her own, she had a limited vocabulary and her speech was seriously impaired. At birth, she had not received adequate oxygen and was subsequently diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP).
Her early struggles with CP have led her to become fiercely determined to help other disabled children while she herself learns to overcome her physical limitations. This focus on helping others has become her life’s passion.
On the day we first met, in 2008, her enthusiasm for life and love of people was apparent and infectious; we became fast friends. To this day we speak on the phone at least once a week – she likes to check on me to make sure that I’m ok – so cute – and to keep me posted on her happenings. I can hardly keep up with her schedule considering all of the philanthropic work she does for UNICEF and the activities that take her around the country. Her travel schedule includes giving speeches ( how far she has come in just 6 years) to raise awareness and needed funds for disabled children worldwide. This, in addition to her regular school work and the responsibility of being class Vice President, as well as her work with and participation in the Special Olympics. Lucy has competed in the Special Olympics since 2012 and winning numerous medals and many of them gold. Amidst her busy schedule she somehow finds time to play with friends and be a teenager.
In the six short years I have known her, she has grown into a dynamic, young woman with a serious mission and the conviction to do something about it. She is an inexhaustible powerhouse and certainly has found her calling in life with UNICEF and the Special Olympics. Within the past year she has met with President Obama TWICE and dozens of Senators in California and Washington D.C. to create awareness on behalf of UNICEF’s disabled children worldwide. At Halloween many children dress up as a favored animation character or superhero, but not Lucy, instead she dresses up in themed costumes related to UNICEF and does not ask for candy but rather uses the occasion to gather monetary donations for her UNICEF fund. Her fund has been specifically created for children with disabilities which did not exist when Lucy first started working with UNICEF so she created one. And, yes, it was all her idea!
President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Caryl Stern, was quoted as saying: "Lucy's commitment to helping ensure children with disabilities can realize their dreams is an inspiration."
Here are a few highlights of Lucy’s accomplishments over just the past couple of years:
Unicef - http://lucymeyer.org
• Lucy creates her own UNICEF fund, the first within the organization which specifically raises donations
for disabled children
• Guest Speaker: U.S. Capitol – State of the World’s Children (SOWC) publication launch dedicated to
Children with Disabilities
• Travels to D.C. to meet with numerous Senators on behalf of UNICEF’s Children with Disabilities
• Becomes the official spokesperson for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's Children with Disabilities http://www.unicefusa.org/press/releases/lucy-meyer-named-us-fund-unicef-spokesperson-children-disabilities/8304
• Time with President Obama to talk about UNICEF and the need to help children with disabilities
• D.C. trip with Jeff Carr (COO - 2015 Special Olympics) to speak with Senators to tell them about the
biggest event in L.A. since 1985 Olympics – the 2015 Special Olympics!
• Time with President Obama to promote helping children with disabilities
• Speaker – UNICEF Annual Meeting New York
• The only child chosen to speak at the United Nations Conference of State Parties on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
• Speaker - Youth with Disabilities and Innovation; Making the World Inclusive for All (UNICEF Activate Talk) Special Olympics
• Creates a special fundraising page to bring an athlete to the Special Olympics World Games in 2015 https://support.la2015.org/fundraise?fcid=310811
• Special Olympics Summer 2014 – takes home 2 gold medals
• Chosen as a Global Messenger for the Special Olympics 2015 Summer World Games
We’ve all seen the UNICEF ads on TV telling us that for a mere $ .50 cents a day you can change a child’s life. As I have come to know Lucy, I have learned that this slogan is more than advertising. It is a reality. Lucy’s goal is to raise $250,000 toward her UNICEF Fund for children with disabilities. As of today she has raised nearly $177,000–quite an accomplishment for someone so young.
Patina & Hue is committed to helping Lucy reach her goal and we would love it if each of you reading this could take a few minutes to donate to her UNICEF fund for disabled children. Please jump onto Lucy's Facebook page to learn more or visit her UNICEF fundraising site at: http://lucymeyer.org/
Lucy is our hero and she would be the first to tell you that any donation amount –even your spare change–makes a difference.