My friend Dominick Evans is a remarkable guy. He’s always first to offer to help out a friend, give advice or make someone smile. He’s kind, generous, sincere, and caring. He’s one of the happiest, most positive people I know. If I’m having a down day, I spend a bit of time chatting with Dom and I always feel better. I consider him a very good friend.
Dom and I have never met face to face – though we came close back in March when I was traveling through Michigan on a road trip. In fact, Dom and I have never even spoken to each other – our entire friendship has been text-based – via Twitter, email and Instant Messaging. People in the offline world often wonder how online friendships can really work. How is it possible that you can become attached to someone you’ve never met in person?
I have a theory about this – I believe that in fact, people become closer to one another more quickly in the online world. Why? Many times, people who are getting to know each other in the physical world rely on one on one interactions. They run through the whole series of typical “get to know you” chatter – what do you do for a living? Do you have kids? What’s your dog’s name? You’re allergic to bees – fascinating! Information is gleaned from each other in small bits and chunks, it’s filtered, and eventually you decide are either good friends or you’re not.
In the online world, things are a bit different. First, it’s not really one on one, at least not to start. Social media is many people talking to many people. Sure, conversations branch off, but what you’re seeing is not only how a particular person acts with you, but how they are with everyone. All at once! Not only that, but you are able to cut through the get to know you stuff pretty quickly. I can go to someone’s blog or Twitter feed and get a pretty good idea who they are, what they do, and sometimes I can even find out if they’re allergic to bees. So, with the “get to know you” bits out of the way, I can start to delve into the real meat of getting to know someone. I can learn quickly what drives them, what kind of values they have, what their passion is. They do the same with me. And the friendship becomes much closer, much faster.
Dominick has Muscular Dystrophy and is in a wheelchair. He is not out to make people feel sorry for him – far from it. Dom absolutely does not let his MD hold him back. He’s an aspiring filmmaker, a devoted parent and partner, a fantastic writer, and he accomplishes more in a day than many of us do in a week. But, there’s an issue. In order for Dom to get in and out of his bed, he needs a special machine called a Hoyer Lift. The one he has is falling apart and it’s frankly become dangerous for him to use. As a result, he isn’t able to get up out of bed that often right now.
A Hoyer Lift costs around $800 US. That’s good chunk of money when you’re trying to work to support a child and a household like Dom does. There are no government subsidies to cover the cost either. So Dom is reaching out to his community – holding a Tweetathon this weekend to raise that $800 so he can get the lift he needs. There are prizes to be given away and everything!
But there’s more. Dominick and his partner Ashtyn have decided that just getting Dom’s lift isn’t enough. They have also decided to help out 12for12k’s May Charity, the Hospice of Peel, by donating 15% of all the money they make to 12for12k. Who just got goosebumps? I did. You see, here’s the thing about Dom. He’s not just trying to improve his own quality of life. He’s trying to improve everyone’s quality of life. He isn’t just thinking of himself and the fact that he’s in a wheelchair – he’s thinking of the greater good. And for that reason, if nothing else, I think you should dig in your pockets as far as you can afford to today and give Dom his lift.