Life Arts

A Million Acts of Kindness

By       Message Suzana Megles     Permalink
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It is so good to read stories about people who are either doing acts of kindness
or promoting it. I was delighted to read about a Cleveland native - Bob Votruba
who, after hearing about the Virginia Tech shootings three years ago, decided
that he wanted to do something to make the world a better place for his three
grown children.

After selling his home, his car, and his possessions, he bought a bus. Soon he
and Bogart, his dog began traveling around to college campuses all over the
country spreading a message of kindness. His message, simple and succinct-
try to perfom one million acts of kindness. Though the sheer number is probably
unattainable in one's lifetime, it is certainly a worthwhile goal. "Aim high" is
probably his mantra because by doing so, you will never stop trying to reach this
lofty goal.

He has already visited 51 campuses where he wastes no time talking to the
students about what they can do to spread kindness in their community. He
suggests starting with small acts of kindness which he hopes will be paired
with the kindness in one's own heart.

His efforts have been recognized and next week he travels back to Virginia
Tech for ONE MILLION ACTS OF KINDNESS WEEK. One hundred schools so
far are involved urging students to perform acts of kindness in their
communities and deciding if they will aspire to this lofty goal. I will give it
a shot too - how about you?

I know I have so many opportunities. I hope to think twice about uttering an
unkind word re people with whom I have so little in common. I think I have
learned to be more kind and understanding when my six cats and one dog do
something which displeases me. The opportunities are endless and, in my
opinion, the biggest act of kindness I perform is repeated day in and day out
with having chosen a vegan lifestyle. No animal suffers in a cruel factory farm
or is slaughtered to satiate my palate. I count this as many acts of kindness
a day. Though Bob Votruba seems to have geared his acts primarily to the
human condition, there should be no boundaries, and animals should be the
recipients of our kind acts as well. They are after all, a huge part of God's
creation too.

I'm pretty blaze about breast cancer because thank God - most are caught in
time, and the prognosis for good health is good. However, I am forever irked
by seeing women in pink "joyfully" running in the Susan Komen Search for
cancer cures. Why? Even though I myself am a breast cancer survivor, the
protocol used in research such as this one saddens me. I don't believe that
animals should be inflicted with our maladies and for the past 50 years plus
we have been more than UNKIND to the unfortunate animals who are being
used in oftentimes cruel and, in the opinion of some doctors, unnecessary
experimentation. If you know anything at all about mankind, he is very
fallible despite all the degrees in the world.

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Many times the protocol is the same and repeated over and over again with
no new insights found. In the 90's Congress had a chance to establish a
Modern Animal Research Library which would document research findings
with the goal of preventing duplicative experimentation. They refused to fund
it, saying it was too expensive. But yet, they allow the National Institute of
Health to award lucrative grants for repititious research which we the
taxpapers have to fund.

Well, I expect to get disagreeing comments. And then I have to ask myself -
have I violated my promise to be kind? I may have, but I don't think so.
Searching for truth can never be considered unkind -especially when it
causes unecessary suffering.

But I end with a local act of kindness. Tom Janout, owner of The Arch
Gallery in Fairview Park opened his doors last month for "The Gift of Now," an
artist benefit showcase featuring the work of area artists including the work
of Leah Dadas of Brecksville, a gifted photographer. She is also a Reiki healer,
youth counselor and --cancer patient. How very kind that Janout is offering a
portion of the proceeds from the show towards a Leah Dadas cancer treatment
fund. It is much needed since she doesn't have health insurance.

Dadas was diagnosed in September with Stage 4 breast cancer that has
metastasized to her lower spine. Though undergoing major surgery, numerous
tests, radiation therapy and is on several medications, her prognosis is not good.
She has only a 2-5 percent chance for survival. I keep on wondering that for all
the years that millions and millions of dollars went into cancer animal research-
why haven't we found a cure for the real "hard" ones like Dadas's?

Dadas, despite this glum prognosis, continues to be upbeat. She has also
decided to embark on utilizing more holistic medicine -allowing her body time
to heal.

Janout has done a big act of kindness for her by providing much needed funds.
The people who came to this showing and bought artwork have done theirs.
And the rest of us? If we want to do an act of kindness and believe in prayer,
please put her on your prayer list. She is on mine now.

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
 

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