When computers started becoming popular about ten years ago, I resisted them. My father sooo wanted me to learn how to use one. I think he thought that I could get a nice, stable office job somewhere. I thought that they were mostly just for buying stuff and that I'd get lost in all the information sites. At the time I was known for getting lost in the dictionary. One word would take me to the next and on and on. It's the same reason I don't have cable for the tv. HGTV scares me. Every time I babysit for the cat next door, I turn it on for the half hour I spend with him and get lost. When I look up - it's two hours later.
All this is to say that I didn't realize what a wonderful tool the computer could be. Or that there could be a social aspect waiting to be utilized. I never imagined that it would help me to make friends and feel like a part of a community. I've made some wonderful cyber friends on Etsy and Flickr and even through this blog and I'm so grateful. The first community I joined was the the one inhabited by the Yahoo! MetalClay group. You'd be hard pressed to find a more generous, helpful and caring group. I made two particularly great friends there, one in France and one in Australia that I can't imagine my life without.
Angela, Maggie and I have been lucky enough to meet in person, but the personal attention and goodwill extends to those we've never been in the same room, state, or country with too.
Robin Whitmore was an active, well respected and well liked part of the MetalClay group almost from the beginning. She was an enthusiastic supporter of metal clay as an art form and of the artists who used it. There was always a very sweet post from Robin waiting in our in-boxes to look forward to. Then Robin developed cancer and eventually passed away. It was a great loss to those who checked in daily to the MetalClay board. And of course to her family and friends.
This past year, Holly Gage came up with a wonderful tribute to Robin and all those loved ones lost to cancer. She asked for people to donate charms to be put onto a charm bracelet and raffled off for charity. I think she was expecting enough to fill one bracelet. But everyone has been touched in some way with the tragedy of the Big C and folks were inspired to create hundreds of charms. Enough to fill over 30 bracelets! Then the decision was made to hold the raffle during the PMC Conference this past July and a miracle happened. So many people around the world bought raffle tickets that over $12,000.00 was raised! $6,917.50 was donated to the American Cancer Society and $5,352.50 went to The Marrow Foundation.
I'm so proud of Holly, all the wonderful helpers she had, all the people who made charms, all the people who sold the raffle tickets and all the people who bought them. What a wonderful gift it was for everyone involved. And how wonderful to know that every single person can make a difference. Whether they're a visible entity in your life or a wisp of data floating on the ether.