It’s Day 2 of our Orange Karen Countdown Series, where we’re counting down the days to the short story anthology submission deadline on December 15, 2012. Today, Christina Esdon talks about the power of community and how it takes more than a village to help those in need. There is still time to submit your short story. Check out the Submission Guidelines for more information.
“No man is an island.” – John Donne
I’m always amazed at the power that people possess when they work toward a common goal. A single instrument sounds beautiful, but the music created by an orchestra is awe-inspiring. An architect can envision a beautiful home, but it takes a team of builders and contractors to bring the blueprints to life. And when disaster strikes, recovery and revitalization takes more than just a family, more than just a team. More than a village.
In May of 2000, disaster struck a small town in southern Ontario when the town’s water was contaminated with e. Coli. Seven people died and thousands became ill. The close-knit community grieved the loss of their friends and family members. Bottled water was imported into the local hockey arena. News vans clogged the streets, and the sound of helicopters evacuating critical patients echoed through the town in grim testament to the life-threatening scope of the contamination.
The community and surrounding area came together to help the town in their time of crisis, but once the waterlines were decontaminated and the immediate danger had faded, help seemed to dwindle. The town’s infrastructure was put back together, but the residents were left to deal with the physical and emotional aftermath on their own.
More than twelve years later, hundreds still struggle with chronic health problems, including heart and kidney disease. I know this because my own family was affected. They struggled and are still struggling, with their health and with so many challenges that make it difficult to move forward in their lives. My heart breaks for them and for the people in this small community. Many organizations and groups have tried to help, but it hasn’t been enough.
When I heard about Karen’s illness this past summer, my heart sank. I knew that she had many family members and friends supporting her, her husband and their two young girls. But from my own experience, I knew that it wouldn’t be enough. Hillary Clinton said “It takes a village,” but I knew that we would need much more than Karen’s small community to help her overcome the challenges her illness posed. We would need the village that is The Internet.
Many people involved in this project haven’t even met Karen in person, but they know her vibrant spirit, her sparkling smile and her loving soul. They can relate on some level. They identify with her struggle, and they have been inspired to help by writing a short story for our anthology. I wish that more people had been there for my family during our struggle, but I have learned that we need to extend our reach. Our own determination can only take us so far; sooner or later, we need to call upon the countless others who make up our global community. We may live thousands of miles away from each other, but thanks to modern technology, we do not need to be alone in times of need.
There is still time to submit your short story to the Orange Karen anthology. These are the Submission Guidelines – remember the deadline is December 15. You can be a part of our community, and help us help Karen, the Orange Warrior whose story resonates with so many.
(Photo credit: Sun to Earth Photography)
Christina Esdon is a hopeless romantic and dreamer extraordinaire. She loves to see the world through rose-colored glasses (literally) and has the uncanny ability to find humor and joy in the small things in life. When not writing, she can be found frolicking along the shores of Lake Huron, taking notoriously long bubble baths or contemplating the next renovation to her home in Ontario, Canada.
Author’s Note: Speaking of global community, I’m amazed at those who have already checked out this website. Here is a picture from WordPress, showing where everyone is from who has clicked on our website. And the orange colored countries – coincidence? I think not. #teamOrange