I want to tell you a story about a little boy who grew up not far from where I grew up in a small village in rural Oxfordshire. The little boy had a younger sister who loved to play. They would chase each other round the garden and spend hours building dens. Sometimes the boy’s sister would look tired and her lips would turn a shade of blue but it never stopped her from having fun. Sometime their parents told her that she needed to take things easy but she always smiled and carried on. She loved life and she always wanted to try new things. From time to time the boy’s parents would take his little sister to the hospital to see the doctors and whenever she came home they would resume their games as if nothing had happened. She lit up a room wherever she went and never let things get her down. One day after a trip to the hospital with her mummy and daddy the little boy’s sister didn’t come home. It was very sad not to have her to play with any more but her spirit went with him wherever he went. When people said he wasn’t capable of doing something he remembered her cheeky smile and did it anyway. He committed to doing the things he loved in life and always tried to seize the opportunity to try something new. Whenever he fell over or got knocked down he tried to follow her lead, dust himself off and get up with a smile. Throughout his life the little boy had his fair share of both success and failure. But whatever happened he was always grateful for the impact his little sister had.
Of course the little boy in the story is me. The little girl was my sister Abbie. Abbie passed away 30 years ago today at Great Ormond Street Hospital and we will always be grateful to the doctors and nurses there who did everything they could to look after her.
I share this story with you because we all have the power to influence. Whether we’re aware of it or not we all make an impact every single day. For better or worse we change the way that others interact with the world and the things that they believe. Our actions (or inaction) and our words (or lack of them) have great power. We owe it to ourselves and each other to use our impact wisely.
Be kind. Make an impact.