Larsen Jay soon after his 2007 accident.
Ten years ago today, I fell. I fell from a roof onto the hard concrete below. Ten years ago, the impact of that fall affected my body – breaking numerous bones that, along with my life, had to be painstakingly and patiently put back together. Ten years ago, the impact of that fall was very personal – between me and my body, me and my family, and me and my identity – but the ripple effect of that impact has reached far further than I ever could have imagined.
Because, my time in the University of Tennessee Medical Center – Level 1 Trauma Department ten years ago (read more about that here) and my realization of the role that hope plays in the healing process changed my life. And, by extension, has changed the lives of countless other people in communities across the country.
As I reflect on my accident a decade later, Random Acts of Flowers – the organization founded as a direct response to my experience – is closing in on making 250,000 deliveries of hope and encouragement nationwide. Our five branches continue to impact more lives each month by increasing the number of deliveries, linking up with more healthcare and floral partners, reaching out to volunteers at community organizations, and spreading the word of our mission far beyond their own branch backyards. Further, organizations inspired by Random Acts of Flowers’ simple goal of recycling flowers and delivering hope are serving people in more than two dozen communities outside RAF’s service areas.
This ripple effect cannot be denied.
Random Acts of Flowers deliveries do not only touch the lives of the recipients. We receive testimonials from family members, doctors and nurses, RAF volunteers, and community members about how the RAF mission has touched their lives. Hope is an infinite resource and it can be delivered in myriad forms. For us, the vase and the flowers are the catalyst for making real connections with people and for sharing personal moments of kindness.
I can’t imagine how many people we will have impacted and inspired ten years from now. Half a million? A million? Five million? More? As RAF puts down roots and its branches reach further into each community, the ripple effect will only increase. That’s an impact I am happy to make again and again.
This weekend, I will honor Knoxville’s first responders for their service with a BBQ lunch. Some of these first responders made sure that my accident was not the end of my story, but the beginning of a new chapter; and to them, I am forever grateful.
So today of all days, I encourage you, wherever you are, to remember that each day blooms anew, turns over a new leaf, and is an opportunity to make an impact for the better in your own life and to your community. Get out there, make an impact, and live your life filled with hope.