The girl who gave her birthday

she donated on her birthday

I remember when Allison asked me the name of the non-profit organization to which Ugly Ducklings Inc donated part of its profits.

Then, she said something that really struck me. In the best of ways.

I remember how good it felt after I had used the money that my mom had gotten to give to each of her children (a Christmas pay or something like that) to buy cookies for all my aunts and uncles. There was something left, which I used to buy the wrapping paper and the ribbons. There was a huge smile on my face.

girls who donated to NORMAL in schools

Some of Allison’s friends who donated

I was so excited and happy about what Allison was asking that I felt the need to interview her and ask her how she thought of this and why she was doing it.

First, I was super curious to know why she decided to start with NORMAL in Schools. And this was her answer:

I decided to start with NORMAL in Schools because I heard about it through The Ugly Ducklings on Twitter, and my birthday was coming up. People were asking me what I wanted, and I decided I wanted everyone to donate.

What’s the importance in giving? 

The importance in giving is, when you are fortunate enough to not need, or want anything, it’s very important to give back to those who do. If you can offer help, it is important to offer it where it is needed.

Allison's friend donated to NORMAL in Schools

But then, how did she get the idea? Was it from her parents, or perhaps it was already a tradition? Well, none of the above. Allison said that she got the idea from seeing a lot of her friends asking people to donate to charities for their birthdays. “After noticing my friend’s generosity, I decided to take after them, and have them donate for my birthday”. 

Sidenote: Sigh, I’m getting even more excited

I was even more curious question after question. Because it is one thing to have an idea, but it is another thing to make up your mind and actually DO IT. So, I asked Allison what made her decide to give others, instead of others giving gifts to her.

I made the decision to help others instead of getting gifts because to me, it just seemed like the right thing to do. I did not really need anything for my birthday. I thought that instead of that, what felt right was to help others. Even if I helped just a little bit, it was totally worth it.

Another necessary sidenote: A little bit? To me it’s so much more than a little bit.

I want to say that I feel something strange and wonderful in my heart. I’m overjoyed to see people like Allison making part of this wonderful community, which exists and is constantly fed by all of you <3 I also felt the need to ask her what The Ugly Ducklings meant to her, and this is what she had to say about it…  

The Ugly Ducklings movement, to me, means acceptance. I think the Ugly Ducklings is about everyone accepting each other for who they are. People should not be afraid to express who they really are. Nobody should be so consumed with the idea of people judging them, that they forget who they really are.

lauren donated to NORMAL in Schools

That’s it. I rest my case. I don’t know what else to add after this answer.

I’m kidding!  We have one more thing to share from Allison’s interview; however, I’m still speechless after such beautiful words. 

The last two questions I had for Allison were, of course, about telling others to do the same thing. It’s true, sometimes we just feel like we want so many gifts: the latest iPod, or the latest DVD release that we’ve got to have before the rest; or perhaps we want our parents to buy us a plane ticket to go to that place we’ve always wanted to go. But then, it all comes down to how you feel after, instead of getting things, you give them.

I just hope that I inspire others to do the same thing. I hope that on my friend’s birthdays they decide to ask everyone to donate instead of getting gifts. In other words, I would definitely tell others to donate on their birthdays. Even though getting gifts is great, I find it more meaningful to help others.

annie allison donated to NORMAL in SchoolsAnd that, my amazing friends, is something we had to share with you. I can’t wait for it to be October 31st (yep, my birthday is on Halloween) to see how all my friends and family donate money to NORMAL, instead of sending me things. I can’t wait…

– Marie,

The Tail Shaker.
The Ugly Ducklings Inc's swan


3 thoughts on “The girl who gave her birthday

  1. Pingback: Eating Disorder Awareness Week | The Ugly Ducklings

  2. That’s awesome! I think it’s such an admirable thing to do. I hope it isn’t like another hype or something (considering a lot of your friends are doing it at the moment), but that there always will be people who take these kind of initiatives. Only then we’ll get somewhere in this world. Love, Maaike

    • Thanks so much for the comment Maaike! I don’t think it is a hype because some of my friends have been doing this for years :). But let’s hope it sticks!!!! :D

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