On the first day of tenth grade my teacher, Mrs. Sergeevna, told my class a story of her husband Victor, who is a brain cancer survivor. This Russian family lived over 8 years in Mongolia teaching Russian language in Mongolian schools. She became emotional as she talked about their journey through his treatment and recovery. I have never seen a person radiate so much hope from an adverse situation. After what Mrs. Sergeevna experienced with Victor ‘s illness she decided to dedicate part of her life to helping people in similar situations.
She told us about a local organization she was part of called “Khamtdaa” means “Together” in Mongolian. Her strength and attitude toward her situation inspired me and led me to realize some significant lessons about positively love and hope. Mrs. Sergeevna always had a story to tell that would make us laugh or smile. Along with typical Russian grammar and literature she taught valuable life lessons. Throughout the years, Mrs. Sergeevna shared stories with us about people in “Khamtdaa” who had overcome some taxing and unfair battles. Mrs. Sergeevna never showed any sadness or frustration toward the disease. She instead spoke only with of determination to find a cure. Whether news from “Khamtdaa” was good or bad, she always looked a t the situation as an opportunity to improve and do more.
Through her positive spirit she showed us how strong hope would be. My parents taught me from a very young age that making wise choices with my money are important. This financial wisdom led me to save my money. In that days I was playing music in live band besides school and I would always set aside most of my money 15 to 20 dollars a week allowance. One day I was looking my money that I had saved, wondering what to do with it. I did not feel like any video game or activity was worth the time I had spent saving. I thought about the stories Mrs. Sergeevna told us, about Victor and all the remarkable she worked with through “Khamtdaa”.
I decided that was where I wanted my money to go. I kept to myself about the fundraising, putting a few dollars aside every month and a little extra on Christmas. By the end of the school year, I had saved over 1 million tugriks, which is around 510 dollars to be exact. As the last day of school approached, after all the other kids had left from class, I handed Mrs. Sergeevna the present little box with money. As she opened it, I told her that I wanted the money to go to “Khamtdaa” organization to help people like Victor. She broke with into tears and hugged me tightly. I was surprised that my little box with gift made her cry.
On spring on my 11th grade I began to understand the meaning of that little box. I was invited to “Khamtdaa” organization’s annual fund raiser and auction. That night’s theme was “Hope and Giving”. Many stories were shared, one of the inspirational ones was of a young girl named Uyangaa. She was a six-year-old girl who had suffered a serious brain tumor. I remembered her from stories Mrs. Sergeevna shared, she had explained to us that Uyangaa’s cancer was strong, but she always managed to have a positive and happy attitude. I understand that people like Uyangaa who kindled the hope that fueled organizations like “Khamtdaa” At the end of the night’s auction, people were asked to donate what they could. I was called on that stage and stood next to Uyangaa’s siblings. The auctioneer told everyone the story of my gift to Mrs.Sergeevna, the 510 dollars. He then asked for generous donations, working back from high dollar amounts. At the end he asked, “How many of you willing to do what a high school kid did and donate 500 dollars” At that point nearly everyone in the room raised their bidding numbers. At that moment I realized that a couple months of allowance had become something bigger than that. Even though I have left her class, Mrs.Sergeevna continues to inspire and teach me. I continued my fundraising to the years.
Today I still try to be connected with Mrs. Sergeevna and “Khamtdaa” organization because the joy that I found in this organization never came from any recognition that I received for my action. I gained perspective and hope from the people that I met and worked with this organization. These events and experiences have shown me how much love can ensue in bad situations. People may not always realize how big of an impact one kind gesture can make. One teacher sparked a decision in my life that changed how I live.