To the Editor:
With the recent news of Robin Williams’ death and his link to depression, which has spurred many conversations in social media, I feel compelled to write this letter.
A few weeks ago, an article about me was printed in The Newtown Bee. In case you missed it, my story started out about my happy, healthy one-eyed dog, Annie, who was suddenly diagnosed with an aggressive type of bone cancer and had a rapid growing tumor forming on her lower jaw. As you can imagine, time was of the essence and I certainly did not have the money for the surgery to get the tumor removed.
I started a fundraising page for her (https://fundly.com/save-annie) and that is when my story was no longer about my dog and me anymore. Within the course of one week, I raised enough money to schedule the surgery. My story was suddenly about a community of friends, family and even strangers who did all they could to share my story and donate to my cause, all to give my dog a chance that I was unable to provide her on my own.
The article in The Bee mentioned where I work in Newtown. I was brought to tears one day when I was called down to the receptionist’s desk because there was a woman waiting for me who wanted to give me something for my dog. When I greeted the woman, she spoke very highly about Newtown Veterinary Specialists and the doctors who had performed Annie’s surgery. She had just gone through something similar with her dog. She gave me an envelope, wished me luck, and left. She never mentioned her name. In the envelope were a card and a $100 bill. She didn’t sign the card. I’ll never know whom this stranger was who so generously reached out to help me – with no need for recognition at all.
You’re probably wondering why I started this letter with the mention of Robin Williams. As someone who has battled depression my whole life, I cannot stress enough the importance of the kindness of strangers. I believe that the town of Newtown understands that concept more than most places do. I hope that we never forget on a daily basis just how far kindness can go when someone is in a dark place.
I want to thank everyone who helped me raise enough money for Annie’s surgery. Not only did you save her, but also you saved me. I still have my silly, four-legged best friend by my side. And may I just add, she is recovering from the surgery so well!
But I also want to thank all the people who understand that kindness does count. Thank you to all of the people who on a daily basis practice patience, kindness, and love. It truly is those tiny magical moments in life that matter most. Because after all…. we are Newtown. We choose love.
Ali Cole (and Annie)
Park Road, Woodbury August 15, 2014