Everyday Heroes: Three Acts of Generosity

Three acts of generosity inspire others around them.


Also published in Reader's Digest Magazine January 2014

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In 2009, Dan Black was hit by a car in his hometown of Chepstow, Wales, as he was biking to his job at a grocery store. The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. During his recovery, he suffered a stroke that rendered his right arm all but useless. Once a promising guitarist, Dan, now 25, lives with his parents and requires around-the-clock care that costs nearly $300,000 a year.

After the accident, a friend of Dan’s started the Help Dan Black fund to defray some of Dan’s medical expenses. Dan learned about an experimental stem cell treatment in China that could enable him to walk again. After four years, donations to Help Dan Black and money from several fund-raisers totaled nearly $30,000.

One day, in the summer of 2013, a news story caught the eye of Dan’s mother, Michaela, who then shared the article with her son. The story featured a local five-year-old boy named Brecon Vaughan, who had a rare form of cerebral palsy and had never walked without assistance.

The boy’s family had created a website with which to raise the nearly $100,000 needed for a trip to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where treatment was offered that could help Brecon walk. Only half the amount had been raised, said the report.

Dan deliberated. Then, after considering that his own dream of walking could be years away, he donated his $30,000 to Brecon’s cause.

“I wouldn’t wish getting paralyzed on anyone,” Dan told another newspaper. “I know how it feels to walk. Brecon doesn’t. He needs it much more than I do now.”

Dan’s generosity received a great deal of attention, and contributions started pouring in to the Vaughan website. The family soon exceeded their fund-raising goal. They’ve pledged excess funds, about $17,000, to the Tree of Hope charity, which helps sick children in the United Kingdom find specialized medical help. In October, Brecon and his family traveled to St. Louis to begin treatment.

“What Dan did is brilliant,” Brecon’s mother, Ann Drewery, said. “It is a phenomenal gift.”
Damon Beres