Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Have you ever prayed for money? Lydia George did. Her prayers were answered and just look what happened...
Before she went to Oxford University, Lydia had a Gap Year and worked six months for CCD (Christian Care Foundation for Children with Disabilities) in Thailand. CCD provides care and support to abandoned children with disabilities, regardless of gender, nationality, creed or religion.
When Lydia left CCD they were very short of money, and were struggling to finance the finishing of the new Rainbow Rehabilitation centre. Wasan, the Thai director, had even spent all his own life savings in an attempt to finish the project - such was his level of commitment, Lydia though had nothing to give them.
Lydia was back in the UK and working part time as a waitress in an Oxford bar and restaurant, when the producer of 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' approached her to appear on a 'freshers and professors' special.
In her own words... “I was auditioned on camera, and thought nothing more of it, until I had a phone call a few weeks later saying I had been successful, and that filming was in a week! The wonderful thing about it all was that I had been praying about a way of raising some money for CCD before this opportunity came up. When the opening came along I knew, therefore, that it was a gift from God, and that if I was to win any money, I should give it all away.
To my surprise, I ended up on the hot seat after winning 'Fastest finger first'. I won £32,000 along with the professor, which worked out as £16,000 each. I said on air that I would give it away, and that’s what I did. CCD was able to complete the building project, and the first ever purpose-built rehabilitation centre for disabled children was officially opened.
As a result of this, the Daily Telegraph did an article on my story, and then many more of the press became interested. Sky News approached me to make a documentary called 'Giving it away', which was filmed during my Christmas Holidays from university. Through these and various other media sources, about £30,000 was donated to CCD. I was absolutely blown away by the generosity of the public and the number of people who were genuinely moved when they saw the conditions of the orphanage on television.
My expectations were blown once again when Starfish Trust, a Bristol-based charity, contacted me to say they would like to donate to CCD, which enabled them to buy some land adjacent to the rainbow centre. Their donation was in total about £100,000, the largest donation to CCD ever!”
Following this Lydia was nominated for and won a 'Pride of Britain' Special award. Again, something amazing also came out of this.
In Thailand Lydia grew very close to a little girl called Ornanong, which means ‘Scrawny’. Scrawny was a malnourished and unstimulated 3 years old weighing just under a stone. Her parents, who were unable to care for her, were a seventy year-old man and a 30 year-old woman, who was an alcoholic. Lydia spent a lot of time with Scrawny at the weekends when in Thailand, taking her swimming, shopping, to the playground – all those things that normal children love to do so much, but which we all take for granted.
At the Pride of Britain awards Lydia had been talking to an American couple called Bill and Cindy Sasser the previous night, and they mentioned that they had it on their hearts to adopt a little girl. On the night of the awards the Daily Mirror flew Scrawny to London to surprise Lydia on stage. Scrawny meet the Sassers, who were very touched by her, and decided to try to adopt her. As a result Scrawny is now settled in with her new family in their home in Mobile, Alabama.
Lydia has continued to work for abandoned children in Thailand and has now has now raised hundreds of thousands of pounds, an amazing return on her heart-felt teenage prayers. If you would like to know more about CCD, and the ongoing story, please see HERE.
Posted by Fr. Peter Doodes at 03:08