Last spring my good friend and fellow Berrett-Koehler author Jamie Showkeir received the nightmare diagnosis of ALS.
By summer, he needed the support of a cane. By fall his legs no longer supported him. Today he has only 20% use of his arms, cannot feed himself, and needs total assistance getting in and out of his wheelchair and with other tasks of daily living.
Throughout all this, Jamie remains a bright, loving, generous man, who is mentally sound and engaged in life. He is teaching us about the true meaning of authenticity and courage.
If you’d like to know more about Jamie, read this excellent article in the Arizona Central: When the reality of ALS hits you harder than a bucket of ice water.
Jamie needs our help.
Health insurance helps with Jamie’s medical needs, but NOT with in-home care. Jamie is too large for his wife Maren to lift and has reached the point where he needs full-time caregivers.
A small group of us have launched Keep Jamie at Home – a campaign to raise $60,000 to cover in-home care for the next 6 months.
The Power of a Social Community
We can’t raise that money alone. It is our hope that an emergent network will arise to support Jamie.
An emergent network is a type of community that arises in response to an issue, and once the goal has been achieved, naturally dissolves. They are a growing phenomena due to the opportunity for easy access and connection afforded by the Internet, particularly through email and social media.
The loose, non-hierarchical Internet is a perfect environment for emergent networks. It is almost impossible for them to arise in traditional, control-oriented organizations because their very nature is fluid and flexible. And, they require a very different view of leadership, as described in my article Emergent Leadership Topples the Pyramid.
In their book A World Gone Social, Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt provide many examples of what these powerful networks have accomplished.
Has Jamie touched you in some way? Have you met him? Did you listen to my interview of him and Maren about their book Yoga Wisdom at Work. Or have you read Authentic Conversations? If so, you are part of his community. Even if you don’t know Jamie, I hope you will consider joining us and helping out a man who has given so much to so many.
Leadership will come in many forms. If you have an idea for how you could help support Jamie, please pick up the ball and move it forward. That’s how emergent leadership works. Anything you can do is greatly appreciated.
Within a week of launching the Keep Jamie at Home campaign, we raised over $65,000! To learn more about what happened see: An Emergent Network Gone Wild.
One short piece on “Good Morning America” or other network news, or on Ellen DeGeneres and you will have well over $60K in a heartbeat. A good publicist should have the means to do that.
Appreciate your thoughts, Gary. If you have connections, please let us know. It’s how emergent networks grow and become strong.
Excellent post, Jesse, and a wonderful tribute to Jamie. I am convinced that this fundraising campaign is as important to the members of Jamie’s extended community as it is to Jamie. All the money we raise is a love offering to Jamie and Maren, and our way of tangibly “being there” for these two wonderful people.
Thanks, Bill. It is a powerful benefit of joining an emerging network of support – the gift we give comes back to us. I have been enriched by the opportunity to work with you on this effort.
Thanks for sharing Jesse. I’m happy to help support this important cause. It takes a global community for certain.
Thanks so much, Meghan! Delighted you have joined our community.
Jesse – Thank you for this terrific post. I love the idea of an emergent network and can think of no better use of social media than this campaign for the Showkeirs. The world becomes closer and this type of initiative allows us to contribute to our community in a very real way.
I am also so glad you provided links to Jamie and Maren Showkeir’s excellent books and the interview so that the world can learn more about their valuable work. Jamie and Maren have enhanced all of our lives. This is our chance to give back to them.
Thanks for all you are doing, Jennifer. I have deeply appreciated the opportunity to work on this with you and to connect in a deeper way.
Bill Treasurer’s added thought has proved true in my life. We are somehow lifted up better when we do acts of practical kindness with others. It is, sadly, also true that we are pulled down stronger when we do acts of harm with others. Some research suggests that just hearing about such acts, either way, has a contagiously imitative effect on our own behavior
Thank you, Jesse, for shining a vivid light of the actions that can make us better, with and for others. It is clear that your “web of humanity” friendships is often mutually reinforcing of beneficial behavior
Thanks so much for your thoughts and encouragement, Kare. It’s all about mutuality, as you explain so well in your wonderful TEDx talk.
Thank you, Jesse. The needs of humanity are vast and diverse, as are the causes and organizations which try to help address them. That being said, I can’t think of a more significant and meaningful way to make a difference, however modest it might be, than to contribute to “Keep Jamie at Home.”
Thanks for your support, Bill, and for your generous donation!
Jesse, thank you for the h/t in this inspiring post – and thank you even more for introducing us to Jamie through this post. My cousin (through marriage) died last summer of ALS after fighting it for years. He was a father of three young boys. It’s a terrible disease that nobody should have to suffer at all, not to mention in a hospital.
Thank you for this call to action, Jesse! Let’s stir our networks and form it into an emergent force for good. I’m with you!
Hi Ted, So glad to see you here! And thanks so much for your offer to stir your network. Great to have you onboard.
Hi Jesse, thank you for this lovely blog. It’s beautifully written and poignant. Community is what makes the world go around and emerging communities can make powerful change as this one is already doing. As you know my life’s work has been around helping organizations create more powerful communities through authentic conversations. To experience you and the others who have helped organize the creation of this community is awe inspiring. I am truly grateful and humbled by your efforts. Thank you. And thanks to those who also contributed. Love.
Jamie, I am in awe also. We started the ball rolling, but the outpouring of love and support is way beyond anything we imagined. It is truly a privilege to witness and participate in the wave of support that has arisen. Personally, I think it is only fitting. You have touched so many with your generosity, wisdom and authenticity. Now it is time for you to be held.