Those of you who actually know me, and by know me I mean we grew up together at some stage, you will know that in years gone past, I have not been a very charitable person. In fact, up until this year, I can pretty safely say I have never donated to charity, let alone go out of my way to raise money for charity. I was just never that kind of guy.

And honestly, I can not think of one single reason as to why my mental state has changed. One day, I just decided I wanted to run up the stairs of Sydney Tower and I wanted to raise money for Surf Life Savers Australia. There was no life changing event. My life wasn’t saved by a Surf Life Saver. And I certainly didn’t have an urge to prove my fitness. I just decided to do it. And it felt good. It was, in a way, fun to put my body under a load of pressure. The feeling I got from raising $570 for Surf Life Savers to buy new gear to continue saving lives was crazy. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, $570 doesnt really buy a great deal. But then I realised, every single cent helps. Surf Life Savers now had an EXTRA $570 that they didnt have before. An extra $570 that they wouldnt have if I didnt fund raise and do the stair climb. That $570 could have bought the one piece of equipment that saves someones life. Someones son, someones daughter may have been saved by my 18 minutes and 1 second of pain involved in climbing that tower.

And it seems that once that bug bites, its quite hard to stop it from spreading. Within weeks of completing the Sydney Tower Run Up, I had searched out and found a new event that i could put myself through. A 10km run to be exact. And this time, I would be raising money for a charity that hits close to my family. I would be raising money for Parkinson’s NSW. I think I may have decided that raising money for Parkinson’s Research will become one of my long term goals. Whilst I will donate to any charity I find as a worthy cause, I think my biggest efforts will go into this. The one that not only affected my family, but affects millions of people world wide. Once again, I will put my body under intense stress for what I feel is a great cause.

Recently, I also helped out another charity. TwitChange was an initiative founded by a guy called Shaun King. Really, when you look at it, TwitChange is a pretty simple idea. Basically, there are millions of people on Twitter, and the majority of these users follow celebrities and attempt to get them to respond to anything they can. I am one of these users. I spent a year and a half doing a thing I named ‘Celebrity Tweet Hunting’. That is basically all I used twitter for. To get in contact with celebrities. Now, in the majority of cases, celebrities are followed by hundreds of thousands of people, some even have over a million followers. These celebrities usually only seem to follow people they know or are inspired by themselves. So basically, to get followed by a celebrity on Twitter, you either need to be there friend already OR you need to be THEIR role model. And im not sure about you, but theres not many people who look up to me as a role model, so I basically had no chance of being followed by any celebrities.

TwitChange looked to give us non celebrity folk the opportunity to not only get the response from the celebrities we look up to, but also the chance to have them follow us for a period of time. And how did TwitChange do this? They created an auction, where all proceeds would go to charity. That charity was aHomeInHaiti. To read up on what exactly they do, head to aHomeInHaiti.org feel free to make a donation whilst you are there. So, basically, us normal people now had the means to access the celebrities and the bidding wars began.

The celebrities had 4 auctions each, One was a mega pack (including a follow, a retweet and a mention). These had a tendancy to get to the thousands of dollars. The last time I got to see, Zachary Levi from Chuck and UFC President Dana White were setting the pace in these auctions with upwards of $11Thousand. Then there were seperate auctions for a follow, a retweet and a mention. I set myself a budget and started to bid away. When the auctions came to a close, I was the happy winner of two ‘follow’ auctions. One for Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis in One Tree Hill, www.sophiabush.com) and the other for Eliza Dushku (Bring It On, Buffy, Race The Sun, DollHouse, tru Calling etc).  It seemed to me that TwitChange was a real winner.

With the money I bid all paid up, I got an email saying that @SophiaBush was now following me on Twitter. This brought a smile to my face. It got even better when she acknowledged me via her Twitter account. It was no more then 2 days later when i got an email saying @elizadushku was now following me on Twitter. And to make THAT even better, she mentioned me in a tweet that made me feel like she was, well, going to be a friend. That tweet read “Im following you now @THEmarkomac so watch out! 😉 U rock for top-bidding for twitchange! Whasup G? Holla… Dushku” It made my rainy weekend a little bit brighter.

Now, I reckon that there’s probably some peope out there thinking (or saying) “Why would you spend money just to have someone follow you when they may not even talk to you anyway?’ and basically, the reason I did, was simply for the fact they MAY talk to me via Twitter. I MAY be able to get them to notice im doing charity work. They MAY repost my request for donations and that MAY in turn get my word out to a much rather audience then I could ever imagine accessing. I am followed by about 70 people I think. Sophia is followed by over 100 thousand and Eliza is followed by over 600 Thousand. So if theres ANY chance I can tap into their followers to help raise money for a good cause, im happy to do it. And really, in the end, the money paid for the MAY’s, in the end is going to a good cause anyway.

So what message am I trying to get across here? Im not really sure. MAYBE Im trying to say that you should try give to charity one time. Hopefully the bug will bite. MAYBE Im trying to say that life will give you what you ask of it. Thats something I learnt from Tony Robbins. Your life can only be as good as you will allow it to be and if you dont allow yourself to give, how can you expect to take? Im not saying we should all go out and do a physical challenge to raise money, but try and find someone who is and donate to their cause. Or research some causes that are close to you/your family and make a donation to that. Just give it a try. In Australia, any donation over $2 is tax deductible, so really, what do you have to lose?

Peace Out Guys,

Mark!

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