Nisha Varghese was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when 6 months old. At age 13, she was put on bed rest after having back surgery for Scoliosis (curvature of the spine). It was then that Nisha saw an episode of Oprah featuring Kendall Ciesemier, a TV show that changed her life.
Parents often discourage their children from watching TV, but sometimes a TV programme can be life-changing.
Kendall Ciesemier was in 5th grade when she watched an Oprah Winfrey special on the AIDS epidemic in Africa and was inspired to take action – she sponsored Benite, an 8-year-old girl from Mauritania via World Vision’s sponsorship programme. Soon after sponsoring Benite with $360 of her own money, Kendall underwent two liver transplants. In lieu of gifts, she asked friends and family to donate money to help more children like Benite. Their generosity meant Kendall was able to sponsor the village of Musele, Zambia.
Watching Kendall on the Oprah Winfrey show inspired Nisha to raise money for UNICEF. Despite not reaching her $1000 fundraising goal, she ‘learnt a lot and used those lessons a few years later’. She has gone on to raise $7862 for The Water Project, where the money was used to build a well for a community in Kenya, $1075 for the Not For Sale Campaign, $1088.84 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (UK), and $5307 for the Malala Fund. And she’s not stopping there – Nisha is currently raising money for Smile Train and has already raised $5774 (very close to her target of $6250).
Explaining her charitable work and her can-do attitude, Nisha says, “I am an ordinary 25-year-old in many ways except for the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy which has left me wheelchair-bound and with some degree of speech impediment, but things are not so bad. I‘m making lemonade out of the lemons life has given me by blogging about my life – Life and Living With Cerebral Palsy – and fundraising for worthy causes.”
As Kendall and Nisha have both shown us, watching TV really can change your life, and the life of others.
Has a TV show inspired you? Let us know in the comments below.