I live in Sydney – it’s Australia’s biggest city and whilst I was safe from the fire threat but, I couldn’t avoid the thick plumes of smoke that rolled though the city. Some days, the sky turned deep red and I couldn’t see 100 meters in front of me and other days the smoke was so thick that the sun looked like a floating opal in the sky. Most people wore masks to avoid breathing in the fine particles and downloaded online apps to check the air quality but the bad air still seeped into buildings and destroyed air filters.
The smoke has since circumnavigated the globe. First, the smoke hit New Zealand and turned glaciers brown and then Chile was affected….
My heart broke for the animals. They didn’t cause this – our species did and now they’re suffering for it.
I wondered what I could do to help. Remembering back to some stories I produced for television on blood donation at the Red Cross, I thought that this would be an excellent place to start! So, I left work for the day and gave my very first blood donation!
As I was sitting in the chair, I remembered back to when I was a kid. I would swim every summer for the Cancer Council and my sponsors would give a small donation for every 25 meter lap. You can see the before and after below!
WIRES is an incredible organisation that helps native Australian wildlife. They rescue animals seven days a week, 24 hours a day. So, WIRES became my chosen charity.
I didn’t think that I’d reach the goal of $1,000 which is essentially 20,000 meters of swimming, but within two hours, the goal was reached and was on the way to doubling!
That’s when my Twitter space mate @DrCaplin joined the swim! Here’s a photo of us from #OperationSharkBait.
I was overwhelmed that someone wanted to join the swim! We have been checking in with each other every week and sharing our ups and downs we have had with the swim.
But, this is where this story takes a turn…. this is what has convinced me that the space community on social media is the best in the world. Not only do we care about our gorgeous little planet, but we care about each other.
Whilst at the #WeAreAllSolarOrbiter event at ESA in Darmstadt, a collection by @AstroZwerge was taken for #SwimForWildlife Campaign. I couldn’t believe this. Australia is on the other side of the planet… seriously… it is… it’s like 24+ hours of flying and layovers…. The social media space community of Europe cared enough about us to help.
I am ecstatic by the love and support and I cherish it so very much.
I’ve been attending space events around the world for a very long time. My first rocket launch brought tears to my eyes. I actually had an ‘Ah ha!!!’ moment at the launch and I ‘got it.” I understood the importance of space and how it brings together the greatest minds to solve the world’s biggest challenges… and over the years, I have realised that the online space community has the biggest heart. I mean that.
It’s little moments like these that have the biggest impact…. that there are people out there who really do care. What’s funny is, these moments come at times when you need it most. Thank you to all my space mates – near and far. I cherish our friendship – whilst we may only see each other once in a while, we are never far.