A newsmaker you should know: She found a dozen ways to help others on her rare birthday

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Megan Foradori thought that it was pretty special that her birthday would land on 12/12/12 this year. So special that she wanted to do something for others on that day.

After reading about ideas on the Internet, Mrs. Foradori reached out to 12 nonprofit organizations and asked what 12 items she could buy to help their causes. Based on their responses, she purchased the items and made plans to deliver them to the organizations on her birthday.

"Twelve has always been my favorite number for obvious reasons, and when I realized that there would be a 'magic day of 12's' I wanted to do something to support others," she said.

In the vein of "Random Acts of Kindness" she read about positive projects, including a young man who collected schools supplies to give to others on his birthday. That idea sparked her own "Birthday Dozen."

"I decided that I wanted to spend the day supporting others," Mrs. Foradori said.

To make the effort even more meaningful, Mrs. Foradori decided she would choose local charities so that she and her husband, Pete, and 8-month old daughter, Emma, could make the deliveries in person. Since the Foradoris have lived in Pittsburgh just a little more than a year, that required a bit of research.

"And I wanted to try to choose places that would have some sort of personal meaning to me," she said.

The Foradoris footed the bill for the donated items, but friends and family were generous as well, Mrs. Foradori said, giving her money for the project instead of birthday gifts, as she had requested.

After narrowing down her list to 12, Mrs. Foradori wrote to them and asked them what would be 12 items that she could provide to assist their efforts to help others.

The 12 organizations that Mrs. Foradori chose and their requested donation items included Beverly's Birthdays, an organization that provides birthday celebrations for homeless youth living in transitional shelters in the Greater Pittsburgh region, which asked for storage totes to hold the party supplies.

"The charity seemed like the perfect beneficiary for my own birthday list," she said.

Other recipients included: the Children's Home of Pittsburgh; Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh UPMC; Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania; the VA Heinz Hospital; the Fred Rogers Co.; Homeless Children's Education Fund; the Girls on the Run at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC; the East End Cooperative Ministry; Operation Write Home; Pittsburgh Cares; and Satchels of Caring.

Mrs. Foradori thoughtfully chose each organization, selecting them for a personal reason. Since she was a former Girl Scout, they made the list, and her husband is a veteran, so Operation Write Home -- even though it isn't local -- was also an obvious choice.

"While my husband was deployed, even though we had email and the occasional phone call, we both loved receiving real mail. I loved the idea that this would be a help to both service members and their families -- two groups of very brave people," she said.

Some of the projects like Operation Write Home required time and talent on her behalf. She made 12 cards to send them and made brownies for the East End Cooperative Ministry to be included in daily lunches they serve their clients.

"I'll be taking 12 pans of brownies. My mom makes these great ones with chocolate chips and crushed candy canes on top -- I hope they will enjoy them as much as I do," she said prior to her big day.

Satchels of Caring, which provides satchels of items given to clients fighting cancer were donated in honor of her mother and grandmother, both of whom had breast cancer.

"The two of them were so touched by all the wonderful ways that friends and family supported them during those hard times," said Mrs. Foradori.

Heather Knuth, president of the foundation said, "We were really excited to be chosen to help Megan celebrate her birthday. We gave her a list of three items that she could choose from and she decided to donate 12 journals."

"The journals are so personal for the women and it is a wonderful gesture for her to be so caring," she said. Mrs. Foradori shies away from the compliments and publicity and only agreed to share her story to hopefully inspire others.

"We may think that we can't make much of a difference because we can only do small things, but I thought maybe my small things can make a difference," she said, "And maybe many small things can add to do big things."


Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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