Gaby, the Birthday Giver

In April of 2017, my buddy Bryce shared this 20-minute documentary titled The Spring (below). This is Scott Harrison and Charity Water’s story. I remember watching it and crying. It was one of the saddest things I had ever seen in my life, but yet I was so inspired by Scott and Charity Water’s mission. I had to do something. So I started sharing the video with my family, friends and co-workers, just like Bryce did with me.


This girl Gaby I worked with, who I definitely had an enormous crush on at the time, watched the video and immediately started a birthday campaign because her birthday was a few weeks away, in May. I instantly became more attracted to her and anonymously donated to her campaign to help her reach her goal. A couple days after her birthday, I mustered up the courage to ask her to date me and she made me the happiest guy in the world. Here's part of our story in Gaby's words.


After Gaby's birthday, I started to religiously follow Charity Water on social media. I was amazed at how this charities story inspired Gaby to act and was so inspired by Gaby for taking action and using her birthday as a platform to give to others. Millions of people have made part of their story about Charity Water, especially on their birthdays. Without people like Gaby who have made Charity Water's story a part of their life story, there would be millions of more people without clean water today. A lot of them wouldn't be alive. 


Charity Water says, 'Birthdays are changing the world'. After I saw and joined Gaby's campaign I absolutely believe that. Ironically, the day after Gaby's birthday, this article came out. Facebook has built off of Scott's original idea and is inviting its users to join this movement too. That's when the light bulb clicked for me and I knew I wanted to be a part of this new birthday movement that Charity Water, Gaby and now Facebook were joining.

Now lets fast forward to January 2018. It was my turn to donate my birthday, but I did it a bit differently. All I did was post a video. I didn’t ask anyone to donate. I wanted to see what would happen. After more then 15,000 views, lots of shares and almost $700 raised something remarkable happened; other people started donating their birthdays just like me. This was without me asking for a single donation or for me asking anyone to participate; these people just did it.


Charity Water inspired Gaby to donate her birthday. Gaby inspired me to donate my birthday. And now, I was inspiring others to join this birthday movement too. I thought, 'What if there was a platform, separate from traditional social media with all of it's noise, negativity and often times numbness, where it eliminated all of that and just shared stories of the social good people did for others in the world?' There's definitely a place for social media in society, but I thought there was room for just the good social media has to offer too. After seeing Facebook broaden this idea to various charities and getting feedback from others too, the Your Birthday Mission was born.


There are days when I think back to when Gaby donated her birthday to Charity Water and how one simple action changed so much in in our lives. She inspired me when she donated her birthday has since been the single biggest supporter in me when I quit my high paying job at one of the fastest growing startups in the nation to donate to all of my Facebook friends 'Birthday Missions', build upon this idea and figure out how to inspire the right people to help me reinvent and redefine how people and companies give, on their birthdays, by thinking differently about why we give in the first place, by inspiring people to share part of their story.


You would not be reading this and there wouldn't be a 'Your Birthday Mission' if it wasn't for Gaby. 

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© 2018 by Trevor Marks. Company Culture and Birthday Advocate