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33. An Ambassador of Peace, Love and Goodwill

"When you don’t have a childhood, like myself and other child stars, you try to compensate for the loss later on and you try to catch up. But what I like to do is help other children who are less fortunate than I am. You know, kids who are terminally ill, kids who have diseases, poor children." – Michael Jackson

Katherine Jackson once told a story about how she and Michael used to watch the commercials of the starving children in Africa, the ones with flies around their mouths, and how they would both sit there with tears streaming down their faces.

People who are profoundly affected by those types of commercials have a strong sense of empathy. Empathy is the ability to sense what someone else is feeling. Not everyone has this ability, but those who do can feel the feelings of other people as if they were their own. Some people have so much empathy, they are so in tune with other's feelings, that it pains them to see someone else suffering. Michael Jackson was one of those people.

After watching one of those commercials, he said to his mother: "One day I’m going to do something about that. I know I can’t heal the world, but I can help." He would later go on to keep his word by helping alleviate famine in Africa through the recording of the song "We Are the World," which was co-written with Lionel Richie. That recording, which brought dozens of artists together to help, resulted in over $60 million dollars being funneled to the most affected areas of that continent.

It became his mission to help suffering children around the world. He taught us the meaning of selfless love and compassion when he publically embraced Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS through a tainted hemophilia treatment in 1984. He showed courage by befriending him at a time when others were so fearful of the disease. He gave him love, understanding, and acceptance; something all children need, but especially those who are suffering from debilitating diseases.

Ryan’s mother, Jeanne White-Ginder, once said in an interview: "He didn't care what race you were, what color you were, what was your handicap, what was your disease, Michael just loved all children."

You may not know that he gave Ryan a car a year before he died. It was a red Mustang, Ryan’s favorite. The car was on display at Ryan’s funeral, which was attended by Michael. Michael walked over to the car, got in and started it, then smiled from ear to ear. As the engine began humming, the song "Man in the Mirror" began playing. His heart was touched deeply when he realized that he was the last person Ryan had listened to before he died. That was the kind of impact Michael had on people. He knew the power of love.

Now there is Joshua, a 12-year-old boy in Germany who is fighting for his life. Joshua is a huge fan of Michael Jackson and dot member of the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait. On the same day that he had tickets to go see "This Is It," he received the devastating diagnosis of Leukemia.

This is a young boy who I’m certain Michael would have reached out to with love, care and compassion. Sadly, Joshua won’t get to experience the power of his love…directly. However, the love that emanated from Michael Jackson lives on in people all over the world and Joshua is receiving the benefit of that love.

The impact that Michael left on people around the globe is incredible. Some feel so much love for him that they started non-profit organizations just to continue his mission of helping children. Others have begun to feel a love so deeply that it makes them sob at times. It’s something that others have a hard time understanding because they have never been touched by it. These are the type of people who have come together to help Joshua.

Michael’s death has created a bond between all of his fans and formed a unity that I have never experienced before. When I heard about Joshua’s story, I reached out to a non-profit organization in Australia called AlittleSomthin4Michael. Their mission is to bring people together to contribute in making a difference in someone's life, especially children. They organize efforts to feed the homeless, spread toys and gifts to less fortunate children, and help families in need. They were inspired by Joshua’s story and have committed to helping in some way. Many other fans such as MJJ News in France have helped me reach out to thousands of fans in their own network in an effort to increase the love and prayers going to Joshua.

It is awe inspiring that people in the United States reached out to people in Australia and France who then reached out to others all over the world to help a young MJ fan in Germany. That is the power of Michael Jackson’s love and it lives on through his fans.

He would be proud to know that his love has affected people in this way. How many can say that they have brought together people around the world for the greater good?

Here is a link to Joshua’s story. Please send him love and light. He needs our prayers now.

Joshua’s Story

If you would like to help Joshua’s family, please send me an email for more information – outreach@michaeljacksontributeportrait.com.

Lots of L.O.V.E.

Linda Higgins

Director of Community Development

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