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We are all probably aware of the recent and brief water crisis that happened in Toledo. Toledo produced two microcystin (algae) sample readings in late July, and, as a result, there was a drinking water ban in Toledo.

This resulted in over 500,000 people being unable to drink the tap water. You couldn’t boil the water because that would increase the concentration of the toxin. Exposure to microcystin results in abnormal liver function, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness and dizziness. Things seemed hopeless and people started to panic. Bottled water was the number one item on Toledo Craigslist. Bottles of water were going for $10 at a local fleamarket. On Twitter people were using the hashtag #emptyglasscity to converse about the crisis as well as let residents know where they could still buy bottled water at a reasonable price.

Blood:Water is located in Nashville so we really weren’t that aware of what was going on until Emily Heeres started a fundraising page on Be the Movement named #emptyglasscity. This piqued my interest. So, after reading through her page, I reached out to Emily, and we chatted about what life was like in Toledo and why she decided to raise money in a time of crisis. Emily told me that while it was a “crisis,” it paled in comparison to the water crisis in Africa. Her water was restored within three days, but people in Africa can go their entire lives without access to clean drinking water. Emily told me about her son coming to her crying because he had wiped his face with a cloth that had some water on it, and he was scared he would get sick. She told me it made her think about the parents in Africa who have to watch their kids struggle with water borne diseases and how hard that must be. With all of this in mind, Emily decided she wanted to help in this time of her own personal need.

“When we woke up to the news that our tap water was toxic, our family and many others got a very small glimpse of what millions of others deal with on a daily basis,” Email said via email. “We were reminded of how blessed we are to have access to clean water. My husband and I had a renewed compassion for the parents in Africa who watch their children suffer from water borne illnesses, illnesses that often take their children’s lives. Our sons were also sad for those who do not have safe water and we all wanted to do something to help.”

The water is now “safe” to drink, but after talking to Emily, she told me that she and her family are still drinking bottled water and just using the tap water to shower and wash dishes. I came away from our conversation truly inspired that Emily would even think to help someone else in her time of need. I was impressed that she set such an amazing goal of $3,000, and that she is involving her community in the push to raise money. What is a crisis in your life that you can use to bring light to our friends in Africa who need our help. If you don’t have one, will you help Emily reach her goal?

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