Chic on a Shoestring Decorating: A Messy, Beautiful Story: Pay it Forward, #MCStrong

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A Messy, Beautiful Story: Pay it Forward, #MCStrong

About a week ago there was a bad car accident in the wee hours of the morning in my hometown.  A drunk driver runs a red light, t-bones car, college kids in t-boned car hurt very bad, drunk driver walks away.

Man. I hate that.

I hate that it happened.  I hate that people are hurt.  I hate that those college kid's parents got that phone call in the middle of the night, the one that every parent fears.  And if I'm honest, I hate it because it isn't fair.  If someone was going to get hurt it should've been the drunk driver, not the college kids who had a designated driver.  They were doing the right thing, why should they get the worst of it?

But life isn't fair.

The passenger in the vehicle hit by the drunk driver had a severe head injury.  After putting up a tremendous fight, the 22 year old passenger, Michael Collins, passed away 5 days later.

Tragic.  Senseless.  Heartbreaking.

During the 5 days he was in the hospital I began to learn about Michael.  Ends up he's a really good kid. Described as kind, witty, lover of life, natural leader, and very faithful.  He was a baseball player and loved the game.  Played for Heartland Community College and was now assisting his dad who coached a high school baseball team as he finished up his degree.  He was a strong Christian, his parents were very proud of his faith in God and relationship with the Lord.  Although I didn't know him, it's apparent that he was a great person who touched a lot of lives during his short time here.

This may not seem like a special story.  Unfortunately, great people are killed by drunk drivers all too often.

But, something beautiful came out of this mess.

Michael was an organ donor.  His organ and tissue donation will help around 200 people.  He will save some lives and help people to have a better quality of life with his donation.

But that's not all.  One of Michael's friends set up a Facebook page to help keep Michael's legacy of giving and kindness alive.  She wants to "honor Michael and his giving nature by sharing and conducting random acts of kindness in his name". Pay it Forward for Michael Collins, #MCStrong was born.  Since then, the Facebook page is blowing up with people sharing how they've paid it forward for Michael.
To be handed out with cab fare certificates at downtown pubs.
People in the community and now all over the country are doing random acts of kindness in honor of Michael.  Small thoughtful things like paying a parking meter for a stranger (a big deal in a college town), taping an envelope of cash on their garbage can to pay for lunch for their garbage man, and paying for the person behind them in line for fast food or coffee.
envelope taped to garbage can
Goody bags with Michael's picture and story
There have also been some very large donations in Michael's name to great causes.  As #MCStrong spreads, a woman from Michael's town who now lives in Australia is donating $5 for every minute it takes her to complete an upcoming triathalon.  This amount will be donated to a children's hospital in Sydney, Australia in Michael's name.  Michael's legacy is stretching half-way around the world.

#MCStrong in San Francisco
MCStrong at DisneyWorld
Michael's story reminds me to never take my loved one's for granted.  And despite all of the bad things I see on the news everyday, most people are good.  From this mess of a drunk driving, deadly car accident a beautiful outpouring of kindness and love has occurred.  What a blessing for Michael's family to witness during what will likely be the most difficult time in their lives.

It is my hope in sharing Michael's story that you would be moved to pay it forward with a random act of kindness.

I will.


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Linking up to Momastry to spread #MCStrong.


  1. WOW! What an incredible sad encouraging uplifting post. My father had a double-lung transplant last year and so i'm so so very grateful for the Michael's in our world who generously donates their organs. I'm inspired to pay it forward for sure.

  2. kate, such a sad ending to a promising life but with the pay it forward foundation, this wonderful young man will live on and on. i have been giving a lot of thought to paying it forward for quite some time and will certainly honor michael's life by paying it forward in his memory. i would love to share a link to this on my blog if you don't mind as well as my FB page.

    judy (

    1. Yes! Please share!! Thank you for helping spread the word. :)

  3. Wow! What a beautiful life that even in death his existence will live on. We will never understand this side of Heaven why these things happen. But boy, this youmg man got what living on this earth is all about. Should we all learn the lessons he's taught and hs friends continung teaching. These loving acts could change our world

  4. Oh dear! That is so sad. What I like about it is how people used Michael to start a change in the world, which is something we should look into. There’s also the case where we really should review our DUI laws to make sure nothing of the like happens again. Thanks for sharing!

    Hubert Singleton @ RDF Attorney

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  8. That is such a touching story, Kate. What happened to Michael is tragic, but how the people reacted to the event is beautiful. They mourned in a gratefully positive way by giving back. Hopefully, their voices reached corners of the world. There should never be an excuse for driving under the influence. I just know that Michael's story will inspire millions of people around the globe. Thanks for sharing that. All the best to you! :)

    Roman Barnes @ JandJ Law


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