Never underestimate yourself. A single person can change the world, and you can be that person. When I need reminding of this fact, I think of Elizabeth Hedges, who was the woman behind the cat, Alex's owner, and the founder of For The Love Of Alex Inc.
Sadly, Elizabeth passed away in early 2018, but the organization lives on. Elizabeth would never have allowed us to make such a fuss over her in life, so you are only reading her story because no one is here to stop us from telling it!
Elizabeth had a whole other life before founding For The Love Of Alex. First as a prima ballerina, and later as a corporate executive. It was while working in this office job that Elizabeth decided to adopt a cat. Visiting her local SPCA, Alex, a small kitten, reached through his cage and picked her immediately. They were best friends from that moment on.
One day Alex became very ill. Thankfully, Elizabeth had the resources to get him help at a respected veterinary facility. It was costly, but she would have spent anything to save her best friend. Standing in the hospital, with a cat carrier in one hand and a huge bill in the other, Elizabeth was struck with a life-changing understanding. Thinking, "There are so many people who love their pets just as much as I love Alex but wouldn't be able to afford this. Those people would have to say goodbye to their best friends forever." The idea shocked her, and she decided to do something about it.
Soon after getting Alex home and comfortable, Elizabeth went to work on creating a nonprofit organization. Of course, she named it "For The Love Of Alex, Inc. after her best friend.
The next five years were spent working full-time as an executive while helping save cats and dogs in her off-hours. We don't know when she slept or how she pulled it off, but Elizabeth made miracles happen every day.
During those years, Elizabeth did all the leg work herself, sometimes even flying to locations to meet an animal and accompany the family to surgery. She spent time creating life-long relationships. Today, many of those same people are the organization's core donors. This organization was built by her from the ground up through hard work, long hours, and by creating an army of like-minded people with generous hearts. She called this army "Alex's Angels."
Elizabeth was not perfect, none of us are, and yet, we can still change the world, one person at a time. Over the years, her health failed, and, not surprisingly, she became emotionally exhausted. In her exhaustion, her communications were not always as patient and thoughtful as they could have been, particularly when expressing opinions about pet care. But, to her credit, the mission to help as many cats and dogs as possible was never lost.
We are so thankful for her drive to create this organization. Countless animals are alive today because she was brave enough to think she could change the world for the better. With the support of Alex's Angels, who made donations and offered kind words, it happened! The families and pets that needed help were presented to the people who were willing to help them. That's nothing short of miraculous, and we are honored to continue this work.
So please, don't ever forget the impact one person can have on the lives of many.
You can change the world with your donation today.
Elizabeth's birthday is Saturday, December 19th. She would have been 63 years old.
While it saddens me that she no longer walks beside us, I am comforted in knowing that her legacy lives on. If you would like to be part of the vision Elizabeth brought to life, please donate here.
I hope that you walk away from this story with a renewed respect for your own power to change the world. Be brave and follow your heart, just as Elizabeth did.
For The Love of Alex Inc is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides emergency funding for urgent and lifesaving care of pets of low-income families.