Listen to the Salgados story here:
James Brave Salgado chose his own official name just a few months ago, before being diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The name didn’t come easy, but as a transgender teen coming into his own, he needed a name that simply stated who he was. Jamie Brave didn’t know how deeply his name would resonate until finding out that thyroid cancer is rare in children and his lymph nodes had also gotten into the game.
Usually freaked out by needles and all things medical, #JamietheBrave is staring this thing down! He is funny and a little dark, artistic and accepting. A loyal friend.
The Salgados are a low-key, full-of-love family from Richmond, Virginia who have built a life around giving unconditional kindness to others. They’re actually sorta famous for it. Facing Jamie’s cancer diagnosis without health insurance, they now need some kindness – and financial support – to flow in their direction. Thyroid cancer is treatable but requires surgery, lifelong therapy and diligent monitoring. Jamie's diagnosis sparked a whirlwind of worry. Surgery is on the immediate horizon; so is a lot more worry.
This family usually on the side of giving now finds themselves on the side of need. . .
Jorge and Patience Salgado have four thoughtful kids (Jamie is #3). Jorge is a small business owner and Patience is a kindness worker and birth/hospice photographer. Several years ago, they minimized their possessions and focused on experiences for the kids and living an intentionally kindness-driven life. Patience has always said that being truly kind, as opposed to ‘being nice,’ can be really difficult and messy and humbling. The same applies to being brave:
“We are learning that being brave is not so much about ‘being strong’ but more about making space for our own humanity, and sometimes falling apart and being loved back together while we face and do hard things.”
Being without health insurance feels messy; it’s humbling and really really difficult. Maybe you can relate, those crazy high deductibles and a premium higher than your mortgage are just too much for a lot of families.
Truth is, we’re all this close to being in the exact same situation OR we know someone dealing with a version of it – perhaps they just haven’t been slammed with an out-of-the-blue cancer diagnosis like the Salgados.
Is kindness ever messy or humbling for you?
What does being brave look and feel like?
Send a message of kindness or support to Jamie Brave @kindnessgirl on Instagram. #JamietheBrave #sharekindness #beingbrave
Salgado catalogs her good deeds—and encourages others to carry out their own. She places $5 Starbucks gift cards on bus stop benches, spends the first day of school writing chalk messages on campus sidewalks ("Don't be shy, we're all new friends!"), and has even staged a free cotton candy drive-through. The effect can be staggering: "People just melt," Salgado says.
But her work isn't all sweetness and cheerful slogans. In 2010, when a hate group announced plans to picket local Jewish and LGBT organizations, Salgado helped found Pennies in Protest, urging residents to donate to the organizations being targeted. In one week, they raised nearly $14,000. (She also sent the hate group a note to thank them for inspiring such generosity.)
Salgado first learned kindness as a child—"We delivered meals, we visited hospitals; that was just who my parents were," she says—and now she's passing it on to her own four kids. Their favorite guerrilla goodness mission is an update of the old "ding-dong ditch" prank. Instead of ringing a stranger's doorbell and running away, Salgado and her brood leave a gift before they flee the scene. Often it's flowers—though, says Salgado, "we've left actual Ding Dongs, too."