A Life Saved! (Epilogue to Grace’s Big African Adventure)

Note from Mark Timm:  Today I’ve invited my daughter, Grace, to give you “the rest of the story” to bring full circle the wonderful adventure I shared with you over the past four blog posts. Our hearts are full… and a young man’s life has quite literally been saved! 

by Grace Timm

Edwin Gachwe, a resident of the Shelter Children’s home in Nairobi, Kenya, received spinal fusion to correct his scoliosis on June 30th, 2019. A campaign that began just 6 weeks ago has become a reality.

As my father mentioned previously, I met this incredible young man while I was in Nairobi to deliver shoes. It was through him that I saw the needs of children over there and that they extend far beyond food and clothing.

Among other things, many of these kids are in need of medical procedures that they simply don’t get because they don’t have access to health care and insurance that many of us here quickly take for granted.

This was especially clear to me because both Edwin and I have the same condition, scoliosis. This condition would only continue to get worse, compress his lungs, his heart, and cause him to live a life of debilitating pain. He needed help.

When I was diagnosed, there wasn’t a question that I would receive it. He is 15 years old—my age, and with the same disease. What separates us?

Because I live in the US, I have health insurance, and I could have this procedure done before my condition worsened. That just was not the case for this boy, and that was heartbreaking for me to realize:  just because of where he lived and its limited resources, he was being kept from reaching his potential and was forced to live a life of pain.

But believe me, it was no lack of love. Mary (the orphanage mom) loved him so much, and it killed her that she couldn’t get him the help that he needed.

When I was down there and met him, I thought about it. I thought about all of the amazing people, like the Ziglar Family community, that would want to help him too, if they only knew.

It was simple to me: he needs $9,700. Let’s get it!

I didn’t think about it that much at first. I knew I wanted to help this kid because it just seemed so unfair that less than $10,000, something many Americans would pay for a car or home remodel, was stopping this beautiful child from living a full life.

What ended up happening was 10-fold of what I could have ever imagined!

People saw Edwin’s story, and out of the kindness of their hearts, gave and continued giving—not just monetary support, but also prayers and love for this kid.

The coolest part about it was when I received a video of him walking the halls in the hospital. I saw his smile. That brought tears to my eyes.


Ziglar Family, thank you for joining me in this quest! Together a life was changed forever. But believe it or not, that wasn’t the main thing I wanted to share with you today.

This project has changed the way I view my life.

I couldn’t be happier about what happened for Edwin, but the truth is the world is full of stories just like his. I learned that you don’t have to do something big to achieve something great. That I, a small town 15-year-old from Indiana, with the help of some amazing people, can make someone smile like that all the way across the world. That if enough people come together anything is possible.

I saw a need, and I decided to do something about it.  But the truth is, this is something anyone can do.

I was diagnosed with scoliosis, something that scared me for a long time, but when I met Edwin I was able to truly empathize with him, realize how lucky I was, and it empowered me to do something about it.

We all have situations like this; we all have a story. We all have talents that we were blessed with, even small ones that can be used to make a big difference.

Ziglar Family, each in our own ways we are lucky; we have been given these situations and these skills for a reason.

If you are reading this and you see a need, don’t hesitate. Use what you have, and give what you can, because even just a small act of kindness, we never know how big of a difference it can make.

Together we can change the world, one small act at a time!



  1. izabela July 15, 2019 at 10:31 am - Reply

    So wonderful!!! Grace, you are an inspiration!

  2. Michelle July 15, 2019 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Way to go Grace! Keep using your life to further God’s kingdom. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

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