A number of years ago my path crossed the path of an amazing lady, Cathy Parker.
At the time she was a part of a fundraising team in Valdosta Georgia that saw the Boys & Girls Club there funded at remarkable levels. She added her influence to efforts to do the same in Quitman, Georgia and the South Georgia House of Hope.
Her story has been highlighted on ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, CNN…
I had heard of her, sought her out, and asked her for a few minutes of her time. I wanted to know her story. How did she become such a powerful influencer and fundraiser? We instantly became close friends and she has become one of my mentors. Now, her story is chronicled in the upcoming new book and movie, Northern Lights.
Northern Lights is the story of how providence sneaks up on ordinary and everyday people and assigns them tasks that push them beyond their limits to make extra-ordinary impact on their culture.
More than a decade ago, along with sports fans worldwide, Cathy Parker watches an ESPN news highlight of an Alaska town trying to offer a higher path to their struggling youth. Plagued with a high drop out rate of 50%, drug abuse and suicide, Barrow, Alaska attempts to offer football at their only high school. But their attempts are met with hardship as the high school makes do with feeble resources, including a field that Parker describes as "...an unsightly mix of packed dirt, mud, and gravel." The players often received cuts, bruises and sprained ankles from the rocky surface.
Cathy’s story highlights the oft proven reality that, if we will allow it, out of our deepest places of pain often flow our greatest gifts to the world. Her pain revolves around football. In college she married her college sweetheart, Carl, a football player who upon graduation was drafted into the NFL and ended up at the Super Bowl his first year. Through a series of circumstances, the football career that took off so quickly, began to wane. Cathy details the story that leaves her saying, "I grew to resent everything about football."
Northern Lights is the redemptive story of how Cathy Parker's gift to Barrow Alaska flows from her navigation of the pains and disappointments of her past.
This is a story we can all benefit from!
(I received an advance copy from NetGalley)