Giving Away Your Birthday

How many times have you asked someone, “What do you want for their birthday,” and they’ve replied, “I have everything I need.”

Frankly, that’s true of most of us. We have what we need. There may be things we want or desire, but certainly don’t need.

On the recent occasion of my birthday I asked for people to bring contributions to a local homeless ministry in Auburn, Washington that focuses on helping people get off the streets. I am blessed with great friends and family. The generosity of our guests in food, clothing, and financial support was able to support the ministry in their important work.

The provocative marketing maven Seth Godin brought up a similar concept in a recent blog posting he called, It’s Not My Birthday. He asked for well wishers to support a charity that helps build wells in lands desperate for water. Imagine the true value that the cost of a few gag gifts could provide for people who really need it.

Cullen Steele

I’d like to suggest if your birthday is coming up that you consider “giving it away” to a young man who goes to my church. Ten year old Cullen Steele is facing the eventual need for a heart transplant to save his life from an incurable, life threatening disease. I know this kid and his family. I don’t know if I could be as tough as he is this situation. You can read more about his situation and how to help in this excellent article about Cullen in the Auburn Reporter.

A local television news affiliate also did a great piece on Cullen. Listen to his story in his own words here.

A few gifts might make your birthday happy, but giving away your birthday can really make a difference to people who definitely do not “have everything they need.”


About Dennis

Author of The Last Apostle. Teller of Almost True Stories of Life and former Air Force officer. Write for the love of the story. Sometimes speak for food.
This entry was posted in Building the Best Relationships, Doing the Right Thing. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Giving Away Your Birthday

  1. Connie Mace says:

    Thank you for alerting us to this sweet little guy Dennis. I posted it on my fb page. LORD, please bless with healing…

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  3. Dan says:

    This is a great post. Timely after I just read the book “Affluenza” by John de Graaf.

    This idea is great to apply at Christmas as well.

  4. Dennis says:

    A new article on Cullen in the Nortwest Progress at
    How you can help
    • Contributions: (online); (mail) 2501 W. Cota Drive, Bloomington, Ind., 47403; (e-mail) Donations may be made in person at any Wells Fargo Bank branch location using account number 3523561722
    • Volunteers: Those who would like to help with fundraising activities for Cullen Steele can contact community coordinator Amy O’Donnell-Riley at 253-333-1755 or
    • Benefit: “Buddy Holly” concert will be held in Cullen’s behalf at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Auburn Avenue Theatre, 10 Auburn Ave. For tickets, e-mail
    • Information:, 1-800-366-2682

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