I Want to Show Gratitude for Those Who Care for Me and Others

A new year is a great time to start thinking more about making others smile

Ari Anderson avatar

by Ari Anderson |

Share this article:

Share article via email
Main graphic for

As it is still early in 2023, this is a good time for me to evaluate what things I’m doing right and what things I can improve upon. And to ask myself what specific actions I can take to make more of a difference.

I emphasize “actions,” because although I have SMA and severe physical challenges, it doesn’t mean I can’t accomplish things of significance.

People use technology to take care of my needs and make me feel appreciated. There’s no reason why I can’t use technology the same way to make others feel like they matter. I see the effect it has on people when I create Christmas and birthday cards for them on my computer. To do so, I’ll download copyright-free images off the internet and combine them with heartfelt words that I write to express how important a person is to me. As a result, their heart usually melts. I also create cards for my nurses and others when they go above and beyond what is expected to meet my needs.

All of this is very important. However, I’ve been thinking, there’s no reason why I can’t make cards and do other things to make people feel appreciated for what they do at any time. It doesn’t have to be a special day for me to do something nice — awesome people are awesome every day.

Recommended Reading
A Top Ten illustration highlights nerve cells.

Top 10 SMA Stories of 2022

More kindness and human interactions

So from now on, people I know can expect random cards from me at any time. For those who don’t receive a card, I’ll try to make them feel more appreciated in another way.

Showing gratitude goes hand-in-hand with the next action I want to improve upon. For those to whom I want to give thanks for helping me out, I should also show that I care about them as a person.

Everyone has personal things they are going through, and some might even mention it to me briefly while working with me. It’s only natural for nurses to mention one or two of their problems. As long as the issue isn’t too private, and they only talk about it for a couple minutes here and there, I don’t mind. They are human after all. It would bother me much more if people came in just to do their job and earn a paycheck. I want people to be relatable. If they act like machines all the time, life becomes very dull.

A bit of empathy goes a long way. It’s no burden for me to ask, “Did you get more sleep last night?” I may already do that a little, but not nearly enough.

When I talk about people helping me, I don’t always mean with medical care. I consider people praying for me to be a big help as well. This is true even when the only acquaintance I have with them is through letters or email.

Another example is email groups where people say that their parents or children are sick. I shouldn’t rely on other people in the group to respond. I also need to reply by saying that although I don’t see them, I feel for what they are going through. I want to tell others more frequently that I am praying for them, just as they are praying for me.

If doctors can use telehealth to keep track of their patients remotely, I can certainly use email and other virtual tools to keep track of those who ask God to provide for me.

I need to be more mindful of others instead of putting a mental spotlight only on my needs. That is how selfishness arises, and those of us with SMA and other rare diseases are bigger than that. People without any disease should also avoid these pitfalls.

I’m ready to see what kind of a new Ari I transform into as I start thinking less about myself this year!

Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


Genive Underwood avatar

Genive Underwood

Hi Ari, I am your Uncle Dan's Sister-in-Law living in Pennsyvania in a continuing care Retirement Facility named Homewood at
Martinsburg. Today I had a wonderful conversation with your Mother and a brief one with Dan. I just now read your publication on the web; it was inspiring. Thank you for posting that. You are doing a great job living a positive Christian life even special needs.

Sincerely, Gen Underwood


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.