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DONOR NEXT DOOR:
Cancer Survivor Finds Healing in Helping Others
Born in Croatia and raised in Slovenia, Narcisa Mikov’s life story has taken her many places, including Dayton where she, her husband and young daughter now call home. Among her many blessings, Narcisa is a 14-year cancer survivor, which she credits to the healing power of prayer and God’s love. To pay her blessings back, she established RipplAffect, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives of children by providing clean, sustainable water to families around the world. She also opened the RipplAffect Fund, a Charitable Checking Account℠ through The Dayton Foundation, to support her efforts. To date Narcisa has distributed water filtration systems that have provided clean water access to nearly 10,000 people.
What was your inspiration for RipplAffect?
This organization is an expression of my own deep thankfulness to God for his miraculous healing. I was diagnosed with stage III lymphoma when my daughter turned three years old. I had a large mass in my chest that literally was choking me. I was healed because of my family, church members and friends throughout the world who prayed for me. Within a couple of weeks I stopped coughing and the feeling of heaviness in my chest rapidly went away. That could not have happened after just a single chemotherapy session. Prayer is powerful, and God does answer our prayers. I’m living testimony to that.
Once I was done with all the treatments and restored to full health, I searched in my heart what God wanted me to do and how I could thank him for his kindness and blessings of extra time with my family. Through my husband’s work with humanitarian organizations I learned some heartbreaking statistics. Almost 15,000 children die every day – one every 5.9 seconds – mainly from preventable causes. More than 70% of the almost 5.4 million child deaths every year are attributed to illnesses like diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infections and a lack of basic medicine, food or water. Clean water is perhaps the most critical of all, and this is where I felt I could help first.
What are some examples of grants that have been awarded and the impact of those grants?
RipplAffect is still in its nascent stage. We are intentionally building the foundation and confidence that will eventually position us for generating grants that come with the potential for bigger impact and outcomes. Meanwhile, we have focused on project-based campaigns designed for individual giving, mostly within the circles of our churches, friends and family.
Over the past two and a half years, we have raised tens of thousands of dollars, which we have used towards addressing humanitarian needs in Kenya, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Uganda. We’ve delivered nearly 1,200 water filtration systems that now give sustainable clean water access close to 10,000 people. That amounts to millions of gallons of clean, safe drinking water.
One hundred percent of funds raised go towards sustainable water treatment solutions that will impact families struggling to survive and thrive.
Do you do any fundraising activities for your fund?
Absolutely! We are wrapping up our current campaign – Saving Children from Cholera – in Yemen and defying the worst cholera epidemic in modern history with access to clean water through Sawyer Water Filtration Systems. We are just about to ship 700 water filtration systems to the war-torn Yemen, where 700 households will have clean water for up to 10 years with filters providing millions of gallons of water, which amounts to over 4,000 children, women and men safe from cholera and other waterborne diseases.
Are there other activities that you are a part of?
Yes. I am part of Days for Girls International-Dayton Ohio Team that sews feminine hygiene kits that are distributed to girls in developing countries. I also support the work of Spring Valley Academy, including the mission trip to Kenya that distributed 500 water filtration systems, and the school’s Health Fair teaching children about the importance and blessing of easy access to clean drinking water.
Why did you decide to open a fund with The Dayton Foundation?
The Foundation is most the prominent philanthropic entity in the community, and we knew they could help guide us and be a facilitator of our organizational development especially in this formative stage. We partnered with The Dayton Foundation because together we can achieve our objectives more effectively. We are enormously grateful to The Dayton Foundation for expertly and graciously facilitating the functioning of the RipplAffect Fund.
What advice can you share about giving to help others?
I am a Christian, so I will quote here the profound words of Jesus who said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. This adage has proven true countless times in my life, as well as in the lives of others who are committed to doing and giving for the well-being of others. Equally true is that the quantity of our giving is really not decisive. Rather, it’s the quality of our giving. Because, in a very real sense, it’s only that which we give away freely and generously with our hearts, multiplies and grows and actually makes a difference.
How can others support or learn more about RipplAffect?
More information about our activities, current and emerging projects is on our website at www.ripplaffect.org. I am grateful for anyone who might have an interest in learning and hopefully supporting our work. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s transformative to be invested in the lives of others.
How would you complete this sentence, “My giving makes me feel____”?
Privileged to be able to participate in the lives of those I seek to serve. I find it also meaningful spiritually in the sense that whenever I help address a human need, I take care in a universal Divine mission of bringing hope and compassion to a world that so desperately needs it.
Read more stories about Dayton Foundation donors who were inspired to create a legacy in honor of their loved ones, or to make a difference in their community.
For recent news and updates about The Dayton Foundation, read our press releases online.
IN HIS WORDS
“Towards the end of Cindy’s life, she asked me, ‘After I’m gone, what will there be to say that I was here?’ Establishing this fund was her way to continue reaching out and touching children’s lives, as she did throughout her lifetime.” – John Edgar, donor, on the Remar Family and John and Cindy Edgar Endowment Fund