"I kept thinking how desperately the money was needed there. Everywhere I looked there were people just screaming - some out of despair, some out of joy at the hope of finding someone alive. One family had a son that was inconsolable, and I asked them if I could help. They told me their apartment and everything they had was gone. Their car, which was parked underneath the building, was gone. They had no money to get to a city where they had family. They had nowhere to sleep, no jobs to go to, nothing except for the clothes on their backs. It was heartbreaking."
Shay's words merely amplify the concerns she and other Foot Levelers staffers heard on the phones from the chiropractic community during the two-week campaign. On the financial end alone, donations were received totaling $452,555. Some of these donations represented entire groups of people, such as the national chiropractic associations; state chiropractic associations; chiropractic colleges; elementary schools; chiropractic clinics; practice management firms; civic groups; church groups; families; and more - extending the total number of contributors to over 2,000.
Foot Levelers announced the matching campaign on September 14 via email and fax, and the calls to customer service started pouring in almost immediately. At first, the contributions came in from individuals. "But then a ripple effect started to happen," said Foot Levelers' President Kent Greenawalt. "As the word got out, leaders in the chiropractic community started making collections doing the same thing - they challenged the people around them with matching as well - so that every dollar was doubly matched."
One letter to Foot Levelers read: "Thank you for providing a vehicle for people to help. My husband is a police sergeant for the NYPD and he says you can't fully appreciate the destruction until you see it for yourself."
"I wish that I could have somehow bottled up this feeling of unity to share at our next chiropractors' conference," said Mr. Greenawalt. "When we started the campaign, I knew if any group in America could help, it would be the people in the chiropractic community. And I'm affirmed by what we have witnessed here in these last two weeks. It was tremendous to see chiropractors emerge as leaders in their communities. The near-half-million dollars is just the tangible result of so much caring. The acts of kindness that we heard are so inspiring."
Many chiropractors held health fairs, low-cost (or no-cost) adjustments, and other fundraisers for the fund. After giving blood, some chiropractors gave adjustments and massages to staffers at the nonstop blood drives. Editors and webmasters of chiropractic media announced the campaign on their websites, broadcasted it on their email lists, and wrote about it in their publications.
Another contributor wrote: "The service spirit of chiropractic has again touched me across the miles, not along the phone lines, but through the universal ties of innate that bind all of chiropractic together. In the past, my contributions were for the profession. This contribution is for America."
As Shay was driving home, she felt a surge of pride and peace. "I felt so glad to be a part of it all, working with a company that cares so much, in a profession that cares so much. And although I could not jump into the rubble and save anyone, the dollars that we have given as a profession will move mountains."