I met Doug Lilly in Washington, DC. Because of him, I am where I am today.
As Doug and I became friends I confided in him my desire to live overseas again, that I was working in DC in order to make money to ‘go back out there’. He then told me about his work on the Board of the Douglas A Campbell Foundation (DACF) and how he could arrange for me to meet the Buddhist Nun who runs the foundation, Mujin, when she comes to the US. From there it all seemed a bit surreal. All of a sudden I was changing my plans from Africa to Southeast Asia (Doug said he wouldn’t even consider sending me anywhere else!) and realizing I would be able to pocket all my hard earned savings because a 10K grant was at my feet.
I like the way I met Doug, on Match.com and only because he lied about his age! He had posted his age as 45 (about 7 years younger than he was). He was upfront about it at our first meeting for coffee that fateful morning. When I asked why he lied, he challenged me with the question of whether I would have contacted him if he hadn't. And I had to admit that no, I would not have asked him out if I thought he was 10 years older than me.
Although helping me get a grant meant that I would leave DC, Doug didn’t hesitate to help me realize my dreams. I was able to meet his father, before he passed away in 2009, and his mother and brothers (and their families). Such wonderful people!
With Doug’s support the DACF continued to financially support me and Wat Opot Chidlren’s community. First with our Volunteer Dorm, then with a TukTuk, Preschool renovation and lastly the new Girls Dorm, where I live. Just a few months ago, Doug emailed asking what the DACF could do for me. He was that kind of guy.
Doug Lilley passed away recently, way way way to soon. His friendship and emotional support to me and the DACF’s financial support to the Wat Opot Children’s Community will forever be in my heart.
You are missed dearly and my heart goes out to your family.
Your kindness has traveled far.
Photo courtesy of Timothy Rockwood from Doug's FaceBook Page – this is the Doug I will always remember.