An interview with Heal Japan’s founder Chris Walthall, to find out more about Heal Japan, and how your donation money will to REAL people affected by the recent disasters…
SWELL: What is Heal Japan?
Chris: Heal Japan is an organization dedicated to benefiting the victims of the recent disasters that have taken place in Japan. Our goal is to collect $50,000 by the end of June. Funds will be delivered IN PERSON as soon as it is safe to do so.
SWELL: How did you come up with the idea to put something like this together?
Chris: The idea came to me at work actually! I was speaking to a client and out of nowhere all these ideas just came to me. After I got off the phone I started drawing shirts designs and a game plan for how I wanted the organization to function. I wanted to be the one held accountable for where the money went. If I could go and speak with people about the cause and “put a face to the name” that they were familiar with, I knew it would be effective. With so many people in this unimaginable situation, I just had to do something. So many people are willing to be a part of making positive changes in and around our community. I decided it was time to do my part. I called a close friend of mine and asked to go to lunch. We got together at a restaurant that same day and threw a bunch of ideas around. Right then and there he dedicated some funds to have wristbands and t-shirts made in exchange for donation. Without the help of my incredible friends who have done so much to make this happen, it just would not have been possible.
SWELL: When exactly do you plan on going to Japan? And do you have a charity in mind that you would like the money to go to?
Chris: As of now we’re thinking it will be close to a year before it is safe to go there ourselves. It’s just unreal how much damage the affected areas have sustained. It’s likely that it will be close to a year before we can go in person.
Our plan is to go to Japan and deliver the funds to charity ourselves. We want to make certain that the money goes to REAL people affected by the recent disasters. We are in the works of selecting a like-minded organization that will work closely with us in completing our goals. We are also very open to speaking with others and hearing new ideas in order to be as effective as possible.
SWELL: Why Japan? There are so many horrible things that could use benefit, what made you choose Japan? (Not saying it isn’t a mighty fine choice!)
Chris: When I really think about it, it was all about the timing. Around the same time as the earthquake and tsunami, my father was hospitalized. It was one of the most difficult situations I’ve ever been in. It’s so frightening to see a parent fighting for their lives. You think your dad is a super hero, but in reality we are all human. You don’t really know what it’slike until it happens. By the grace of God he’s still alive and making a smooth recovery. I took a step back and thought about the situation. That was my own personal earthquake and tsunami. If I thought what I had to deal with was hard, the people of Japan are facing some exponentially more difficult. We cannot even fathom what their situation is like. It’s on my heart to help, so I’m going to.
SWELL: Is there anything else you would like to add to this lovely Q & A that you think our readers show know?
Chris: I’d like to thank everyone who has helped make this possible: John Cohen, David Vanderveen, Ryah Arthur, Clarke Brogger, Dylan Fait, Steven Chew, and Chanel Sonego. The list goes on and on. Basically all of my friends and family. You know who you are. I’m just so blessed to have these people around me. It’s unreal.
Please check out our website HEALJAPAN.ORG, join our Facebook group and invite your friends, and do whatever you can to help spread the word. No matter how big or small your efforts, ALL of it makes a difference. God Bless! -CHRIS