Thursday, February 4, 2016

Their dad dies. They stick a note onto a balloon. 2 months later the unthinkable happens.


This is the story of a message in a balloon that crossed half of Europe, flying for more than 1,000 miles before landing in a field near Ravenna, Italy. What happens next is a beautiful tale worth telling. 
But first, rewind to where it all began. 
7-year-old Beth and 3-year-old Oscar live with their family in Bordon, a village in Hampshire, Southern England. Both are are carefree, loving children who go to the local kindergarten.
Zoe Cook Facebook
Their father, Simon Cook, is a good man and loved by his entire community. Unfortunately he fell ill with a particularly aggressive form of cancer. The disease weakened him more and more, and despite his fighting spirit, the doctors ran out of options. In 2015 Simon died. His friends and family felt deep despair and sorrow. At the same time, far away in Italy, a man named Christian Grassi was working in the fields of Mater Naturae, the organic farm that he manages. 
One day Christian saw a strange balloon in his field. He picked it up and found a note inside that was written by two children in memory of their father. He made a comment about his bizarre discovery on Facebook and soon his entire village was moved by the story.
Zoe Cook Facebook
The note that Christian found was of course written by little Beth and Oscar Cook. The children's school, the Bordon Garrison Pre-School & Creche, had organized an event to commemorate Simon and help the children in their mourning process. The children at school each got a purple balloon and put a photo and memory of Simon inside. Beth and Oscar also placed a special memento of their father inside their balloon.
All of the balloons were released at the same time. The beautiful, loving memories of Simon were swept up into the air and quickly disappeared from view.
Bordon Garrison Pre-School & Creche
But no one could've guessed the adventure awaiting the balloon released by Beth and Oscar. Carried by the wind currents, the balloon crossed the English Channel, flew over the Alps, and finally arrived in that field in Italy after having traveled more than 1,000 miles. It took two months for the balloon to reach Christian near Ravenna.
Christian Grassi Facebook
When Christian saw the purple balloon, he picked it up and discovered the note for their dad. His Facebook post about the discovery became wildly popular. So much so, that the news made its way back to Bordon, England. Christian was so touched by the note, that he found a way to contact the kindergarten that organized such a wonderful project.
But the story doesn't end there. Members of the Citizen’s Committee of Borgo Montone in Italy were so touched by the story that, together with Christian’s farm and several local tour companies, they decided to give the Cook family a gift: a trip to Italy to get the balloon back.
So, in July 2015, Zoe, Simon's widow, and their children, Beth and Oscar, traveled to Italy with their teacher Lucy. The week-long vacation was completely free of charge. 
Il resto del Carlino
The Cook family was met with warmth, affection, and Italian generosity during their wonderful stay. The trip will forever stay in their hearts, right next to their memories of Simon.
Christian Grassi wrote on Facebook, "a balloon managed something special ... thanks to it, complete strangers could meet, learn, and share emotions. The people in this story, triggered by a balloon, are better people today. I like to think of this object as a something with a will of its own that has chosen us and our community for a purpose.”

Such a beautiful, touching story. If this extraordinary story moved you, share it with your friends and loved ones.