Leigh Anne Tuohy Blogs for AARP: Sharing the Power of Giving

May 10th, 2011

Leigh Anne Tuohy: Sharing the Power of Giving

05/10/2011 by Jen Martin
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This is a guest post from Leigh Anne Tuohy. Tuohy is an interior designer and philanthropist. Dubbed a “warrior princess” by best selling author Michael Lewis, Tuohy and her family’s lives were chronicled in the blockbuster book and award winning movie The Blind Side.

Greetings, everyone! I’m writing from Memphis, Tennessee, home of Beale Street, barbecue, Graceland, and the Tuohy Family. You may be asking yourself – why does that name sound familiar? Why does that lady in this picture look familiar? Well, here’s a helpful hint: The Blind Side. Did you see the movie? The Blind Side was a movie blockbuster that earned Sandra Bullock an Oscar for portraying me, Leigh Anne Tuohy. Talk about a shock! I am just an ordinary person, just like you, trying to pick out the right tie for my husband Sean to wear when he broadcasts on TV for The Memphis Grizzlies, get my son SJ up for school on time, and make sure my daughter Collins and my son Michael are still doing what I think they need to be doing. Never did we think anyone would find our lives the least bit interesting, but let me tell you, a major motion picture made about your family is a game changer! Now, in addition to being a wife, a mom, a sister, an aunt and partner in a design firm, I travel the country doing motivational public speaking, am a designer for the Emmy winning TV show Extreme Makeover Home Edition (watch for me May 15th for the season finale), and try to live and share our commitment to faith, family and community.

At the wonderful age of 50, I am daily humbled and astonished by this journey we are on. I was raised in a family where giving back was not an option; it was expected. A cheerful heart was also required because without that you might as well be doing nothing at all (hence the title of Sean’s and my book In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving). Throughout the years, Sean and I have been asked to donate to this, be involved here, help this person or that organization, and we have always gone back to the same question, “Will this have a direct impact on someone’s life?” If the answer was yes and we could swing it, we would volunteer not only our money but our time. Time is a valuable commodity and it can change someone’s life! Now we are the proud founders of The Making It Happen Foundation and use this avenue to facilitate projects that we deem worthwhile, while staying in the realm of children’s issues, foster care and adoption.
Those early small steps of volunteerism and social awareness led us down the path of adopting Michael, who later became a four year starter for Ole Miss and a first round draft pick in 2009 by the Baltimore Ravens. One random act of kindness changed our lives.

You see, some people think of turning 50 and getting their AARP card as a sign that life is slowing down for them, and the best you have to give to the world has come and gone. Wrong. It means that you are now wiser, seasoned, and the wrinkles on your face are earned lines of laughter, triumph, stress, and love. You have accomplished a lot to make it to 50 in one piece. Now ask yourself the question, “What have I done for someone else in these 50 plus years?” If it takes you more than two seconds to answer, than stay tuned – this blog is all about how you can plug yourself in and truly make a difference in someone’s life. Till next Tuesday!
Leigh Anne

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @LeighAnneTuohy and play #TuohyTrivia on Tuesdays for a chance to win a $25 donation to the charity of your choice for answering the question correctly.

This is the first in a series of blog posts by Leigh Anne Tuohy.