$10,000/$25,000 raised.

School bus? Bought.

My birthday wish? Granted.

Let's celebrate!

Not sure what this is all about? Click right here to see the fundraising/birthday page that got this whole thing started.

A Christmas Miracle

We did it.

We freaking did it.

Let's call it a Christmas miracle. Heck, let's call it this: a birthday I'll always remember, and a gift that I—and every student at Kopila Valley—will never ever forget.

Thank you, all of you, for making my birthday wish come true. I still can't believe we raised $25,000. I really can't believe we smashed right through it, soaring up to nearly $35,000 (thirty-five thousand dollars!) when it was all said and done.

More than just money, though, your generosity just gave Laxmi Karki, Nisha Bakabal, Sangita Singh, and so many other students at Kopila Valley the ultimate gift: time. Time to (safely) explore the world, time to learn, and time to grow into the future leaders of Nepal.

By itself, that's a remarkable thing.

But here's the thing: we're not done. I have a few more surprises. :)

A $25,000 Promise

(And here is where I eat my words.)

Back on the formal fundraising page, I made a promise: if we hit $25,000, I would release a photo of baby me being delivered to my parents in a stocking. (When you're born on Christmas day, the hospital gets creative).

Honestly? I didn't know if we would hit $25,000. I've called my birthday wish a little crazy—a little reckless—for the last few months, in fact, and waited until the last possible minute to dig up my old family photos.

But what can I say? I'm a man of my word. (And as a few people have so kindly reminded me, I did make a promise). Here we go:

Baby Matt Madeiro! I was born at 4:10pm on December 25th, 1987, weighing seven pounds and three ounces.

And here I am twenty-five years later: no longer seven pounds, but set on gaining all that weight and more over the next few days of working on my birthday cake. (It's red velvet, in case you were wondering.)

I might have given up my Christmas birthday, but my parents couldn't pass an opportunity for cake. In spirit of the occasion, too, they had our Kopila Valley school bus drawn on top (thanks again, Kim Kiser!), making for one of the most emotionally satisfying birthday cakes this world has ever seen.

I'll save you all a slice!

A Gift from Maggie Doyne

(And here is where I get emotional.)

Maggie had a surprise up her sleeve from the very start. Throughout all of this birthday fundraising, the students of Kopila Valley—the very same kids that inspired all of this generosity in the first place—didn't know about the bus. As a Christmas surprise, Maggie waited until the 25th to break the news.

What happened next? Watch for yourself below:

I'm still at a loss for words.

I also might be crying.

And One Last (Large!) Christmas Present

Maggie had one more surprise.

We came so close to $35,000 raised. Given how we destroyed the original goal of twenty-five, I'm not complaining — but as it turns out, I never should have been worried in the first place.

An anonymous donor has offered one final Christmas gift for this wild ride of a fundraiser: a $10,000 donation for the students of Kopila Valley.

Let that sink in.

That's $10,000 in addition to everything we've already raised.

And it gives me great, incredible pleasure to announce the grand total raised during my birthday fundraiser:

$10,000.

Holy crap.

So please, friends, let me offer one last word of thanks to every single person who helped make this possible.

Thank you.

All of you. Every beautiful, generous person who helped buy a school bus for the students of Kopila Valley, and every incredibly kind human being who helped spread the word of this crazy birthday wish.

I'm enormously proud to call all of you friends. And today, more than ever before, I'm so proud of what humanity can accomplish.

Maggie herself said that "I believe that in the blink of an eye, we can all make a difference."

Today, friends, we proved her right.

Thank you. :) And have a happy, merry Christmas!

Best,

Matt Madeiro

P.S. Yeah. Still sniffling.