September 5th, 2017 marked the 5 year anniversary of because I said I would. This page is dedicated to looking back at some of our highlights over the past 1,852 days.
Thank you to all of our supporters! Without you the movement would not have become what it is today.
Click on a year below to expand that year.
September 4th, 2012 – The beginning
September 4th, 2012
Wei Min “Al” Sheen is unconscious laying in a hospital bed placed in the family room of his home. A playlist of his favorite songs can be heard in the background. He is being comforted by his wife and two sons. One year and two months after being diagnosed with stage 4 small cell lung cancer, Al Sheen takes his last breath at 11:31 am and passes away. He was 55 years old.
September 5th, 2012
Al’s son, Alex makes the following post on Facebook and creates a page called “because I said I would.”
“My father was nothing outstanding. He wasn’t an award winning author. He never met the
President. He never won a marathon. But what my dad did do was keep a promise. If he said he was going to do it, it would certainly be done. My dad wasn’t too fond of excuses.
Too often we make promises, little and big, that we do not honor. A promise to your Dad. A promise to yourself. It becomes easy to say “I’ll get to it” or “tomorrow.”
I want to remember my Dad and the promises he kept.”
September 11th, 2012
After offering to send 10 promise cards to anyone anywhere in the world at no cost, Alex mails the first five sets of cards to strangers who requested them.
October 17th, 2012
Alex decides that the loss of his father and the tragedies in the lives of because I said I would‘s supporters should not be exploited for personal profits. On this day, because I said I would becomes a registered nonprofit in the State of Ohio.
November 11th, 2012
After making a promise to raise $2000 in six days, for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, Alex and his friend Jimmy drive through the night from Cleveland, Ohio to New York City with over $7,500 in disaster relief aid.
December 31st, 2012
Because I said I would executes a project called “The Promise Wall.” Since very few people honor their “New Year’s resolutions,” party goers are asked to instead write “New Year’s Promises” on giant publicly viewable walls.
2013 – The First Employees
March 1st, 2013
Because I said I would takes steps to reduce its environmental impact. Our new supplier provides 100% recycled paper products.
June 25th, 2013
To fulfill a promise to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, Alex finishes a 240 mile walk across the entire state of Ohio in under 10 days. The effort raises only $4,782. Half is given to the three women to help rebuild their lives. The other half is donated to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence nonprofit organization.
November 11th, 2013
Because I said I would donates money to Trees for the Future to plant 1,000 trees.
November 25th, 2013
The social movement becomes financially stable enough to hire Amanda Messer as the first full-time employee. Volunteering her time for over a year, her efforts helped because I said I would reach millions of people.
2014 – ONE
January 23rd, 2014
Garth Callaghan promised to write 826 napkin notes to his daughter Emma. Garth had been diagnosed with cancer three times and wanted to ensure his daughter would still have notes in her lunchbox even if something happened to him. He promised to write one note for every day of class until she graduates from high school. The story of this promise goes viral through because I said I would‘s supporters on this day. Seven days later Garth and Emma are interviewed by Matt Lauer on the TODAY show
April 8th, 2014
In the first 18 months of existence, because I said I would distributes over 1.27 million promise cards to over 105 different countries.
April 25th, 2014
Because I said I would receives the following message:
I watched your Ted talk a couple months before the Boston Marathon, as if I wasn’t inspired enough, your talk took it to a new level! In 2013 I was stopped 0.6 miles from the finish line due to the explosions. My family was waiting for me at the finish line when the bombs went off and luckily made it to safety although it was hours before we reunited. I ran to raise money for Children’s Hospital Boston, and with the help of my family have raised $10,000 over the last two years! Anyway, nothing was going to stop me from finishing my race in 2014. It has been my dream to run the Boston Marathon and that dream was stolen last year. I made a ‘Because I Said I Would’ running shirt to wear in the race, with my family and girlfriends name and a Boston heart on the back. The crowd on Monday went crazy over my shirt. They yelled how they loved the phrase and the shirt. From mile 1 to the finish they said “Your sticking to your word!” “You said you were and you’re doing it!” And as I neared the end I was feeling awful. Everything hurt and I was running a bad race. As limped closer to the finish line the crowd yelled out to me “You said you would and you’re almost there! C’mon!” That inspiration with the thoughts of my family and the tragedy last year gave me the strength I needed to finish my race. It was my worst time, most painful race, but I would never trade that day for anything. Thank you for your inspiration, here are some pictures from the race.
All the best,
Bobby O’Donnell age 20
May 11th, 2014
One tally for every day of success. He stumbled… but then got back up. Eventually he had so many consecutive days of success that he decided tallies weren’t needed anymore. There wasn’t going to be enough space on the back of the card anyway. Still sober to this day.
June 10th, 2014
Because I said I would received its official 501(c)(3) status after waiting for over a year on the decision to come back.
June 24th, 2014
“Cutting is not worth it. Especially now that I work with kids. They are my light. I don’t want them to see all the boo boos on my arm and ask how I got them. I will be strong for them. For my family and my friends. But most importantly myself. I will not cut anymore.”
Posted by Rachel.
July 10th, 2014
The social movement becomes 17,000 promise cards behind due to a recent story going viral.
September 6th, 2014
Because I said I would holds its ONE event. Nearly 1,000 supporters from around the country attended. We had 29 nonprofit organizations join us with booth space! We also had an astonishing 80 video promise stories recorded that were used in our 52-part YouTube series. Videos that are still used to this day in Character Education in schools and Personal Development in our Chapter Program.
Speakers included Parker Schenecker, dad and retired army Colonel, Eva Kor, holocaust survivor and forgiveness advocate, Garth Callaghan, dad and parenting advocate and also Bobby O’Donnell, 2013 and 2014 Boston Marathon runner.
November 26th, 2014
Because I said I would Founder, Alex Sheen, and Co-Founder, Amanda Messer, drive to Ferguson, MO to help clean up efforts following the looting and rioting after the Michael Brown verdict.
“I am tired of looters in Ferguson taking advantage of a situation and calling it protesting. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. looked up to Gandhi and neither of these men would endorse the senseless destruction that has happened in Ferguson. But complaining about the actions of others isn’t going to do anything. I am leaving Cleveland now and will be in Ferguson, Missouri by dawn. If you know of anywhere I can volunteer, please let me know. I believe in the power of protesting, but I do not believe in harming the lives of innocent people.”
– Alex Sheen, Founder
2015 – The Start of Character Education
January 5th, 2015
Founder, Alex Sheen, reflects on what it was like to volunteer for a different nonprofit organization in each week of 2014. Watch the video here.
January 22nd, 2015
Mrs. Newberry, has been teaching a unit about promises using because I said I would promise cards, videos and stories.
April 30th, 2015
While in the Philippines, Alex toured an orphanage where children had gone through unimaginable tragedy – some of them were abandoned at hospitals after the natural disaster, others had been turned over to the orphanage because they have been physically or sexually abused. Alex talked with the children about their promises, and in turn made a promise to them.
After two long years, legal contracts, and the struggles of keeping a promise overseas, because I said I would receives pictures of our completed promise.
May 18th, 2015
Because I said I would releases an educational video outlining what to do if you are ever drowning. Flip. Float. Follow. https://becauseisaidiwould.org/flipfloatfollow/
May 22nd, 2015
Because I said I would receives the following message:
Middleburg High School FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) members saw Alex at state and were blown away by his mission and passion. We did a school wide project for everyone to write a promise card. This was a time to pause and think about character and keeping your promises. It was very successful. Here is our wall of promises! Alex Sheen, keep up your mission! Thank you for making a difference in our lives!
June 30th, 2015
On a rare occasion, someone will personally hand me (Alex Sheen) a promise they have made. They ask me to hold on to it until the promise is kept. In all the promise cards I have ever held, I have never seen a promise quite like this. I told her that I would return the card to her should she honor her word. The court date was pushed back…but the promise was kept. The card was mailed back to the rightful owner.
The witness stand is a hard place to be for a rape victim. Your character is questioned. Implications are made. But at some moment…sitting in that chair, you remember that what has happened to you is over. It is now time to protect a stranger you will never meet. A person who will never feel your pain, because the person who would have hurt them is in prison now.
Sometimes doing the difficult thing…and doing the right thing… they are the same thing.
July 7th, 2015
Did any of the kids say anything about why they made their promise? We asked.
“One of the students experienced a substantial amount of behavior issues. Her promise was “I promise to not get into trouble.” And she worked extremely hard to keep that promise. In fact, she did well all the way until the end of the school year when it fell apart for her. Unfortunately for many of our kids, the mark of the end of the school year means instability, hunger and inattention. We are, for most of our kids, their source of love, stability and security.”
July 8th, 2015
A professor with a PhD leaves her tenure track faculty position and sunny southern California to become Alex’s assistant in Cleveland, OH. Today she is our VP of Character Education and has created our 7 Lesson Plans along with our Personal Development Workshops.
September 9th, 2015
“I was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect that is usually and eventually life threatening to those that have it. Not because of the Spina Bifida directly, but because of some of the other side effects that come with it. I am of course wheelchair bound. My mom was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer a while back and her dream has always been to see me walk and it is because of your movement that I decided it would be time to start trying to walk and give my mother the dream she has always wanted for me. Why am I gonna learn to walk? Because I said I would!”
Posted by Josh.
Parts of Josh’s wheelchair are held together with duct tape. He doesn’t come from great means. He wants to do more physical therapy, but he does not have the insurance to cover it, so is he going to try to teach himself how to walk. That’s the attitude his mother taught him. “You can sit on the couch and cry about the situation or you can get up and make something happen.”
Josh needs a walker to train himself at home, so we purchased him one and mailedit to him. Don’t give up.
September 22nd, 2015
Eugene Lim is in the sixth grade. He’s young, but trust us… he understands commitment. Once a week, Eugene’s family drives him to the Northern Illinois Food Bank where he volunteers to repackage donations for food pantries. Eugene’s Dad said that a nonprofit came to Eugene’s school to talk about the importance of a promise. “As a result, he has followed through with his commitment to make a difference in his community by volunteering.”
The food bank has a “Youth Volunteer of the Year” award. Guess who won? 😀
Because I said I would is extraordinarily proud of Eugene Lim and the promise he has kept to help others. The world needs more young men and women like this.
October 29, 2015
Because I said I would announces plans to start Adult Chapters.
November 11th, 2015
Lots of girls in college get tattoos…but the story behind this one is different. Sam (23, left) and Alex (25, right) are sisters. When Sam was in high school she was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a life threatening blood disorder that can only be cured through a bone marrow transplant. In an attempt to be the match, Sam’s family had their DNA tested. No match was found. Sam’s name has sat on the National Bone Marrow Registry list for years.
Sometimes in life we have to put fate into our own hands. Sam and Alex sold both of their cars, bought this van and plotted a course. They made a promise to go to all 50 states in search of a match. Sam and Alex have been driving that van from state to state since January. With each stop, they set up a table asking people to sign up for the National Bone Marrow Registry.
These matching tattoos may look like just a bunch of letters and numbers, but it is actually a Human Leukocyte Antigen sequence. This is the code of proteins that identifies the DNA match that would save Sam’s life.
Since the beginning of their journey in January, Sam & Alex have signed up over 13,873 people for the donor registry. 115 of these individuals were discovered to be actual matches for people in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately none of them were for Sam. They finished their journey as promised
Because I said I would teamed up with Sam and Alex in Texas to swab college students after one of our speaking engagements. We also helped them go viral which led to thousands of other donors around the globe signing up to be part of the registry.
November 12th, 2015
He kept posting a new number. Then the posts stopped. We were worried. Until #18 popped up on our feed. The number of months he’s been sober.
The posts keep coming to this day. Good job, Matt!
December 7th, 2015
Recruitment for Adult Chapter leaders begins.
2016 – Starting Adult Chapters
February 2nd, 2016
I’ve always dreamed of having children. The whole fantasy having that white fence around my family home, married and then having children but that fanasty is not my reality. The reality is that I am a young girl, 20 years old, trying to find a new way to live from using heroin. My first because I said I would card said ” I will stay clean and sober because I said I would..” Now mommy has a 11 months sober. my next card says ” I will ALWAYS protect you, love you, and take care of you and to be the best mother I can be.. Because I said I would. ” Ive been saving this second card for something very special and I finally decided what I wanted my promise to be. To my little angels that are on the way. I promise I will do anything in my power to do whatever it takes to love you and fulfill your needs. I will never let you feel unloved. Mommy may have an unpleasant past and I probably will struggle because I didn’t get that perfect fanasty but I know once you two are born it will be all I ever wanted. So this is for you… Because I said I would ❤
February 17th, 2016
My 12th grade students are filling out promise cards and filling up my office door, when they complete their promise they get their card back
February 21st, 2016
A group of 400 volunteers got together to help beautify Rios Vista Elementary School near Los Angeles by removing weeds, laying mulch and painting the campus.
March 30th, 2016
Because I said I would has grown from 2 employees in 2013 to 12 employees in 2016.
April 28th, 2016
Because I said I would hosts its first-ever Gala. Speakers include: Alex Sheen, Katie Spotz, the youngest woman to row across the Atlantic, Colonel Parker Schenecker, Dave Benjamin and Sam and Alex.
May 12th, 2016
A woman tells us that she backed out of a kidney donation. Some would consider that a broken promise but the story does not end the way you might expect. https://becauseisaidiwould.org/organdonation/
May 26th, 2016
A year and a half ago this little man donated his hair to make wigs for cancer patients, because we had lost too many friends to it. Today he finally had enough to do it again. In a year and a half he has not even let me trim his hair, because he said it was taking away from people who will need it. I am so very proud of him. He donated his hair yet again because he said he would! I will miss his curls, but as he said, it is the right thing to do mommy.
June 25th, 2016
“For earth week, me and another teacher had all the kids at school say what they would do for the earth. It was amazing!!!!”
July 4th, 2016
“NEVER give up what you want most for what you want now!! This took me over a year of consistency and anyone struggling right now with not seeing results please listen; results dont happen over night or even a few weeks for most people. it happens over a long period of time, be patient with yourself and believe in the process!”
August 1st, 2016
The Cleveland Chapter of because I said I would helps paint a local school in need and benches that will be placed in 50 community gardens around the city. Each month, in each of our chapter cities, our volunteers come together for a cause. Since Adult Chapters have started, over 21 volunteer projects have been completed.
- donating blood
- welcoming refugees to America
- building bikes for foster kids,
- throwing a birthday party for the kids in a shelter
- spending some time socializing with senior citizens.
With each project we aim to learn a littler more about ourselves and the world around us.
The world is in need and so you are needed.
Click here to see more of our projects.
September 26th, 2016
UPDATE POST: Diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia, Sam Kimura and her sister Alex sold their cars, bought a van and promised to tour the U.S. signing people up for the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry. In search of a lifesaving bone marrow donation for her and others, Sam kept her promise in 2015 by visiting all 50 states and signing up over 24,000 individuals for this critical cause. Sam then attended a because I said I would Denver chapter meeting where she presented her story and our local members signed up for the registry. To date Sam and Alex have found over 400 matches for patients in desperate need.
October 20th, 2016
Because I said I would Tampa fulfilled their fourth unified promise by helping provide books for children in need, increasing access to materials for educators and administrators and elevating educational opportunities for our most disadvantaged youth. Members volunteered for a total of 46 hours to unload, unpack, and sort 40,000 books with First Book, an organization that provides books free-of-charge to disadvantaged youth. Preparing our youth for the future is a top priority – we are proud to be a part of it!
October 31st, 2016
“6th year! 6 years ago I was watching the news with my littles when a segment about a local Women and Children’s shelter came on. My littles and I had just been talking about Halloween costumes. I got the idea to get enough costumes so all the kids at that shelter would have a Halloween costume that Halloween. Since that year I have been collecting costumes for the shelter. This year I brought in 271 costumes and 250 bags of candy for those kids. It is a promise that I made 6 years ago and I will continue to do annually, because I said I would.”
November 15th, 2016
Someone physically gave me (Alex Sheen) a $238,000 diamond and I smuggled it through some airports.
A woman insisted on giving the diamond as a donation to because I said I would. It is by far the largest donation we have ever received from a single individual. While the diamond is now stored in an undisclosed location, it is for sale if anyone out there is interested in a 5.56 karat diamond. Read more of this story at https://becauseisaidiwould.org/diamond
November 30th, 2016
Denver Chapter members cook a homemade dinner for 65 children and their families in partnership with Judi’s House. This local organization supports the Denver youth in wonderful ways and we couldn’t be happier to be welcomed into their community!
Judi’s House is the only free-standing organization in the Metro Denver area devoted solely to supporting grieving children and their families. https://becauseisaidiwould.org/denver-serving-grieving-children/
The party was a huge success with 40 volunteers and 100 refugees in attendance! On the day alone we accumulated over 200 volunteer hours, and a priceless experience for both parties. The event was filled with fun, bowling and getting to know our newest neighbors through friendship and community.
December 28th, 2016
2017 – The Movement Continues…
December 29th, 2016
“today… school wide ❤”
January 7th, 2017
From a student at Leaman Junior High School in Fulshear, TX.
January 14th, 2017
“Self harm has been a coping mechanism for me since I was 13, and it was partnered with self hatred. I’ve since learned to love myself, but haven’t shown my body that same love. I made it 2 years and 24 days clean before relapsing this past November. I kept on harming almost daily, until December 20th, 2016 when I harmed and the damage exceeded any other amount I had inflicted, and I feared for my life. That night I wrote this promise card. A promise to myself, and a promise to everyone who loves me, that I would not only earn back my 2 years, 24 days, but I would make it to five years. Ten years. Twenty years. Thirty even. I will earn my card back. That is my story. That is my promise.”
Posted by Rayne.
One day at a time. Let the promises stack up. Years on years.
January 30th, 2017
“I believe in the framework that because I said I would is built on. A simple promise fulfilled changes the world. It may be unnoticeable in its singular form, but it’s unmistakable in the aggregate. I believe and support any organization working to spread the message of individual accountability both monetarily and with my time. Imagine how powerful and how visible our world would change if everyone kept just one more promise each day, week, month, or year.”
-Manish Patel, Long-time supporter
Because I said I would is proud to announce that Manish Patel is now our Chairman of the Board. We would not be where we are today if it were not for Manish’s generosity early on in our organization and his continued support throughout the years. We are so excited for his commitment to serve our mission in this expanded capacity. Please help us welcome him to our team!
February 22nd, 2017
In July of 2011, Tara Burns was rushed to Rose Medical Center due to severe complications during her fifth month of pregnancy. After examinations, the doctors concluded that the baby needed to be delivered early. After eight hours in the operating room and 29 blood transfusions, her son Beckett August Burns tragically did not survive delivery. Tara told us the story of that night at the Because I said I would Denver chapter meetup last month. She said that without blood donations she would not be alive. In memory of her son, Tara advocates for those in need of blood.
Our Denver chapter members made a unified promise that night. They promised that they would go to a nonprofit blood center and make a small sacrifice. Thank you to the 14 members who made this commitment for Coloradans in need.
March 27th, 2017
This is about half of today’s shipment of promises card mailings. An avalanche of promise card requests came in from over 4,000 people around the world recently and we are trying to catch up. We sincerely apologize for the delay.
As of today, over 7 million promise cards have been distributed to over 153 countries worldwide, by request only.
April 8th, 2017
If you don’t think human trafficking happens in your zip code, think again. Human Trafficking is the 2nd leading crime in the world — including the U.S. The majority of trafficking occurs in hotels and motels. The only time some sexual slaves can be alone is in the bathroom. For our Cleveland Chapter’s April Unified Promise, we took action against human trafficking by packing and delivering soap with a number to call for help for victims being trafficked at hotels. Our 25 chapter members labeled 5,000 bars of soap and went out into our community delivering 2,000 to local hotels and motels. On average, at least one missing child is identified by hotel staff during each outreach.
May 2nd, 2017
Foster care children move 1 to 2 times EACH YEAR. New school. New classes. Hopefully new friends. Each move makes it harder to graduate. Members of because I said I would Columbus wanted to make life a little easier for kids struggling through these challenges. They made a promise to purchase and assemble new bikes for foster care kids. But that wasn’t enough. They put together a pizza party and surprised the kids with their new rides.
June 30th, 2017
“I found a promise card last night while I was cleaning my room. As far as I can remember, I wrote this to myself 2 years ago while I was struggling with acads. And now I’m officially a graduate. My first promise card fulfilled. #becauseisaidiwould”
Posted by Raissa, who has awesome handwriting.
Because I said I would continues to encourage volunteerism and personal development through our Chapter Program. In 2018, we plan to extend this program to high school students.
We have spoken to over 150,000 school-aged youth through our assemblies and speaking engagements. And have begun focus groups to find out from the students themselves what they would want in a high school club.
We are also working on our first draft of our book. Some of the stories shared on this page will be explored deeper.
The movement continues to grow and currently has 15 paid and unpaid staff members. We continue to work on becoming financially viable and make the largest amount of impact that we can on the lives of our supporters.
We have distributed over 8.42 million promise cards to over 153 different countries by request only.
We look forward to what 2018 and beyond will bring.