Star Trek, for many fans, is all about mankind bettering itself, about reaching out to others, and about achieving the seemingly unachievable. It’s inspired millions of people in ways profound and simple. Little girls and boys have grown up to become world-renowned scientists and astronauts, to serve their nation in the military, to write or to teach or to entertain, or to help others less fortunate than themselves. To that last point, we at StarTrek.com heard a terrific story about giving back and helping others while we were in Las Vegas this past summer for Creation Entertainment's Official 45th Anniversary Star Trek Convention, and we thought we’d share it with you today.
Beth Madison and her daughter, Sarah, now 15, are both “huge” Star Trek lovers from Connecticut. Beth is a fan from “way back” and attended one of the earliest Trek conventions, held in the mid-1970’s at the Commodore Hotel in New York City. An avid (and professional) photographer, Beth passed her appreciation for all things Trek on to Sarah, who, by age seven, was watching The Next Generation. Beth later exposed Sarah to TOS and, eventually, they made their way through the other series as well. Their favorite -- “by far” they say simultaneously during a joint phone conversation – is, was and forever will be Deep Space Nine.
We’ll let Sarah pick up the story from here.
“I’d been doing charity bake sales with a few of my friends at my school since I was in 3rd or 4th grade,” Sarah says. “The first one we’d done was in response to Hurricane Katrina. We decided we really enjoyed doing them. We did them every year and we’d gone through several charities, and we wanted to find new charities, because we were starting to run out of ideas. My mom and I heard that Alexander Siddig – who is my mom’s favorite actor -- was going to be at that year’s Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, and he announced that he was going to donate his (appearance) money to Doctors Without Borders. We looked him up online and we looked up the charity, and that’s what we decided would be the charity for the bake sale.”
The principal at Sarah’s school signed off on the sale. Sarah and her friends baked treats, and they were joined by other friends during the actual sale at their school. They publicized the event at a school assembly and also “put up a ton” of flyers. Other people came through with additional baked items to sell. The end result? $530 was raised, all of it earmarked for Doctors Without Borders, in Siddig’s name, and in honor of his then-upcoming birthday.
And that’s where Mom comes in.
“I’d been involved with Sid City, a fan site for Siddig, and I’d posted some of the pictures I’d taken of him,” Beth recalls. “I wrote a letter describing Sarah’s donation in Siddig’s name, but, not having an address, I sent it to Siddig care of Gayle Stever, who is the coordinator of the Far Beyond the Stars (fan) club. She sent the letter to Siddig, who sent it to the editor of the newsletter, where it was printed. So we were all very excited.”
Adds Sarah, “It was wonderful” to be recognized in that way by the Star Trek fan community in general and Siddig specifically.
And the story didn’t quite end there.
At this year’s Official Star Trek Convention, Beth donated a bound book of her photography -- filled with pictures taken at several previous Vegas Trek conventions -- that sold in a blind auction during a DS9 breakfast in which fans spent time in the company of Terry Farrell, Rene Auberjonois, Armin Shimerman, Nana Visitor (Alexander Siddig’s former wife) and other DS9 cast members. Several of the actors autographed the photobook. “That was very cool,” Beth says. “It’s a lovely book and I was really pleased with the way it came out. I take a lot of care in the photographs that I do, and I was really pleased to donate that and help out. The money went to a children’s charity, to a college fund for kids with cancer. One of the volunteers working for Creation had a family member who had cancer, and she’s been involved with the charity. I never actually found out what it sold for, but it was really enjoyable for me to give back, too. So now, Sarah and I have both done it. It’s a nice little connection that we share.”
Do YOU have a story about how Star Trek changed your life? If so, share it with us and maybe you’ll be the subject of our next "How Star Trek Changed My Life" feature on StarTrek.com.