Last Thursday night I had the honor and privilege of being a guest speaker for The American Cancer Society Relay for Life. It was a Mardi Gras Ball for Survivors and Caregivers held at the Downingtown Country Club.
I was asked last February to do this "Little speech" by Susan Baroni who had attended a cooking class. I agreed immediately. What an honor! Was I nervous? yes~ to tell the truth, I speak in front on large groups of people on a regular basis and I never have difficulty BUT I am conducting a cooking class and have my "props" of food in front of me. This was different. Clint told me if I was nervous, bring a head of cabbage as a prop!!!!!
We were in the beautiful ballroom at the Downingtown Country Club. As we arrived I was greeted at the door and introduced to the wonderful people who plan this every year. I looked around the room and saw at least 20 tables of 10~ that is 200 people! The theme was Mardi Gras and the room was filled with purple and yellow balloons, The "NEW KINGS OF RHYTHM" a fabulous New Orleans band was playing, some people were dressed in feathers and masks others wore Mardi Gras beads, all wore smiles!
As the evening progressed and announcements were made, this wonderful group of people were having FUN! I looked around at the dancing and picture taking and celebrating and thought to myself "Cancer doesn't stop them!" It was truly a magnificent evening.
We started off with a delicous dinner and then I was "UP." I printed some copies of my blog entries to read as we drove, I hoped they would give me a little inspiration for my speech. I was introduced and walked up to the podium. As I looked around I realized that everyone in that big room had been touched by Cancer. They wake up everyday to a different reality, knowing they have this battle in their lives. There were no tears, no sad faces, no self pity, these people had strength and hope and love, they are survivors and care-takes, a tough reality and they face it moment by moment.
As they turned their faces towards me I knew I had this in common with them, I could relate, I could sympathize, I, too am a survivor facing this challenge daily, trying to make each day count, still living my life amidst fear and uncertainty and trying to make decisions that will affect the rest of my life.
They gave me hope, these smiling happy people.
I started talking and the nervousness melted away. I talked about taking care of ourselves, I spoke about living in the moment and enjoying life's simple pleasures and before I knew it they were laughing and my little speech had come to an end.
It was an honor to be among these people, knowing what they go through and have gone through. The evening gave me hope and knowledge that we all go on, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again!!!
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