Well, in case you were wondering, I’m currently in Atlanta, Georgia. I know, unexpected, right? Since snow days claimed my February break, I’m excited to get away, even if it’s for such a short trip. This isn’t exactly a vacation, although getting to take a ride in a town car and stay in a hotel sure feel like a special getaway, even if it’s only for twenty-four hours.
A few months ago, I was contacted by Lilly Oncology again and asked if I would be interested in being a part of a patient/survivor panel at their national sales meeting. I was really excited at the prospect of speaking about my experience with cancer to a group of people from the healthcare community. Now, with my first real speaking engagement about nine hours away, I am even more excited, but I'm also feeling the butterflies at this point.
Speaking in front of a group of people doesn’t really scare me, I do that on a daily basis as part of my job. The nerves are because I am considering this an opportunity, and I want it to go as well as it possibly can. I would love, love, LOVE to have more opportunities like this…And it’s not about getting the chance to indulge in the novelties reserved for private-sector employees that my job doesn’t allow for- flying to distant cities, taking town cars to and from the airport, and yummy meals paid for ahead of time.
This is about feeling like I am doing something that matters. Not that what I do on a daily basis doesn’t matter. This trip is just the expression of a second passion. My first love, education, is one that I believe will satisfy me for the rest of my professional career. But since being diagnosed, I have developed a second love, one for advocacy. It may seem like a completely different avenue to explore, but it’s really not that much of a stretch.
When I was twelve, I didn’t know what I was going to be when I grew up. I had a goal though. That goal hasn’t changed in the last fourteen years. I have always wanted to have a positive impact on as many people as I can possibly reach. I want to be remembered as someone who did something that mattered and made a difference in the lives of others. I do realize this is a completely immeasurable goal, but I still feel that it describes what I want to achieve during my lifetime, and both education and advocacy fit neatly under the umbrella of a goal I have maintained for more than half of my life. If you’ve read anything on here or know me more personally, I am nothing if not goal-oriented.
So tomorrow morning, I will be speaking to people, not just representing myself, but the 70,000 other young adults who are diagnosed with cancer each year. For the ones who are too sick to speak, are too busy fighting, and especially those who were not diagnosed in time and don’t have a voice anymore. So wish me luck, and here’s to making an impact.
Hope. Love. Run,