Aug. 1, 2008

Back from the LIVESTRONG summit

After getting back from Columbus on Tuesday, I had some minor problems (most of them due to the high humidity and my thyroid issues), but I'm doing okay now, so no worries.

First of all, I can't tell you how amazing the summit was. Not only because we got to hear some amazing speakers and had some good training sessions, but most of all because of the other delegates and their stories. Even prior to the opening reception, I met some very inspiring people- most of them cancer survivors, but some co-survivors and care-givers, too. The stories all sound familiar in some way, but they're also very unique in other ways and sure broadened my "cancer horizon".

It was amazing to meet so many people that I only knew from other blogs, websites or forums. Some of them even happened to be on the same track as I was. Just to mention a few people: L, Sarah, Gail and Ang (fellow crazy sexies)- it was absolutely amazing to meet you all. I know we all wished that Callie could have been there with us, but you all are amazing women. Your stories, your strengths and weaknesses inspire me on a daily basis, you're not pretenders, but the real thing and I appreciate that. I'm so glad I got to meet you in person and share a wonderful experience and quite a lot of smiles!

I also (finally) got to meet my truely wonderful friend Kate. I got to know her through some blogs and it's funny that we considered ourselves "friends" even before we met- guess in this electronic age, things like that just happen. Kate is the local LIVESTRONG Army leader of Utah, and also helped me with a couple of blog problems and fundraising (even though she probably would say she didn't do much- wrong, she's amazing and a true friend). We met at the reception, but when we went back to the hotel to change into the "vote yellow" LAF shirts (did I mention we were roomies?), there were all these cute little gifts she brought me from Utah, including a lovely necklace, some fun t-shirts and some sweets/honey/salt from Utah. I brought some small gifts, too, to thank her for all her help over the years, and fortunately had the right idea, cause she really liked my German Gnome and the LIVESTRONG Army Utah bag I made for her. Yep, that's the gnome in the picture...

I also got to meet Scott (fellow mentor and LIVESTRONG Army leader), Brian Dowd (cancer advocate and fundraiser), Dee (a fellow LIVESTRONG Army leader), Christina (Greater Miss Las Vegas and fellow LIVESTRONG Army leader), Sarah (a LAF grassroots coordinator)- the list really goes on and on, so don't be mad if I didn't mention your name ;-)

Oh, and definitely one of the highlights of the weekend: meeting Doug, the LAF's president, fellow cancer survivor and soccer player! I know there were a lot of people who were a little star-crazed over getting to see Lance Armstrong, getting a picture or an autograph. Well, that's not really my thing, but meeting Doug was really special. Every time he went on stage and talked about fighting cancer you just felt that he's really passionate about it and in it to win... also, he wasn't afraid to wear a yellow tie (not like some other people I won't mention here).

I met Doug at the Columbus Zoo dinner and he was kind enough to talk to me for a few minutes- mostly about the new ideas to take the Livestrong idea and movement and apply those strategies and some programs internationally. Hopefully I can make a tiny impact in helping them build a stronger base in Europe by forming a LIVESTRONG Army Europe. Apparently, someone standing very close made a rather funny comment, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was ;-)

With all those amazing people I met, there are also a few people who were planning to attend and had to cancel at the last moment - all had some pretty good reason to cancel. But we missed you, anyway: Rachel, Michael, Patricia, Callie. You all ROCK!!!

More on the summit to come soon- so check back! And thanks for reading!


Obsessedwithlife said...

Thanks so much for the mention ;). It was a nice acknowledgment!! I was sad to miss it but I'm definitely feeling better since I stayed home. We'll meet one day-I know it!


Henrike said...

I know you did the right thing and I'm so glad you're feeling better! Plus, you're right- we will meet one day!

Kate said...

You are toooooo sweet! You forgot the CRAZY part of Kate...

And your perspective on the Summit is so well-expressed; even though I'm not a survivor myself I couldn't agree more with what you said about horizons and the rest.

What a privilege it all was!

Oh - I LOVE the picture with Doug and I'm so glad you got to speak with him. I have no doubt he his very grateful to you for all your efforts over the years. (And when you figure out what the joke was, let us in on it - it must have been great.)

Much love,
Kate of Le monde de fromage de Kate

P.S. I'm looking back in my family history for names for my gnome...