Sunday, January 31, 2016

Spreading the word

I did something I've never done before.
I went into a sorority house.

No, I didn't rush lol! I'm a bit too old for that, but I did get the chance to teach them something.

Let me rewind a bit, over the summer at the conference there were these girls there helping out with the kid sessions. They would play with the younger ones and entertain them while their parents attended the adult sessions. They also handed out Pandas, the stuffed kind lol! I wanted a Panda, but I was not allowed one. They were for the children.

So I then made it my mission to get a Panda!
No! Not really! But I did want to know who these girls were.
We found out that they were from the UCF Alpha Omicron Pi chapter and that the Arthritis Foundation was the foundation they raised money for. Also, pandas were their animal lol!

I was shocked! I had no idea that greek life would think about my foundation, let alone want to help it.

I then took it upon myself to reach out to the chapter here in Tallahassee. I really wanted that panda.
I was able to get in contact with their philanthropy chair and found out they had an annual bowling, which is now a softball event and they were interested in me coming out to speak to them!

I was amazed! Me, going into a huge sorority house to tell them about me, my involvement, and how they can raise awareness. Oh my gosh.

So I put that in the back of my mind until the week before it was time for me to speak.
I talked to my brother and my friends who had been involved in greek life so they could prepare me.
But nothing that they said actually prepared me for the experience I had.

I arrive at their house and kind of stood outside awkwardly until my contact let me in. The house was beautiful and the girls were very nice.
But I was scared to death.
I didn't know what to expect
Everything I had planned in my mind to say just went out the window.
All I knew was that I just wanted a panda.

There were so many girls.
Every where I turned they were watching me.
I felt like a really awkward fish out of water.
They made me feel welcome by all clapping for me and saying hello!
I really wanted to wave, like a princess as I was walking down the aisle towards the front of the room, but then I thought that would make me look even more awkward than I already looked lol!

So then I thought, ohhh I can runway walk down to the front like Taylor, Demi, and Beyonce!

But it turned out more like this...

So after I made my entrance, I turned around to face everyone and began to speak.

I've lectured before, I've been in front of crowds before, but I've never talked to over 150 girls at one time.

I told them about promoting their arthritis events through social media using hastags related to the foundation, I told them about the cost of meds, threw in some stories, and even gave them a 10 second medical lesson on what JRA really is.

I think it went well, well I hope it did lol! I made them laugh a few times and I feel like I got my point across...even though I totally forgot everything I wanted to say. But some even asked questions! Hopefully I made their chapter night a little more interesting...or less boring....I'll take either!

I'm telling you about my latest adventure in hopes that you'll see if I can go 150 miles outside of my comfort zone to do something that I really care about, you can do the same. I never in a million years thought I would do something like that. But I did! And I did it because I want to spread the word to others and let these girls know that what they are doing is making a difference.

So I challenge you to go out of your comfort zone for something that means the world to you.
Who knows, it may change the way you see things, for the better!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

One sentence

Over the summer at the Arthritis conference I sat through an advocacy session. In that session they told us about ways in which we can bring attention to arthritis by using social media in order to get our state politician's attention.

They told us that we could only have one sentence.
140 characters.

Why 140 characters you ask?
Well, because twitter and other social media sites only allow 140 characters and when you're chasing down the politicians, you have to have a hook in order to get them.

A one sentence hook.

In my field we are supposed to practice our elevator speeches for conferences. For that, we at least get one minute.

You know how many words I can say in one minute?
Way more than 140 characters.

So you see my dilemma when thinking about my one sentence.

I have so much to say about my arthritis. I have a story that is worth more than one sentence.
Heck! I have a blog dedicated to it!

How can I put all of that, all of my pain, my experiences, my life....into one sentence.

It deserves more than that.

And I see their point. I know that once you hook the reader, then you can dive straight into the abyss. But how do you put everything into 140 characters?
It seems so insignificant to me.
I'm not insignificant.
My story isn't insignificant, at least to me.

One girl said that her one sentence was "I take over 22 pills a day just to be able to move"
One boy said "I pay over 1200 dollars a month for one shot and that's not the amount insurance covers"

Think about how insanely courageous their stories are just from those 140 characters.

So I started thinking about what my one sentence could be.

"The kids I've worked with at camps have experienced more pain in their 8 years than you will experience in your entire lifetime"

"I wake up not knowing if i'm going to be able to walk on a day to day basis, how do you spend your mornings?"

"I'm allergic to nearly every single biologic out there on the market that is used to treat my disease"

"I know that I need a great job with insurance benefits because insurance companies won't take me alone due to my pre-existing condition"

"I chose to go into a career that will help those like me due to the limited resources provided for those who have disabilities"

It's a work in progress, really. It's not something I'm good at, but if advocating like this for arthritis will bring attention, funding, and awareness to it....then I'm going to try my hardest.

Everyone lives with the idea of leaving something behind. Leaving a mark on this world in one way or another. What's your hook?

I challenge you to think of 140 characters that will bring awareness to something, anything of your choosing.

So what's your one sentence?

Just make it a good one.

i have only just a minute poem by benjamin e mays | ve only just a minute,: