Friday, 10 May 2013

People's number 1 FeaR

The other night I did a presentation to my home community's Lions Club. The Lion's Club is a service club organization dedicated to helping their communities. They do really great things, like donating eye glasses, donating baby strollers to families in need, supporting all kinds of situations; including myself.

So, when I was asked to come talk about my experience, I didn't hesitate. They have been hugely supportive and I was thrilled to be able to thank them for that.

I had such a fun time; mom had secretly invited a bunch of friends which was awesome. I was able to have a great night and share my story with strangers, family and friends.

I remember a time in 1998. I was in university and had to do a presentation for a psychology class. I was so freaking nervous. Shaking like a teenager at her first prom, who's not sure her date is in to her.

My voice was cracking, I was sweating like bare feet in sneakers and my guts felt like there was a slinky torpedoing its way around in there.

What a long way I've come.

Did you know that (according to most studies) people's number one fear is PULIC SPEAKING.

Just do what I do. Picture everyone naked.

Okay...I don't actually do that.

I would, but I totally forget once I start talking.

I actually really enjoy doing these talks. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I love to talk. Been told I never shut up. Is that rude?

I've been asked to do two more. The best part is the awareness that spreads for both Cystic Fibrosis and organ donation. I can explain lots of stuff that they most likely wouldn't get the opportunity to hear.

I would like to take this moment to plead my face off for sponsors for the Great Strides walk for Cystic Fibrosis. We need to raise money for research, medications, support and the ultimate goal - a cure. I never want another child to have to even consider a lung transplant.

If you have any dollas you'd like to part with to save some lives, you can do so here.


  1. Born talkin' you were! I'm sure you had the group in stitches even if yours have all been removed long ago! Well done and keep spreadin' the word!

  2. Hey You!!!

    I'm so proud of you!!! Fer real!!!

    And I know everything you're talking about - all of my life, the LAST thing I would want to do is get up and speak to a group... Even a group of friends. But this is different - we've been given a gift - our life has been saved - and it seems to me that telling whomever we can, and in explaining the magnificence and specialness of this gift, we're vicariously thanking the person and family who gave it to us through our audience - and they can feel that!

    I'm still nervous - that will never go away for me - but before I knew Kari, and after, when I'm up there telling a group about what she gave me, the passion takes over...

    I did learn a "trick" that I find works well, whether you're addressing 2 people or 2,000 people. Instead of worrying about anyone naked, or worrying about what you're saying or how you're saying it - you just let yourself know that you are about to tell these people something they desperately want to know - you are about to let them in on a bit of knowledge that they have been waiting a long time to hear - that they need to know! And it's not a lie - it's not really a "trick" - when I'm talking to medical people, I'm taking the opportunity to tell them what they DO for people! When I'm speaking to OPO people - I'm showing them the results of the gifts they've aided in delivering to people like me! When I'm talking to groups like the Lions or just the general public - I'm showing them pure goodness in their fellow man - I'm showing them an amazing legacy... And for a group like the Lions - I'm passionately describing tissue donation and the gift of sight - about how, after 15 years of blindness, a person is able to gaze into the face of their spouse - or maybe see the face of a toddler grandchild for the first time ever!!!

    You work yourself up into a "HOLY MOLY, HAVE I GOT SOMETHING TO TELL YOU!!!" moment!!!

    One of the first times I got to speak was about a year after my transplant, at a donor remembrance candle lighting ceremony that I had missed the year before... I started that talk with a little bitterness about missing last year's ceremony - and explained that I'd written a little letter to the party that CAUSED me to miss this beautiful ceremony - and that letter started, "Dear Donor Family..." I think that little talk lit a passion in my soul for doing this - for keeping my donor alive in my heart, and for honoring her and her family... I think you'll do the same...

    There's a passion also for people like you, waiting, or who were waiting - when I take the podium, your face and personality, and dozens of faces I know, flash across my mind. We never know who we are going to influence, or how we are going to influence them - with every interaction in our lives...

    You take care, Jess... I'm proud of you. Love, Steve

    1. Thanks, you are so right. And I do love it; love sharing my story. We have important stuff to say and hopefully influence some people to consider organ donation.