They say the vast majority of people are so afraid of public speaking that they would rather die than give a speech. I’m certainly not in that category! Yesterday I spoke about clinical trials at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation’s fundraising breakfast, and had a great time doing it!
I was privileged to be able to share my story and to thank some of the people who help make a difference for cancer patients, their families, friends and broader communities through clinical trial funding.
This was an extremely well-organized event, with loads of people working hard both upfront and behind the scenes.
I don’t know the exact numbers, but there were about 50 tables of 8, each with a table host and an “expert” (e.g. oncologist, cancer coach, etc.). Our table expert was a cancer fitness instructor, and I would have loved to have had more time to pick his brain! 🙂
I am very grateful for the many people who invested so much time and energy into making this event a success. There is a great commitment to excellent cancer care in the Ottawa region!
Even with a crowd of 400 or so, I didn’t really feel nervous. I felt moments of nervousness, but I prayed and breathed and felt peaceful and calm. I felt like I was meant to be there and really excited for the opportunity! I give thanks to the Lord for this good gift of confidence and peace!
Just as the breakfast was about to start, one of the Cancer Foundation people asked me if I’d do an interview for a local radio station right then, so I ducked out and missed the opening few minutes of the breakfast. Again, I felt completely calm and glad to do it! I haven’t heard the story yet – don’t even know if it has aired.
The breakfast was so well organized that I knew well in advance exactly when it would be my turn to speak. They confirmed it with me again before the breakfast yesterday morning, but there was also someone who came to my table at the right time, to get me and practically escort me right onto the stage! No backing out! haha 🙂 Seriously, I felt very well-cared for by the team in the lead-up to the event, during it, and afterwards. Very encouraging!
The mayor served as MC, and did a great job! He helped me to relax in the moments before I spoke, while they showed a video much like the one which had been on the news last month. He quietly asked about my kids, where I live, people we know in common, etc. For a very brief moment I considered mentioning to him that the sidewalks on our street are in terrible shape and could really use his attention (I’ve been emailing our Councillor about that lately!), but instead I chose to focus on why we were there! 😉
My speech was only 5 minutes long. So much more I wish I could have said, but these are busy people who need to get to work. I honoured the 4 – 6 minute range they gave me.
I spoke about the strong community of support we have, and the generosity lavishly poured out on our family. I specifically mentioned the prayers, encouragement and the food!
I mentioned that the Lord has made a huge difference for me. Afterwards a woman I didn’t know approached and kept thanking me for speaking and saying, “Praise God!” I’m assuming she was a Christian: it was encouraging to hear from her and shake her hand!
It was good to connect with people who introduced themselves to me afterwards. It’s a small world, and I spoke with a few folks I knew or who knew who I was. I am so thankful for the two friends who came with me, and the team of dear people who weren’t there, but encouraged me and prayed for me. I carried this support with me, and felt carried by it.
Here’s an excerpt from my speech, the end bit:
Every day is a gift! I don’t know how many more I’ll have, but I want to make the most of each one.
I’m thankful that research continues to develop new and better treatments that I hope will help extend my life for many years. I want to celebrate many more birthdays with family and friends, and I’d love to see my kids grow up and even my grandchildren. Clinical trials are helping me to have hope!
Your generosity in supporting clinical trials is making a significant difference for cancer patients, their family, friends and communities. Thank you for standing with us, as members of our support team.
I dream that one day soon the treatment for cancer will be 3 months of a daily pill, and then you’re done. That’s a dream worth working towards, and we get to play a part in that! Thank you for the part that you are playing.
(Where do you think I teared up? If you guessed when I mentioned my kids, you’d be right!)
The feedback I heard the most afterwards was that people were inspired, and that I spoke clearly and powerfully …
… but what really excites me is that the Foundation raised over $215,000 at the breakfast yesterday morning! What generosity! I hope it makes an even bigger difference!
I’m thankful that I could play my small part!
I count you all of you, dear readers, as members of our support team, and I thank you!
The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation helps fund local clinical trials and offers cancer coaching to anyone who has been affected by cancer, including family members and friends. http://www.ottawacancer.ca
If you’d like to donate to the Cancer Foundation, consider supporting my husband Jono’s fundraising efforts as he runs the marathon next week-end in support of the Foundation. http://ottawacancer.kintera.org/ottawaraceweekend/jono (No pressure!)
Now I’m off to run some errands and enjoy this beautiful Spring day!