I had the supreme pleasure to meet this lady at the MS Volunteer Appreciation meeting this past weekend.
After seeing a flier for the meeting, I was intrigued when I read that she was going to be the key note speaker. A marathon runner who has been living with Chronic Progressive Multiple Sclerosis since she was diagnosed in 1988, Patricia seemed like a very up-beat, energetic lady with a smile that seemed to overtake her whole body, despite her condition. The flier said “…she turned the camera on herself in hopes that by showing the details of her day-to-day life, viewers might recognize our common humanity whatever our abilities”. Because I’m studying to become a better speaker and as a perpetual student of human nature, I wanted to see her and listen to her story.
So, my lady-friend Jill Stodola joined me and we drove down to the Ukranian Cultural Center in Warren, Michigan. We were signing in to the event when the lady at the reception desk asked why we had come. I told her I wanted to meet the key-note speaker and she smiled and said “Well, good timing! She’s right behind you!” I turned around and there she was with that glowing smile! We all laughed and I shook her hand and introduced myself. I told her I had already looked through her website and read through her blog. She smiled and thanked me for my interest in what she does.
Patricia has such a sincere presence, it’s hard to describe her in words….but here’s a couple…creative, joyful, generous and courageous.
When I went to go purchase her book, I ended up volunteering to help Patricia with her Square, the device that allows her to accept credit card payments. I was more than happy to help check out her customers, and Patricia generously offered me a book for my services. I gave it to my friend Jill, so it worked out well for everyone.
During the meeting, Jill and I sat with some lovely ladies who volunteer at the Walk MS event for the Comerica team. Rita, her sister Bev(?) and her friend Patti are dedicated volunteers who won multiple awards for their service at the event. We also sat next to another couple, but for the life of me I can’t remember their names. They’re a lovely young couple, the wife has relapsing remitting MS and an infectious laugh. Everyone we met at the meeting was friendly and after listening to the numbers of hours and moneys brought in to the organization, I can tell they’re all generous and dedicated too.
Patricia’s speech went very well. After we watched a short video (a different one I’ve posted here) she talked about the different photos in her book, specifically her favorite one, looking at her legs on her scooter with the legs of a runner in the background, her least favorite one where’s she’s pulling herself onto bed and the unexpected one where she accidentally caught a picture of herself falling down. Patricia spoke clearly and effortlessly. Her powerful story touched us all. She’s an inspiring speaker. I was very impressed!
I’m so glad Jill and I went to this event to meet Patricia. We really hit it off and by the end of the event, we decided that we should get together for a chat one day soon. She’s an inspiring lady and I hope you’ll check out her website, look through her photos and consider purchasing her book.
What do you think, my friendly blog reader?
Have you ever taken a chance and reached out to someone you think is inspiring?
How did it go?
I’d love to read about it in the comments below!
p.s. Did you see this piece of Burlap art I posted last week? I’ve been interested to hear some of the different comments from people about what they see in it. This week I’ll be making a video talking about the story behind it so I can share it with you. So….what do you see? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments! xoxo