August 21, 2014 thanks to my friend Sabrina I took part in the Big Bike Ride for The Heart and Stroke Foundation. This lead to an opportunity that I am so happy I was given.
At the event I spoke to one of the coordinators and was able to share my story and was asked if I would speak the following week as the fundraiser was continuing for the Calgary Corporate Challenge.
Now excuse me if I begin to sound like an excited little school girl but this was amazing for me in so many way ! *Giggle* ok, no giggle but still amazing.
Before I ramble on I’ll explain that I spoke to participants in 2-3 minute spurts after each big bike ride. Participants were doing this fundraiser as part of the corporate challenge for their companies. I spoke in front of many company teams in the two days. I also got to know some of those working for the heart and stroke foundation. They have a fun crew I must say !
OK, ramble time.
Look, I have been trying to figure out how to write about this because it seemed like it all went by in a blur for me but there were things that made it worth it. I had to process it I guess.
The best part about the sharing my story wasn’t even sharing my story. It was what happened each time after I shared.
People came to me individually after each presentation. I heard their stories about themselves, their family, and their friends.
One story was a man who shared about seeing his father die in front of him from a Heart Attack at age 49. This man was currently 35 and he wondered about what could happen to himself. He spoke of how hard it was to see his Dad die and how Heart Disease had an impact on his family. Spoke of how scar and shocking it was. His father was an instructor at a college here in this city and it happened at his school. They called an ambulance and he was shocked numerous times but sadly he never made it. We also spoke about my recovery, my current lifestyle and yes a little about my own heart attack. He said it was nice to see someone his age share their experience and be able to relate. We spoke easily for 20 minutes. I don’t know what he took from our talk but for me it made an impact and I thought a lot about how we all have a story and sometimes it takes hearing someone else’s to share ours.
There was a woman who approached me for more detail about my heart attack ( I did only have 2-3 minutes.) After telling her a little more she then asked how people around me reacted or treated me after my heart attack. It was a subject that truthfully I really tried to put in the back of my head because there are so many good and not so good ways people treated me after. I don’t talk much about the not so good because I know most people were well meaning and I did not always share what I needed form them. The honesty of the subject felt great to talk about. But that is for another post.
Back to her. She wanted to know how to react or be around her sister. Her natural instinct was to be protective and worried, putting her sister in a bubble, her sister was not receptive. This, I could relate to 100 %. I listened and then we spoke about just allowing a person to be who they are even if they themselves don’t always know “ who they are”. Sometimes those who are recovering just want to be accepted and treated like they aren’t damaged is what I told her. I did re iterate that many also want to be coddled and felt sorry for. Her sister was not to be felt sorry for based on what she told me. This conversation had more detail than a blog post will allow but listening to her ask how to be there showed me that although concerned, that she really wanted to find the best way to support her sister.
Other people came up and said thank you and that my story was inspiring to them. Some just simply wanted to know how I am doing a year later and some asked me what scared me now. Although I got an opportunity to speak, those stories showed me that what I was doing was right.
My story may not be glamorous and unimportant to some but for a few, it does mean something. That makes this worth it.