Once the letter was received I got an email from their Community Program Manager Jordan Parks telling me how excited they were to receive my letter and that although they get feedback from people through surveys they are all anonymous so they never get to talk to them. They even sent me a package full of amazing LIVESTRONG stuff...
So on August 28th, 2012 I flew from Boston to Montreal. It really was a few first for me, my first time in Montreal, my first time taking a cab from the airport (I know shocking), my first time some where that English isn't the primary language and my first time speaking in front of that many people. After riding in the cab for what seemed like eternity we arrived in front of a beautiful hotel.
I went back to my room and vegged out a little before getting ready and heading over there. I also got to meet Ivy who co-wrote the Cancer Transtions program so that was fun too. Once there we got our tickets and got to just mingle around.
I felt a little out of place cause I didn't really know anyone but at least the food was good and everyone that I did meet happened to be really nice! Then I got to go into the "green room" where I met Doug Ulman so we could talk about what he was going to say when he introduced me so he wouldn't give away too much. Then I met some of the panelists that were going to be on stage. Sarah Cook was one of them who was a pediatric cancer survivor but now she is also big advocate for other pediatric cancer patients and survivors. I also met Gwen Andrews Nacos who is the director and founder of Cedars Cansupport. Both of these ladies were amazing and made me feel right at home! I got to have my picture taken too...
|L to R: Jordan, Ivy, Sarah and I (photo provided by asbed.com)|
It was great to meet so many people affected by cancer and doing such amazing things with it. I of course also got to meet Lance Armstrong which I have to admit I was thrilled about. I think what he has done (with lots of help from LAF and LIVESTRONG supporters) for cancer survivors is absolutely amazing!
|(photo provided by asbed.com)|
and started to talk about me at which point I am almost certain I must have turned scarlet red. As I got up to go on stage you have to know the only thought going through my head was, 'Don't trip.' Luckily I did not trip. As I took the podium I was all of a sudden really calm and so I began to speak.
|(photo provided by asbed.com)|
After it was the complete opposite than what it was earlier in the night. Everyone knew who I was! I was trying to make my way back to the green room because that's where I thought I was supposed to be. But I kept getting stopped by people. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. The people stopping me were telling me their story and sharing how hearing about me had inspired them and how much they were looking forward to Cancer Transitions. I love that I was able to help some many that in itself was so rewarding! I did finally make it back to the green room where I got to meet Sarah's family who were great as well as a number of other people. Jordan did finally find me and asked if I would join all the LIVESTRONG people back at the hotel. I of course said yes.
After changing I headed down to their hospitality room and was greeted warmly by everyone there. It was fantastic to be able to sit with so many people. I got to talk to all the people who worked at LIVESTRONG and hear more about what they do and things they are working on. One of the girls Rebekkah had just gone back Austin for a day and then she flew to Montreal for the week and was then flying to Peru (I think I might have gotten that wrong) all to help spread LIVESTRONG all over the world.
It's funny because I know for myself when I think about everyone that works for The Lance Armstrong Foundation you hold them in a higher regard almost celebrity status. It was great to be able to spend this more personal time with them including Lance. It makes you remember that they are all just people too. Doug told me a great story about his daughter learning to swim and hearing about others stories was just so much fun. I ended up going to bed around 2:30 am that night and it was well worth it!
The next day I got some time to explore Montreal. I was able to find what I considered to be "Downtown" Montreal which really just meant I found all the shopping,
|four story mall with 4 separate equally large wings|
|A beautiful Cathedral Church|
|A fantastic stone sculpture in the park.|
I also can't thank everyone enough at The Lance Armstrong Foundation for everything that they do, for having such fantastic programs through LIVESTRONG and of course for not only giving me this opportunity but also making me feel right at home the whole time!