Speaking, Out Loud.
I owe y'all a little something...
4 months ago, at FLBlogCon, I gave my very first talk that included Kellie's Story. It wasn't meant to. But, as I sat down to tell my St. Baldrick's Foundation story - and how I've personally raised over $50k through social storytelling - I kept finding myself coming to the realization that it NEEDED to include her.
It NEEDED to include the story of how I met a little boy named Enzo as he battled leukemia, and became friends with his family.
It NEEDED to include the 'hard stuff' - even knowing that, I kept second guessing it. I kept second guessing if this talk would hold a flame to the other talks being given throughout the day. Could I do this story - Kellie's, Enzo's, St. Baldrick's, and mine - justice?
The voices of self doubt were rampant. I had a long list of folks I wanted to make proud by getting up there, opening my mouth - and having these words come out. I continued to come back to the year's theme: Tell Your Story.
Well, this was certainly that.
Fundraising does't happen magically overnight. It doesn't happen just because you ask. It takes more than just one person, it requires a network - a community - a village.
I won't lie, that realization terrified me. I haven't really 'gotten up in front of an audience' to speak about most of this, even though I could speak to it all in my sleep because it the strongest part of my heartbeat. I love telling Kellie's story, but...hate it because I know someone's probably gonna cry. In fact, I knew most of these stories that were intertwined, had that emotional potential - for both myself, and the audience.
It's a necessary evil though. I need the world to see the ugly parts - so that you can see the magic of what life is like now. I need you to see the breaks, so that you can see the shimmery mosaic that my life is right now. This didn't happen overnight either.
“Even though it broke me, it built me.” 💜🍀 After I gave the talk, I told people I'd share the video once I hit $1,000 - and, of course we did that, but I still dragged my feet in sharing this (it's been secretly uploaded for 3 months) - because those fears are still lurking. As we enter the non-stop, beautiful chaos that is our St. Baldrick's fundraising season, however, I can no longer drag. These feet have got to MOVE. So, here for you now is (one of the) moments you have all been waiting for, the one I owe you -
My #FlBlogCon 2019 Session • Fundraising Through Social Storytelling :
At the end, people thanked me for sharing my story — and not just the part where I raised a lot of money for an incredible cause I’m passionate about — but Kellie’s story and Enzo's story and my own. They THANKED me. I wasn’t expecting that, but it was the unifying factor that we’re all human and we’ve all seen some shit.
As we left, I breathed in a way I’ve never breathed before. Still thriving in the buzz of getting words to fall outta my face in the way I wanted them to, I asked Sean how I did. “How do you think you did?” he posed back in a typical Sean way.
I looked up at him, and smiled — “Great. I think I did great.”
He smiled too, “Yeah, ya did.”
Cherry on top? Not only was Sean in the audience that day, but my sister and dad were also able to be there — and that is something the audience got to witness as well. I am forever grateful to the team at #FlBlogCon (Bess Auer most of all) for giving me this opportunity to not only tell my story - but to share how others can join us in changing the world and living out loud. This, getting up in front of people and telling them Kellie's story, has been a long term goal of mine. In 2020, I'd love to tell this story ten times over - because, yes, I believe we can change the world together - but I also know that there are silver linings to be found as you walk alongside grief. Want more? Check out my Facebook Live encore presentation on this same talk, hosted by FlBlogCon and Bess. Help us Fight Kid's Cancer — Donate Now.