Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Presenting at the MADD National Victim's Weekend

I am still catching up on unpacking and laundry, but want to say a word or two about my weekend.

This is the second time I have attended the annual MADD National Victim's Weekend  & Memorial service.  last year I attended, with the kindness of my Halifax Chapter and our local supporters, as a victim of a crash caused by an impaired driver.  For the first time since I was hit, I finally met other people who understood what it was like to survive a crash and live with the issues it caused.  At that point I was nearing the 20th anniversary of the night I was hit.  In the 2 decades that had passed I had gone from no help for my injuries or emotional needs to having a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to coming out the other side and becoming a fitness instructor.

For the first time in my life a total stranger, having heard me tell what had happened to me in an earlier session, walked up to me and said "You inspire me".

Talk about having goose-bumps!

So this year it was my turn to give back to MADD for what they've given me in the past year, and to tell others how I managed to get where I am.  I'll save you the power-point, but as you can guess by now, fitness and alternative health & wellness has had a lot to do with it.  I was a bit of a nervous wreck in the days leading up to it - this was more "speechy" than my normal teaching style - but I was fine once I got started.

I presented my story, demonstrated some quick exercise tips and then gave real, live feedback on questions from the participants on Saturday morning.  Almost all of the people who attended mentioned they too had fibromyalgia.  When I was diagnosed with it in 1997 (7 years after I was hit) this disease was unheard of.  Now it's becoming more common all the time.

I had a small turn-out, only 8 people.  But as Margaret, our national past-president,  pointed out to me, 8 is actually a really good number because there's not that many people present who are living victims.  That's both a comforting and a sad statement.  It made me feel better about the small turn-out, but she was right... not that many people survive their injuries to tell the tale.  I'm just glad at this point to be able to help with the knowledge I have from my own experience and my fitness career.

I haven't gotten the official feedback yet, but I'm thinking it was pretty good.  I had lots of awesome questions from the participants, and the chatting went on right into our supper break, so that's a good sign! 

All-in-all a great weekend with some truly amazing people.  It has been my honour to speak to and with them. 

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