Monday, November 9, 2009

A WISE Recount

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the Women in Service Excellence Conference for my other site What an amazing experience, and one that I was so glad to be a part of and receive an invitation to.

The entire conference was centered largely around serving. The mayor of Eagle Mountain spoke about the way that their town served.

She also spoke about service not just being for an individual, but for a collective whole as well. In their town they organize a parade for every military member that comes off their tour of duty and returns home. It doesn't matter if one or ten return home--they are each individually honored and recognized for their efforts. Each parade is complete with her riding the fire truck with sirens blaring in honor of these soldiers. This type of honor also hits home to her personally because her own husband serves in the military.

Her motto throughout her talk was, "See a Need, Fill a Need" and the fact that service doesn't have to be organized or centered around one thing. Their town is full of mountain bikers and the town collectively raised money to build a mountain bike trail park for families, children, and avid bikers to enjoy. This brought their town together and united them in a common cause.

In addition to listening to the mayor, we also got to participate in making a tree for the Festival of Trees, tie quilts (I opted out of this one, I was dangerous enough trying to cut wire for ornaments) and assemble humanitarian kits.

The conference largely focused on raising money for EagleEyes. This organization assists disabled children who cannot speak or talk be able to find a voice through the computer. We heard stories of parents whose children couldn't be diagnosed but stopped talking, and whose bodies became severely contracted. Doctors told them their children were vegetables and wouldn't talk, move and didn't know how much these children even understood. My heart broke as many of them with huge sobs shared their experiences and their heartaches.

Sitting there listening to them made me think that many of the problems I face were incomparable to what these parents face on a daily basis. Each day, one mother juggles putting her severaly contracted 65 pound child into and out of a wheelchair several times a day on her own, balances oxygen and breathing treatments coupled with feeding tube treatments, and also coordinates a 'soccer mom' schedule of physical, occupational, speech and other necessary therapies in addition to taking care of two other children at home.

Another mom described how her son's brain had essentially stopped growing after six months of age. He is now 4, and the Mom said that when they were able to become eligible for the EagleEyes project, she sat there crying as she watched her son who doctors thought was on a six month old level point to various shapes, colors and numbers on the computer screen.

Another parent described how excited their daughter was to come home from school each day and actually talk to her sister. For years, they could only talk at their daughter, never knowing what she understood. And they found she actually understood a whole lot more than previously thought. And they now enjoy conversations with her and she enjoys the fact that she's able to converse with her family--something she was never able to do before.

I remember a saying that "only through service will we find ourselves." I love being able to serve. I love being able to make a difference in some way. I try to teach that to my children. I spent 10 years in the medical field serving others and I've continued to do that since I have left the hospital. This month is dedicated to diabetes as it's diabetes awareness month. I was honored to be chosen to come to this conference, and to be able to represent such a great cause. November 9th (yes, that is today, I had to look too) is diabetes awareness day or "DBlogDay."  You can find links and people living with diabetes at #dblogday on Twitter. Post about your knowledge of diabetes. If you've been affected. What activities you have planned this month for diabetes awareness month. We need to hear you today. It's a great way to serve our organization and what we do. Than post a link to your blog on Facebook, or at #dblogday on Twitter. Thanks!

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