I have been asked to post the speech I read at our tailgate tasting fundraiser event on January 23, 2015. My greatest hope is that it encourages you to review your own life and use your own heartache to reach out to someone else.
“So…Heartworks has completely changed my life in more ways than I have time to talk about tonight, but there are days I just don’t feel like going to the Heartworks House. Sometimes the diagnoses, the suffering, the heaviness of illness and grief of the families we reach out to just feels “too much” and all I want to do is shove cinnamon roles in my face, find something to gossip about and go to the mall. But then I remember …
I remember washing the dishes in my sister’s sink the week after September 11th and looking out the back window to see Bushy mowing the lawn.
I remember the cups of coffee Mike Herrington dropped off on the front step every morning.
I remember the police car that Captain Kumpf had circle her street every night so that she would feel safe.
I remember Bruce taking my nephew surfing.
I remember the neighbor wheeling a red wooden wagon up the driveway filled with paper products because she knew a lot of people were staying at the house and thought we could use them.
I remember the envelope filled with $73 in cash that a class in California raised and sent to my sister.
And so I put on my yoga pants and fleece and I get my butt to the Heartworks House.
And when I pull into the parking lot, a Heartworker is outside writing an inspiring message on the white board for the passing cars to see. Another Heartworker is putting together dinner or groceries to bring to a family too sick to cook and shop. Another Heartworker is sitting in the meditation room and Holly is there doing everything else that needs to be done to keep us up and running. And I take a deep breath and realize how fortunate I am to be in a position to offer to others what was given to my family 14 years ago.
At the crux of what we do is this idea that we all struggle with something in this life and the question is, “What can happen when we take our own inevitable struggles and use them, use these very experiences to offer another person hope?” What comes from the choice to stay conscious with our own losses and help someone else through our pain is a deep healing that chocolate, booze, gossip, busy-ness, work or a new car can’t offer.
How different things would be if every person in this room took our own pain and used it to sit with someone else who is on a similar path. This is what we do at Heartworks and it has transformed too many lives in too many ways to count.
There are all different reasons women show up at our meetings each month.
Some women come because they have been changed by something that has happened to them and want more in depth experiences.
Some women come to Heartworks to help them get out of the static that can come from living in a small, comfortable East coast town.
Some women come because they are walking through grief or illness and feel less alone when they are helping others.
Some women come for the wine, chocolate and cheese and crackers (and you know who you are!).
But mostly we are all there because we realize that gestures of kindness help us all in deep, indescribable ways and that on any given day it can be our own family that needs to receive. Our own news of life changing events is one phone call away.
Thank you all for coming! Thank you to the football players that certainly get asked to do more high profile events than this but they said yes to Heartworks which is awesome!
Thank you to all the chefs and restaurants and wine distributors that are participating. We couldn’t do it without you!
Thank you to the co-chairs and the committee of Heartworkers that put this all together.
Thank you to the advisory board and board of directors who take all my craziness and passion and help turn it into beautiful things every day.
Thank you to Gagnon Securities and The Gagnon Family Foundation and Kline Metal Recycling for believing in our work and making tonight possible!