Saturday, March 3, 2012

Embarrassing my kid in 3...2...1...Go!

I want to say thank you so much for all the supportive and encouraging words I have received on my blog, Facebook, email, Skype and gmail chats. Here is an account of my first public speaking engagement. 

The Professionals (real estate agents) organised a charity golf day for the Child Cancer Foundation.  Then afterwards there was an auction and a dinner with all proceeds to the Child Cancer Foundation.  Bianca and I were part of the evening festivities. 

I had my speech all planned and had bullet points of the points I wanted to cover, I practised it and was confident I would do great!  And so we got there and we met some really really nice people who are so devoted to supporting the Child Cancer Foundation.  They asked us if we would stay for dinner (or tea as they say here) afterwards and showed us to our seats. 

Here Bianca and I are with John and Leanne as well as Malcolm from The Professionals.

From left to right - Lea, Bianca, John, Leanne, Malcolm (The Professionals)

These people were very interested in some of Bianca's beads
The CCF branch chair lady - Leanne got up first to say a few words.  She is a volunteer working for CCF.  She became involved because her and her husband John (who was also there last night) also had a son with leukemia who sadly passed away 18 years ago at the age of 4.

So strong and so composed
Then it was our turn.  Sorry Lien, I didn't manage to get video or photos of me doing my speech.

Bianca was sitting on a chair next to me.  I started all confident and did my intro and then... I just became incredibly overwhelmed and emotional and had to stop and catch my breath and compose myself before I could carry on.  I didn't refer to any of my bullet points in the end.  I know I referred to Bianca's beads.  I know I referred to some of the challenges she faced during her treatment and I know I spoke of the wonderful support we've always had from the very start with CCF.  I cannot believe I became all emotional for the full duration of my talk.  Really?  Speaking to 1 person I have absolutely no problem.  I can tell you anything you want to  know and more without even blinking, but suddenly in front of the crowd - oh wow! 

If there is one positive from this, I guess is that in Dale Carnegie they say you have to start with impact.  And I think I did.  As soon as I did my intro and I stood there catching my breath I had most of the 80 - 100 people in tears.  I'm happy for them to be in tears, but didn't want me to be emotional as well.  Sigh!  Sometimes I wish I was stronger.  I thought I was.  I'll definitely have to re-work my talk next time.  Maybe find a different way to open.

When I got back to my seat I had a few people coming up saying that they wanted to thank me for getting up there and sharing our journey and that they were touched. One guy said he wanted to come and help me as I stood up there, but he was crying too much.

I can tell you it wasn't how I practised it.

And as soon as I was done I had no problem telling people anything they wanted to know and more, so I have no idea what was up with me last night!

Then it was time for the auction.  For part of the auction Bianca helped out holding the item up so people could see it to bid on it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see one of Caitlyn's artworks that we had done a while ago for CCF which the Professionals requested to use as part of their initiatives to help raise money for CCF.  Caitlyn's painting raised about $150.  How neat is that!

Caitlyn's first artwork up for display and auction :-)
Bianca was a great assistant

Dinner (or tea) was lovely and it was so nice being included.  When we were sitting there a lady came up to me with tears rolling down her cheeks and she told me that me getting up there and seeing Bianca has touched her like nothing ever did.  She then gave me the bracelet (click here to read about it) she paid around $150 for in the auction. 

Despite absolutely embarrassing myself and Bianca, I'm really glad we were able to be there last night to help make a difference.  It is so heart-warming seeing these people so committed at making a difference and supporting a charity that doesn't get any government funding at all.  Last night people dug really deep and it was amazing to see!  Thank you!

PS - Thanks Paul for the chat last night about the evening and all your reassuring words! 


RosemaryO said...

I knew it would be emotional, it had to be. I am so sure you did a wonderful job sharing your memories and trials. My daughter did a very similar speech to a group of people with her son and she lost it too. She found it very hard to compose her self, but got through it and and got the (she is a teacher of high school kids and is always speaking in front of groups of people) important msgs out. It comes out of the blue and is so heartfelt. And you had people crying in the audience!! so I'm sure you did a wonderful, wonderful job They all must have been very impressed with you. I am impressed with you, such a personal story to tell to strangers.

Sue W @ Living the Good Life said...

I doubt very much that you embarrassed yourself or anyone else for that matter. It's easier to write things down and convey how you feel and to share theses things on the internet where things are less personal! Standing in front of a crowd of people who are all there for a common purpose, whether they have lived through the same as you are are living it makes it all more real. For you it was more likely a release sharing your personal experience with people who know exactly what you all went through, because unless someone had actually survived it all then they can never really understand your pain. So that's why you cried and why they cried, you were all one, united in that moment. You can take strength from that. Well done ♥ to you all!

Sarah said...

There's a lot of people very proud of you right now Lea...when you're trying to get your message across to a wider audience you usually have to express it deeper in order to reach them all. Often the depth of emotion is needed so eople to truly appreciate what you go through....or perhaps it gave you a forum for talking about it a little more strongly than you do people whom you are incredibly grateful for, for helping your family so much.

And I love that Caitlyn's artwork was included in the auction! and raised a great amount :) I bet you're very proud of her too :)

Did Bianca enjoy the evening? ...even if you feel you embarrassed her :) I bet you she's proud of you too....and even if she doesn't voice it now, will do, many years down the line :)

Here's to the next one :)

LatteJunkie said...

I think you are brave to do the talks and the emotion you expressed will have made that talk even more memorable and "real" to the audience.

I can think of way worse ways to embarrass your girls :)


Marcia (123 blog) said...

I am soooooo very proud of you! You did an awesome job.

Even seasoned speakers rarely get the whole audience to cry :)

LOVE that Caitlyn's art got auctioned too and that Bianca was involved.

You really did a great job - what's next on the motivational speaking circuit?

Maria said...

Sounds like your speech was very powerful in its impact Lea. It was from the heart and not 'contrived' in any way and that's what would have made an impact with your audience. well done darlin'

Julia said...

Lea, what you did took guts. And you did it. So, so proud of you.

amanda said...

So proud of you Lea. It could not have been easy expressing so many emotional thoughts, feelings and experiences with a whole audience. It seems as though you conveyed your message very clearly and that was very important. Well done!! I am sure Terence and the girls are very proud of you. On a lighter note....I seem to be the proud owner of a number of original artworks worth quite a penny.

Paul said...

I agree with everyone's comments. It was a brave thing you did. You touched people in an intimate way and helped raise money for CCF. This experience will help you for the next one. I was glad to be able to chat to you about your talk!

Lien - all new adventures said...

Hey, when you make people cry then you've done a good job!

Please publish your prepared notes here so at least I get to see your speech (since someone didn't get a recording or pictures!).

Good on you, Lea. You've been brave throughout the journey, and you continue to be brave still.


BridgetPirie said...

Wow, I really, really wish I had been there to see it. And I so wish there was a video.
You are so cool Lea. And so incredibly brave.
So, how did Bianca take it? Was she really embarrased or was she sort of proud too?
Anyway, hugs to you all. I miss you guys...

BridgetPirie said...

p.s. that is so lovely that that woman gave you that beautiful bracelet!