My speech from Thursday November 28, 2013 at the “Saskatchewan’s Got Talent”.
I would like to start as a woman I admire ends. “Be kind to one another!” Ellen DeGeneres makes a habit to help people that need it. It always warms my heart.
Last night I was lucky enough to be at a football banquet for my son’s team. He is 17 and this year they won the 9man 3A provincial championship. At the supper last night, they collected food for the food bank. As I sat and looked at the team, many were on the honor roll, many play different sports, and they are all just good kids.
I got an email from a lady that was a board member. It was regarding an unexpected donation. An eight year old girl named Ashlynn had decided for her birthday all she wanted from her friends was two toonies. One she kept and the other she collected and gave to us after overhearing from her mom talk about what we do. She must have a lot of friends because she donated $118 in a Ziploc bag!
So here is my point. There are amazing kids in this world because we made them that way in the same way that our parents taught us to be kind to one another. I really do believe that if we got out of bed every day and decided to be kind to one another, the world would be a better place.
This year has been amazing for me. It has also been a tough year for my family and I. I was able to complete my CAIB designation which was great. (For all you non insurance people this is a big deal!) I was also honored to be nominated and then win a Woman of Distinction award for my work with Forever Friends. Some pretty amazing stuff! And then everything changed.
Two days before our spring auction, two days before I wrote my final CAIB exam, I had a pain in my right hip.
That pain progressed to more joints and more pain. Balance problems, hospital stays and unknown trips to the doctors followed. They actually still don’t know what I have. So I am rocking my new accessory, my cane, and having a lot of naps.
So in one day my world changed. By the end of August I could no longer work. I have to take a scooter when I shop because I can no longer walk through the stores. I was unable to attend my son’s football games. I missed my first Forever Friends meeting in eleven years.
Everything changed in one day. I have said over and over that we are all one diagnosis, one decision away from being in a place in your life from requiring help.
My husband put my socks on for the month of September because I was so sick that I couldn’t do it myself. I went from working all the time, boot camp a couple of nights a week, being the first one in and the last one out in everything I did, to my husband putting my socks and shoes on for me. It still seems surreal to say it.
My message is simple. Do not take your health for granted. While you are healthy get disability insurance, make a will, have accessible savings. Know what your insurance covers. Does your mortgage insurance have a half pay meaning that only half of your mortgage is covered? What are you waiting periods? Ask questions. Talk to an advisor. Make sure you are set up. Your family counts on you. Small business, look into benefits for your employees. Providing for our families-no matter what is the goal.
Forever Friends helps women financially after a cancer diagnoses. We step in and fill in the blanks for women who have exhausted their 15 weeks of disability and are left to social services. Because if you are not terminal, there is no long term disability in this country. Our government prefers to pay 25 year old people not to work and not to help people that can’t. But I digress, that is for a different speech. This year alone we have stopped 2 evictions and paid for dental visits. Imagine needing 150 dollars to pull a tooth that is causing great pain and having no way to get this money. We have paid for lymphedema support, ostomy supplies, and food.
The one that really hits home now is a family with 2 kids, a mother that is terminal, and a father that worked a job for years at $14 dollars an hour and just got laid off. With not even enough food in the house, there would definitely be no Christmas. We gave them money for food, and sponsored them for a Salvation Army Adopt a Family. Santa will still come to their house this year.
Anyone who has ever heard me speak knows how I feel about this. I have been saying it for years. But even I have learned this year that it could happen to me.
I am not telling you all of this for sympathy. As I walk off the stage tonight, picture yourself in my shoes. Imagine your own life. And remember, there but by the grace of God, go I.
Thank you all!