So, it’s been a week now since HealtheVoices19 wrapped up in Dallas. What an amazing weekend of connections, education, empowerment and support it was. I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything that happened at the conference and find the words to capture the experience for a blog post. I hope to share that in the next couple of days. Today, though, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who made the experience possible.
This year’s theme, “A Little Heart Can Do Big Things”, was inspired by the wristbands that I shared at last year’s conference. The words are my personal mantra, stemming from my experience with congestive heart failure, and it has been exciting and humbling for me to see that simple message of hope and encouragement grow and blossom into the theme of the amazing conference that we experienced in Dallas. While the message may have come from my voice, it took the voices and efforts of many to bring it to life. I’m forever grateful for them.
First, I have to thank my friend and fellow diabetes advocate, Molly Schreiber, for her belief in that message and for suggesting the idea to the HealtheVoices team via Twitter last year. I wish I could have thanked her in person, but I know she heard that message from home. So, thank you, Molly!
Second, I have to thank Caroline Pavis and Rebecca Genin from Janssen for hearing that suggestion and taking action as they always do. I’ll admit that I was shocked and a bit dumbfounded when they approached me after open mic night last year and asked if they could announce that as the theme during closing remarks at the end of HealtheVoices18. What an honor. My sincere thanks to everyone from Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Evoke, the photography crew, and anyone else that my overwhelmed brain may be forgetting, for your hard work and dedication to making HealtheVoices19 a success.
Third, I have to give a big thanks to the incredible group of advocates with whom I had the privilege of serving alongside on the 2019 Advisory Panel. Rick, Hetlena, Shawn, Lisa, Jesus, AnnMarie, and Gabriel. Thank you all so much.
And finally, I have to thank all of you. The attendees of HealtheVoices19. Thank you for taking the time away from your families, jobs, and other responsibilities to spend a weekend sharing your stories and little hearts with the rest of us. It was great meeting so many first-time attendees and welcoming them into the family, and reconnecting with veteran attendees who have become good friends. And if we didn’t have a chance to connect, or you didn’t get a wristband, please reach out to me here or via social media. I welcome the opportunity to change that. Either way, I hope that all of your hearts were as full as mine as you returned home.
It’s important to remember that advocacy efforts do not have to be big. The smallest efforts can make the biggest difference in your life and the lives of others. Thank you all for making a difference in mine.
Always remember that with A little effort, a little determination, a little hope and inspiration, YOUR little hearts can do BIG things!
With Gratitude and Love.
Disclosure: Janssen Global Services covered my expenses to attend this conference, but all opinions and thoughts about the event are strictly my own.