Joshua and I rented a car and grabbed PHA Staffer Debbie and her sister, fellow patient, Alex. After a great dinner (and fro-yo!) in Silver Spring we were off to NYC... starting at 9pm.
We drove through the night, laughing harder than I have in a really long time, tears streaming down our faces kind of laughing, and arrived in Newark NJ in the middle of the night, tumbling into bed close to 3am.
Then it was up and at 'em again the next morning. I could not have started my morning more perfectly... a knock on my door, and there stood Braden, a fellow patient who had come in to meet up with us. Braden is special to me. A little while back she had contacted me out of the blue because of this blog. She found it in the hospital while being diagnosed. She said it gave her hope. The fact that she reached out to let me know that made this blog all worth it. I started it to make a difference. To educate people, to tell my story, to let them know the crazy ups and downs, and maybe share a laugh about some of it (because if I don't laugh at the absurdity of this crazy disease, and the situations I have come into because of it, I just might loose it). It was incredibly gratifying to know it did make a difference for even one person. In fact, that communication has kept me writing.
Braden rocks. I mean, I knew I liked her online persona before, but in person it was abundantly clear in about 20 seconds, she and I were going to be fast friends.
Stumbling our way through the Newark to NYC transportation system, we met up with the rest of the Generation Hope crew who had come into the city. All told, 11 patients and three caregivers that day. So cool to see people's eyes light up and to hear the squeals as connections were made with online friends now standing there in person.
|Meeting for the first time|
|Happy Birthday Song!|
|Here We Are!|
We all talked together quite a bit, and then after a while the conversation sort of broke off. Joshua and I were chatting, and Wendy and Braden began to exchange stories... finding they had so much in common. I could hear the excitement in their voices. I could hear the connections being made. After watching everyone together all day, and especially then, in that moment, it hit me. This is what we started Generation Hope for. This is what it was all about. I watched them hug their goodbyes... and I completely choked up. All of this. These past four years, from feeling so isolated and lonely and frightened out of my mind, to tentatively reaching out, to having crazy cool opportunities to reach out, to seeing all this come together... this... this is what I was meant to be here for. This is why we did what we did with Generation Hope. I honestly don't think I will ever ever forget that day, and especially that moment.
|Wendy, Braden, Me, Joshua|
We ended our night with seeing RENT! off Broadway... a blog post for another time as that is a show that has had very profound meaning to me since diagnosis.
Can't wait for Conference in Orlando in just over a month!