Thank you to all of you for being here tonight, the hard work of many to put this together and the amazing entertainers who offered their Saturday night and most of all their talent. I also want to thank my friends who called in special favours to to get these amazing musicians, incredible silent auction items, volunteer help with set up, food, tickets, and the list goes on. Some very special people in my life were adamant that this event happen.
If I can back up a little on the thank you: I also want to thank all of those who sent private messages, text messages, emails, phone calls, Facebook comments, gifts and love over the last year - thank you. I hope I responded, but if not just know that I read and was filled with gratitude with every single one. I reread them on the tough days and they definitely carried me through.
Did you know - I have the absolute best friends in the world! All of my life my friends have been family to me. New and old; they sure made me feel like family this last year with the things they did for me. You wouldn’t believe what good people will give of themselves when a friend needs a hand. The most amazing thing about them is that they are not only there for the good times…because they know how to have a good time. But they have amazing ways of making the bad times feel like good times.
I do need to mention a few people individually - my children and my husband. My kids were great at never making me feel sick…especially when the dishes needed to be done or supper cooked lol. In all seriousness they carried more weight the last year than many their age, and they did it with grace, I could not ask for more…
Although I got more, in a husband with the tolerance level of a saint. I know what many of you are thinking, he had to have been a saint for putting up with me before…you are right, but this last year was the ultimate test. Despite everything he managed to make me feel strong, determined and a fighter when all I felt was weak, lazy and pathetic. With all we had to give up, he could only focus on our blessings. How lucky am I!?
Many of you have had to put up with my Facebook warnings, quite a few of you had to listen to a very long presentation in Pakenham, many of you asked questions when you were curious. I want to thank you for all of that. Who would have thought the one place I loved to be, the place I encouraged all of you to spend as much time as possible and many of you joined me outdoors in fitness and other activities and yet it is the one place, where a small little bug tried to ruin my life.
All I can say is this: I am so grateful it was me. I had no idea that little tick could do so much damage and I had no idea our country was so willing to bury its head.
But I also want to say this: that tick is not going to ruin my life and this country is not going to get away with this forever.
Despite all the work and healing that still has to happen and despite Lyme’s efforts to take away everything I was, I still believe it has given me more than it has taken away. Take a look at this room, how could I not think that.
So I wanted to share with you some of the things I have learned that convince me Lyme has given me more:
- I have learned about chronic illness, that it is invisible, you can look fine and be battling the biggest battle of your life inside. I hope to have more empathy as I go forward that we all are battling things at times that others may not see or understand. But it could never hurt to just offer a little more empathy despite what we don't understand.
- I have learned that sometimes motivation is not always the answer. [I know some of my boot campers are thinking its about time - she's is finally going to lay off the motivation} I used to believe anything was possible if you just pushed yourself hard enough. What a hard lesson to realize that sometimes in life we are given something to handle that is beyond motivation, willpower and blunt determination. And that we don't always need someone to lift us up, push us forward or keep us going. Some days the most powerful words you can hear are “its ok”
- I have learned that everyday there are so many little blessings happening and because life is happening so fast we don't have the time to notice them. And that all of your abilities, all of your passions and favourite things can be taken away and all of a sudden you will have the chance to see all that you were missing. I know I am blessed beyond belief and each of you have played a role in that.
- Random acts of kindness are one of the most powerful tools we have to make the world a better place. I wish i had the time to share with you tonight about all the incredible acts of kindness I have experienced in the last year. Maybe i could sum it up by saying living and growing up in a small town is probably one of the greatest blessings anyone could experience. The businesses, the organizations, people I barely know and the generosity leaves me lost for words…and we know that doesn’t happen often. Sometimes what means nothing to you to do means the whole world for someone else and rarely is anything to do with money.
- yes, I did say rarely…because there is a saying in the Lyme world that goes; “money doesn't create happiness, said no lyme patient ever”. But I am a lucky one, because many have lost houses, cars, savings, marriages, jobs, and many cant fund travel to the US - all while trying to heal. Yet, lyme patients don't refer to themselves as victims, they call themselves lyme warriors. They have fought an illness that slowly and quietly takes away their functioning, fought a medical system that either doesn't know how to help or refuses to and a government that moves so damn slowly to resolve anything. I thank you tonight for joining my team and becoming a lyme warrior.
You know - A top Lyme doctor in the world said his one message to every lyme patients is “dont ever give up”. There is no one treatment for every patient, just keep trying and there is no clear cure, but someday there will be. So, although there have been many points in the process I have wanted to give up…Lyme is an endurance test, its long, its slow and many time it goes backwards - its a lot like life, magnified. So if anything I think its a message to all of us. No matter how bad it seems at the time, don't give up. Keep striving for what you love, seeing the blessings that are all around and believe, believe that things will get better, justice will prevail and that with your contribution that world will be a better place.
Kristy’s Kitchen Party For Lyme Advocacy
June 17, 2017
Thank you Speech