Over the last month I’ve spent a lot of time traveling to speak and share about ROW and trip around Lake Michigan. I’ve met so many amazing people from all over the country-children, rowers, doctors and those touched by cancer as survivors or in support of a survivor in their life. It’s been an amazing, whirlwind, overwhelming, beautiful experience to share my story and hear from those who found my trip to be inspirational.
I’ve also been working hard with the ROW Board of Directors to come up with a plan for the best way to use funds to expand and improve the ROW program in Chicago and beyond. Along with writing a book, figuring out how my hands work again-and attending yoga as much as possible, I’ve been able to take a few moments to reflect and breathe. Life is really good.
I was also photographed by Kevin J. Miyazaki, a Milwaukee artist that has an exhibit coming out this winter called “Perimeter” that explores that relationship people have with Lake Michigan. I was photographed and asked to share what drew me to Lake Michigan. My photo and answer below (details of the exhibit to come). I was honored to be a part of the project. I really enjoyed being photographed by and sharing with Kevin-and the reaction I had to the photo he chose was even more surprising to me. I feel like I finally saw myself the way everyone else does. When I saw this photo-it reminded me of the journey I’m on, of owning my accomplishments and everything that’s ahead. I’m really proud of it and it makes me feel different (but always good) every time I see it.
“Lake Michigan drew me in and continues to draw me in because it is a body of water rich in history-for people who settled along the Lake hundreds of years ago and for me-rowing around it in a big yellow boat to fight breast cancer for 59 days. As a child I learned about becoming a woman through beach time and sandcastles in South Haven with my grandmother. I learned about how to be a fisher(wo)man: to respect and admire nature with my dad and uncles on a boat miles away from shore. Over one summer, this body of water taught me about my own strength and how to be resilient. Along with losing that same grandmother to cancer, I overcame the biggest obstacles I have ever faced- entirely alone on this Lake. I was left with Lake Michigan and only Lake Michigan for so many days and so many nights. I praised her one day and cursed her the next-but I always wanted her close, I always respected her, I was always thankful for her -and always will be.”
The ROW team celebrated this weekend at their annual gala, Let the Good Times ROW. The event was held at Rowfit Chicago-and the space was transformed beautifully by co chairs Elin and Nell.We had a fabulous time-enjoying each other on land and out of the cold! It amazes me every year at this event- how much we’ve grown and progressed in such a short time. Thank you to everyone who came out to support ROW and dance, spend money and enjoy great company. Special thanks to Rowfit for hosting us!
This week I’m speaking in Escanaba at Bay College. 7 pm at the Besse Center Theater on campus. I’m looking forward to heading north and sharing my story. If you have interest in hearing me speak at your local university, church, hospital or event, please send your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always- GO ROW!