The Race for a Cure Gala to benefit the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation took place on June 17, 2017 in Westchester, NY. The idea to hold the event first ignited when my husband, Daniel, decided to take on the 2017 NYC Marathon with his friend, Michael, under “Team Reeve”. We saw this as a great opportunity to contribute to the Foundation since they provided us with so many resources when I became paralyzed, 11 years ago. My friend, Karina (Michael’s wife), and I immediately took on the exciting mission to plan a fundraiser for the very first time!
We knew we wanted to have a guest speaker with a spinal cord injury/condition to share their story at our event. Little did I know, it would be more challenging than I thought to find a speaker. Most of the admirable people that I had in mind, were unavailable or had expenses that we couldn’t cover in our event budget.
As days and weeks passed of planning the event, we still had no speaker. Wendy Crawford, a co-founder of The Raw Beauty Project and mobileWOMEN.org, was one of our potential speakers, but was also unavailable. Wendy then suggested that I should be the one to think about speaking. I never really saw myself as a speaker. I’ve always been more of a writer since its obviously so much easier to type words out, as opposed to actually saying them. Karina also asked me how I felt about speaking. To tell you the truth, I was avoiding the situation altogether. I told her, "I'm just going to thank everyone and wish everyone a great night!" There I was, trying to make excuses to get out of doing a speech. Karina looked at me and said, "Thank everyone and then WHAT?! Don't you want people to go away with a lesson they’ve learned from your story?" She did have a point.