We have a strong and talented team at the Foundation: some of us work directly with the community and others work behind the scenes, keeping the Foundation running. But it is important for each and every one of us to better understand CF -- the complexities of the disease itself and the people we are fighting for.
With this in mind, the CF Foundation national office launched a Speaker Series so that employees get the opportunity to listen and learn more about life with cystic fibrosis directly from people with CF and their families. The ultimate goal of these events is to help staff members better understand, empathize with and feel more personally connected to the community we serve.
We have hosted two speakers this year. Our first guest was John Sackett, president of Shady Grove Medical Center in Rockville, Md. John spoke about beating the odds -- professionally and personally -- as a 59-year-old living with CF. His emotional speech left an impression on many of us. What stuck with me most were his motivational messages such as, “I'm doing everything I can to make my life meaningful. I want to encourage you all to keep going,” and “No one is going to care about your life as much as you. Take control.” His hour-long speech had the audience in laughter and tears.
Our second speaker was Stacy Motenko, a 29-year-old with CF who helps others with the disease as a patient advocate for ModernHEALTH Pharmacy Services. Although Stacy has been involved with the Foundation for many years, this was her first time visiting the national office. She spoke about the progressive nature of the disease and how she handles the ups and downs of living with CF. She also touched on her need for adventure, her love of food, the loss of her best friend and life with her fiancé. Her emotional speech left me feeling inspired.
It's clear to me that the Speaker Series has already started to foster meaningful experiences, and it has given Foundation employees the opportunity to feel connected to and inspired by members of the CF community … one incredible story at a time.