I met a guy years back, when I worked at a radio station. He was just someone I met regarding business, but ended being one of my most trusted and closest people in my life, Nico. Upon hearing that I found a bone marrow match and heading to my stay-cation at Karmanos Cancer Center, he took it upon himself to throw me one of the nicest parties I have ever had; the Fishbones for Bone Marrow Drive and Fundraiser at his restaurant in St. Clair Shores, MI. He planned the entire party from the food (sushi, fish, shrimp, and even a little alligator) and live music, to the professionally made posters (with the Fishbones custom design and branding) he had made. Nico even bought ads in a print publication, which, as a TV ad sales account executive I was slightly torn, but that's just in my sales nature! I was blown away by his generosity, as was EVERYONE who attended.
Be The Match attended the event since I know that even though I found a match, there are THOUSANDS of other patients who are still looking for one. They came and helped to spread the word and to educate the guests as to how EASY it is to save a life. A simple swab of the cheek and you're registered! One of my dearest friends from college, Jeff Haase, went up to make an announcement that Be The Match was there and to go and check out their info they had set up at a table. I've known Jeff since 1997 when we went to Oakland University and a little bit about Jeff is that he owns more Polo attire than Ralph Lauren, himself. I adore him and realized that, although we haven't had a whole lot of heart to heart talks, he adores me too. I knew this when he couldn't even make the announcement without stopping a few times to let a couple tears fall. He's the best.
It was then my turn; impromptu speech. I thanked Nico, Jeff and everyone, for coming out to support me as I entered the next chapter in my life, my transplant. Standing there with everyone looking at me, I felt an overwhelming feeling of love. I was doing pretty good, thanking people and even cracking a joke about looking sexy with no hair after chemo. Then, in the midst of my ramblings, I saw someone; I saw my dad. He was sitting at his table wearing a white shirt and leaning slightly to get a good view of me from the back of the room. At that very moment, all I could think about was how much I love my dad, my hero. So I just said it out loud, into the mic, in the middle of my thank you, "I love you, Dad" and the tears just fell. I couldn't stop crying. I love my family, my dad, my mom, my sister, and my son. I took that moment to let my son know that HE is my life, my heart and my inspiration to live and to beat this cancer. I needed him to know that, right then and there, and to hear it...out loud.
People have since told me that there wasn't a dry eye in the room and that everyone took a little something from my moment with the mic. I just know that as long as my family and friends know how truly blessed I am to have their support and love, I will never be alone through whatever is ahead of me.