Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Marist, Carrollton and more

Thanks everyone for your well wishes Thursday and Friday at Marist. It was an amazing experience. On Thursday night, I spoke to the Parents-in-Action Group which featured 2 CF families. I did my initial presentation for 40 minutes and it was very well-received. One of the ladies at the presentation came up to me and asked if I lived on West Fontainebleau Drive. I said "Yes, how did you know?" She saw a picture of my house when I was a little boy. She said "Did you live at 2768 West Fontainebleau Drive?" "Yes," I said. She said "That's my house. I live there. We had heard about the girl who passed away and how there was a little boy who lived there." She said "We still feel that girl lives in that house." She told me she thinks Wendy brought her to that speech for her to meet me. I know that seems a little creepy but it was actually pretty cool to me. I truly believe Wendy is out there. The woman said I could visit her house anytime and bring my children to see where their daddy grew up.

On Friday, I arrived at Marist to meet my old high school friend Danielle Langston who hired me to speak at Marist. We waived our speaking fee in exchange for a donation to our foundation from Marist. I just didn't know how much Marist would donate. Danielle walked me around and introduced me to some of the staff. We also got to catch up as we also did the night before. I asked Danielle some questions beforehand. I asked her what was the best speech she'd seen at an assembly but more importantly I wanted to know the worst speech. Apparently the worst speech was the History of Photography in which the speaker read from her notes and bored the students. So I started my speech to 1,200 people with "I'd like to welcome you to The History of Photography Part 2." Everyone laughed. The speech and PowerPoint presentation went very well. I spoke for 45 minutes to the crowd and even got a standing ovation afterwards. Then Danielle (Ms. Langston as the students know her) presented me a check for $1,500. It was very generous.

After the speech, I spoke to the late Erin Sullivan's mother. Erin passed away from CF a few years ago. I was really impressed that she came. I know it must have been difficult. The Marist Volleyball team had raised a lot of money in her memory. I also met a student who had survived a brain tumor. She was inspired by my speech and I was inspired by her.

Later in the day, I got to talk to a creative writing class. The kids asked a lot of great questions. We talked for about 50 minutes until the bell rang. Then Danielle brought me to the lunch room where I got 90 minutes with 4 different groups as we talked about their educational futures. It was a great experience.

Afterwards I left Marist and joined Andrea as we got to walk home from school with Avery. I'd never done that before. It was so much fun though I carried her most of the way. My daughter has me wrapped around her little finger and I love it.

On Monday, we celebrated the Jewish New Year for Rosh Hashanah which means a day off of work. On Tuesday, I went to Carrollton where I spoke to the Carrollton rotary club and sold 14 more books. Today I have a presentation for LinkedIn and a meeting with a potential sponsor for Wish for Wendy. Tomorrow I am an honoree for the UGA 40 under 40 which I'm very excited about. It takes place at the Georgia Aquarium. My friend Seth and my associate and friend Linda Murphy from the CF Foundation will also be attending along with my Aunt Loretta (who nominated me), my Aunt Susie, my cousin Erin, Andrea, Emily and my parents.

The last 2 weeks have been the busiest of my life as far as speaking engagements and other appearances go but still I'm honored that these people want to hear my story.

Again thank you as always for the support. To my Jewish friends, Happy New Year (L'sh'na Tovah!). To my other friends, I hope that you are having a wonderful week and I wish you all a great weekend.


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