LIVE INSPIRED: a Beginning and an End

Raise your hand if you've re-started something 1,000,000 times πŸ™‹πŸ»πŸ™‹πŸ»πŸ™‹πŸ»

Whether it's a diet, an exercise routine, a morning ritual, a mindset, a side project, or a blog (ehhemm), I am all about giving it another go, and another… and another...

Getting back into blogging has taken me longer than I would've liked. I have been waiting for the perfect moment. The 'right time'. But the reality is, that time never comes. And the bigger reality is that the problem isn't actually time, it's my fear of failing at it. Which can only be cured by jumping in. Right?

So here I am.

Let me (re)introduce myself - My name is Emily (Marciniak) Louis. I over use parentheses. I am the founder and principal planner for LIVE INSPIRED Event Management. I started this business because I love learning, making new friends, and helping people.

Me. Being casual.

Me. Being casual.

I am the oldest of nine children, a rule follower, and a severe people pleaser. I particularly enjoy difficult people. I say that because when you figure out a difficult person, meaning when you get passed their tough exterior and find out who it is they really are, and what it is they really want, it's kind of like solving the greatest puzzle. I love gaining respect from someone who hates to give it because it is so meaningful.

The best example I can give of this is through my relationship with a girl named Shahadah.

Six-years-ago, I started working for Roswell Park, a local but world renowned cancer hospital and research center. My role consisted of two main responsibilities: the first was to be staff support to local folks who would host fundraisers for pediatric cancer research and programs. I would help them to market their events, be a resource for logistical and fundraising questions, and often attend and speak at their events on behalf of the kids who would benefit.

The other part of my role was to develop and kick-off a teen cancer survivor support program. The program (called Teens Living with Cancer at the time) was a branch off from it's original chapter in Rochester, NY. What started as just two kids showing up to the bi-monthly meet-ups (one of whom was my intern 😳), slowly turned into 5, and then 7, and then 10 to 12 kids regularly coming twice a month.

Now, I know 10-12 kids doesn't sound like a lot, but we are talking about TEENAGERS. And these kids had every reason not to show up to a thing that sounded kind of like we were all going to sit cross-legged in a circle and talk about our feelings. But they did. And many of them became like brothers and sisters to each other, and to me.

One of the teens who joined the group early on (through persistent coercion), was Shahadah. Shahadah was 15 and in treatment for osteosarcoma when I first met her.

What you would instantly learn about Shahadah is that she had two distinct personalities: You either got shy, quiet, and observant Shahadah, usually if there were many people around, or if we were in a place she was unfamiliar with, or you got sassy, "I will tell you EXACTLY like it is and I swear I will not apologize for it, don't even try to ask me to and also this is stupid" Shahadah.

Regardless of her disapproval of my 'New Year, New You!' goal planning activity night, I'd pick her up and drop her back off when it was over. And even though she'd show up to programs with a raised eyebrow ready to criticize me specifically, I'd listen on the ride home about how she couldn't go to the culinary school that she had been so excited about. And even after the eye rolls and groans when I said I was putting on The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown again (I may have overdone it with those movies), I'd still scoop that ladybug up on Halloween and we'd go trick or treating in her wheelchair and with our little sister entourage.

A halloween fundraising event circa 2014 - open mouthed person = me, adorable 🐞 = Shahadah

A halloween fundraising event circa 2014 - open mouthed person = me, adorable 🐞 = Shahadah

As our relationship grew, I learned more and more about the girl underneath the hard shell, and how beautiful and vulnerable she could be. Like most of us, she just wanted people to respect her, pay attention, and show her love.

She would text me when her cancer came back, and when it came back again, and when it came back again. And when she was afraid of what was next. So we went on a road trip to Rochester, and we got our nails done.

I'm sad to say that Shahadah passed away in August of 2015.

I don't know how I got so lucky to meet her and be a small part of the last 3-years of her life, but I am so grateful. I will forever be inspired by her bravery and kindness, especially towards the other teens.

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Who are the inspirational people in your life? Who has come in and out of your life and changed you?

Thanks for reading, more to come 😊