A mentor friend of mine once asked me, “What is something hard about your work that you wish others understood”?  I said, “There are several things that are hard but what is on my mind today is The Value of Showing Up”.

Please allow me to tell a little back story of when that phrase was first said to me.

Years ago, at a medical meeting hosted at MD Anderson, I overheard a researcher say, “She is always here.” I was a little worried when I heard that because I was the only patient who attended these monthly meetings. Sure, they were seriously over my head, deep science, and not patient centered conversations. These were presentations of bench research for what is hoped to be moved into patient applications of new treatment modalities one day.

My ears were on high alert.  I always felt welcomed, I tried to be thoughtful and encouraging in my participation, not overstepping, so I listened a little harder.

Within minutes, I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard more. “Yes, it is so encouraging to see her here.  She is helpful but, just to see her well gives me encouragement, this is a hard disease to study.  So often the outcomes are poor, and it is so hard to get grant funding”.

Later when all the “lab rats” (a term sometimes used by the senior doctors regarding the undergrads doing the science) had left, I asked one of the top leaders of the meeting about this. He said, “you have no idea of The Value of Showing Up.  Some people come to our meetings when the topic is exciting, or we have a press release moment, but to come just to be here with us, has untold value”.

So, I have remembered that, and I do all I can be to be there, to show up.  Tired or not, convenient or not.  Show up.  I listened harder to the comments that were not from the presenters, and continued to learn, by observing and befriending researchers.

Showing up can take on many forms.  Being there on our social media, liking our work, commenting, sharing information, and helping us stay in the “algorithm” (a word that is a bane to my life, as it is always changing and sometimes mysterious).  Showing up can also mean volunteering at some level or hosting a fundraiser.

We have an opportunity for you to show up soon at an event.  I know not everyone reading this is in the area.  We have an international following, but this April 22, we are hosting an event in Texas.  If you can, please show up.  It sends a message to the world via the photos that are shared from the event that what we are doing matters. It encourages us, it gives hope to those who are there as well as those who are suffering from the disease that something is being done to stop it.

We hope to see you April 22, 2023, at The Yellow Rose Boot Scoot.

Hope Always, Terry

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