October 23, 2017

I love my job

For as much as I talk about my work, I don’t actually talk much about my work. I mean, from the perspective of the impact it really has on me.

For example, I spent basically the last work week crying. Why? Well, for all the right reasons, really.
I, along with several colleagues, attended the Make-A-Wish annual conference. This was my first time attending this gathering, and holy moly, what an experience. The important stuff is all there. Real, tangible career-changing learning. But the really, really important stuff is there, too. Throughout the three days of the conference, there were various opportunities to connect with the mission of our organization: transforming lives, one wish at a time. From hearing the stories of--and meeting in person--the parents, volunteers, doctors and kids involved in some very powerful wishes, you’d basically have to be made of stone not to have cried. Tears of joy, mostly, seeing how lives have been so changed through a wish. 

I met Zayden, who had his wish to go to Saturn come true. 

I met Linkin, who wished to meet Bigfoot (did you know the secret is in luring Bigfoot out of the woods with marshmallows?). 
Yes, I know this looks like Chewbacca. Just let it slide, alright? 
We heard from medical doctors like Anup Patel, who focuses on epilepsy. He says his job is 97 percent failure. The only successes in the epilepsy world, he says, are those cases where a condition is managed, or seizures stop altogether, and that only happens in one to three percent of cases. But he said he always gets to deliver hope to his patients when he tells them they will qualify for a wish, and he’s seen inexplicable results in patients of his, like Dae’shaun. It was Dae’shaun’s heartfelt wish to meet his favorite NBA basketball player, Chris Paul, a point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers. Medically, it didn’t look like Dae’shaun’s seizures were ever going to stop. But after the wish experience, they did. Three years later, with no medical interventions to account for it, Dae’shaun still hasn’t had another seizure.

I, along with the 500 other people in the room, cried about that. And so did Dr. Patel, as he shared his stories.

I also met Canadian wish kid Sarina, who wished to perform an original song, which she did recently at a Shawn Mendes concert. She played that same song for us. And yeah, I cried again. here's a short snippet of the song she wrote, called 'Distracted'. You won't get "all the feels" from this like we did in the room that day, but hey, it's a lovely song.

And so it went all week. I’ve come out of the conference not only feeling like I have some renewed direction in my work, but I feel more like a human, too. It’s pretty amazing to spend a whole week with emotionally intelligent people who just want to do good, and do it well, and do it for kids who need a boost in their lives. Never mind their race, gender, orientation, political stripe, religion, socio-economic status, or any of that. Just help a kid who is going through a tough time. 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now, with conviction: I love my job.

Oh, and the conference was in Arizona. Sunshine and warm weather. Yeah, I spent most of that time indoors, working away, but there were a few minutes for some playtime. You can see a bit of that, here, in the latest StuLand Vlog! 

Until next time, I'll just be over here, helping to make wishes come true :D