Today, in the final sessions we worked on improving communication among the support group leaders. Conference calls are planned and other techniques are in the works to make sure the group--those who were here and those who weren't able to come--is able to stay close.
The summit closed with an open mike session where leaders were given the opportunity to talk about what the summit meant to them, and if there was a dry eye in the place, I didn't see it. Without any attribution because I cannot remember who said what, here are but a very few of the comments as I remember them. My apologies if I didn't get them exactly right. So much was said in a little time.
"I think the one thing that truly amazed me is that cancer patients can have fun. I hope we can extend what we felt here to our new group."
"This room was alive with people who were alive. Who were the patients? Who were the caregivers? Who were the experts? We learned from people who are living with this, and who are alive."
"I didn't know what to expect. First of all, for all the support group leaders. That you are here and are persevering despite what you are going through. And I can tell that you love your support group. And the IMF staff. You love your work. You aren't just in it for the job."
"I didn't know if I wanted to come to this meeting. I was weary. But today I am going back re-energized."
"Cancer diagnosis is very isolating. It changes your life and your relationship with your family and friends. Coming to this meeting...it is wonderful to share and be encouraged. I am going home with passion."
"It is wonderful to know I have so many new friends."
"I lost my husband in January. And I retired from my job. I didn't know what to do with my life anymore. But now I know. I have a new job. Now I know."
"This year I learned to share the satisfaction I get leading my support group."
"No one knows this, but I was going to announce that this would be my last time. But now I can honestly say that I am renewed. I will see you all next year."
"Everyone is always talking about the cure. But I have to say that every time we get around the group from the IMF, it feels like a little bit of a cure."
"I know a lot of us belong to many groups. And our experience with them is life changing. But what we experience with the IMF is life saving."
"You don't know how much this has meant to me. I just loved being around all of you. I means so much to me to know that you love me as much as I love my support group."
"IMF is my field of dreams. You know, if you build it and make them aware, they will come. It is three years since my transplant. My 3-year birthday gift will be to share the love that you share. This race is not done until we touch everyone."
Until next year!!!