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Support Group Leader Summit 2012 - An Educational Emotional Dinner

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SGLSummit_app.jpgSaturday was capped by a wonderful dinner that gave us all the chance to get to know more about some of the leaders. Robin started it all off by inviting the newbies to stand up and introduce themselves. 

Although I was writing as fast as I could, I could not catch everthing, but here is some of what was said:

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Ray and Gail from Lubbock, Texas had the distinction of being the newest group leaders. That's because they don't even have a group yet! They came to learn about starting and maintaining a support group and said they learned a lot and met wonderful people. We look forward to a Lubbock group soon!

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I will let Pat from the Nature Coast, Florida group tell you himself about his experience at the Summit. He wrote about it in his blog entitled "This Year's Support Group Leader Summit in Dallas Truly Changed My Life!"

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Malcolm from Encino, California, worked for years for IBM and thought he was technically savvy until he received the Support Group Leader iPad. He is off to a good start with over 20 people in his newly established group.


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Tom from Orange County, California, was diagnosed five years ago. He said he went to his first meeting a week after being diagnosed. He took over the group 4 months ago. Tom told us he takes seven exercise classes a week! (Honestly, I needed a nap after hearing that!) He said it was so important to be surrounded by such vibrant people who were long-term survivors.



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Teresa from Spokane, Washington--grandmother of five (!)--had just had her first meeting the Monday before the Summit, and had 29 people show up! She had no idea what to expect from the Summit, and found the information shared phenomenal.


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Ed from East Texas said he hopes he can absorb the overwhelming amount of information he is learning at the Summit. At home, when he takes dex, he goes night fishing where he can holler and shout without bothering anyone. Except the fish, I guess.





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Joanna from San Diego, California took up the recorder after going through treatment. She snorkels, and thinks it is more dangerous to drive the California freeways than to encounter a shark under water.

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Lorelei from Canada's baggage never arrived. So she was off to a bumpy start, but maintained the most sunny attitude throughout the weekend. She was diagnosed three years ago, but it took three years to get the diagnosis. She says she has two lovely children who are the good results of her bad taste in men.


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Barb from Stillwater, Minnesota had us laughing when said she was pissed when she was diagnosed. Why her? After all, she was a good person--drove a hybrid, recycled! The Summit far exceeded her expectations and she loved meeting new people.


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David from Charlotte, North Carolina told the story of his daughter's six-month medical emergency, and how 4 months after they were out of the woods with their daughter, a diagnosis of myeloma came into their house. He and his wife drew upon reserves of strength and decided they did it once, they could do it again and got matching tattoos that say, "Have Faith." We were all very touched by that.


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Then Joe from Atlanta, Georgia got up and, after thanking Andy from the IMF for his help, brought the group to tears (he literally made me a sobbing mess) by singing Amazing Grace in a beautiful baritone.


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John from Kansas City, Missouri, also known to his students as "Old Man Myeloma," told us about a fundraiser he is having before his 2nd stem cell transplant. The fundraiser is called "The Mullet Must Go!" No, it is not about evicting a fish. It is about cutting his mullet--the 80's haircut that is long in the back and short in the front--to raise money to send kids with cancer to camp.

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Andi from Texarkana, Arkansas stood up and said that she was unaccustomed to speaking in public, but I didn't believe her and I'll tell you why. We met when I was working the registration table, and she approached and said, "I don't know anything about how to run a support group," in a voice that was all butter and syrup. But after talking to her later, I realized that she was the epitome of a Steel Magnolia. She made it sound as though she was soft and clueless, but she had built her new support group from the ground up.



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Gail from Boca Raton, Florida said she felt as though becoming part of this group of leaders was like joining a wonderful family.


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Tamy from Richmond, Kentucky stood up and thanked the IMF and the other leaders for being her family. She and Modenia run the Fearless in Flight group and serve as support for each other as well as their members.


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Modenia then stood up and said she was just a little country girl who had a dream 3 1/2 years ago when she founded the Fearless in Flight group. Sometimes she wants to lose her mind, but when she sees the smiles on the faces of her members, she is transformed. When you are discouraged, she said, just hold on. It is worth everything you are putting into it.

I think it is safe to say that these are some of the best people you will ever meet. I feel honored to be in their presence. 

Night y'all. (When in Texas...)

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