[I know there is going to be some jealousy as there was the last time, but please, let me live in the moment and be excited about this! I'd appreciate =)]
Let me backtrack a little bit and give you a bigger picture before I share my news! :D I know, the suspense sucks! lol
Starbright World and the Starlight Foundation have been a huge part of my life and I am so proud to be able to help them out!!
If you want to learn more about the Starlight Children's Foundation visit www.starlight.org! And to learn more about Starbright World you can ready a little about it and view a video here.
I have been a member of Starbright World (SBW) for about 6 years now. Starbright World is an online social network for chronically ill teenagers and their siblings. It's a place where we can go for true understanding and support through our tough teenage years while we battle illnesses that often times prevent us from living a "normal" life like our friends. SBW was a lifesaver for me. And not to mention, I met my husband, Spencer there ;-)
Early on in my membership with SBW I was asked to be featured (kind of a poster child) in a e-news letter. I shared with the Starlight Children's Foundation how SBW has impacted my life and what it is like to be a sick kid. It was a pretty cool thing for me to do at 15 or 16 years old. =) I was honored!
I continued being an active member of SBW and became nominated and "elected" as one of the Community Leaders (CL) on SBW. CLs are, kind of, highlighted members. We represent the SBW community. We get to have special meetings and help out the chat moderators (hosts) as needed. We also get to help out with cool contests and make new members feel welcome into the online community. To help them feel that they belong.
In 2009 I was asked to 'star' in a video for the new and improved Starbright World! Of course I said yes and they flew me to LA to shoot the video. One of the chathosts, Gabe, was the director, they had a legit film crew and SBW spotlight location in the hospital, and another senior chathost, Rasa, was my "mom" in the video. We had a GREAT time. You can view the video below. (which I've never shared before!!!) Keep in mind - I was SO nervous! I had NEVER been on camera before and I'm used to stage acting... not on-camera acting! haha! I was supposed to be a young, hyper, teen tooottalllly excited about SBW! Not the best thing I've ever done - but it was so fun! haha
To my huge surprise, in 2010 Spencer and I were asked if we would like to join our best friend, Emily, on a skit to feature Starbright World at the Starlight Gala and after doing the skit if we would like to give a speech sharing our story and our involvement with Starbright World! We said yes in an instant and we were flown to LA to the Gala. It was SOOOOO much fun. Not to mention that's where Spencer proposed ;-) We did our little skit with the lovely Emily and then we gave our speech to hundreds of celebrities. And then we got to hang out with the celebs which was so fun! Fantastic evening. A clip of the 2010 Gala below! (a few Photos Here) I also know that we touched a ton of people. (if you scroll down you can read about her favorite starlight little pickle press memory) Mr. T was the very first to start clapping at the end of our speech - and he gave us a standing O!!! Haha!
Spencer and I then followed up with Starlight a couple of times and were featured in another newsletter after the Gala to tell everyone how we were doing and talk about some of our wedding plans and then after we were married sharing a few of our wedding photos. Spencer and I continued our membership on Starbright World; Spencer became a volunteer as a mentor on the site and I recently became a volunteer as well mentoring the CLs and other users =) I love volunteering my time and helping out. It's truly a light in my life!
And now..... what you've been waiting for =)
I am beyond honored, blessed, and privileged that I was asked to not only speak at this years Starlight Gala in Los Angeles, CA, but I was also asked to present an award to one of Starlight's honorees!!! I am so thrilled to be given this opportunity!
When I received the email I read it, said "Oh My Gosh" with a shocked face and huge smile and my mom asked me what was going on. My eyes completely filled with tears and I was unable to speak. So honored. So blessed.
I have SUCH a deep passion for speaking and touching others. I always, always want to help. I've always told myself that if I touch and inspire just one person then I've done my job and I'll be happy. But I know I've had an impact on so many more people than just one - and to be given opportunities to continue to inspire and touch people is truly a dream come true. It touches ME so deeply to be asked.
I asked myself last night what I ever did to deserve this... I almost don't feel worthy to do such a thing... but I think karma has come around. I have truly had a harder year than I could ever imagine. It was filled with ups (and the BEST ups of my life) but also so, so many downs. Yet I have done my best to remain optimistic and I continue to help others despite my hard time - I think it's all coming back and giving me what I feel like I deserve. This amazing opportunity.
So honored. So blessed.
And now the very giddy side of me that of course I have.... I want to share more!
They are going to fly me to LA on May 17th, and if it goes like last time, I'll have a driver there to greet me and take me to the freaking BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL! Haha! I'm wayy too low class for that :-P How cool!!! The Gala is being held there and I'll get to spend the night there!
You know how they have those special rooms backstage for the presenters and speakers on like talk shows and stuff - well last time Spence, Emily, and I were given our own backstage room! Maybe I'll get one again :-P. I know that after I get there I will probably watch some rehearsal and then do my own rehearsal to figure out how it all goes. Then I'll get ready for the Gala and eat some AMAZING food, and then hang out backstage with the hosts and wait for my turn =)
Last time after the evening was over we were asked several times by the celebs if we could take some pics with them and we got to hang out with them. WE were the ones being treated like celebs. Cool!
I'm just super excited for the experience again, to share more of my story, and so happy to be going back.
I'll say it again... I am TRULY so blessed, so privileged, and so incredibly honored to be doing this <3 THANK YOU STARLIGHT! =)