In the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to speak to several groups about issues I am passionate about. Despite speaking to tens of thousands of people on television every single day, there is nothing like the energy of a real live audience, watching the faces of people reacting, or not reacting, to everything you say. It's exhilirating and daunting in the same breath.
To be honest its a huge responsibility to entertain, inform, and engage an audience on a topic you feel strongly about, so I take it very seriously, preparing as much as I can in advance. But once you step up to the podium and get into the zone, it's all about speaking from the heart. Words have given me the ability, and my work has given me the platform to be able to speak about issues that mean a lot to me. This is a gift.
This past Friday night I was humbled to have the opportunity to speak at at a dinner hosted by the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University. This was not only a chance to speak to an audience full of survivors and caregivers about my mother's experience with a brain tumor, but I got a chance to see the amazing doctors who had treated my mother in 2012 for the first time since her death. To say that I felt a maelstorm emotions when I walked into the room is an understatement, but once I got up to speak that all disappeared. I was richly rewarded by the audience's attention, the moved expressions on their faces and their positive feedback afterwards.
Dr. Henry Friedman/Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke
The previous Friday I was asked to speak in Nashville at an event for My Sister's House which supports victims of domestic violence in Nash County. Once again, I was humbled and aware of the responsibility of allowing my words to be touchstones for the people in the audience who were clearly very invested in this issue. It was especially anxiety-provoking because the event was held in a church and the "podium" was actually the altar. I assured everyone despite how it looked I was not going to deliver a sermon. I'm pretty sure they were relieved.
So, thank you for trusting me to speak about these very important topics. Thank you for allowing me to put my words to issues I care deeply about, and to hopefully speak for others when the words elude them. Thank you...
In honor of Purple Thursdays when we remember victims of domestic violence.