Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Manitoba Neurofibromatosis Symposium

My favourite quote from the symposium this weekend: "In order to love others we first need to love ourselves" - Reggie Bibbs 

This weekend I was given the incredible opportunity to attend (and speak at) the first Manitoba Neurofibromatosis Empowerment Symposium in Winnipeg. Saying I walked away feeling empowered in an understatement. The love, compassion and kindness of each and every person I met this weekend has left my heart full and yearning to dive deeper into the NF community. Listening to everyone's stories and getting to meet all the incredible people behind MBNF has left me awestruck at the strong sense of community that is present in our world of Neurofibromatosis. 

I have never before met majority of the individuals I had the luxury of meeting this weekend, but you can mark my word that I will never forget any of you. I feel so blessed that everyone in the NF community has accepted me with nothing but open arms, and I am bound and determined to continue spreading the word about Neurofibromatosis!

I hid from the NF world for so long, as I felt so safe in my own private world that I created for myself. I was afraid to share my story because I was terrified that people would judge and label me, and that frightened me to the very core. I used to hide from this community because I was afraid of being vulnerable, and I was afraid to be me. I thought I had to be a certain person to fit into society, which meant I had to hide all of my true thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

 If someone would have told me 5 years ago that I would be a keynote speaker at an NF symposium I would have laughed and rolled my eyes.... yeah right, when pigs fly.... Now however, I've overcome so many of my fears and have learned to embrace myself for who I am, NF and all. At one point in my life I would have done absolutely anything to get rid of my condition, but now I've come to the realization that if I didn't have this disorder, then I wouldn't have some of the incredible people in my life that I have met through this incredible community. I no longer feel like I am my diagnosis... I am NOT NF. I am Courtney, who just so happens to have NF :) I could have let my diagnosis own me, however I chose to own my diagnosis. If I have one single message I want to share through my blog this is it:

Each and every person is put on this earth with different circumstances for a reason. None of us choose the life we've been given, or choose the events that occur in them, but we can choose how we react! Events, like a diagnosis, can destroy us or can give us the needed leverage to create change in our community. In the case of Neurofibromatosis, you can despise your health as much as you want, but stressing over it won't change any of your outcomes. What's going to happen is going to happen... it's inevitable. So why not embrace yourself (and all your beautiful imperfections) and live your life to your maximum potential?!

I do want to add something here before I sign off for the week...the symposium this weekend would not have happened without the dedicated, selfless individuals that have dedicated a large part of their lives to making a difference in the NF community. Please help me in thanking all of the directors and every other individual that invested their time in this event... I won't name you all because I might run out of room... you all know who you are!

Now, I challenge you all to SHARE this blog post to help me create more NF awareness, so more incredible events such as this one can take place in the future.... it only takes seconds to share this link. JUST DO IT!

- Court 

1 comment:

  1. I look at the incredible challenge that you have chosen to meet head on and then think of other people who are completely lost with the small issues they have. Congratulations on retelling your story and having a successful Symposium.