I volunteered at Loma Linda Hospital on May 3rd. The teacher and myself have been talking for weeks about when would be a good day I could speak to the patients during the time they have school. On May 3rd, I was able to speak to the patients, but I wasn’t able to use my PowerPoint presentation or do my speech in its entirety. Since the age group was mixed and only a few patients were able to make it to school due to certain health conditions. The teacher expressed that it would be best just to do a questions and answers.
For instance, the teacher asked me questions then the patients asked their questions at the end of class. The teacher set me up perfectly so I could give the best answers possible. She said I have been through a lot of adversities because I was a patient at Loma Linda Hospital as a teenager and was able to graduate from college.
I stood up in front of the class and said I was a two-time cancer survivor. I had cancer when I was 14 and 17 years old. I only went to Silverado High School (Victorville, CA) for the first week during my freshmen year and then I was in the hospital for two years. I was able to return back to high school my sophomore year and in my junior year I made the basketball team. During my senior year the cancer came back and had to get my right leg amputated, and had to undergo chemotherapy all over again.
I also said I graduated from Victor Valley College with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts, with an emphasis in Journalism in 2008. I finished my undergraduate studies at California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Minor in Africana Studies in 2012.
There were two teens and three younger patients that were in school listening to me while I was speaking. I felt the teens were a little bit more interested because I was around their age when I was sick in the hospital. The younger patients were interested too, but it wasn’t until one of the teens asked about my prosthetic leg and I had a picture on my phone.
The picture displayed when I first got my new prosthetic leg and was doing my first physical therapy session. My prosthetic leg at the time didn’t have a sleeve on it and the metal was showing when I was wearing shorts. When I showed the picture to each patient, they all had the same reaction and said, “wow.” One of the younger patients said I was half robot because of my leg, which was funny (I will have a picture of me walking with my prosthetic leg below).
When I showed all the patients the picture of me with my prosthetic leg. I realized how powerful my PowerPoint presentation could be when I finally show it to people. Just from that one picture, I got an amazing response. When I present my PowerPoint in its entirety, I believe in my heart people will like what I have to offer.
At the end of school, the teacher asked me to select five words that described how I was able to overcome the adversities I have been through. I said:
The teacher also asked the patients to pick their own words that described themselves when dealing with adversities. When school officially ended, the teacher made a collage of the words that the patients and myself picked (I will have a picture of the word collage below). The teacher wanted to use my story as an example so the patients could see that anything is possible because I am living proof. She wanted to get across to the patients that goals could be reached with hard work and determination.
Before my volunteer shift ended, the teacher said I did a great job and shouldn’t give up on being an inspirational speaker. She thanked me for speaking to the patients because I was a good role model for them. She also asked if I would like to speak to the patients again in the fall when school starts again, and of course I said yes.
She asked If I was still looking for any journalism jobs, and I told her no because I’ve been applying for years and didn’t have any luck landing a job. I told her I’m focused on being an inspirational speaker because I feel my story is special and unique.
I personally feel fulfilled on my journey of being an inspirational speaker, and I know I can’t get this feeling working for somebody else at a nine to five job. I’m not financially stable yet, but I know money will come eventually because the story I’m looking to share with the world is 100% who I am: Mind, Body and Soul.
“Much success to you, even if you wish me the opposite. Sooner or later we’ll all see who the prophet is” - Nas.
* When my volunteer shift started, I ran into an adult patient that I have talked to and had great rapport with. He is also into video games and asked me if I played any new video games lately. I said I just got Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and he told me he just started Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the PlayStation 4 and he likes it so far. It was good to know the patients are enjoying the video games I bought for the playroom.
* Since I joined CSUSB Toastmasters, it has become easier for me to speak in front of crowds. I still get nervous, but I’m learning how to control my nerves while I speak. I personally noticed the improvement I’ve made since my first Toastmasters speech to where I am now.