For those of you who may have missed it, September 23rd at the Annenberg Beach House was an electric evening. "Bridging the Gap", our inaugural event was a great success. Again, I would like to thank everyone who joined us for the beautiful sunset, hors d'oeuvres, wine and conversation about integrative medicine treatment.
The whole day was very surreal for me; from the moment I woke up that morning on the 23rd. You work so hard to accomplish a goal and when it’s in your face, it feels like a dream state of being.
I was anxious, nervous, emotional and more, all at once. After guests settled in around 7:30, it was time for my speech. I said a silent prayer and took a deep breath before I began. I welcomed everyone and discussed our foundation, as well as our working relationship with Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology. I choked up a little when I spoke about my mother and our journey with cancer. But, overall I survived the applause, and being the center of attention. It’s not my cup of tea. But, when passion is keeping your sails moving, you move too. So, next I introduced our Director of New Media and award-winning filmmaker, Anastasia King (www.rootmediagroup.com). Anastasia unveiled “Bridging the Gap”, a 90 second PSA for our Fall Integrative Medicine Awareness campaign (Watch the video at www.theajcf.org/our-projects/).
I took another deep breath after I got off the stage with Anastasia thinking I was done, when I realized that I needed to introduce Dr. Hardy. There’s a lot to be said about prayer and breathing to relax the mind and nerves. I introduced Dr. Mary Hardy, Medical Director of the Simms / Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology (www.simmsmanncenter.ucla.edu). Dr. Hardy handed me a tissue. I wasn’t sure why. She asked me to stand with her and I did. She spoke about the center and its services. She discussed my mother as a patient and woman fighting cancer. She stated that my mom not only paid for her services with a smile, but always added a little extra for others. She then presented me with a rock inscribed with my mom’s name on it. It’s a tradition that helps the staff remember past patients. It’s a symbol that commemorates each patient’s life and fight against cancer. I was fighting with everything I had inside of me not to cry. But, it proved to be too much of a challenge. Needless to say, I did need the tissue. She said some really great things about my mom that not only moved me, but the entire room.
Dr. Hardy then described a woman diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. She's a single parent who was caring for her mother who has dementia when she, herself was diagnosed with cancer. As a result of her illness she hasn’t been able to work. The woman is Cristal Rivera-Mitchell. Cristal needs six months to one year supply of supplements and service from the Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology.
And I can't forget to tell you about the foundation's, CFO William Hawkins. He's the Executive Director of Finance at Warner Bros. studios and I’m honored to have him on the team. He helped remind us that the foundation is powered by support from donors. (If you would like to make a donation now, please see the button on the right or go to https://theajcf.org/products-page/donate/ )
As I left the venue, I was filled with electricity, the bittersweetness of it all and Dr. Hardy's words ringing in my ears, "Oh Regina, we're so excited about all that you've unleashed!"