Why, yes. It has indeed been a while.
Mea culpa. I may not have been fully “present” on Holdin’ Out for a Hero, but please rest assured…incredible things have been happening behind the scenes– miracles, actually!
Today, after 19 years of wishing, learning, waiting, and hoping, after years of prayers, all answered, not all in the way I anticipated, after much hard work and informal advocacy, it’s happening.
My non-profit organization, The Laurita Spina Bifida Project, is launching today during Hispanicize 2016– in Miami, no less.
Don’t pinch me, please. I don’t want to wake up!
It’s been a long time coming. I mean, really. I remember growing up thinking that starting any kind of organization– for-profit or non-profit– required wealth, and lots of it.
I remember wondering why I wasn’t rich and able to fulfill my dream.
I remember writing my first letter to Oprah Winfrey, and pouring my heart into it, asking her to shoot an episode about spina bifida. And I remember very clearly the polite “no, thank you” letter I received from The Oprah Winfrey Show– at age eleven.
Sometimes I wonder why I just didn’t give up and pursue a different path. I believe anyone with spina bifida can be just about anything within some reason. I could have done anything.
Instead, I chose the road less traveled. The one that hadn’t been trodden before– the one I had to pave myself.
But I haven’t walked it alone. Oh, no. There have been angels. Dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of them. And they carried me on their wings whenever I was too exhausted, too angry, too bitter from the failed efforts to keep flying.
It is now that I realize it. My “failures” weren’t failures at all– they were practice; my boot camp. With teachers, mentors, trainers, fellow advocates, cheerleaders, I worked through these failures and got up again.
My initial vision was to host a launch event at a restaurant in Orlando, close to where I live. Instead, I am in the heart of Downtown Miami, surrounded by fellow bloggers, journalists, entertainers, photographers, marketers, and seasoned non-profit industry veterans. Many of these are people I call very close friends.
In retrospect, I cannot imagine launching my precious childhood dream anywhere else, surrounded by so many of the people who are actually helping to make it happen!
Today, as I prepare to meet friends, family, and colleagues for Happy Hour at Toro Toro Miami and our extended community on Twitter at 5:00 p.m., I’m sure we’ll have a lot of last-minute details to think of.
As for me, I’ll also be reflecting on everyone, everything, every incredible moment that has brought me– us– here.
Today, I finally know it was all for good.
And if you’d like to contribute to our crowdfunding campaign, that’s here.
To see the fabulous press release that my friends and colleagues at Hispanicize Wire published about our launch, please click here.
Till tonight! And…thank you.