On November 8, 2018 I turned 50! A year earlier, on the day I turned 49 and began my 50th year of life, I knew I wanted to do something BIG to celebrate this half-century milestone – something big that involved giving back. By January 2018, I felt called to raise $10,000 for TAP as my 50th birthday project, and made a public commitment to raise both the money and aphasia awareness with the help of my friends.
I picked TAP because I am a speech-language pathologist, and my first work after graduate school was in a brain injury unit serving patients with aphasia. My experiences with the patients and families I met made me vow to never take my voice for granted again. Getting involved in TAP brings me full circle to where I began my career, and my new relationships with members of the TAP family feed my soul. (I now have a voice and messaging coaching business, where I empower professionals to use their voices to make a difference.)
In this photograph, taken at my 50th birthday party, you can see me giving a big check for $10,000 to Maura. If you look closely, you can see that the date is not yet filled in. That’s because I haven’t finished yet!
So far, my efforts have raised over $4000 toward my $10,000 goal! I will continue working to raise the full $10,000 as soon as possible. I will continue to raise awareness of aphasia and of TAP as well. You will continue to see me at TAP and TAP events, promoting this amazing organization and its fantastic people on Facebook Live videos and in the community. Yes, I’m afraid I am a TAP fan for life, and the TAP family is stuck with me.
(I am especially a fan of the TAP-Tastics, and their music, because I am a singer too. In fact, the reason I decided to become a speech pathologist in the first place is because I learned that people with aphasia can sing even when they can’t speak. That still blows my mind! I am in awe at the human brain’s capacity to make new connections that bypass the parts damaged by stroke, injury, or disease.)
Here is another of my favorite photos from this year that shows how getting involved with TAP has inspired me to do something for my health – to participate in the annual Strides for Speech 5K event. I ran/walked the distance and beat my personal time goal by over a minute! I got to interview some awesome people while at that event, and share some of their stories with my Facebook community. What a great day!
Finally, here is a link to one of my #TAPTuesday videos. https://youtu.be/-vXPpEFtVxY I posted a new one every Tuesday over several months leading up to my birthday. This one was in September, and it got 353 views on Facebook!
If my story has inspired you, you can still donate directly to TAP as part of my birthday fundraiser. Here is the link to do so: http://bit.ly/Happy50thBirthday2Helen
I wish each of you in the TAP family a very meaningful holiday season!