Born Just Right in New York City

by Jen Lee Reeves on August 4, 2012 · 1 comment

in 2012,BlogHer

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I had a fantastic chance to moderate a panel in New York City this week as part of BlogHer‘s first ever HealthMinder Day. The day emerged in part from last year’s Special Needs mini-conference¬†during the BlogHer 2011 conference. This year, I had a chance to moderate a panel with three other amazing women: Robin Strongin of Disruptive Women in Healthcare, Mailet Lopez of IHadCancer.com and Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress. All three are making amazing things happen online and offline.

Katherine Stone, Mailet Lopez, Robin Strongin and Jen Lee Reeves speak on "How Online Community Can Improve Offline Health" (Photo courtesy of WebMD)

If you’re interested in reading a live blog of the panel discussion, take a look at this. (Thanks to BlogHer for giving each panel a live blogger.)

I truly believe that if you have a passion to share, share it. As I said in the discussion, follow your passion and your passion will be found. If there’s a community you are seeking to reach, just try. You will be surprised how hungry people may be to connect and extend that community. Seriously, look at the connections that have grown in the six and a half years I’ve blogged about from the limb difference parenting perspective. We have sites/projects the Lucky Fin Project, Living One-Handed, My Special Arm and so many more. Taking the time to support each other is SO worth it. The members of my panel are all incredible at building community and evoking change. It’s possible for anyone to reach out and help if you’re willing to put in the time.

Along with my panel, I spent time visiting NYC newsrooms since I love my journalism community (and it’s part of my full time job… when I’m not doing Born Just Right stuff). But the best part of my trip was having a chance to meet up with old friends, students and new online friends. That includes a visit I had with actor, David Harrell. He was born with a left hand and a shorter right arm and as I am trying to raise Jordan, he was raised knowing he can do and try it all. He’s performing tonight with the GIMP Project¬†at the Lincoln Center.

David arrived wearing his Lucky Fin Project “Ten Fingers are Overrated” t-shirt and a Lucky Fin bracelet. I always wear two, just in case I meet someone who needs one more than I do. We had a chance to tell our stories,and I got to learn his adventures in the world of theater. Did I mention he’s engaged? (I’m so thankful she put up with our conversation going late.)

It turns out David went to grad school with one of my old friends from high school. I think it’s incredible how small this work can be. David has a one-man show that tells his story and he speaks to organizations about his abilities to help inspire others to know they can be everything they want to be. David also works for a really cool organization, Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts. Our meeting was just another example of the amazing and supportive limb difference world. Each person I meet is doing what he or she can to help raise awareness and support. It’s pretty fantastic.

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