One of the many great opportunities at this conference was meeting a couple of the keynote speakers who shared their inspiring and fascinating stories with all of us. Two of these speakers in particular really touched me.
Before this conference, I had never heard of this guy (yes, embarrassingly so). And for anyone reading this who also hasn’t heard of him, he is a Canadian Olympic swimming champion but also a fantastic motivational speaker. He speaks about pushing yourself outside of your limits; being effective in what you do, keeping active, and setting goals in life.
He shared his gripping story of how he worked harder than many can imagine, swimming 6-7 hours a day, with the goal of reaching and winning the Olympics. He pulled it off but not without his share of challenges along the way. I was rife with goosebumps throughout the presentation and when he showed that winning swim on the screen, I’m sure I was not the only one wiping away a tear. And I have since learned that he is a very outspoken activist, working to eradicate discrimination against the Lesbian and Gay community in sports. I now respect him that much more.
After the presentation was over, I worked up the courage to snag a picture with him. I almost didn’t, but I thought of my challenges and decided it was a good opportunity to push myself to do something that was a little difficult.
It was an inspiring morning and I feel like we were extra lucky to have seen him speak, as he told me he is not going to be doing presentations anymore but will be focusing on doing online workshops. I’ll keep my eyes open for those. He’s fantastic. I was very inspired by him.
This spunky young woman is a prime example of how much of a difference one person can make. She was on a waiting list for a double lung transplant and had from 2-5 years to live if she did not receive a transplant. She began a campaign using Twitter, to try to get Justin Bieber to jump into the campaign to raise awareness about organ donation. It worked. She made the news on a regular basis and she has also been on the Ellen show – several times via Skype and once in her studio. Check out the video below:
What I love most about Hélène – aside from the fact that she’s cute as a button and has infectious energy – is the fact that she has spunk and guts. She single-handedly (with less than 26% lung capacity) launched a campaign that caught the attention of thousands of people and managed to inspire many more people to register on the organ donation registry. And Hélène has also started a new campaign called Give to Live. Check both of those links out and be part of the movement. So many lives can be saved and good things can come of tragic circumstances.
I also found the courage to go up and meet Helen after her talk and get my picture with her as well.