GUEST SPEAKER. ME.

That’s right the day finally came to share ‘See the Colour’ and the beautiful town of Mansfield sure did welcome me with open arms.

What an absolutely horrifyingly scary, emotional, yet wonderful experience Tuesday night was. Finally getting to meet Cameron Butler, Mansfield Districts Hospitals CEO. The man who watched my story on the Project back in May and invited me to be the guest speaker at their AGM. He loved my story and the positive messages it shared and after he himself had been the guest speaker at their past AGMs, he decided they needed someone different. I was absolutely blown away when he asked, a little hesitant perhaps to begin. But if anything that last 2yrs has taught me, it was time to face my fears (once again).

Cameron was also the lovely man behind the scenes who arranged our wonderful Mt Buller weekend back in August. He was so thrilled that we had turned up on Tuesday afternoon, let alone that I was still willing to speak haha! My words a word Cameron, and I would have never not come.

After finally pulling my presentation together just in time, after MANY hours spent in front of my laptop, the butterflies kicked in big time. Just like they did with the filming of Terry the Bastard although this time, knowing I was speaking live and to an audience was almost too much. Thankfully I got through it, I think the tears began at around 5seconds in and they continued on & off throughout my 30minute presentation. But at least the majority of the room was shedding them with me.

My beautiful mumma came with me, which was so nice, it’s been along time since we have spent some quality time together. We shared the driving to Mansfield, stopping over for a driver switch and lunch in Yarra Glen. We then continued to Mansfield checking into the Alzburg where we stayed for the night and where the AGM was happening. Meeting Cameron, along with beautiful Tracey (Cameron’s PA) who played a key role in getting my presentation going. You Trace are amazing – thank you!

After a quick refresh and light dinner, we popped a bottle of Chandon and had a glass of “Dutch courage” with dinner. After saying to mum “film me popping this”, the ‘film’ I got was a series of 7 disjointed photographs …not quite the film I’d hoped for haha. I did insist after this, she knew how to record on my phone for the filming of the presentation… thankfully she completely redeemed herself and captured that perfectly. Good on you Pauliney!!!

I got through the presentation in the end with a few little stops to pull myself together and blot the eyes with tissues. Reflecting over my past (almost) two years and what I have been through, is absolutely crazy. It still amazes me really how well I feel now, and amazingly how well I’ve tolerated the whole process. I’ve been through the absolute wringer. You Terry, really are a Bastard.

However, despite my diagnosis, Terry really has not stopped me doing anything. He’s pushed me further and harder than ever before and really has given me a new purpose in life and made me see the colour. I was so honoured to be able to share this message with the 70 strong audience that was the lovely Mansfield community. Country towns really do harbour the nicest of people. Nearly each and everyone of those people coming to hug & thank me at the end for sharing my story.

The wonderful country hospitality continued with a 10/10 breakfast at ‘The Produce Store’ ran by Gill (a member of the hospitals board) and her husband Dean, before we departed Wednesday. A must try when in Mansfield. Thank you again Gill. My mouth is watering just at the thought that breakfast. I’ll have to come back.

A quick stop at the hospital to have a little tour and say goodbye to Cameron & Trace and paint our hands orange and stamp them on paper to show our support in the fight against family violence finished our wonderful little trip.

My first ever guest speaking role complete. Feeling so proud of myself right now.

Love Don xx

#seethecolour #braincancer #lotusfordonna #mansfieldsistricthospitalAGM

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