Thursday, October 25, 2012


When I was a little girl I was fascinated by dropping pebbles into water and watching these little circles form around their entry points. But what was more beautiful was seeing those circles widen and touch other ripples.

When we view life alone we see just one circle, but when we look outside of ourselves we can see where our circles touch the boundaries of the circles of others. They might call that being human.

Sometimes we choose to enter someone's life with purpose or intent. Sometimes that person come to us by what seems a universal accident. And in a most interesting scenario: a person can come into our lives seemingly through a random shuffle of events and we must decide that person holds something that we need in our lives. I think this kind of the way I met Mary Eggers.
Posing with Team Eggers last Saturday
I met Mary because I was searching for Zach DeRidder. A young man named Shannon Case told me as I gathered young adults in our area who were cancer survivors (via social networking and message boards) that I should 'look up this kid'. The thing was, I called the number Shannon gave me twice and I couldn't get an answer. I emailed the email I was given, but never heard back.

Shannon said 'this kid was very sick but very inspiring' and that I probably wouldn't believe it because he had met Zach competing in triathlon! This was someone I had to find...and I turned to google. This is where I first became acquainted with the Iron Momma who turned out to be Mary, through her incredible blog about Zach. It was the fall of 2007. After reading her detailed blog, I tracked down Zach's friend and found out he had been in the hospital. It turned out he desperately wanted to meet another young survivor. But I never forgot the power of Mary's word. Her heart is on her sleeve in real life. Through the reach of the internet, it's on her blog.

Zach brought so many people into my life. But in a fluky way, so did Mary, because if it wasn't for her heartfelt description of this amazing guy who I 'had to meet' perhaps I would not have called one last time or tracked him down through one of his friends. Perhaps Zach's circles and mine may have never touched. And because his life changed mine so much I might not even be doing what I do now with the knowledge I have and with the conviction I have. 

Mary's circle touched mine then....before we even officially met.

I asked her for help in the summer of 2008 when some of us were trying to help Zach win a LiveStrong bike. Mary answered in a big way and rallied everyone together through her tremendously popular blog to help him get enough votes to win. And then there was meeting her and asking her to get me in shape...and that was the beginning of things really getting good.

Mary's circle could have touched mine in the last year a hundred different ways, but if I thought about it just the same, maybe not. It could be through the nurses that I now work with...but maybe I wouldn't be there to meet them.

 It could be through the friendships I have with more athletic people than myself.  Mary's son Luc needed to find a school more supportive for his challenges - as it turned out I had just left the Norman Howard School that he now attends after Mary's long fought battle to get him there. 
A nursing friend of Mary's ends up being someone from my small high school. She remembered me, but unfortunately as the 'sick kid' I became. I think she told Mary I had 'just sort of disappeared' near the end of high school, which is true. 
* I graduated in the next year's class...maybe to become a folklore piece or ghost of sorts to many of my previous classmates. That was due largely to the fact that people in that school district in the mid 1990s didn't know what to do with a sick kid. Who knows, I hope for their sake things have changed.

In a alternate universe I may have met Mary in some entirely different way. But our circles touched in just the way that helped to change my game. 

Well, we've been waiting to see if she wins this MVP Health Ultimate Game changer contest. 
She was nominated by Brittany, a young woman with all the affection in the world for her because Mary helped her restore her own athletic confidence after bone cancer through the TLC Fit program. 

We've been waiting and waiting with baited breath to see if Mary made it through the voting to be #1. Regardless of how that contest ends, there is no contest. Mary is a game changer in my book.
I may have indicated that in my speech to introduce her for her Make A Difference award last Saturday night....I don't remember what I said frankly, because the rush of emotion was too deep. And so it was for Brittany, who joined me on stage.

Mary's circle touches too many lives - she just is a game changer. 

If I were to explain Iron Momma like those pebbles dropped into a pond it would present like a firestorm of launched pebbles. I'm so grateful to be one of the circles hers happened to hit.

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