Tuesday, November 18, 2014
When I was a young girl I struggled to read. In fourth grade I had a teacher that helped me beyond measure. She taught me how to read well. She cast me in the play Oklahoma. She encouraged me to write and draw. By 5th grade I was reading chapter books all by myself. My favorite books were all of the Little House books, A Little Princess, Pollyanna and Heidi.
The pint-sized heroines inspired me with their ability to overcome adversity. I loved the idea of imagining and then creating a beautiful world within a cold dark attic. I could envision a rainbow of color hidden in chandelier glass and play the game of always thinking of something to be glad about. I could understand the allure of returning to healthy mountain air over the coal dust vapors of a Victorian city.
I have never forgotten these lessons of my youth. I know the power of hope and friendship can heal so many wounds of the spirit. Now I am an adult with a responsibility to spread goodness in a world that is often filled with sorrow.
I live in a small town teaming with young children and adults yearning to create. They want to draw and dance and paint, but in the winter opportunities to do such things are few and far between.
I work with patient advocates and medical providers from around the nation who cry out to me. They tell me their sorrow and I paint it on their back; but sometimes they need more. Sometimes they need a place to rest and reignite their fiery passion.
I created a movement called The Walking Gallery and I need others who will paint with me and help to spread the patient voice. We need the space and time to turn hundreds of jackets into thousands.
So I ask you to help me build a vision into a reality.
In the healthy mountain air of Grantsville, Maryland I want to create The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing. There are rooms that will be galleries and rooms that will fill with laughter and dance. There are bedrooms that will refresh the weary patient and inspire the striving artist.
All this will come to be if we work together and turn a vision into reality.
We have 40 days to raise enough money to begin the process of securing this building. I think we can do it, but not without your help. Cancer 101 has agreed once again to act as our grant partner in this crowdfund, so all donations will be tax deductible.
To quote the words of Pollyanna, “It’ll be just lovely for you to play…It’ll be so hard. And there’s so much more fun when it is hard.”
Sunday, November 16, 2014
In September of 2012 we had our first gathering of #Cinderblocks or The Partnership with Patients summit in Kansas City, Missouri. There were about 70 in attendance and everyone left filled with the passion that changes hearts and minds. Sarah Barr wrote about the event for Kaiser Health News. In the two years since, people has asked repeatedly about when do we plan to meet again. Well, I tell you the time has come to spread the word of our next gathering.
#Cinderblocks2: The Partnership with Patients Continues will be held June 4-6, 2015 in Grantsville, MD.
This conference will be held in the scenic beauty of the mountains of Western Maryland. This will be a destination event and the spirit of the conference will be sort of like Burning Man meets healthcare.
Now some of you may not remember why I use the hashtag #Cinderblocks, so I thought a refresher might be in order...
"When I was a child I went to an elementary school that had few resources. In fifth grade, someone donated a large amount of books to our class. We were very pleased to have them, but we had no bookshelves on which to place them. My teacher was very enterprising though, and she contacted the local lumberyard and requested they donate some two by fours and cinderblocks so we could make shelves. The lumberyard manger said yes, with one caveat, we would have to pick up the supplies.
That year our fifth grade class had a field trip.
We left the school as a class with our strong backs and eager minds. We walked to the lumberyard. Some of us grabbed the two by fours, some of us cinderblocks and some us combined the two to make a carry yoke for two students to heft. We walked those blocks all the way back to school and up three flights of stairs. Then we assembled those shelves and placed the books upon them. We stood back and looked proudly at our work. I cannot believe there was a class anywhere else in the entire nation who cherished their bookshelves as much as we did ours.
We loved those shelves because we overcame adversity and made that which we needed. It wasn't pretty, it wasn’t perfect, but it was ours."
So the really cool thing about this event is that it isn't in the grand ballroom of a four star hotel. It may not be perfect, but it is ours.
You can register to attend here:
How will you get to Grantsville, MD?
The location is about 1 ½ hours by car from Pittsburg or 2 ½ hours from DC/Baltimore.
The Amtrak train from DC has a daily stop in nearby Cumberland, which is about 20 minutes away.
By Party Bus!!!:
On June 3, 2015 the Health Data Palooza 2015 in Washington DC will finish. We have a charter bus that can pick up 55 people from that event and bring them to Cinderblocks2. The bus will take them back to DC on the afternoon of June 6th.
Who will be there?
We expect to see a very diverse crowd at this event. There will be people who work in the government, healthcare, crowdfunding and technology. We expect to see patients, patient advocates, activists and caregivers. Artists, performers and dancers will be attending as well as local individuals very interested in the intersection of art, policy and health.
What is the agenda?
On June 4th we will meet at 8:00 am at Penn Alps Restaurant and Meeting Center for breakfast and our general session. Then we will do breakout sessions until lunch. The afternoon will also be filled with breakout sessions. The formal sessions will end at 4:00pm. Feel free to explore.
6 pm * Dinner location to be announced.
The Walking Gallery Gathers
At 7:00 pm we will gather in front of the old elementary school 116 Main Street for a group shot of The Walking Gallery and the conference attendees. We will walk from there across the historic Casselman Bridge to the Arts Field by Spruce Artisan Village. There we will have our evening event under the big; this portion of the conference event open to the public and does not require tickets. This will be the 4th large gathering of The Walking Gallery of Healthcare. In this space we will get to hear people tell their powerful stories. We will get to hear singers and musicians who are doctors and informatics professionals and choirs that sing on the Threshold of the dying. In honor of the Cinderblock itself, we will watch those that dance with fire.
We will embrace the spark within ourselves and remember those we lost as we endeavor to make this world a better place.
Conference Day 2
On June 5th another conference day begins! At 8:00 am meet at Penn Alps Restaurant and Meeting Center for breakfast and our general session. Then we will do breakout sessions until lunch. Lunch will be served at noon-1:00. The afternoon will also be filled with breakout sessions. The formal sessions will end at 4:00pm. Feel free once again to explore.
6pm *Dinner and evening event to be announced
Conference Day 3
June 6th at 8:00 am meet at Penn Alps Restaurant and Meeting Center for breakfast and our general session. This day we will break into small groups to work on mentoring and individual coaching sessions. General Conference close at noon. The party Bus will be in the Penn Alps parking lot at 1:00pm to drive back to DC.
Where do we stay?
Meshach Browning's Cabins on the River. These cabins are right next to Penn Alps and come in variety of styles and sizes that allow for 2-6 guests.
The Casselman Inn This hotel is in the heart of town and in walking distance to most of our activities. It is a historic drover's hotel and has more space in a motel addition.
The Comfort Inn This hotel is right off 68 and is about three minutes away from town center by car.
Please let Regina Holliday know if you would rather be placed with a local host family.
(If The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing is fully funded by June there will be rooms there as well. )
So mark your calendars and register! I hope to see you there!!!!