I don't share that story as a "poor me" or anything even remotely close. It's more so to point out the great irony of it all, and also to say just how thankful I am to have successfully gotten through! I want to focus more on that and less on the crash afterwards, because truthfully even a year ago I wouldn't have made it past the first week. So, for me it's all a big personal victory!
Now, on to the Giveaway itself!
I want to say a sincere "Thank You" to each and every person who participated & made this so much fun. This might sound extremely cheesy, but I feel like I met some wonderful people along the way. It's a little bit more tough on Facebook to properly connect with others because as a 'Page' I can't have actual friends or follow any individual people. However, I felt like everyone I saw time and time again sort of became a friend as I recognized names & had a few private chats via DM's. Much is the same on Instagram & Twitter, I loved hearing from people all over the World & again I know this sounds cheesy but it truly made me feel less alone.
The biggest reason I wanted to create this Giveaway was so help others isolated by invisible illnesses feel heard & seen and loved. I didn't imagine that along the way it was actually ME who would end up feeling all of those things. The complete outpouring of kindness from so many of you who lifted me up & reminded that you saw all the work that went into it meant so much. I really can't fully express how special each nice message was. I can only hope that all of you who participated (and hopefully won too), felt a little bit of that magic as well.
And that brings me to my next topic. During the whole Giveaway I cycled between joy for all the amazing items these companies donated, thankfulness for my Sponsors, and also sadness because I still wanted to do more. Each day when I was typing up the entries for the drawings I had this immense feeling of sadness that I didn’t have the means to make everyone a winner. Drawing a winner always left me sad for those who didn’t get it, and wishing so badly that I could do more. When I started this whole Giveaway event I went into it thinking, “wow, I have over $10,000 worth of stuff, this is going to do SO much!” However as the Giveaway kept running that perspective got lost on me, and all I could focus on were all of those who didn’t get chosen and who I wasn’t able to help.
I had to remind myself (for my own sanity) that I am one person. Rather, I am one sick patient who is fighting just like all of you, juggling my health and trying to heal from a disease that took so much of my life. I don’t have a company behind me, or any big donors or trust funds, nor do I even have a local support group of fellow advocates. It’s just me, and I am one person. What I can realistically do given my current situation is limited. And that’s a tough pill for me to swallow, because I have always been someone who wants to fix every wrong in this world, and I get so wrapped up in it that I forget to think of the flip side of the coin.
I’m mad that patient’s get forgotten & left out to dry with invisible illnesses. I’m livid that Lyme is being denied by the IDSA/CDC while people are left to suffer or die. These are the things that keep me up at night. In a perfect would I would be like Oprah 2.0 and open a pro-bono clinic where I could give everyone treatment, access to a dietician, a therapist, and all the detox/pain relief devices you could imagine. I daydream about winning the lottery one day and doing just that. Even if God willing I am healed of these dreadful illnesses, my heart will never walk way from advocacy for one simple reason: the patients. So many of you have touched my heart in ways I cant express, and I’d never be that person who got well and forgot. Quite the contrary, if I was healthier I would do more because I wouldn’t be so sick, exhausted & running on fumes like I am now.
But for now I am here in life. I am just a patient, with a blog, doing what I can. And for that, I am proud. I am over the moon at the success of this event, and just how wonderful and gratifying this entire experience was. The final count was $11,800 worth of items which were donated & distributed to over 320 winners!
So I would like to end this post by saying a heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every donor who selflessly gave their products to this Giveaway to help make the lives of 300+ people that much brighter. And I want to Thank my generous Sponsors who believed in my vision and invested their money into this Giveaway so that I could afford to ship all the items (some overseas), and pay for those items which couldn't be donated but were desperately requested. Knowing that these Sponsors had that faith in me is what kept me going throughout it all. So, thank you Hopkinton Drug, LymeWell, Kings Daughters Medical Center & Deerbusters.
If you were one of the winners and have a photo of your winnings that you can share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send it via a DM on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and if you have a little blurb to share about the item then I'd love to hear that too! I won't include your full name, but I wanted to make a little collage! So please do send me that if you are able! I know that many of you have posted photos on social media to share items and thank you SO much for those!
I am happy to say that this Giveaway has opened up some doors for more Giveaway items here & there throughout the summer, so keep an eye out for that! For now I am going to take a mini break from this blog to rest & recoup! I will still be around, but if it takes me longer to reply to an email or see a social media post/message then please know thats why! I'm just giving myself a little extra TLC :)