After a two day journey to the center of the new women’s movement, packaged and delivered with style by Maria Shriver, First Lady, activist, global everywoman, I have returned to my life, stimulated, motivated, changed.
I left Long Beach, California, with 25,000 women (and a few token men) feeling the need for a cup of tea, a good, long nap and time to process what I had experienced -- speakers from around the globe sharing stories so personal they felt familiar. Brand name stars shed the cloaks of their celebrity and made us feel like they had come for an intimate chat, right there, with us. Platforms shared by power women -- one with the ability to shift the world’s economic freefall; the other a survivor of a childhood sold to the sex trade of Cambodia -- both having a lot to say about the state of women in this world and leading the kind of exemplary lives that will make a difference to so many more beyond themselves.
The deep well of loss, grief, healing and resilience was another topic illuminated on the Arena stage, as Maria poignantly shared her own difficult journey through grief in the days following the death of her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Her words resonated powerfully with so many women who have experienced loss in its many forms.
I am one of those women, a daughter of a parent whose mind has been lost to Alzheimer’s disease. I am bound together with millions of other daughters around the globe. Our shared responsibility, as Architects of Change, is to advocate and motivate our national legislators to fund the research path that will lead to Alzheimer’s survivorship. We have role models: other great women standing in front of devastating diseases (breast cancer, AIDS, heart disease) and getting the job done.
Come be a part of this change we are creating in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease. For those of you who live in or near Los Angeles, we invite you to join ‘Maria’s A-team’ at the LA Memory Walk on Sunday morning, November 1 in downtown Los Angeles. For additional information, please go to www.alz.org/mariasateam
Change is in each of us, every day.
As Chair of The Judy Fund, Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns works to ignite public awareness and involvement in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease. To date, The Judy Fund, created in memory of Elizabeth’s mother Judy Gelfand, has raised and granted close to $4 million dollars to support Alzheimer’s research and advocacy in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association. A former Sr. Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Universal Pictures, Elizabeth Gelfand left her post in April, 2004 to manage The Judy Fund.
Join Maria’s A-Team at the LA Memory Walk in downtown Los Angeles this Sunday, November 1, 2009. Sign up or make a donation at www.alz.org/mariasateam
Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns was a speaker at A Day of Transformation.