Today was a very exciting day for me, as I became an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Playa Coronado :-), thanks to fellow rotarians in Peterborough, (Ontario, Canada).
I’ve been dancing around Rotary for a number of years now, having been to many meetings as a guest and even attending an international Rotary conference in Spain at one point. Now I am an official Rotarian and am very proud of that fact!
Having started a very unofficial little volunteer group in Panama called Volunteers in Panama about three and a half years ago, I began a wheelchair project with Sharina Jones, who was visiting Panama to see how to raise awareness for wheelchairs in the country. Cat Mandell had become friends with Sharina and her husband Grover and recognized the need for us to connect, and boy oh boy did we! However, the wheelchair project quickly became a large one and we were at a crossroads as to how to help it move forward.
Meanwhile, Jackie Kendziorek was talking about starting a Rotary Club in Coronado, Panama and I told her briefly about our project. Then came the big C diagnosis a year ago and I was then swept off my feet onto this new ‘journey’ and this different direction than I had planned for. When my girlfriends asked what they could do for me, I said “please help to bring this project to fruition and make it happen – get the wheelchairs to the people of Panama who need them”….and they did :-). They shared the details with Jackie, the Rotary Club of Playa Coronado was born and the Wheelchair Project was their first project. Wow, do they know how to get things done! Over 300 wheelchairs have been delivered to Panama and I was there to help distribute some of them – what an amazing and fulfilling feeling that was!
This morning we gathered in my hospital room: Brenda Booth, Teresa Cosentino, Liz Lewis Woosey all of the Rotary Club of Peterborough-Kawartha and my husband, Kirk Johnson. I was inducted as the first and only Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Playa Coronado, given a pin for ‘Women in Rotary’ and a pin from the international conference in Sydney. We WhatsApp’d with Jackie, as she read me an emotional dedication that truly brought me to tears. It was beautiful – the whole thing.
Tomorrow will be the ONE YEAR birthday for the Rotary Club of Playa Coronado and I am so grateful and proud to say that I am now a member of this awesome club! The universe works in very interesting ways, as is it not amazing that I am now having to use a wheelchair to get around? I can only imagine the gratitude each recipient of those wheelchairs is feeling. The freedom it gives not only the user of the wheelchair, but the caregivers as well.
I am truly blessed. Thank you Jackie, Brenda, Liz, Teresa and everyone who made this happen!