They say only a few friends come and don’t go; and, as I’m getting older, I’m beginning to see a lot of truth behind that statement. I firmly believe that every person who comes into your life serves some purpose, even if they don’t stay in your life forever. But, the people that do stay, those are the few people whom you hold a special place in your heart for, regardless of where life’s journey leads. Below is a speech I gave at my good friend’s retirement party a few months back. She may be living a thousand miles away in Florida now, but she will forever and always be my true north.

When I was nine years old, I had the pleasure of meeting Marie, my occupational therapist, for the very first time. Being a young girl, therapy was always my least favorite part of the day, but there was something different every time Marie came to my house. She was lively, energetic, and really knew how to put a smile on my face. To everyone that knows how Marie acts, this probably doesn’t come as a shocker to you. If anyone is going to be the one to brighten up your day, it’s going to be Marie. And, although I didn’t realize it then, Marie was going to become a lifelong friend that would change my life forever.

After our first year together, I gave Marie a homemade thank you card to tell her how much I appreciated her services and friendship. Impressed by my artistic skills, she suggested I start designing and selling my own greeting cards to raise money for SMA. Although I was hesitant to the idea, I decided to give it a whirl. I took Marie’s advice and believed in the confidence she had for me, and the rest pretty much became history. I ended up going down the greeting cards and calendars route for 7 years, raising around 50,000 dollars for research on my disease. It was then when I discovered my passion for fundraising, and, through different fundraising efforts, I have presently raised around 95,000 dollars. It’s amazing to think that one little thank you note to a special woman opened up the door to my future of fundraising for SMA. Looking back, I really owe it all to her.

Marie, thank you so much for always believing in me. You have always given me the courage to have faith in myself, and look where it has taken me. My life just wouldn’t be the same had we never met. Thank you for your guidance, your friendship, your support, your weekly maple frosted donuts, and most importantly, your love. I know you’ve said I’ve changed your life, but you’ve honestly changed mine even more. I’m so glad our lives crossed paths, and that we’ve become such close friends. No matter where life takes me, I will always keep you in my heart and will never forget all of the crazy, wonderful times we’ve had together.

Now that you have headed south to settle in your new home, just remember that you will forever remain my true north. No one will ever share a bond like the two of us have, and I can’t quite say enough how lucky I am to have someone like you in my life. Love you to the moon and back.”


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