My life Leanne was the master of ceremonies and did an amazing job. Her ability to transition from subject to subject and make everything entertaining is very impressive. I certainly would not have been able to do it. All I had to do was tell my diabetes story and explain why I loved the Tour De Cure so much. I was speaking from experience so I had nothing to think about, I lived what I was saying so it rolled of my tongue very easily. Leanne had to study what she would speak about, learn all of the figures and at the same time be able to keep people engaged. Again she did an amazing job and I give her a lot of credit for doing what she did.
When I’m asked to share my story in front of a crowd I have a note card with very basic notes to keep me on track, other than that it all comes from the heart. This may explain why I get so nervous leading up to my speech. Without having anything on paper my brain goes through the ten years of diabetes abuse, my time in the hospital, and everything that has happened in my second chance at life. As my wife and I drove up I informed her that I wanted to record my speech so I could hear myself speak and critique how I had spoken. I believed that this would make me a much better speaker in the future and give me that extra little kick in the butt to make my speeches perfect. In true Ryan Noonan fashion I was introduced to the crowd and not ready to go on. I had not setup my phone to record my speech, before going up to speak I had a good amount of people looking at me as I setup my phone. If I was sitting in the crowd I would think to myself this is the guy that is going to tell us about diabetes and why the Tour is so great. He’s more worried about his phone than speaking. I’m an odd odd person but when I began to speak everything felt really good, I had an odd calmness as I spoke. When I finished up I returned to my table and hoped that I had connected with the people I had just spoken too. As the event finished up it was nice to speak with a good number of the people in attendance. Matthew Netto the director of the Rhode Island Tour did an amazing job in setting up the event. I would say that Matt runs one of the best tours in the country and that we are very lucky to have in Rhode Island.
As I began to write today’s blog I started to think about my speech. A few people came up to me after the event and said that my speech was good to hear. Today I was still wondering if I had connected with anyone in the crowd, did my words really make a difference. Then I checked my email and got the best email I have ever gotten. I had connected with someone, I’m helping people with and without diabetes and that is all I want when I speak. Below is the email that I received, I can’t explain the emotion that overcame me as I read it.
My niece, who was helping at check-in last night, put on her FB page that she wants to find a cure for diabetes. I asked her why now after all these years of volunteering. She said “I don’t know, but something about that guy (Ryan) pulled at my heart. He was so emotional and truthful. And Rose was so shy, but stood up in front of all those people.”
I realize now that I have sheltered her from my diabetes even though it has always been as Ryan calls it “The Elephant in the Room”. I think in all her life, I have only had 3 low blood sugar in front of her that were corrected easily (no mood swings, uncontrollable shakes, or passing out). I may have had to ask her to get me a glass of juice or regular soda (there are always 3 cans in the fridge marked Sugar Fix). Also, her next door neighbor who is 18, is constantly being rushed to the hospital by ambulance because of her diabetes. So last night she connected all the dots with Ryan’s open and honest story.
We always talk about reaching that one person in the room. I just never thought it would be my niece. We all learn something new every day. I learned to see diabetes through the eyes of a 17 year old girl (purple hair and all) who is always around diabetes, but did not understand the personal side of the disease. Until last night.