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Together We Shine Brighter- the Collaboration Will Save Us- May I Help You?

“Good leaders are scarce because the majority of people are followers. Let’s stop thinking and acting like helpless victims, rise up, and become leaders.”  James Allen

On Sunday, I participated as a Love Button Ambassador with Thumbs Up as a part of #10daysofconnections with Radical Partners at a screening at Coral Gables Cinema of the documentary called May I Help You?. The Radical Partner’s (The Children’s Trust, MCCJ, The Miami Foundation, The United Way and The Miami Herald)  10 Days of Connections campaign challenges everyone to step out of their comfort zones and connect with people who are not like them, in whatever way they are ready.  Over the course of 10 days, over 100 organizations join together to co-host this initiative, offering dozens of opportunities to increase connectivity across lines of differences. Go to for more info.  Essentially, it challenges us all to become leaders in our community by getting out of our own way and moving outside our comfort zones to look for ways to collaborate with other dreamers and great thinkers.

And I, representing the Love Button, a symbol of the power of love to ignite a global conversation in healing our world, set out to connect with Thumbs Up and had the distinct pleasure to meet Kerry Gruson, Ricardo Cookson and her team. Kerry, who in 1974, as a 26-year-old cub reporter, was interviewing a former Green Beret about his Vietnam War days. In a PTSD flashback, he was convinced she was a member of the Viet Cong, attempted to strangle her and left her for dead in her Wakiki hotel room. The attack left her unable to move her legs, limited her arm movement, rendered her voice whisperlike and cocked her head permanently to one side — the result of oxygen deprivation to the brain. Amazingly, the attack left her intellect intact. She went on to become a New York Times writer — and with the help of her mother, Flora Lewis, the famed New York Times columnist, wrote a piece about the incident in the Sunday Times magazine.

To escape the cold, she moved to Miami in 1976 where she met Cristina Ramirez–and the seeds of Thumbs Up International were planted. The Documentary May I Help You? by Julio Mendez was 20 minutes of pure inspiration. As Kerry stated at the end in the Q&A, “It was step by step that her mission and vision came together.” As a leader, with her endurance to push past her limitations and challenges, she points out that each of us has different abilities, different dreams and different destinations, yet we all have the power to make a new tomorrow at anytime. Cristina and Kerry’s non profit focuses on pairing athletes across all abilities to race in triathlons, marathons, and Iron Man. It seeks to educate young people on the importance of fitness, inclusivity and teamwork, a mission that is so important and timely.

And herein lies the message that I received, passing it along to all the would be leaders out there reading this!

The Dreamers are the Redeemers of our World!!! Kerry is a Dreamer and a Visionary, but it took her connection with Cristina to give the dream wings. It takes connections, by all of us collaborating, to make many of the greatest dreams today a reality.

I am a Dreamer and Visionary. I had a dream to walk El Camino de Santiago. It took my connection with Heidi Siefkas, a consummate adventure traveler to make it happen. It took a group of 17 who said yes to see it through, and it took the inspiration and love of each person along the way and a love button to give me the impetus to get to the lighthouse at the end of the journey where I found great peace.

You are also a Dreamer and Visionary. In life there are so many possibilities. So much that we can all do when we work together. It is in the collaboration based and founded in love that will save us all. First, we must ask for help. Believe that our dreams are possible. And Receive what it is that we need to make it a reality.  And in turn, it is certain that we all can be leaders who make a difference in our corner of the world.  Kerry has many challenges but she certainly is not a helpless victim. Just meeting all of those in her corner as they set out to change the world one race at a time, one person at a time, step by step, you cannot help but be inspired to become a leader in your own rite and seek out a team of your own!

It was a magical day of connecting the Love Button’s vision with a huge Thumbs Up! and I would encourage each one of you to take a look at the documentary below and see for yourself what magic lies in moving outside your comfort zone! Also, on Monday, May 14th at 8pm Est, join me for a Facebook Live on Awakening Creativity on the Road to Santiago. You’ll soon be inspired to gather your own creative team together to make your dreams a reality if you do!

Also a video made by Cristina Ramirez’s 12 year old son about racing with Kerry- sure to make you smile!


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