Happy beginning of the 2nd month of the year! I cannot believe how quickly 2020 has been blowing by me, already, so please, take a moment, take a breath, and look around you and try to slow down a bit if you’re feeling like this year is zooming by. (Sometimes I should be better about taking my own advice.) As I was unable to make the January meeting, being down with the flu and bronchitis, I asked Past President Karen Jorgensen to write her thoughts regarding our January meeting, which I heard was so moving and impactful.
Ching asked me for some feedback from the January meeting since she was unable to be there because she was so sick. I had to think about it for a few minutes and compose myself because our January program was so emotional and inspiring and left me feeling once again how fortunate I am to be a member of this organization. I would not have had the opportunity to learn about Eileen and Holly Forlenza had it not been through EWI. And what a story they both had to tell.
Eileen may speak for Holly but it’s Holly who tells her story. Holly types on an iPad and has caregivers because she still has small seizures and requires assistance but what an incredible inspiration. She was diagnosed at age 2 with “severe mental retardation” (such an ugly term, I’m so glad we don’t use that anymore). Holly’s family now believe her diagnosis is somewhere on the autism spectrum.
Well, because Holly has Eileen as a mother and has a wonderful family beside her, she has found her “voice” and an encounter with a doctor when she was 22 changed her life in countless ways. As Holly herself says, “No more grape jelly”.
Holly decided she wanted to write a song and so she did. She had met friends because her life had changed so much, and she had known a singer/songwriter named Megan Burtt. Together they used Holly’s lyrics and Megan’s music and Eileen then performed Holly’s song for us, “God Will Sing You Home”. I know I wasn’t the only one who was totally moved by that song. Not only did Eileen have a very melodic voice but the song and the lyrics are beautiful.
Holly is busy writing her autobiography and if you want to learn more about Holly and Eileen, check out her website at HOLLYSPEAKSUP.com.
Past President 2018-2019, Denver Chapter
I hope you are all having a great start to 2020, and I look forward to seeing each one of you at our February meeting at Daniels Fund. Please remember to bring cash for door prizes, but also the 50/50 drawing for the … $20 per ticket. You can find out more information about the 50/50 Raffle in your February 2020 EWI of Denver Connect.
Make it a great week!
President, EWI Denver