This is the first of a monthly series recognizing the “SHEroes” who have touched my life.
I often wonder why bad things happen to good people. Actually, it infuriates me when bad things happen to good people! We’ve all heard the saying, “things happen for a reason” or “you’re never given more than you can handle.” ARGH! That’s tough to believe when you’re in the midst of a challenging situation.
Sometimes people come into your life at the exact moment you need them and you don’t even know. Eleven years ago, I was two weeks into a brand-new job and my dad had just been diagnosed with cancer. To say I was feeling lost would be an understatement. It was also at that time when I was introduced to an incredible woman named Cheryl Kravitz.
I was at a work event where we were training domestic violence survivors to be part of a speakers bureau. Cheryl was perfectly put together, had a huge smile on her face and when I went to shake her hand, she pulled me in for a hug. It’s almost like she knew I needed a hug at that very moment! You could feel the warmth and positive vibes radiating from her.
I assumed Cheryl was an advocate there to show support. That was until she shared her story of survivor to thriver…and I learned not to judge a book by its cover.
Cheryl wrote a powerful op-ed for The Washington Post. Click here to read her story of surviving an abusive marriage and how speaking up can change a life.
Cheryl is a journalist, advocate, mother, mentor, dear friend and a survivor of both domestic violence and breast cancer. Yes – she faced two devils and emerged victorious. She did this all while continuing to help raise awareness and funding for both causes. Did I mention she worked for the Red Cross and has been a board member of the Governor’s Maryland Family Violence Council, the Family Justice Center Foundation and the Maryland Network to End Domestic Violence…just to name a few.
What’s even more impressive is how Cheryl has harnessed the power of positive thinking and intention.
We all know the story of Glinda the Good Witch telling Dorothy that she “had the power all along.” Sometimes we need someone else to remind us of that notion. You see, instead of feeling sorry for herself when she was heading into the hospital for cancer treatments and surgery, Cheryl handed out magic wands to friends, family and even hospital staff. Friends across the country bought their own magic wands and together, we all wished for health and recovery.
And you know what – it worked! It may sound simple but it takes extreme strength to turn a tragic time into one of unity and empowerment. That’s who Cheryl is – she is a leader and an inspiration. My older daughter still has the wand we bought to help heal Miss Cheryl.
We are stronger together!
Click here to read more about Cheryl’s power of the wand in the Washingtonian.
The more I got to know her over the years, the more Cheryl’s beautiful and supportive spirit shined brighter. She was a constant support during my dad’s cancer battle and passing and she also reached out to my mom through social media to show her support. Whenever I am having a challenging time a note seems to pop up from Cheryl with a positive thought to remind me to tap into my strengths and believe in myself. I swear she has a sixth sense!
In fact, Cheryl was recently in town for a business trip. She knew I was going through a tough time and went out of her way to listen to me and be there as a friend and mentor. And she also brought me a fabulous gift called a Damnit Doll.
Whenever you’re feeling upset or frustrated, you can take it all out on the doll. Trust me – it helps!!!
Cheryl is the definition of a SHEroe. A beautiful soul who is a selfless inspiration to others. Every time I grasp my magic wand and close my eyes to make a wish, I think of Cheryl…and also when I take out my aggression on my Damnit Doll!
Cheryl’s friendship has changed my life and I have no doubt she has touched more lives than she can even count. Next time you see a magic wand lying around, pick it up and feel your own strength course through it, and I am positive you’ll also feel your spirit lift.
Who are some of the SHEroes in your life?
To support economic empowerment for survivors of domestic violence and learn more about how to break the cycle of violence, visit www.PurplePurse.com and to support cancer research and resources, please visit www.AmericanCancerSociety.org.