Normally, I don’t make a big deal about birthdays. They come and go each year; but, this year is special, and I wanted to write you all and tell you why. If you’ve been following us at The Lily Project, I’m sure you’ve heard a little about me. As you know, the name Lily came from my mother who passed away from cervical cancer in 2008. In 2013, when we first thought of a way to help women in Nicaragua overcome this terrible disease, it was a BIG dream. And you all know about dreams: they come and go. But you know what? This dream stuck around, and it turned into a reality.
As of July 2017, we’ve served over 5,000 women. We accomplished that with just one small team over a two-year period. Of those 5,000 women, we saved more than 120 lives by delivering a simple low-resource therapy to them directly in their villages. And I’m not talking about just a couple of villages. We’ve visited and developed relationships with ladies, young and old, in more than 60 villages throughout Northern Nicaragua. That means more than 10,000 women and girls have been exposed to the sexual health and empowerment education we’ve delivered as well. Now, as we roll into 2018, we’ve added a new team, and we’re expecting to double these achievements over the next year.
So what does all this have to do with birthdays? Well, on September 28th, I will turn 29. Yes, the infamous last year of my 20’s. Everyone has told me that this final year of a special decade will bring reflection and change as I prepare for my 30’s. Well, its true…and it has already begun! When I think about the thousands of women I’ve encountered –so very similar to my mother- and I think about the hundreds that have been saved, I’m so thankful to have this opportunity to give back, to help, to reach out to the ones in need. Most importantly, I’m grateful to have the support of all of you. You all have made this dream into a reality. While my hands have been busy, your open hearts have been full of love and support for my people -the women and girls of my country- and you have enabled me to carry out our mission to save the ones in need. I know at times its not easy. The world is a big place. Yet, you all have been there for me. I cannot thank you enough, and I look forward to sharing the great things we’ll accomplish together over the next decade.