On November 25th I had an email from a representative of Glaxo Smith Kline letting me know that Macleans wanted to sponsor my trip to the Aussie Bloggers Conference in Sydney. They had learned of my story from reading the blog of a friend of mine -- a friend who was walking that path with me -- and they wanted to help.
November 25th also coincided with Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., a day when we gather together with loved ones to give thanks for the blessings in our lives.
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In the end, between the money donated by an incredible circle of bloggy friends and the tickets purchased by GSK, my children and I were able to fly to Sydney for the conference. It was a dream come true.
On the Friday before the conference, GSK put on a beautiful event at the Arthouse Hotel in downtown Sydney. They wanted to meet a cross-section of mummy-bloggers who were attending the conference and introduce them to several of the GSK brands, including Macleans, Sensodyne, Pronamel, Panadol, Ribena and Nicabate.
I was a little intimidated by seeing my face splashed all over the place. I've never been the focus of an event before. While the guests arrived I was whisked upstairs and treated to cocktails and a massage. The cocktail was even named after me! I promise this won't all go to my head.
I was nervous about giving a speech, but when I walked in the room and saw, for the first time, the faces of so many of the incredible women I'd been corresponding with over the last year, I simply felt overwhelmed with joy. I saw Lori and she ran up to me and we embraced for a long time. The room went quiet and we both just held each other and cried.
I spoke about my experience with blogging and how it has been such a saving grace for me. One of the reasons it has meant so much to me to come to Sydney, is that it gave me the opportunity to thank, in person, the women who supported me and offered me comfort during the darkness of the last eight months.
I also spoke about the potential I saw in the Australian blogging community. There is so much opportunity right now, enough to go around for everyone. One person's success does not take away from anyone else, it only enhances the blog community as a whole, which serves all of us. I hope we can all support each other, whether our blogs are large or small, whether we have 1,000 followers or 10, and I wish for everyone much success, however each of us defines that.
The only thing that could have made it even better would have been if more people were able to attend. It was a small venue with limited space and GSK had to work within those constraints. I was thrilled to share the evening with those who were able to attend.
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I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here. I am so grateful to Macleans and Glaxo Smith Kline. I know they are looking for opportunities to work with other bloggers and I can't recommend them highly enough. They were consistently polite, respectful and generous in all their dealings with me. They took the time to read my blog and get to know me.
I have a giveaway coming up of GSK products. That will be my next post. Stay tuned!
Here are some highlights from the event. You can see all the photos here: