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NYC & Orlando

Jet setting is one of my favorite things to do and this past weekend was full of it!! After work on Wednesday last week my family (minus Chad) and I headed to the airport for NYC!! We were all super excited and couldn't wait to get there! Thursday morning we woke up excited for the day ahead. Alex and Dad were going to watch a taping of the Regis and Kelly show. For those that don't know this my sister looooove Regis, which is even Dooley's middle name! Once she heard that I had this trip planned to go to the Big Apple she said there was no way she wasn't going, she had to see Regis before he retired; and that wish came true. While Mom and I headed to the set of Anderson Coopers new talk show! The show we watched be filmed that day was about fears and conquering them. So if you see that on the descriptions on your DVR for his show tape it because you might see mom and I on there. Oh plus we were still in there taping when Alex and Dad got done and they were able to come in and be apart of the audience too! For the rest of that day we just wondered around NYC and trying to learn the whole subway system (yeah we never got that down). We tried to go and see the memorials for the World Trade Center but I was informed by the local policemen that you had to have tickets to go and see them and that there is a month and a half wait for them. So needless to say we didn't get to see that, but we did get to see the construction and rebuilding going on. I had heard that down by the WTC it's quiet and it's true. There is still hustle and bustle going on down there but it's's strange....but it's peaceful. After all of our walking around and site seeing, we wanted to see a Broadway show but we were all so pooped that we headed back to the hotel.

Friday morning I got ready, got in a taxi and headed to the Lasker Awards! I walked in the door and was greeted by the Lasker staff, before I said who the young lady working behind the check in table said Hello Mandy, we are so happy you were able to make it and then handed me my name badge to wear. Then another Lasker girl walked up and knew where I was from and told me about her family that lived close by. Then I was shown into the cocktail hour location. All of these doctors, scientist, political figures and other high status names were mingling around the room but I was in pursuit to find Dr.Gallin. Once I found him I was introduced to his wife, whom after 21 years I've never met and she was such a nice woman. Then I was introduced to other colleagues and doctors. *Side note: Have you ever been in a room and known that you were literally the dumbest person there?? That was me!!! I mean I know without a doubt I was.* At noon the lunch bell chimed and we were all taken into a ballroom set up for the lunch and awards ceremony. Lunch was wonderful but the awards were the best part. Sitting there listening to what people are trying to discover to try to make this world a better and more healthy place to live was amazing. There were three awards given out that day. The first was for Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award given to Franz-Ulrich Hartl and Arthur Horwich (Hartl is with Max Planck Institute in Germany and Horwich is with Yale University). They received this award for discoveries concerning the cell's protein-folding machinery, exemplified by cage-like structures that convert newly made proteins into their biologically active forms. Yeah I'm not sure really what that means but from what I gather it's a big deal. The next Lasker was the DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award given to Tu Youyou (from China) for her discovery of artemisinin, a drug therapy for malaria that has saved millions of lives across the globe, especially in the developing world. Her acceptance speech was pretty neat because she said the whole thing in Chinese. They had given us all her speech written in English as a hand out but I didn't even try to follow along, I just tried to take it all in. Then the last (and my favorite) award was given. The Bloomberg Public Service Award (which is named after Mayor Bloomberg, who came and gave a speech about his award) and this was given to The Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health (YAAAAAAAY) for serving since its inception as a model research hospital — providing innovative therapy and high-quality patient care, treating rare and severe diseases, and producing outstanding physician-scientists whose collective work has set a standard of excellence in biomedical research. Before the winners accepted their award someone would get up and explain why they won the award that they had won, and during this part for the NIH and as they announced the winner, I saw Dr.Gallin take his glasses off and wipe a way tears from his eyes, which of course made tears come to my eyes! I've never seen the man cry, it was so touching. I am so proud of him and the NIH. I was so honored to be able to be asked to come and be apart of the awards ceremonies. (I can't think about that right now, I'm at work and I'll start to cry and I can't do that). Like I said in my last blog, God had all of this in His plan and only He knew about it. I'm beyond blessed for God giving me Dr.Gallin, his team and the NIH.

Friday afternoon my family and I headed back to the airport but only dad was flying back to Atlanta. Mom, Alex and I flew to Orlando to meet up with Candace (Cameron Bure) and her daughter Natasha. Candace is the spokesperson for the NHOH. The NHOH is "is a non-denominational, not-for-profit organization established to serve as a catalyst to the development of a network of Houses of Hope, Christian residential programs for troubled teenagers, across the country and internationally. This work is based upon Biblical principles, proven to provide both workable and successful solutions in restoring troubled teens and their families, resulting in these teens becoming solid citizens and effective, contributing members of society. National House of Hope provides training, consulting, guidance in resource development and serves as a communications network in the establishment of Houses of Hope by those who share this vision." (description is from their website). Every year they hold a Fashion Show fundraiser. Where everything is donated and the kids from the NHOH model and work the run way. Mom had gotten the chance to go last year; after hearing the stories I couldn't wait to go! The fashion show was loads of fun but I loved seeing what they do there. Helping their fellow man. Seeing some of these teens you would never know that they struggled with addiction or suffered from abuse or any other struggle that teens their age should know about. Listening to their stories breaks your heart but then seeing them being healed and becoming new in a way that only the Lord could do was amazing! Hopefully I'll get to go back soon and spend some more time there. The rest of the weekend was a girls weekend for the 5 of us. We even got to go to Epcot for a few hours before our flights on Sunday!

All and all our trip was great! Although the one thing I will say is that NYC has to be the most unhandicap accessible place ever! Which is really hard for me to believe. It's one of the biggest cities with a ton of tourist so you would think it would be accommodating, but NOT so much! I kept thinking how do handicap people that live here get around?? But once I started to think about it, I only ever saw 1 other person in a wheelchair! Which is craziness to me! Other than that the trip was wonderful and I'm so honored and blessed to be apart of both events!

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