changing lives

Yesterday I attended the RIDBC Changing Lives Luncheon with special guest speaker Michelle Bridges, in my hometown of Newcastle for an amazing charity organisation.

My BFF Grace McLean is RIDBC’s Community Relationships Manager in the Hunter which basically means she builds & sustains relationships and community partnerships with individuals and businesses in the area that help support (through charitable foundation) the core work that the
Royal Institute of Deaf & Blind Children do (inc childhood education and socialisation through face-to-face and technology-driven schooling, family support and new technology development for things like iPad Apps to support communication).

Gracie secured Michelle Bridges, my fitness mentor through the 12WBT program, as the special guest speaker. (I’d like to think that I had a tiny part to play in getting her since she dropped my details about my 12WBT journey when sending the request!!!).

Neen & I drove up from Sydney and arrived just in time for the 12.30 lunch. The weather fortunately didn’t get the “winter” memo because the sun was shining, it was 28°C and the vast glistening Pacific ocean stretched out the blue horizon in front of the Merewether Surfhouse. It was beautiful.

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Mike Rabbitt, a local TV sports reporter MC’d the event. He was commanding, genuine, engaging and funny. The CEO of RIDBC Chris Rehn gave a short overview of the organisation’s history, values and the work they do in the Australian community.

Mike Rabbitt (Far Left) with the NBN News anchors

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Gracie & CEO Chris Rehn

After settling into our meal of either salmon with beans & cauliflower mash or roast chicken with vegetables, the first speaker was a beautiful woman and mother of four (!!!) Rachel Cooper, who spoke of her son that has a hearing impairment. Their daily lives have been significantly changed for the better through the work that RIDBC do. It was an interesting and heartfelt story.

Mish Bridges talking while sitting because of her hamstring surgery last week. She’s a machine!

I’m not sure how long Mish actually spoke for but time seemed to stop. This is a woman I am influenced by every.single.day…I am following her workouts or cooking her recipes or watching her videos or reading her Facebook posts or tweets. I’ve seen her a few times; at 12WBT workouts and events and at the Fairfax office when I was doing a project there, but to be so close to her was just awesome! It’s strange though how you can know someone and they don’t have a clue who you are! She directly impacts my life and she doesn’t even know it! Also, just so I seem a tad more stalker-ish, Mish and I share the exact same birthday, which I of course told her!

Her talk was about things I’ve heard before through the program, but she’s so engaging, relaxed, funny and inspiring that it was like hearing it for the first time. Her message and her words found a renewed resonance with me. She spoke about how she detests this generation of self-hate. How women (and men) seem to relish putting themselves down. How does that behavior achieve our goals in life; whether its fitness, weightloss or career driven? It’s not OK to tell someone else that they’re a useless disgusting fat pig, so why is it acceptable to talk to ourselves like that (she was using an example of one of the 12WBT clients who had a blog site called ‘bigfatchick’). Mish went on to say our bodies are “perfect”. They react perfectly to the signals and messages that we give them.  If we are giving our bodies messages of high-sugar, over-processed, high-fat food with little exercise it will respond perfectly to that message; it will bloat, retain salt & water, breakout, pack on weight & cellulite. But if we give it messages of wholesome, natural foods with daily exercise, then it will flourish to that message with good intestines, clear skin, optimum weight.

What a perfect message!

[Michelle Bridges via

With Mish’s help, the MC announced the silent auctions, raffle and lucky door prizes which were all donated by amazing Newcastle businesses;

National Australia Bank (NAB) (major sponsor), Merewether Surfhouse (major sponsor), Hearts on Fire, Matthews Jewellers, PeopleFusion, AFRM, Carla Swimwear, Subo, Gorgeous Gowns, Newcastle Herald, Hot Yoga, Natalie Baker Styling, Collette Dinnegan Baby, Endota Spa, Kokum Hair, Sprout Dining, Hot Rock Catering, Intimo, Newcastle Cosmetic Medicine Centre, Fernwood, The Essential Ingredient, ACP Magazines, ActionCOACH, The Greater, The Good Property Girls, ABC Orthodontics, De Lorenzo, Organic Temptations & Bioline Skincare.  

The gift bags were full of vouchers & samples for the above businesses along with some recent magazines (Madison & Australian Women’s Weekly) and some pens and notepads.

I really really wanted a picture with Mish, but she was getting hounded by the gaggle of girls and her Exec Assistant “the gatekeeper” Gisi, was keeping a protective eye on her (crutches and all) so after the prizes were handed out the lunch started to wrap up with Michelle being ushered out. Fortunately for me Gracie took me along to see her out and I scored a private lift ride, a hug and a photo!!!

It was amazing to see Gracie in action; I’ve been to her office many times, but I got to see her run a meaningful event for 200+ people raising some much needed cash for a worthy cause and it was fantastic. My BFF is an amazing woman!  

I think Neen & I floated down the F3 all the way home!!!

Look out 12WBT Round 3 2012, here I come!

***

For more information on RIDBC visit their Facebook page [here].

(All pictures except those sources mentioned otherwise are taken by moi aka Melissa Williams with my htc phone.)

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10 thoughts on “changing lives

  1. She is so wise!
    My twin lives in Sydney and introduced me to her work.
    Very inspiring and motivating!
    Wish I could have been there

  2. Yes it was amazing! Thanks to Melly for giving me an ‘in’.
    “What’s your weigh in…..tell me what’s your weeeeiiiigggghhhh in”

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