Hello, Largo Patch readers.
I'm Sarah Dees, and I'll be your writer for this blog.
I already write about visual arts in the Tampa Bay area on Examiner.com. I write about events and local artists. So why write a blog for Largo Patch?
Well, I was invited to, for one thing. For another, I've got a lot of experience and at this point in my life, a few relevant things to say. The most important reason is that this blog allows me to write not only as a reporter, but in the first person. I can be personal. I will be.
I care about our community and I am passionate about what I do. Throughout my career, I've always volunteered my time and resources, to benefit children, the arts and artists, the environment and health-related causes. I'm always working, but even to the chagrin of my family, I have given away at least half of my time, rather than selling it. Whether painting backdrops and making props for a children's dance show or play, teaching free art classes, rounding up a team of high school students to make art to raffle as a Relay for Life team or now writing. I can always find something I need to do that doesn't result in a paycheck for me.
That hasn't been the most important consideration, although of course, I need money. We all have to pay our bills. I have always felt that things are connected, though, in some intangible way. Life is not tit for tat. I don't think we always have to give with one hand, while holding out the other expecting something immediately in return. I just like to put the good out there hoping to make a small contribution to the universe. In my endless optimism, I think it will come back around eventually. Maybe it is my inner child, remembering my mother's advice, to "do something constructive."
Not long ago, I felt bone weary. I was working in a corporate job where mediocrity and doing the bare minimum was all that I could see around me. It seemed that people didn't care about anybody else or didn't even care about doing anything excellent for themselves. I wondered why being average or less than had become the status quo.
But I'll explain how things are connected. I wrote an article about an artist friend to help him promote his new gallery. When I interviewed him at his gallery event, I met the Communications Officer of the Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation. She liked my article and invited me to attend the Magnolia Ball coming up in May, so that I could write about the event. When I went to the fundraising ball for Moffitt I met the most amazing people who have truly inspired me.
I was honored to meet H. Lee Moffitt and his lovely wife Diane. Although I have been a patient at the hospital and I have been treated there by an excellent doctor and his team, who were wonderful to me, I had no idea of the cancer center's history. At the Magnolia Ball, I learned about how one man, H. Lee Moffitt, made such a huge personal contribution toward creating this facility that has been of such help to me. I saw that Lee Moffitt and so many other people there that evening were still trying their best every day to pursue excellence in their work and in their lives. I saw that they didn't let cancer stop them and I am not letting cancer stop me either.
I'm still struggling financially to get back on my feet after cancer treatment and still trying to get a decent job with a paycheck. But I've been able to do some good work to make a difference. I've been helping my fellow artists. Now I'm adding another title, as the Tampa Bay Cancer Examiner. I'll have a new feature coming out very soon, to write about the Magnolia Ball and the good work that Moffitt Cancer Center is doing. I'll be writing about resources to help cancer patients in our community and human interest stories, to help people understand the reality of life for people affected by cancer. I want to write about the lives of people who need help this very minute and I know it's out there somewhere- if I can make the connection.
We can all do something. It can be overwhelming, when you look around and see problems everywhere. You might not know where to start or what to do. People ask me what they can do. So I say, "What is your passion? What do you care about?" Just do one thing constructive for something you care about. That one thing will lead to the next thing you can do. Then let me know what you did. I'll write about it. We'll be connected.
Contact Sarah Dees at email@example.com.