Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pat Smith honors Second Chances

Pat Smith’s personal journey and setbacks have made her the person she is today and through her charity, Treasure You, she is helping other women find a renewed sense of power and purpose. This past Saturday, Pat Smith’s Treasure You celebrated women from Dallas and across the country who have overcome adversity. Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts was the keynote speaker, sharing the challenges and fighting spirit she used to overcome cancer.  I walked into the Hyatt Regency ballroom and felt like I had been transported to the set of Oprah. This production was not only enjoyed by the 100 or so guests who were there by personal invitation, it was streamed live on the internet and filmed for a future "sizzle reel". Spotted in the crowd were Mayor Mike Rawlings and his wife Micki, Dawn Neufeld, Bishop TD Jakes, Shon Gables, Faye Briggs and Kay Hammond.

Sarah Jakes, Sybrina Fulton, Antoinette Tuff and Cindi Broaddus

National honorees included:

  • Cindi Broaddus – Dr. Phil's sister-in-law who was transformed by tragedy when an unknown assailant threw a gallon–sized jar full of sulphuric acid off an overpass and through the windshield of her car
  • Wendy Davis – Texas gubernatorial candidate who began working at the age of 14 to support her family, and as teenage mother, became the first in her family to attend college, eventually graduating from Harvard Law School
  • Sybrina Fulton - Mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin who has become an advocate for families of crime victims, raising awareness of racial and gender profiling and educating youth on conflict resolution techniques to reduce deadly confrontations
  • Sarah Jakes – Daughter of The Potter’s House Bishop T.D. Jakes who has shared her own deep to personal setbacks, including teenage pregnancy and divorce, to help women transform their circumstances
  • Antoinette Tuff – Atlanta school bookkeeper whose heroism and compassion prevented a mass school shooting
Marla Avery, Pat Smith, Robin Roberts, LaToya Brown, Amy Munoz

Three local women were also honored for overcoming adversity:
  • LaToya Brown - By the age of 12, LaToya was pregnant
 with her first child. Verbally, emotionally and physically abused throughout her childhood, LaToya refused to give up on herself. By the time she was in high school, she had suffered homelessness, and was a single mother to three children. Yet, despite her circumstances, LaToya knew her future would hold great things. With the help of a counselor, she graduated in the top 10% of her class, and went on to college. She earned her Master’s Degree and will soon graduate with a Doctorate. 
  • Amy Munoz - Thirty-nine and a half weeks into her pregnancy, Amy and Alex Muzon received devastating news that their unborn daughter, Kaitlyn Sophia Munoz, had passed. The autopsy showed no defects, no cause of death. One out of 160 pregnancies ends in stillbirth. Amy was instantly surrounded by family and friends, began writing a blog and became an advocate for mothers of stillborn children. She clung to her faith in God, knowing He was going to use this for His perfect plan.
  • Marla Avery - A routine eye exam brought a diagnosis of cancer of Marla's eye. Her sense of humor and deep faith in God would be the base in which Marla would find the peace she needed to overcome surgery that required removing her left eye. Eventually, Marla got a beautiful eye replacement, and God gave her the strength to tell others about her journey. However, she did not know then that her journey was just beginning. Seven weeks after the birth of her first child in 2009, Marla was informed that her cancer spread to her liver. Her grace and faith gave her the courage to fight through the painful treatments. Marla is now in remission and is a true testament to overcoming!

Pat relishes a compliment from Robin Roberts. 

One of the day's funniest moments came when Robin Roberts complimented Pat on her hosting skills. Pat threw up her arms (see above photo) and said, "Robin thinks I'm good y'all!!!"  Looking at Robin she said, "Maybe we could do a show together - the Pat & Robin Show."  Robin stood up, walked to the front of the stage, cocked an eyebrow and said, "If we did, it would be called the Robin & Pat Show."  Needless to say the entire room erupted in applause and laughter.  I mentioned earlier in this post that this event was filmed and that a sizzle reel would be produced from the footage. For those of you who don't know what that means, let me 'splain. A  sizzle reel is a professional video clip that you shop around to networks to pitch a show idea. Maybe the Robin & Pat Show isn't such a crazy idea after all?!

According to the show's co-producer Rhonda Sargent Chambers with RSC Productions, the event received 3.9 million hashtag hits on Twitter and it was the #1 web-streaming show for 2 ½ hours on YouTube. Congrats to Pat on all the buzz! Learn more about how Treasure You is providing women with second chances and how you can help at TreasureYou.org.