In awe. That was me on Saturday night as I absorbed the remarkableness of the human spirit. Hospice Mid-North hosted Battle of the Ballroom. The night was completely fabulous. The room was packed, the energy was electric and the show mind-blowingly fantastic. However, that was not what had me in awe. It was the journey, the personal growth that I saw in my fellow dancers, the incredible commitment of the team and the remarkable dedication of a humble group of beautiful volunteers.
The reason, I surmise, is that we all had a common purpose we were completely committed to. Our focus was to raise funds and awareness of the work of Hospice through a creative medium that would be highly- entertaining. Twelve weeks ago, 16 locals, all of whom were complete amateurs of ballroom, took on the challenge of creating a dance. I don’t think any of us quite appreciated what we had got ourselves into; the work that would be required – literally blood, sweat and tears for some – the time commitment and the resource. We all individually carried the cost of costumes and other resources.
There were personalities that would test our patience, moves that would stretch our physical limits, but mostly, the strength and courage required to step out onto the dance floor and be on show in front of 500 people. There was a real fear here for a number of us.
And this is where the emotion wells up. To sit and observe the bravery of these everyday locals, to watch them perform and really, truly put on a show like no other was breath-taking. I was completely in awe of the beauty, resilience and sheer determination of these people. I could physically see the journey they had undertaken, the mental battles they had overcome to be a star on the night. In short, they personified what it is to give back to their community in a very real and vulnerable way.
I want to take a moment to celebrate our dance teachers – freakin’ amazing – our hair and make-up artists, the runners, the waiters and bar staff, the caterers, the set-up and break-down crew and all the others that made the day such a success. Most of these people were volunteers.
I also want to thank and celebrate our earth angels – the Hospice team. There are only 14 paid employees at Hospice Mid-North; the rest of the team are volunteers. They cover a geographical area that represents a population of about 40,000. They need to raise around $700,000 every year to be effective (45% of their funding comes from the Northland District Heath Board). Go to http://www.hospicemn.org.nz for more information.
This has been a life-changing journey for me. I have grown and overcome. Importantly though, I have connected with a beautiful bunch of fabulous people that I now call my friends and I am completely grateful for this.