On Friday evening, I shared dinner with three great women. Yes, I said “great” women. Now I know that most people would think that if I had shared my meal with great women, they would recognize their names and would have seen lots of stories in the press about the accomplishments that they have made and the notoriety that they have earned for themselves. But, more than likely, unless you are a regular follower of mine in social media, you wouldn’t recognize their names especially if you are only familiar with their Twitter handles. However, I have gotten to know these three women and they have earned their “great” status in my eyes.
I am so very grateful and thankful. And I hope that all of you have an opportunity to spend time and be in the company of great women. You know it when it happens. You feel it in the energy around you while in their presence. And you can’t wait until you have the opportunity to be with them again.
Let me tell you about them. The first is Melinda Marchiano. My first contact was with her when she responded to my following her on Twitter on 12/23/10 with a thank you and a statement of purpose to make a difference as a teen cancer survivor working to raise money for research to end childhood cancers. That’s right. She was 16 at the time and had fought a very hard battle against Hodgkin’s lymphoma starting at the age of 13. What that child has gone through was almost unimaginable to me. Yet, through it all, she had one thing that kept her going and that was her dancing as a ballerina. Through all of the chemo and radiation and testing and treatments, she kept dancing. Through all of the physical illness and dealing with major problems with not being able to eat without getting physically sick, she kept dancing. Through all of the pain and fear and loss of quality of life, she kept dancing. And despite everything, she wrote an award-winning book that chronicles her cancer battle, “Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery” and currently is completing her sophomore year of college and she is still dancing. And that dancing is so wonderful that she was able to earn a college scholarship in dance. I sure do believe that she is a great lady already and she is still a teenager.
Then, there is Melinda’s mother, Lee Marchiano. Of course it figures that a child who has gone through so very much would have had to and continues to have an unbelievably supportive mother and teacher. Despite having a family with two older sons and a husband, Lee has dedicated her life to her family and has given everything of herself to nurse her daughter through her cancer while being there to drive her to and from the dance classes that kept her going, to all of the doctors’ appointments and treatment sessions while still taking care of the others and home schooling her child when she was too ill to go to school. This is the most quiet, unassuming lady that I have ever met who still drives 6 hours, one way, to see her daughter at college, even if it is only to have a dinner with her. There may not have been any awards or honors or recognition for this lady but I will tell you that she is definitely one of the greatest women that I have ever had the privilege to meet and know.
There was one more very special lady who joined our party and that was Smile Moki. Here is a woman who has dedicated her life to her work as a life coach and personal adviser who travels the world to help wherever she is needed. She is known here in the United States and throughout Europe for the work that she does and for the caring and motivation and inspiration that she constantly provides to all who are in need. This woman also is a mother of one son and the wife of a very busy husband that are her world. But, in spite of that fact, she would not be able to walk away from what she feels is her mission of helping others and therefore continues to help everyone who reaches out to her in need. Now that is a great woman!
I don’t know what anyone else would use as a definition of a great woman. I don’t think that it is based upon fame or fortune or the publicity that one receives. Rather, greatness is based upon a person’s willingness to help others, to want to make a difference in the lives of others, to do everything possible to improve the lives of others and all of this without being driven by the desire to make tons of money as a motivation. That is definitely what all three of these women embody and as I said when I started this article, I had dinner with three GREAT women Friday evening and for that opportunity, I am so very grateful and thankful. And I hope that all of you have an opportunity to spend time and be in the company of great women. You know it when it happens. You feel it in the energy around you while in their presence. And you can’t wait until you have the opportunity to be with them again.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.