When you are diagnosed with cancer, you go through a range of emotions. No matter how long it has been since diagnosis, it’s important to understand how to thrive and overcome challenges in the fight against cancer. Throughout the year, Texas Oncology holds Survive and Thrive Symposiums to help cancer patients and caregivers. This year, I was a speaker at the cancer conference here in Austin, Texas.
Public Speaking at an Oncology Conference
A while ago, Texas Oncology contacted me and asked me to be a speaker at the conference. After some discussion, they gave me the topi of Telling Your Story.
The Survive and Thrive Symposium brings together experts along with cancer survivors and caregivers in a one-day event filled with lectures and workshops on a variety of topics that deal with health and wellness.
Survive and Thrive Symposium in Austin, Texas for Cancer Survivors and Caregivers
At the Survive and Thrive Symposium in Austin, the keynote, Lillie Shockney, talked about humor when confronting cancer. There were also sessions that included Fear of Recurrence with Penny DeCou and Vanessa Pettijohn, Goat Yoga from GOGA, Nutrition with Nicole Hodac, Caregiving 101 by Katie Narvarte, Intimacy After Cancer with Tamika Felder, and Telling Your Story by me, Rachel Belkin, Cha Ching Queen. In addition, over lunch, a panel discussed Late & Long-Term Effects of Treatment. Then, the day ended with an Art Therapy Reception by Kula Moore.
Goat Yoga in Austin, Texas
My session was in the afternoon, so I was able to take advantage of much of the programming. I was really looking forward to goat yoga. I mean, how can you resist those little goats in cute outfits? Unfortunately, I did not participate. I was worried about getting dirty and pooped and peed on before my presentation. Yes, the goats were super cute, but being as they are animals, the goats in goat yoga poop and pee during yoga sessions.
What Happens During Goat Yoga?
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More About My Speaking Opportunity at a Conference
I have spoken before for an audience, but not quite this large. There were around 300 people at the conference and I had two breakout sessions. This presentation was somewhat different than my other ones as I had 45 minutes to speak to a group of cancer survivors and their loved ones. I wanted to educate, inspire, entertain, and hopefully motivate them to also tell their stories.
Telling Your Story – Conference Breakout Session
In my speech, I told my story, but I also showed and gave examples of different ways to tell stories. Then, I gave the audience reasons why they should share their stories. The audience was engaged. They laughed and reacted to both my story and the various examples of storytelling I shared. Afterward, members from the audience shared how and why they tell their stories.
At the end of the two sessions, I had a few people come up and talk to me personally about their own stories and experiences with cancer.
I really, really enjoyed this. I loved being able to connect with the audience as a cancer survivor myself and inspiring them to tell their stories.
Everyone has a story. Go tell your story!
If you would like to learn more about my speech, or possibly have me speak at your conference or event, please email me.
Rachel K. Belkin, M.Ed, is a journalist and writer with over 15 years of expertise in travel, business and marketing education, health, and local Austin, Texas events.
With a Master's degree in education from Texas State University and a Business Foundations Certification from The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, Rachel's extensive background is highlighted by her published works and contributions to prestigious publications, including HuffPost, Hometalk, Matador Network, AP News, and MSN.com, as well as on her own platforms, Rachel K. Belkin, Elkin Bay, and Probe the Globe.
Beyond her accomplishments in writing, Rachel is a sought-after educator, teaching businesses effective marketing strategies and content creation techniques. Notably, she successfully built a blog from scratch in 2008, ultimately selling it for six figures in 2021.
Rachel's commitment to advocacy is exemplified by her role on the Breast Cancer Resource Center Advisory Council, particularly contributing to the success of the Young Survivor Project. Rachel is also an experienced public speaker with appearances on TV segments for Fox 7 Austin, KXAN, and CBS Austin and as a speaker at conferences and professional networking meetings for business owners and cancer survivors.