We all have our own Circle of Strength. It exists both internally, in our traits, experiences, memories and abilities, and externally, in our relationships with others and the world. When I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer in the fall of 2018, my priorities and values changed over night and I found myself examining my own circle.
I discovered that one of my foundations of strength lied in the many amazing women I have encountered and had the pleasure to learn from and lean on. These were members of my family, friends from my 50 years on Earth and colleagues from all of my various career ventures. These women are a variety of ages, have different experiences and stories, and live throughout the world.
As a way of connecting to these women through my first few months of cancer treatment, I created a Whatsapp group full of women and named it "Circle of Strength". When it came time to start planning my 50th birthday, it just came over me that what I really wanted was an event to celebrate and thank these women who had been there to support me through the past year.
The Circle of Strength Event took place on September 30, 2019 and included more than one hundred and seventy women from all over the world. Many came in just for this day and it was both a reunion and a celebration of things to come. The day included a series of workshops and learning experiences for the women present.
Take a behind-the-scenes look of how this event came together and some highlights of the day.
- Karla Tolstoy-Stephens, Founder of Stand Up Speak Up