Visiting PanCare’s conference in Prague

Prague

As I have mentioned before (I hope, though it might’ve mentioned it only on Facebook), I went to the conference held by PanCare, where I was to deliver a speech. I’m not sure exactly how PanCare is organised. In essence though, it’s an organisation that focuses on late complications in child cancer survivors – which is unique. Far too many NGO:s simply skips this part. Given PanCare’s mission and vision, the audience varied greatly – there were survivors, researchers, doctors, and so on. For most other attendees, there were presentations all day related to late complications in child cancer survivors. However, to me, the main reason I attended the conference was mostly about delivering my speech, and hopefully network a bit as well.

I’ve always hated delivering speeches

There’s something ironic about me delivering a speech in front of so many people, especially the speech being my main reason for being there. The irony is that I’ve never liked speaking in public. When I went through the adult educational programme, I tended to ask the teacher if I could do my speeches without an audience. One of my teachers was OK with it but also said that, “It’s only psychological, you can talk and express yourself well when you’re at your bench regardless if the room is full of people or if it’s empty.” I knew as well that it was a psychological block. However, that doesn’t make it any less real. She also said that, “Who knows, maybe on day you’ll become a public speaker”. I said, “nooo, not gonna happen…”

Yet, here we are! I didn’t feel nervous. I think it’s because this is a subject I care about deeply, and I’m telling my story, which I’ve done dozens and dozens of times. I can’t fake enthusiasm. I did say it was more difficult to write than to deliver the speech. It wasn’t really, the emotions came later on.

Reception of my speech

The reception I got from the audience was to me unexpected. To me, it was the same story I’ve written about on this blog often, that I’ve told so many people. Yet they were all incredibly moved by the speech. I was a bit confused about this – it’s become second nature to me, living with all my experiences, telling others. Suddenly, so many people came up to me and shook my hand, calling the speech an inspiration. I felt truly humbled by this. And still confused. I wasn’t sure how to handle the praise – as I said, it’s become a part of me. I do want to thank Katie for helping me tidy up the presentation a bit as well, helping me trim down certain slides a little.

For those attending the conference that reads this, I’d like to thank you for your kind words – it means a lot to me. For those telling me about your own experiences, I mentioned I’m bad with names and faces. However, I’d like to say that I do remember your stories. Many called PanCare a family, and I’m inclined to agree.

They also understood what I had gone through and that it’s a reality that shouldn’t exist. It seemed like this was something they’d inform people of, as opposed to censor it like most NGO:s in many nations (including Sweden). This (together with YCE of course) gave me hope that we won’t be forgotten.

Depression – My invisible shackles

As I told a few other attendees, I didn’t attend most presentations. My depression is still overwhelming and if I’d attend those presentations, I would buckle. I just picked up photography as a hobby, so that’s what I did a lot of the time in Prague. I don’t like doing this; it feels like I’m just using PanCare, coming for the free trip and hotel. It’s truly not my intent though, I just can’t handle the emotional turmoil attending these presentations would cause. It’s not when I’m at these conferences this affects me though. I can’t read the news since several months back. The reason is that I can’t handle reading about children getting killed, hurt, diagnosed with any serious illness, but cancer especially. I have an affinity for children, and especially when they’re. I think it’s likely because of my own experiences.

Anyway, I’m sharing some photos here I took during my trip. (I’ll upload them as soon as I’m done with them, I just want this post out there.) I am very much an amateur – having a big camera doesn’t make you a professional. It’s something I’ve noticed many people think (including some attending the conference <3). And it’s fine. Still, anyone can go buy a camera with a large lens. If you buy them used (which isn’t a bad idea), you can get a kit with several lenses and a camera for 500€. Most features of the camera aren’t all that important so buying the older models isn’t a bad idea. It might have more focus points, be a bit quicker. But it’s not that big of a difference. Light and composition is far more important. And if anything, the lens is always more important than the camera.

Regardless, here they are.

 

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