Thursday, June 30, 2011

Meet Be The Change

Theresa Zimanske
Founder, CEO

Theresa is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Be The Change, which represents the patient and family perspective in healthcare. She has been married to husband, Donn, for more than 25 years and has two children, Jessica and angel son, Michael.

Theresa brings a honest and realistic approach to family life when surrounded by medical crisis. She has spent most of her life within various healthcare scenarios, which includes her parent’s medical care and end of life experiences, her son’s rare disease diagnosis and death, and even her own breast cancer. Theresa speaks and writes about the value of the human experience in the medical environment.

You are sure to be encouraged and inspired by her story of hope and renewal, based upon the life of a boy named Michael, who changed everything.

Visit Be The Change website:

Jessica Zimanske

Be The Change Contributor

As Michael’s sister, Jessica represents the sibling perspective in health care. She grew up in a family focused on doctor appointments, blood draws and surgeries, but despite the medical concerns that permeated her home life, Jessica was striving to live the life of the average teenager, while learning at an early age that health and life is fragile.

She fully supports the patient and family perspective in health care because as a sister of a terminally ill child, she understands how siblings can be forgotten within the health care system.

Now in her 20s, Jessica works full time as a marketing professional for a large Twin Cities company, while also working as a freelance writer for several national publications. She lives in Minneapolis, Minn.

Visit Jessica’s blog:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Never too late....

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been” –George Eliot

This quote, etched on a wooden plaque stood solo on a shelf at a B&B I stayed at recently. I repeated it multiple times, slower each time contemplating is that true? Could anyone of us, mainly me of course, really do that?

My adult life began with preconceived notions and lofty ideas compiled neatly in my mind. Then real life happened. Neat and orderly got messy expanding my once narrow view. Dreams were altered, planned courses scattered, forcing another look at my notions and ideas. Thankfully this time, with a more humble view I sought the answer we all wonder, “What was I created to be?”

Driving home from the first “official” Be The Change presentation and replaying the event in my mind, I realized the answer to that big question. My personal medical life experiences were meant to be shared and to educate. These experiences, both challenging and rewarding at the same time, have taken my breath away. Often made me uncertain of what will come next. However, what came was a hopeful and peaceful trust in what is to be will be. Not since my marriage and the birth of my children have I ever been so sure of something I was created to do, as I was after that car ride home.

In my opinion, George Eliot’s words are correct. It really is never too late to become what you might have been. To become what you were created to be from life experience that draws a new picture and unveils bigger dreams.

Think big, imagine without limit and Be The Change!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Who is your best friend?

Having a life abundant with friends is a tremendous treasure. Among my treasured gems, for over thirty years is my best friend.

She grew up less than a mile away from my family farm; hers just south down the gravel road. We were friends in high school. Hung out with the same crowd and drove up and down the same main street. After high school we went our separate ways, each taking our own path. A year later we began a conversation at a summer party, which has never ended. With the glow of a bonfire, friendship was renewed and two best friends were made.

Even though both of us worked “in the cities” we rented the lower level of a house located in our home town on Fifth Street and made life long friends with the couple upstairs. We bought a great big couch, kept only Mountain Dew and yogurt in the fridge and ate popcorn for supper. On Saturdays we shopped bargains at the local stores, read magazine stories to each other, polished our nails at the kitchen table and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Our roommate status changed in 1985 when we each got married, just two months apart. Two husbands became good friends and five children grew up together like brothers and sisters. Our families have shared holidays, birthdays, cabin trips, county fairs, and simple daily occurrences. Her life and mine have always been parallel, each experiencing the same events or similar feelings about the same time. Together, we have embraced life’s highs and lows as much in person as on the phone.

My best friend is the Godmother of my son Michael. A role that expanded into clinical conversations and hospital room visits. During uncertain times she reminded me who I was, where I came from and who I was created to be. On the days I felt lost or confused, she put me back on course. A friend gracefully appointed.

As best friends we share thousands of memories and dreams with an assurance of many more to come. We even share the same birth year with birthday’s only weeks apart. So, Happy Birthday girlfriend! You have been and continue to be the change.

Thank you for encouraging me and everyone around you to Be The Change!