By Jessica Rutstein Lazarus, Emily’s Entourage board member and Emily’s lifelong best friend
If you know Emily, then you know that her superpowers are many. She’s smart, thoughtful, compassionate, forward-thinking, and highly motivated — to merely scratch the surface. She’s also loyal, assertive, honest, and incredibly driven.
Last month’s Evening with Emily’s Entourage gala, “The Power of 10,” had me both reflecting on the powerful momentum that Emily’s Entourage has developed over the past 10 years, and also thinking about the indescribable strength and energy I personally feel when surrounded by an Entourage striving towards a common goal. Following this thread, and in anticipation of Emily’s 37th birthday this Sunday, I wanted to share some thoughts about Emily’s superpowers, and how she brings out the changemaker in all of us.
Emily is articulate and seemingly effortlessly eloquent, having such a way with words that the rest of us are rendered speechless and awed. While some of us may stumble to find the right words during an emotionally charged or challenging situation, Emily is the one with the perfectly worded response that hits the right note of validation and compassion. Whether she’s speaking just to me, to hundreds of supporters, or to the world’s leading scientists, she can summon the perfect words to genuinely reach each of us and inspire. Emily’s words have a unique ability to truly connect with others, to let us each feel seen and understood in a way that is so essential to our whole being.
Emily remembers things — really remembers — from where we were for certain life events, to the trivial things we mention to her in passing, to upcoming appointments we feel nervous about. If you mention that something is on your mind, Emily will reach out to follow up, and she will meticulously remember the details you provided. (I am also fortunate in that I can personally rely on her memory for our collective social history. It is such a relief when I can’t remember who else was in our 6th-grade homeroom class or where we went to dinner for her 26th birthday, and she’s the one I can ask!)
I should also mention that Emily can be incredibly silly and has a great laugh, and once we get going, it’s often hard to stop, with us instead continuing to set the other one off until our eyes tear up and our sides hurt. We have literally rolled on the floor in a fit of uncontrollable laughter, and we are certainly used to being on the receiving end of critical stares at restaurants when our table reaches an undignified noise level from laughter.
But, you know what may be Emily’s greatest power of all? Her ability to empower each of us and help lead us to the realization of our own superpower — the power to drive true change.
Together, as an Entourage, we are a group of changemakers and system disruptors, and we are proof that patient- and family-led organizations can elicit real, meaningful change. What Emily had the foresight to understand, and aspire to, is that if we bring together a highly motivated group of people with a common goal, individual stakeholders, and a diverse group of scientists and researchers — we can change the world.
On Emily’s birthday, let’s fully realize this power, let’s multiply it, let’s make sure our passion keeps driving this organization forward, and let’s keep crushing every benchmark and goal we set our sights on until we reach our ultimate goal: lifesaving breakthroughs and a cure for everyone with CF, nobody left behind. Together we are making true progress and as a mighty Entourage, our power is endless.
This year, the pandemic will keep me and Emily apart on her birthday yet again, as she enters her 23rd month of strict quarantine. But we can still make her day extra special by using our superpower ability to continue to change the world — for her and everyone else in the final 10% of the cystic fibrosis (CF) community who needs us.
This year, please consider donating $37 in honor of Emily’s 37th birthday. Together, we can make her ultimate wish come true — a cure for EVERYONE with CF!