Phyllis' Speech at Women of Worth Gala

L'ORÉAL PARIS 2014 Women of Worth Celebration

I am an award show junkie. I watch the Oscars, Tonys, AMAs, Grammys, People’s Choice. I watch them all. This is by far the most unbelievable award show.

Thank you L’Oreal Paris for creating such a meaningful program, and for allowing me to be a part of it.

I want to thank my fellow Women of Worth, the 4,300 nominees, and the tens of thousands of women who are just out there doing their thing . . . . unaware of what’s going on here tonight.

All of us have experienced something in our life that was unfair and we all decided to do something about it.

A quote by Eleanor Roosevelt captures this perfectly. She said “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.

Ladies . . . you’ve made it very clear to the world that it’s tea time.

I know that everyone sitting in this room tonight has faced adversity, or worse, tragedy. We have that in common.

However, on that night that Simon died, I felt singled out by the world. I felt isolated and alone. I honestly remember wondering if the sun would come up the next day.

After all, if my seemingly healthy son could just die, what guarantees did I really have in life?

I learned that Simon died from an undetected heart condition. How do we know? Because following his death, with the help of a curious pediatrician, I was diagnosed with same condition.

At that moment, I knew that I had a mission because my son had just taught me a lesson. My son had just saved my life.

I learned that sudden cardiac arrest is not just an adult thing.

I learned children shouldn’t die from detectable and treatable heart conditions.

I learned that there are warning signs that nobody was talking about – like fainting during exercise.

I learned that up to 15% of all SIDS deaths are attributed to my heart condition – Long QT Syndrome.

I imagine that most of you don’t know any of this. That’s because AWARENESS is SUCH a TALL order.

That’s why this program . . . this event . . . is so incredible. We NEED help from companies like L’Oreal.

You give us a megaphone. You give us a platform.

How else do we get 11,000 people on Facebook in 24 hours to watch our video?

How else do we get a room full of New York’s finest to wonder . . .

We screen our kids eyes and ears in schools all across this country . . . Why don’t we screen their hearts?

L’Oreal, thank you for validating our mission and shining a spotlight on our cause.

Thank you for honoring me, because by doing so, you are honoring my son and the thousands of other kids who die every year from sudden cardiac arrest.

Thank you for throwing such an AMAZING party because this is an experience that I will cherish forever.

Most importantly, thanks for giving Simon’s Fund a big boost so that we can continue checking hearts and saving lives.

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