2024 TBF Ambassador Retreat

Written By TBF Ambassador, Diana Creaturo.

On the weekend of April 26th, the Ambassadors for The Bee Foundation had the chance to finally meet in person in Wayne PA and work towards one goal together, to spread the awareness about brain aneurysm prevention.

I was both excited and nervous for the weekend. I could not wait to meet my fellow Ambassador’s and friends in person. Although I had previously met a few and had had a bunch of phone conversations with others, to spend this time together was so important to me.

I was nervous because it would be the first time I was going to teach a creative writing class. But also, could not wait to put my skills to work.

Thursday was the first night, and when all the ambassadors finally met, it immediately felt like family. I did not want the excitement and hugs to end. We headed to dinner and were greeted by a beautiful set up at the Cornerstone Bistro. Sitting among new friends, sharing food and drinks, cheers, and stories. We excitedly waited for the next day and for the retreat to officially begin and to get to work.

Friday was pure magic. We arrived at the Saturday Club, not knowing what the amazing space had in store for us. The tables set up, banners with the TBF logo, placards with our pictures and bee quotes. A beautiful packet made for the Ambassadors to help spread the word about awareness. The most special gift was our new T-Shirts designed by Kavita Basi, which had our bee slogan on it, a great tool to help spread the word and get the conversation started about prevention. The first issue of our own Zine “The Apiary,” created by Claudia Mallea, was also available for viewing.

We spent the day strategizing about how to further educate people on brain aneurysm prevention. We also had a chance to use our own specific skills and expertise in the group setting. Building your brand, yoga class, bible and brain devotional, fireside chat, design wall. We worked on guidelines, education, advocacy, support groups, mentorship, and team building. At the reception Friday night, we had the chance to take new head shots for our ambassador profile and do an interview in the media booth. I was proud of our group for sharing our talents and to see how we could use these things that we have learned in both our daily lives and as an ambassador. 

To round out the night Matt Helper, RN, PHRN, CFRN, Stroke Program Manager for Bryn Mawr Hospital and Tracy Faulkner, Pharm. D., and fellow ambassador talked to the community about the importance of understanding the signs of a brain aneurysm and how we can educate our communities.

My writing workshop went better than expected and although I was nervous, the activity I had planned helped my fellow ambassadors get started on some personal writing projects. It felt amazing to help spark creativity.

That night, we sat around the hotel lobby having dinner, and it was just a magical time, full of pure joy and hope. It felt so good to be with others who just understood and got it. I have not talked that openly and from the heart on the difficult subject of both having a brain aneurysm and being a survivor for a long time. It felt good to have people to talk things through with, to laugh, cry and hold hands. We sat for hours just eating and talking and being together. The next morning, I had breakfast at the Black Cat Café with other ambassadors, and we had the best conversation about work/life balance and our passions.

As we all gathered to say goodbye, we all agreed that this just was not enough time together. We wish we had one more day.

Some of the most important things I have taken away from this experience are many. I am grateful and thankful for Erin, Laura, and Christine for founding The Bee Foundation For Brain Aneurysm Prevention and for starting this TBF Ambassador program. For giving us all the chance to get together in person and see how we can grow, and what we can put out into the world, using our talents to help teach and guide each other. The feeling of the retreat stayed with me for not only days, but weeks after. I wish I had more time with my fellow ambassador, my friends, my bee family. The most important thing I have taken away from this experience is that I am part of something big and important and I am helping to be effective and helping to bring awareness, and now I had the tools to do these things on a bigger level. This is truly an amazing organization and an amazing team. I am already looking forward to next year’s retreat.

 These friendships are amazing and bold.

Erin has been selected as one of the 2024 Be Well Philly Health Hero semi-finalists and we need your help!
It’s up to YOU to vote once a day, every day through 7/29 for our chance to receive $15,000 for TBF.