I’ve noticed a rapidly developing trend within our culture to promote the comparison of woman to an unreachable standard of what mainstream media labels “perfection”; breeding unnecessary envy and idealism, fostering attitudes of negative self-images and unhealthy competition. Comparisons of this nature are thieves of joy; joy for the celebrations we could be having together as one.
In an effort to promote an encouraging, supportive, cohesive front among women, I will be doing a monthly feature of everyday women doing extraordinary things, entitled Everyday Extraordinary – “We Rise by Lifting Others.”
Meet our first Everyday Extraordinary … one of my “oldest” friends … the lovely and tenacious, Annette Castillo. This highly intelligent Orlando, FL attorney is jazzing up the courtroom by day with her trendy outfits, making litigation chic and classy.
Even the mundane household task of vacuuming! What a way to motivate your dust-kissed carpets towards purification by bedazzling them with color coordinated blazers and bangles. What can’t she do?!
When she’s not in the courtroom or reviewing legal documents, she’s an avid runner and engaged philanthropist. Her work with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital is one of her greatest passions; a cause for which she regularly participates in 5k’s and marathons (chihuahua pal, Paco, in tow) to actively generate awareness and funding.
Annette developed her passion for St. Jude’s via her college sorority’s (Delta Delta Delta) philanthropic efforts with the Children’s Research Hospital. During this time, she was blessed with the opportunity to make regular visits to the hospital, where she met doctors, nurses, employees, and visited with the families of children in need. She had the privilege of hearing first hand accounts of their experiences and individual perspectives of treatment plans and paths to healing and recovery. These personal encounters solidified her commitment and dedication to supporting research for this cause.
As an awareness piece, it costs roughly $2 million dollars a day to operate the Children’s Hospital – a research hospital which only treats rare cancers and helps develop innovative ways to treat and, hopefully, take steps towards cures. About 70% of of funding comes from donations given by people like you and me – an incredible outpouring! As part of the hospital’s commitment to healing, no family is ever turned away for the inability to pay, nor are they charged for the treatment their children receive. Once a treatment, path, or cure is developed and/or discovered, it is shared with hospitals and doctors all over the world. Founder Danny Thomas operated off of the vision to put an end to childhood cancer, with the mindset that no child should die in the dawn of light; a beautiful mission for the dedicated followers.
Since graduating college, Annette has participated in the annual St. Jude’s Give Thanks Walk, held every Fall. This year, she decided to take things up a notch and compete as a St. Jude’s Hero in the TCS NYC Marathon, scheduled for November 1, 2015. Since April 2015, she has made every effort to raise her $3,500 donation goal for the kids of St. Jude’s. Every dollar she raises goes to the hospital and the children who captured her heart so many years ago. Thus far, she has raised $1,654 of her goal. If you’re inspired and lead to give to this amazing cause, please consider giving to Annette’s fundraising site: heroes.stjude.org/annettecastillo.
Annette is one-of-a-kind, Everyday Extraordinary. I am proud to call her friend and to celebrate (with her) all of the wonderful contributions she’s making to medical research and society!