Kindness is Kickass
Gaby Mammone believes that we can create opportunities to be kind. It simply means being aware of how you can find those opportunities. And not having any expectations of getting anything in return. She calls this movement #BeAwareBeKind.
“I have always been an advocate of volunteering and being a person of service.”
“I had always been an advocate of volunteering and being a person of service. I had made a number of wonderful connections within the charitable sector. So, I thought I could utilize my talents and insert my love into a business. This is how Kind Projects was born. Kind Projects is a service where I can help organizations run their events, write their grants and provide consulting services to help increase awareness. That's how it all started.”
Gaby says that kindness is a way to heal. It helped her find a greater purpose in her MS.
“I really believe that there's a greater purpose here. I take a look at my life and I see the beautiful experiences. Many of the experiences happened because I have MS. I’ve helped to build businesses. I've been on many stages motivating people. This has all happened because I have MS. Yes, it sucks to have MS, but there are so many beautiful things that have happened to me because of it.”
“I think it just got to a point where instead of saying ‘why me?’, I started saying ‘why not me?”
Relieved after Diagnosis
The mom of two still recalls that it took several years to be diagnosed:
“I had symptoms in my mid 20s. I was seeing many different doctors. I was told that MS could be in the trajectory there. I had tingling in my feet and numbness in my hands. I lost my balance a lot. I was falling often. So, I went to see a different MS specialist and we went through the whole series of tests again and again. I was formally diagnosed when I was 30 years old. The diagnosis brought a sense of relief. Because I had gone through so many years of not knowing what was going on with my body.”
At first, Gaby hid her diagnosis from extended family and colleagues. She thought it would be easier to avoid talking about it. Eventually, she discovered that it wasn’t so easy.
“The stress of being silent was overtaking me, and it was turning me into someone that I was ashamed of. I think it just got to a point where instead of saying ‘why me?’, I started saying ‘why not me?’ And so, I really made that mental shift of being able to use my experience to help others, instead of feeling sorry for myself.”
Joining Forces for a Cause
Gaby is a Producer at The Social Movement, a docu-series that brings CEOs, investors and change makers together to solve world challenges.
“We have 10 people on each team and each team gets a cause. Every team gets four days to work on a business solution for the cause. Then at the end of the four days, they present their business. The investors help bring the businesses into the world that will solve real global issues.”
“ I believe that everyone has a voice and I like to try to be a voice for the voiceless. Everyone should be treated fairly with respect.”
The docu-series is just one of Gaby’s incredible projects. One thing all her projects have in common is Gaby’s love for philanthropy and being a voice for the voiceless.
“I’m a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and a speaking & career coach. My niche is about diversity, inclusion and acceptance. Accessibility and kindness are incredibly important to me also. I believe that everyone has a voice and I like to try to be a voice for the voiceless. Everyone should be treated fairly with respect. I am proud of my TEDx talk, outlining my journey with MS and how kindness changed me.”
My MS, My Rules
“My Rules” means I have MS. It's mine to own. It's not a cookie cutter illness. How I go through it is different from how someone else will experience it. And how I choose to manage it will be different from someone else. I chose to let it out.”
“I have MS. It's mine to own. It's not a cookie cutter illness.”
“When I was keeping my diagnosis inside, I was just hurting myself. I was lying to myself. I was going through shame and guilt. I was having all these symptoms and I was canceling dinner dates with my friends. It was hard. And it got harder when friends started to ask why? And that’s when I learned to let it out. It's very, very important to talk to somebody. You don't need to announce it on a stage. You do need to talk to a friend, a colleague, a teacher, a doctor, whoever it is. But just let it out.”
Gaby’s decision to be transparent about her MS is a way of combating the stigma that comes with the condition. She’s one of the many people challenging what it’s like to live with MS.
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