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Kelly Corrigan

Author & Breast Cancer Survivor
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Biography

Fearlessly tackling subjects as wide ranging as caregiving, literacy, serious illness, and the need for purpose, New York Times best-selling author Kelly Corrigan humorously and poignantly shares her most personal stories in order to inspire audiences across the nation.

In her first book, The Middle Place, a memoir about that sliver of time when childhood and parenthood overlap, Corrigan shares her experience fighting cancer while simultaneously caring for her father as he struggles through the final stages of the disease. In Lift, written in the form of a letter to her children, she weaves together three true stories of adults willing to chance terrible loss in search of the joys of raising a family. Corrigan’s latest book, Glitter and Glue, released to critical acclaim, examines the bond between mothers and daughters: sometimes nourishing, sometimes exasperating, occasionally divine.

A decade of nonprofit work through United Way shaped Corrigan’s worldview and she continually tries to compensate for her good fortune by advocating for those who have not shared the luck she’s had. She started the Circus of Cancer foundation to help the friends and family of cancer patients cope and learn how to help and support the patient. Her recent focus has been in education and literacy through The Barbara Bush Foundation for Literacy and children’s health and well-being through the Oakland Children’s Hospital where she volunteers every week holding babies in the neo-natal intensive care unit.

Speaking with humor and compassion to groups at hospitals, corporations, and nonprofits, she recounts the many experiences she has written about in her books and urges her audiences to be civically engaged by sharing her guide for finding important work, the value of participation, and the rewards of deep community involvement. Her well-researched and compelling three-part personal formula for deep happiness—make yourself useful, doing something hard, with good people—has resonated with thousands. With the firm belief in the relationship between purpose and self-esteem, she motivates audiences to find their very best selves.

An accomplished columnist, Corrigan’s writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Glamour and Good Housekeeping. Previously a writer with the Bay Area News Group, she covered everyday matters from the power of an unequivocal apology to the contagious nature of weight gain, extramarital affairs, and going green.

Cool, funny, smart, and authentic are just a few ways people have described Kelly Corrigan. She has delighted audiences with her many appearances on The Today Show as well as in person, speaking with humor and compassion to groups at hospitals, corporations, and nonprofits. Additionally, her “Transcending” video, based on her original essay entitled Transcending: Words on Women and Strength, has been viewed by over five million people on YouTube.

Kelly Corrigan is a graduate of the University of Richmond and received her Master’s in literature from San Francisco State University. She is one of our most appreciated speakers, consistently receiving rave reviews and standing ovations.

Topics

Glitter & Glue

Kelly Corrigan’s mother often describes their family as: “Your father’s the glitter, but I’m the glue.” In this presentation based on her new memoir Glitter and Glue, Corrigan examines why we choose the people we admire and how that changes over time. She takes a look at the bond between mothers and daughters – sometimes nourishing, sometimes exasperating, occasionally divine, but always loving. In this heartfelt speech, she will strip away the complexities and emotionally connect who we are, men and women alike, with who our parents are and how this history continues to shape us. One of the best storytellers you will hear in your lifetime, Corrigan will take your audience on a moving and humorous journey on finding role models through personal growth.

Caregiving

"Caregiving" is a heavy term that tugs on us emotionally, yet is so misunderstood by so many. At some time in our lives, we will all be impacted by the illness or aging of someone close to us. Speaker Kelly Corrigan has experienced caregiving in an intensely personal way and uses the lessons she learned to provide healthcare professionals and family members alike with specific strategies for effective and meaningful caretaking. Through poignant stories of her own fight with Stage III cancer, her father's three bouts of cancer, and her daughter's meningitis, Corrigan discusses common caregiving issues and provides strategies honed from experience. She addresses such issues as how to work with various family members in coordinating care and managing finances, insurance coverage, and long-term care, as well as how to balance your own life while managing the care of another. Corrigan's strong belief is that crisis can bring our most important relationships into focus and allow us to live up to our promises to each other. Although she has made every mistake a caretaker can, today she is a wiser and better caregiver because of those periods of crisis.

Philanthropy

Kelly Corrigan spends a good part of every week volunteering and has found that the buzz that comes from solving complex problems and being useful is her most reliable source of energy and self esteem. She has learned, through many years of trial and error in nonprofits, how to give in ways that are meaningful and satisfying. This talk on civic involvement includes her guide for finding important work, the value of participation, and the rewards of deep community involvement that leverages each of our talents and gifts. Her passionate belief in philanthropy and volunteerism in closely tied to her clear sense of what creates happiness.

Children's Health

Kelly Corrigan's volunteer involvement with Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland includes securing a $1 million endowment, creating a 2,000-person annual event, and recruiting hundreds of volunteers for the hospital. She sees Children's Health as a public-private partnership that works best when local communities join health organizations to care for children, both in the hospital and out. Her experience has shown her that when individual commitment is high, solutions can be found, even in the most difficult circumstances. She believes strongly in philanthropy and volunteerism as a means to personal happiness and self esteem. Her messages motivate audiences to find the very best way to support their local children's health leaders.

The Middle Place

Loving Someone Through Cancer

Lift: Thoughts on Children in Story & Song (A Multimedia Presentation)

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