Caregiving: Journeys of Love and Healing
As a daughter, Lee Woodruff witnessed her father’s devastating, decade-long struggle with Alzheimer’s and the emotional and physical toll that it took on her mother as primary caregiver. In 2006, she found herself suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver when her husband, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, was critically wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq and suffered a traumatic brain injury. In an instant, she went from successful writer, businesswoman and mother of four to primary caregiver, patient advocate and “General Lee”, coordinating care and keeping her family of four children afloat. In this heart-touching talk, Lee shares stories, insights and hard-won wisdom from two very different journeys of love and caregiving. She recounts what it was like when her father, once the rock of the family, became dependent on care, and when her husband at the height of a stellar news career, had to re-learn how to speak and other basics of life during a long recovery. Bringing comfort, hope and humor, Lee Woodruff connects with audiences as one who has truly been there can.
Working Together to Improve Patient Outcomes
When her husband, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, barely survived a roadside bomb attack in Iraq, the prognosis wasn’t good. But Lee Woodruff never gave up. She kept telling everyone involved in his care: ‘You don’t know my husband. You don’t know my Bob. He’s a fighter. He’s smart and he wants to live! ” In this insightful and highly inspirational talk, Lee Woodruff shares her family’s journey through the healthcare system and her role as patient advocate/caregiver through months of cognitive and physical therapy following traumatic brain injury. Lee asserts that the relationships that are built between healthcare professionals and the patient and their family can only result in positive patient outcomes. It’s a reminder that respect, communication, kindness and hope (all of which the Woodruffs experienced) are free to provide and often, what families value most. Even in a terminal situation, the human side of medicine is just as critical as the science. Recognizing the role that healthcare professionals played in her husband’s miraculous recovery, she is always quick to thank audiences for the work that they do. “Thank you,” is something that, she acknowledges, “Most people in healthcare don’t hear enough, but should.”
When Life Changes in an Instant
In one tragic instant, Lee and Bob Woodruff’s lives changed forever. In the flash of a roadside bomb in Iraq, Bob Woodruff went from the top of his profession as anchor of ABC News to fighting for his life. In this moving and uplifting talk based upon the New York Times bestseller she co-wrote with her husband, Lee shares how she turned a life-changing crisis into a life-affirming experience. She reveals how tragedy can make you focus on what matters most, connect you more strongly to those you love, and create strength and gratitude that lasts a lifetime. With warmth, humor and a very human touch, Lee not only connects with the audience, but connects them to each other—leaving all grateful for the things that we don’t always take time to appreciate, but should.
It’s How You Handle It: When Cancer Changes Your Life in an Instant
When Lee Woodruff’s husband, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, their lives changed in that instant. At age 30, Lee’s sister was rushed to the hospital with what turned out to be a brain tumor. Anyone who has faced or had someone close face a cancer diagnosis (or anything life threatening), knows the true meaning of “life changes in an instant”. Lee shares her own personal stories and inspiring examples of those who have traveled on the “grittier pavement of life”. With empathy and compassion, Lee Woodruff brings audiences together with the shared commonality that all of our lives could change in an instant. The secret, she says, is how we choose to handle it.