Last night was one of the best of my life. Which is strange, because I’d been dreading it for weeks. Don’t get me wrong. I was honored to be named the 2012 Donna E. Sweet Humanitarian of the Year, but no one really likes to be put in the spotlight that way. And, of course, none of us merit those kinds of accolades on our own. It’s our supporting families. Our never-let-us-down colleagues. Our always-there networks of friends. It’s when we come together that we make a real difference.

And, I guess that’s what made last night so life defining. Seeing the funky, fun Crown Uptown Theatre sparkle with best buds and fellow crusaders. Watching a video of our agency’s two-decades-plus of pro bono work. Being absolutely blown away by the inspired performances of the St. Anthony’s Lion and Dragon Dance Team, Wichita Chinese Dance Group and musician Shuyue Cao. I found a piece of confetti still in my hair when I woke up this morning.

Dr. Sweet got a big laugh when she commented on my passions – art, animals and AIDS – and what I’d accomplish if ever I move on to the next letter of the alphabet. What can I say? You don’t pick your causes; they pick you. I didn’t earn this recognition on my own. I feel so indebted and grateful to those who love and lift me up. You know who you are. Thank you.

Check out photos of the event on our Facebook page.