Joy for the Journey: Caring Voice Coalition’s Weekend Wellness Retreat

“Joy is not in things, it is in us.” -Richard Wagner

This weekend, I attended Caring Voice Coalition(CVC)’s Weekend Wellness Retreat in Richmond, VA.  The retreat’s theme, “Joy for the Journey” says it perfectly – it was a joyful and inspiring chapter in my journey.

This past year, I read about my dear friend Trinity in CVC’s COMMUNITY Magazine. Then, I worked with CVC’s Magazine and Marketing Team to raise awareness about narcolepsy. I was honored to be invited to their retreat – thank you, Alex!  I was also very excited to re-unite with my buddies, Trinity and Lee.

From the second I arrived in Richmond, CVC’s warm friendly representatives were there for me. The Jefferson Hotel  took my breath away. The lavish art and architecture was so magnificent, like a movie set. I was thrilled to meet CVC President and Founder, Pam Harris, along with her incredible CVC team including Jennifer, Sam, Bob, Tim, Becky, Michael, Taylor, Alex, Anthony, Nicole, Rachel, Matthew, Schiavone, Ivey, Action Jackson, Ami, and many others! 

Master of Ceremonies and Entertainer, Adam Christing, set a fun and friendly tone for the weekend. His charasmatic personality, fun magic tricks along with his deep thoughtfulness for the event’s purpose, made him the perfect MC. He introduced me as “Sandra Bullock,” which I loved.


The weekend featured two days of expert speakers and personal “In Their Words” testimonials. The testimonials offered a unique opportunity to hear the inspiring journeys of my fellow attendees. I never could have imagined how touched I would feel by their stories – ordinary people who faced extraordinary circumstances and hardships, yet they were also filled with love, positivity, peace and gratitude.

Friday was my birthday, and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend the day!  On Friday evening, the entire group sang me Happy Birthday with a special cupcake. I smiled ear-to-ear.  YUM! 

I presented my story of narcolepsy with cataplexy on Saturday night, during the Grand Ballroom dinner and read an excerpt from my upcoming narcolepsy memoir. If I could summarize the weekend in one word, it would be FAMILY. For me, this weekend expanded my sense of support and community in this world and I’m forever grateful.

Thank you to Caring Voice Coalition for the most amazing weekend I will cherish forever. Thank you to my fellow attendees for sharing your stories which inspired and enlightened me. I’m so excited to stay in touch, as our journeys continue. Thank you, Lee, for the great photos!

Caring Voice Coalition is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering and supporting patients and families living with chronic illnesses. Founded in 2003, CVC was formalized to meet the unmet needs among the orphan disease population and in 2011, CVC began supporting patients with narcolepsy.  CVC’s invaluable services include: Financial Assistance Programs, Insurance Education & Counseling and Patient Support. Learn more at:

“Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world.
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before.
Let your soul take you where you long to be…
Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar,
and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.”
-Erich Fromm


  1. Lee Grant on September 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Thank you, Julie, for your inspiring presence and leadership in raising awareness for narcolepsy and cataplexy! It was a pleasure to share the CVC Weekend Wellness Retreat experience with you (and your birthday as well!) and Trinity and I look forward to seeing you again soon.



    PS: Your website and blog are amazing! 🙂

    • julie on October 9, 2012 at 3:58 am

      Thank you, Lee, for your kind comment! I’m so glad you like my website and narcolepsy blog! I miss you and Trinity so much already. Big smiles from DC, Julie

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