Judith Pearson is a story teller, and an award-winning author. Given her penchant for stories, it’s not surprising that she created a remarkable platform for people to share their tales of triumph and transformation, A2ndAct.org.
A2ndAct.org celebrates the stories of women moving forward in life. Many of the stories are about cancer, but some include domestic violence, abuse and other areas of personal triumph. The genesis of the organization lay in Judy’s own experience, as she sought answers for her own physical and psycho-social issues after a diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer, In her search, she found women throughout the country, doing great things.
But equally interesting was the number of women who were stuck and not using the experience to pivot into a more meaningful life. Judy discovered that the need for inspiration was profound and it was widespread. And it highlighted a missing component of many support groups:
How to change the survivorship question from “why me?” to “what’s next?”
A2ndAct.org is a celebration of stories, of workshops, of social activities, micro grants and books that focus on what’s next. The annual gala includes live performances where women share their stories. This year’s program will be held on March 21. Check out www.A2ndAct.org for details. In addition two volumes inspiring tales are available here.
Judy Pearson on Courage
One of the most interesting areas of my discussion with Judy looks at courage and at how it differs in men and women. How do the sexes react to challenging circumstances? Not surprisingly, as a general rule, women tend to be collaborative while men tend towards a more solo experience. Physical activities–golf, sports, a hammer and a nail!–are more traditional male avenues for processing deep emotional trauma and healing.
Women’s collaborative approach yields surprising benefits. The simple act of giving creates a feeling of well being. In short, compassion helps us heal.
There is healing in helping.
And sometimes compassion starts with a small gesture, an act of kindness, that reverberates for both the giver and the receiver. And that is what Judy’s journey with Second Act is all about.
Judy Pearson: The Author
In addition to creating A2ndAct.org and being a full time author, Judy is also a member of the Society of Integrative Oncology and co-secretary of their Patient Advocacy Task Force; a member of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society, a founding board member of Arizona Women for the Arts; a past board member of the Michigan State University Alumni Association, a member of the American Association for University Women, and a member Women of Central Phoenix, Women of Scottsdale and West Valley Women. In 2015, Judy was named one of Chicago’s Most Inspirational Women, and in 2018, was selected as an Arizona Healthcare Hero and a finalist in the Arizona Healthcare Leadership Awards.
If there is a series of themes running through Judy’s life, one would be courage on a personal and intellectual level. She exemplifies it and writes about it. Each of her four books explores an exceptional if little known hero: