When I was at University, I got an email from a friend of mine asking me to be a steward for an amazing event. Gianna Jessen was coming to Leeds!
Back to Leeds... One word, wow! She spoke so well with great authority about her story, and answered questions just as well! My question that day was about the nurse who saved her in that abortion clinic. She said she'd just say thank you if she ever met her!
She was just so frank about the horror of abortion and didn’t mince her words – killing, murder, dead, etc. - all words that we sometimes shy away from in this debate for fear of losing those we’re trying to reach. Not Gianna! She doesn’t have or need that fear!
Her comments on disability were just as inspiring. She challenged everyone in the room, from those in wheelchairs right through to people like me who were constantly running around trying to keep things running smoothly. Her passion about the dignity of the human person just exuded from every word, action or expression. She also just made you feel ace! She talked about both women and men being amazing, about how we should look after each other. She talked about herself freely, warts and all, saying that what she has is the 'gift of cerebral palsy'. What a woman!
I chanced it and managed to score a visit to our Catholic Chaplaincy and to do a talk for medics, nurses and anyone else interested. There was a big crowd - we had to turn people away despite charging a £5 entry fee. Two other high profile UK pro life speakers (both doctors - their contributions will form other posts) also came because of her reputation (and refused the money we gave them, despite hefty travel expenses).
Again, she had a room full to the brim (we blatantly broke the fire regulations that day) hanging on her every word. This was a room full of present and future doctors, nurses, physios, speech/language therapists, dietitians etc. We’d really pushed it across the whole of the hospital. With that audience comes a different challenge – more advanced scientific questions! She knows her stuff, let’s just leave it at that! My question to her that day had the simple answer 'training can't involve murder'!
If any of you ever get a chance to go and hear her speak, just go! If not, watch this video!