Caregiving: Journeys of Love & 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. From food service and maintenance, to physicians and nurses, Lee recognizes the role that healthcare professionals played not only in her husband’s miraculous recovery, but in all patient’s recovery. Lee 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.”
Life Changes in an Instant
Whether it’s a child in a car accident, a spouse’s request for a divorce, a patient’s stroke, a diagnosis of breast cancer, or a terrorist attack on a warm day in September—life can change in an instant for us all.
As co-author of In An Instant, the #1 New York Times best-seller, Lee Woodruff recounts her story of a marriage, a family, a crisis and a healing. When her husband, ABC’s newly appointed co-anchor Bob Woodruff, was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq, Woodruff’s life changed in an instant. She had to learn to put her own grief aside to care for her children, as well as her husband, who was gravely injured and close to death. In the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu—”Suffering is not optional. It seems to be part and parcel of the human condition, but suffering can embitter or ennoble.”
Woodruff speaks with grace and humor about her own family’s experience and how they chose to attack the crisis that befell them, resulting in a life-changing journey of love, healing and miracles for her whole family.
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.
The Power of We: Creating a Community of Impact
Following her husband’s life-threatening injury while covering the war in Iraq, Lee Woodruff was inspired to dedicate herself to ensuring that our nation’s impacted veterans, service members and their families are granted the highest level of support and resources that they deserve. Lee and her husband created The Bob Woodruff Foundation, aimed at ensuring that our veterans are thriving long after the return home. Their devoted activism and volunteerism has allowed the Woodruff family to reach 2.5 million veterans and families meet their emerging and long-term needs. Woodruff’s discussion of her work’s impact and her devotion to philanthropy demonstrates the importance of standing up for the causes most dear to us, and inspires listeners to be the change they wish to see in the world.