It’s Okay Not To Be Okay…..

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay…..

Yesterday morning I happened to spot a post on Facebook about a chap I met back when I founded the Worcestershire Literary Festival and who I knew from the Worcester Writers’ Circle, Kieran Davis. He had apparently gone missing on Monday, and no-one had heard from him. I shared the post to my Facebook in case anyone had seen him or had any news as to his whereabouts, but I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It turned out that feeling was correct – Kieran had passed away – https://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/18209149.brother-missing-worcester-man-says-died/

I was so shocked and stunned when I heard the news, and I still can’t believe he has gone.

When I lost my much loved and much wanted son Frankie in 2013 to stillbirth Kieran messaged me often on Facebook to check how I was doing, and he helped me as I went through the worst time of my life. He sent me funny poems “to make me smile and laugh” and told me that I would smile and laugh again one day…and he was right. I will never, ever forget that.

Kieran was an extremely talented writer and poet, and always made everyone laugh. I wish I had just a tiny bit of his writing talent. His “Baldy Poems” were hilarious, and his humour was infectious. He always made me smile and laugh, and a light has gone out of the world with his passing. I can’t even imagine what his family are going through right now, and my thoughts and prayers are with them all.

Today, as I try to process what has happened to Kieran, I’ve got this to say to you all and to anyone who is struggling.

Whether you are male, female, or however you identify yourself, but I say this especially to men….it is okay to NOT be okay. It is okay to admit that you are struggling, that you need help, that you need someone to talk to.

I’ve been there where I have felt like the only way out is to not be here anymore. I have honestly thought about what the best way would be to leave this earth. I couldn’t see past the pain I was feeling inside and felt that everyone around me would be much better off without me, and that everyone’s life would be better if I simply didn’t exist.

Somehow, thanks to talking and to my amazing husband, family and friends, and thanks to having counselling, I saw past the pain. I saw a future. I saw that I was wrong about everyone being better off without me. I realised that they would be better off WITH me. I realised that I matter, and that life is worth living.

Men especially are particularly vulnerable given that they are brought up to not show their feelings, to never cry, to have a “stiff upper lip” and just get on with things, no matter how much they are struggling and hurting inside. Sadly it is too late for Kieran, but I don’t want it to be too late for anyone else I know.

Please please…..if you are struggling and you need to talk to someone…contact me. My messenger is always open and I’m always happy to listen. None of you need to feel that you are suffering in silence or suffering alone, even if you feel like you are alone.

I promise you this. You are NOT alone. People care….I care. Talk to me, talk to anyone. Don’t keep things to yourself. Don’t suffer in silence….ever.

#ItsGoodToTalk ❤️❤️ 

The Rise of the Cyber Women – Release Date Announced

The Rise of the Cyber Women – Release Date Announced

I’m delighted to announce that my book “The Rise of the Cyber Woman” will be released on Sunday 8 March 2020, which is International Women’s Day, via Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly Amazon Createspace).  Those of you who will be included in the book have been notified via email.

I’ve been overwhelmed at the amount of interest the book has received and honoured that so many amazing women in cyber security have submitted chapters for inclusion in the book. I have enjoyed reading all of them immensely and while proofreading and editing the book one thing is clear. Even though women are often put off by pursuing careers in cyber security and technology, the ones that are in the industry have achieved great things despite often having a non-linear path into cyber security and technology, and they have overcome great challenges to get to where they are today.

I hope “The Rise of the Cyber Women” will inspire other women to enter the cyber security and technology industries and consider it as a viable career path. Much still needs to be done to encourage women to take up careers in cyber security and technology, and while great strides are being made, the more that is done to encourage other women into the industry, the better.

“The Rise of the Cyber Women” – released on Sunday 8 March 2020 (International Women’s Day) via Kindle Direct Publishing.

#BrainWalk For World Encephalitis Day on 22 February 2020

#BrainWalk For World Encephalitis Day on 22 February 2020

On 8th January 2020, after being misdiagnosed with motor neurone disease and associated dementia, my Dad was finally diagnosed with a very rare brain disease called CASPR-2 antibody encephalitis. He became ill in October 2017 when he had seizures out of the blue, and since then he has declined massively in terms of his mobility, memory, cognitive functioning and day to day living. It can be treated, and while he may not get back to how he was there is a glimmer of hope that he may improve with auto immune therapy treatment, rehabilitation and time.
 

Until 8 January 2020 I had never heard of the word encephalitis but thanks to everyone at The Encephalitis Society I gained a huge understanding of my Dad’s condition, of how rare it is and what his prognosis for the future is. In 2020 I shall be supporting them through fund raising and awareness raising campaigns, as well as sharing my Dad’s story in the hope that it leads to greater awareness and greater understanding about his illness.

On Saturday 22nd February 2020 it is World Encephalitis Day, and I will be taking part in a “Brain Walk” to raise funds for The Encephalitis Society and to raise awareness of the illness. I will do a lap around the River Severn starting from the Diglis Walkway bridge, around the river and ending up back at the bridge. Between now and then I will also be counting all the steps I do every day on The Encephalitis Socity’s “Brain Walk” app –
https://www.encephalitis.info/pages/category/wed.

Please consider supporting me and The Encephalitis Society as I take part in this “Brain Walk” for World Encephalitis Day on 22 February – every penny makes a huge difference to awareness and research of this extremely rare condition. The link to donate is here – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lisa-ventura.

Thank you all so much!

#BrainWalk
#WorldEncephalitisDay
#22February

Lisa Ventura Shortlisted For We Are The City’s “Rising Star” Awards 2020

Lisa Ventura Shortlisted For We Are The City’s “Rising Star” Awards 2020

Lisa Ventura is very excited and proud to announce that she has been shortlisted in We Are The City’s “Rising Star” 2020 awards for her contribution to the technology and cyber security industry.

Now in their sixth year, the Rising Star Awards are the first to focus on the achievements of women below Senior Management or Director level – representing the female talent pipeline and the next generation of future leaders.

The awards also recognise the efforts of senior leaders who are championing gender equality, as well as putting the spotlight on a “company of the year” that is actively supporting its female talent pipeline above and beyond industry norms.

Over the past four years and with the support of leading organisations, WeAreTheCity has been able to highlight the achievements of over 550 women (450 in the UK, 100 in India) through the Rising Star Award’s process.

Nominations are open till 8 March 2020, with the shortlist announced on 20 April 2020. The winners will be announced on 11 May 2020 following a public vote. 

For more information about We Are The City’s “Rising Star” awards for 2020 visit https://risingstars.wearethecity.com/.

Announcing My Chosen Charity For 2020 The Encephalitis Society

Announcing My Chosen Charity For 2020 The Encephalitis Society

Corporate Social Responsibility and supporting charities that are close to my heart is very important to me, and as such I am delighted to announce that in 2020 I will be supporting The Encephalitis Society as my chosen charity

The reason I chose The Encephalitis Society is my Dad received a shock diagnosis of CASPR2-antibody encephalitis on 8 January, following a misdiagnosis of motor neurone disease and frontemporal dementia. As many of you know my Dad means the absolute world to me, and I’ve been fighting the NHS for him since October 2017 when he was first taken ill to get a proper diagnosis for him.  The Encephalitis Society have already been very helpful with resources and support to help me understand my Dad’s condition, what treatment he will be having in the coming weeks and what to expect in terms of his prognosis and recovery.

I will be taking part in a #BrainWalk for the Encephalitis Society on Saturday 22 February 2020, which is World Encephalitis Day. More information about this to follow, and more information about Encephalitis can be found on the Encephalitis Society website – https://www.encephalitis.info/.

I will post details of other fundraising and awareness raising activities that I will be doing in 2020 in due course, so do keep an eye on my blog for updates. For more information and for how you can support me in my fundraising and awareness raising endeavours in 2020, email me via hello@lisaventura.co.uk.