Cancer Survivor Says Now’s the Time to Create Your Legacy

Published: Friday, September 21, 2012 at 03:59 PM.



After surviving domestic violence and cancer, Georgia beauty pageant winner and actress Aurea McGarry considered the legacy she might have left had she not been one of the lucky ones.

She realized she wanted to be remembered for helping other women – specifically, for helping them not just to survive adversity, but to sur-thrive. She was innately qualified; McGarry had also endured the murder of her father, divorce and single motherhood.

In 2007, she became the creator, host and producer of an Atlanta TV show, “Live Your Legacy,” an inspirational program featuring unsung heroes of non-profits and charities. It won an Emmy Award in 2010.

“Living my life with a true purpose, doing what I’m passionate about, has made me a much happier person,” McGarry says. “It seemed natural to continue building my legacy by helping other women start building theirs, and while I’m doing that, raise money for charity.”

Hence Live Your Legacy Summits (www.LiveYourLegacySummit.com), events designed to inspire, inform and support women who want to start building a new legacy. This fall’s Florida event is planned 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 22 at The Rosen Plaza, 9700 International Drive.

It features talks from keynote speakers, panelists and award winners on how to develop an ideal legacy life – starting now – both personally and in business. Among those joining McGarry is Marianne Carlson, an internet guru and author who will discuss her transformation from an “Army geek” IT specialist and wife of a civilian employee of the US Defense Department to CEO of her own company.

Nominations for Living Legend Honorees continue to flood the Orlando event. Past winners include philanthropists, artists and social activists.

Workshops, activities and interactive panels will feature speakers including Marsha Friedman, CEO of EMSI Public Relations of Wesley Chapel and author of “Celebritize Yourself,” and Kathleen Hawkins, founder of WOAMTEC and renowned business consultant.

Cost for the day, lunch included, is $65 when purchased in advance.

“Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma nearly took my life and my voice, and domestic violence nearly broke my spirit, but I was able to use these hardships, and others, to focus my talents and put them into action,” McGarry says. “I’ve noticed that many people do not let their talents rise to the top; they do not take the big-picture approach and think about what their life’s legacy will be.”

Consideration for a post-life legacy can be a primary motivating factor for living life to its fullest – in the present tense, she says.

Everyone has obstacles to overcome; however, McGarry points out that these obstacles can be used as steppingstones to improve the world.

“Remember the horrible death of a little boy named Adam Walsh?” she asks. “The abduction and murder of John Walsh's 8-year-old son could easily have been the end for those grief-stricken parents.

“John Walsh decided to make a difference in the world instead, and began his fight to help find missing children and fight crime. ‘America's Most Wanted’ and many new laws in our courts are all part of his legacy.”

Non-profits and causes supported and represented at past summits include retinitis pigmentosa, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, KARMA, Florida Cancer Specialist and Homeless Ministries.

“Girl Talk, a 501c3, just got a $15,000 check from a company they met at my last summit,” McGarry says. “That's what it’s all about -- helping the non-profits make great new connections.”

About Aurea McGarry

Aurea McGarry is an Emmy-winning TV show host, actor, author, speaker and charity advocate, and founder of the Live Your Legacy Summit National Event Series. McGarry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1999 during a career in which she appeared in Florida theaters and a TV soap opera in New York. She underwent major surgery and lost a vocal cord nerve, which should have rendered her unable to speak. She has been cancer-free since 2000 – with her voice still intact, a miracle that prompted a feature story on TV’s “The 700 Club.” Mrs. U.S. Beauty of Georgia 2003, McGarry lives outside of Atlanta with her husband and granddaughter.



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