February 28, 2011

Made It Moment: Sylvia Ramsey

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 9:03 am

An Underground Jewell

Some of you who have found this blog from my blog may know that I try to support those people engaged in the battle against cancer. I hope soon to participate in a Walk myself, but for now I try to donate, support other people on theirs, and things along those lines. So when I saw that author Sylvia Ramsey does outreach and advocacy for sufferers and survivors of a lesser known form of cancer, I really hoped she would write a Made it Moment, and introduce us to her work on many fronts.

Sylvia Ramsey

Thank you so much for inviting me to be interviewed on your blog. It is an honor. I put a lot of thought into whether or not I had made it. This journey was quite a task, but it was a fruitful one as well.

I don’t think I have “made it” yet, maybe never will, at least not in the way that many people define, “made it”. However, if I can do something that helps someone out, or if I can make a difference for others…I consider it the best “made it” of all.

As a non-traditional student who was the mother of teenagers when I got my bachelors degree, and again when I earned my graduate degree. I made it when I was given my first teaching contract. As a teacher, I have made it many times. I “make it” every time I see a student succeed. I “make it” every time one of them fulfills their dream. I really “made it” when I set up my Facebook account, and by that evening, over 50 of my very former students found me.

I made it through eighteen years of caregiving to my first husband. One of the last things he said to me before he passed away was, “No one could have taken better care of me than you”. I made it when I survived bladder cancer. Being part of creating a nonprofit foundation, the American Bladder Cancer Society foundation, and their website for bladder cancer survivors and caregivers was a “made it” dream come true. I make it every time I can be there for someone who has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, and needs someone to talk to who has gone through it.

As I look back over the years, there have been many “made it” moments in my life. I made it when I was asked to be the guest speaker for the White House Communications Agency’s observance of Woman’s History Month. Even in writing, there have been several moments that stand out. A few of those made it moments occurred when I was first published in a professional journal, when my first poem and short story was published, and the many times I have been asked to come and perform my work. I was performing some of my poetry at an open mic, and I had no idea there was a small publisher present. After the event was over, this person asked me if I had more poems, and when I said I did, the individual asked if they could read some of them. After reading the poems I had shared, they wanted more. Finally, they asked if they could publish them. That was the origin of my first book, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World. That was also when I began an earnest quest and dream for the bladder cancer foundation to become a reality.

“Made it” to me is not the money, nor the fame. Making it is all those things you get in return when you give of yourself to others. My books will never be in Oprah’s book club, and that is okay, but every one that someone buys is helping someone else. Knowing that my writing can help others is really what matters the most, and each time one sells is a made it moment for me, and for those it helps.

Sylvia La Von Ramsey teaches Public Speaking at the Georgia Military Community College in Augusta, GA. She says that her battle with cancer added purpose to her life and set her on a special mission. Like Erma Bombeck, she hopes that when asked what she has left behind, she will be able to say, “My pockets are empty, my dreams fulfilled, all the unused talent given to me at birth has been used, and all the unsaid compliments and bits of love have been spread around. I have spent all that was given to me and I am as naked as the day I was born.”

Sylvia began writing news and feature articles for a small town newspaper in Southeast Missouri at the age of nine, encouraged by a nurturing news editor.

Over one hundred of her short stories and poems have found their way into literary magazines. She has been a featured poet in several literary journals, and her writing has extended into the realm of research in the field of Human Communication and been published in journals such as The Arkansas Speech Association Journal, and The Speech Teachers Association of Missouri Journal.


  1. Great Moment!!

    Comment by Judy — February 28, 2011 @ 10:08 am

  2. Everyone defines “making it” differently. As a person with a huge cancer risk (at least 3 maternal relatives dead from cancer) myself, I want to participate in Walks and take much better care of myself. I caretook my mother for years, but cannot even imagine the exhaustion of 18 years of caretaking! I know it was hard, but also I know that you must have so many memories that will last forever. Your moments are truly triumphant–you’re right, it’s not the money or the fame. Those don’t last. Helping each other does last.

    Comment by Savvy — February 28, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  3. I just read something that was emailed to me from a friend that said, “When you die, it is not what you do for yourself that will be remembered, it is what you do for others that will live on in people’s hearts and minds.”

    Comment by Sylvia L. Ramsey — February 28, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  4. Sylvia, you have definitely made it.

    Comment by Peg Brantley — February 28, 2011 @ 11:51 am

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