Sunday, September 30, 2012

Life and Liberty: Celebrated in Style

This post will also appear on the John Theurer Cancer Center's blog.

This afternoon, the John Theurer Cancer Center threw a party to celebrate the “C” Word. Community, that is—not Cancer. Four thousand patients, supporters, and JTCC staff gathered at Liberty State Park for the Fourth Annual Celebrating Life and Liberty event. The lawn in front of the expansive, white tent provided stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The patriotic theme embodies the JTCC community; the composition of the gathering was as diverse as our country, and all of the partiers had one thing in common: the pursuit of happiness, and life. For the second year, my husband and I felt honored to belong to this home of the brave.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Can Elvis Cure Cancer?

This post will also appear on StupidCancer's blogroll.

Monday morning, a young woman called into the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show and thanked the host for bettering her life. She was a survivor, and the radio show had become a ritualistic source of comfort for her. She claimed that Elvis had “cured her cancer.” In its typical jocular fashion, the cast speculated whether they could, in fact, cure cancer. The next caller said that she’d listened to the show on the drive to each of her chemotherapy appointments, and the third caller said she was headed to an infusion appointment that very moment.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Light the Night - Milwaukee and Minneapolis

Team Life's a Beach has now made its first two stops - Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Thank you to all those who contributed. The Milwaukee team, led by my two brothers, raised almost $2,000 (thank you to our wonderful, generous friends and family).

Jeff had been planning to bring his nice camera, to capture some great images of the illuminated balloons, but heavy rain had been in the forecast. Instead, the camera phone pic below captures the spirit of the event perfectly.

Veteran's Park, Milwaukee - Jeff & Elise
For the Minneapolis event, my mother-in-law rounded up a group of 12 friends to serve as volunteers. Volunteers were in short supply, so DiAnne and her friends' involvement was much appreciated by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and by me. And thank you to Tony for fundraising! Thank you everyone! 
Target Field, Minneapolis - DiAnne and her crew of friends

Next stop - New York City on October 3rd.

DiAnne mentioned that one of the speaker's at the Minneapolis event was a mother whose grown son had died from the same gene mutation I have (APL). At times, it is difficult to be involved with LLS's campaign because it provides reminders of our reality. But it also provides reminders of the hope. An extra reality check is well worth all the good that can come from helping fund this nonprofit that provides patient support and grants for cutting-edge research.

Life's a Beach Team Home Page

Life's a Beach pages by walk site:
(On the day of the walk, registration begins at 5:30pm and the walk begins at 7:00pm.)

October 3 - New York, NY (Basketball City)

October 20 - Verona, NJ (Verona Park)

October 27, Woodland Hills, CA (Warner Center Park)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Light the Night - Movie Tix Raffle Final Winner, #7

The winner of the last two of 14 movie tickets is Scott N.

Thank you again to everyone who's supporting Team Life's a Beach this year!

Thus far, our team has raised $4,690. What will this money be used for? Check out the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Research Successes.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Light the Night - Movie Tix Raffle Winner 6

And the winner is... Laura M., who happens to be one of my wonderful aunts. They've all been so supportive over the past year and a half. Thank you.

The Wisconsin walk took place yesterday evening. Thank you Jeff, Matt, and Jen for leading the team! Pics to come.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Light the Night - Movie Tix Raffle Winner 5

When I arrived home last night at 9:30 from a meeting, the first thing Katelyn said to me was, "We have to pick a name!"

And that name was... Douglas A. Congrats! You'll be receiving your movie ticket codes shortly. And thank you for your contribution to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

We are having so much fun drawing the names that we might have to come up with some more prizes in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Light the Night - Movie Tix Raffle Winner 4

Today's winner is... Kelly B.!

Thank you again to everyone who's supporting Team Life's a Beach in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walks.

Life's a Beach Team Home Page

Life's a Beach pages by walk site:
(On the day of the walk, registration begins at 5:30pm and the walk begins at 7:00pm.)

September 13 - Milwaukee, WI (Veteran's Park)

September 23 - Minneapolis, MN (Target Field)

October 3 - New York, NY (Basketball City)

October 20 - Verona, NJ (Verona Park)

October 27, Woodland Hills, CA (Warner Center Park)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Glamour and

October 2012 issue of Glamour, for

The current issue of Glamour magazine features a promotion for the i'm too young for this foundation (or StupidCancer). The organization provides educational resources and a vibrant on-line community for young adult cancer survivors. It also hosts a huge young adult cancer summit (OMG 2013 Vegas: Cancer Summit for Young Adults. A smaller scale version is happening this Saturday, September 15th, in New York City, which I'll be attending (OMG East/NYC: Cancer Summit for Young Adults)

Does it feel cool to have my mug shot in Glamour? Sure, but it would feel even cooler to never have been diagnosed with cancer. Now, if they'd wanted to feature me for my terrific fashion sense, THAT would be something...

Light the Night - Movie Tix Raffle Winner 3

And the winner of today's pair of movie tix... Patrick L., who donated to my brother, Jeff, for the Wisconsin walk.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

When a Bad Turn Turns into a Good Turn

Like many Americans, we had never been to a polo match before today. Our good friends invited us to attend with them, and to meet their beautiful new daughter. I knew we would be in unfamiliar territory at the tony Greenwich Polo Club event, which also featured a Ferrari car show and chaise lounges for drinking champagne. This became even more apparent when we took a wrong turn.

We were driving down a country lane in Greenwich, lined by a stone fence at least a hundred years old that provided privacy for the estates beyond it, when Ryan veered sharply left, onto a gravel driveway. The stone fence had become a white wooden fence that bordered a beautiful grassy hill and a stone clubhouse in the distance. We thought we'd reached our destination.

Unfortunately, the gravel drive ended ten yards beyond the open gate. The car ahead of us, who'd drawn the same conclusion, did a Y turn and exited. While in the middle of our Y turn, the gate swung shut. We were trapped on the patch of gravel. I hopped out of the car and yanked on that pretty white fence. It didn't budge. I looked for a manual release button, but all I could find was a keyhole. Meanwhile, Ryan was laughing at me from the car.

I climbed back in and asked, "What do we do now?"

"Offroad." Ryan gunned the engine, and the car jerked onto the manicured lawn and up the hill.

Several long horse trailers came into view, and the polo field, with its grandstands and line of picknicking spectators on the far side. We were on the players' side of the field, having circumnavigated the spectator parking lot (and person collecting admission). Since our exit through the fence remained blocked, we did what any proud Jersey folks would do: parked the car and acted like we own the place. We admired the horses and crossed the field before play began.

Once we had realized the V.I.P. nature of our parking spot, Ryan commented that our wrong turn had turned into a good turn. Since polo isn't exactly a sport one follows closely when she has no concept of the rules, I got a little philosophical over Ryan's comment. Life is full of wrong turns, whether accidental, intentional, or unavoidable. The one thing they have in common is that they can't be undone. Sometimes, it's possible to complete the Y turn and return to your original route. Other times not.

I will never stop wishing that cancer hadn't happened to us. But it can't be undone. We drove through that gate, and it locked behind us. And the place we found ourselves in was no manicured lawn at a posh club. But it has not been without unexpected positives, like the result of our wrong turn today. We have realized how blessed we are to have our family and friends. The experience has reaffirmed the importance of having Faith. It has given us a greater sense of purpose and focus. On wonderful days like today, I have to remind myself of these benefits, because other days are not so easy.

But today was one of those wonderful days, spent with four of our good friends, and Katelyn, who watched the game more closely than any of the adults. Some day, she will learn about wrong turns. In the mean time, divots are far more interesting.

Stomping divots like a pro

Our car is the red one in the distance, in its V.I.P. spot

Go Team! (Don't ask me which one.)

Nothing like a sunny day

Friday, September 7, 2012

Light the Night - Movie Tix Raffle Winners 1 & 2

The first two winners of a pair of movie tix are...

I have five more pairs of tix to raffle off as a thank you to those who are supporting Team Life's a Beach in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walks. Each evening next Monday through Friday, we will be drawing another winner. (Talk about a "win-win," as Michael Scott used to say on The Office.)

More on the good news front, my dear friend, Sarah, who's a "creative" at an advertising agency is designing the Life's a Beach logo for the T-shirts. She has tremendous talent, and I can't wait to see it. All who walk and/or donate will receive a team T-shirt.

And... more good news... Sheila's and Lauren's Southern Cali walk site is now up:
October 27, Woodland Hills, CA (Warner Center Park)

In retrospect, this post is more of a win-win-win-win. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Light the Night Update: Friday, 9/7 @ 5pm - Movie Tix Raffle

At the end of the day on Friday, Katelyn will be drawing two names from those who have signed up to walk and/or donated to Team Life's a Beach in 2012. Also, I am working on team T-shirts. Details to come...

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has become so important to me not just because of my personal experience, but because of all the friends I have made over the past year who have also been afflicted with a blood cancer.

One of my friends, Dona, just received her bone marrow transplant last week (please say a prayer for her). The day of the transplant is commonly referred to as the patient's birthday, because it literally is a new chance at life. She was diagnosed with AML last year on Mother's Day. We met her at the bone marrow donor drive, where Ryan joined the registry (Be the Match). Her daughter started kindergarten today, while she recovers from the transplant in a sterile wing of a hospital because she does not yet have an immune system. She is a brave, kind person and embodies the Life's a B**ch! attitude.

If you would like a shot at winning the movie tix, please check out Team Life's a Beach Details. We are in the process of adding a Southern Cali walk to our team, thanks to Sheila and Lauren!

Dona and her Big Kindergartener!
A total stranger's gift to Dona and her family: LIFE (a.k.a. bone marrow)