Saturday, March 12, 2011

Service Above Self.... Thank you Haverhill Rotary!

On March 10th, Sherri and I had the honor of speaking at the Haverhill Rotary Club. What a welcoming group! Thank you to Chuck Traver and the Haverhill Rotary for the opportunity. We are most grateful.

As the Rotary went through their business meeting before we spoke, one of the members stood up and announced she was happy to be back after some months away from the group. She explained that she had been battling breast cancer. She proudly announced her move into survivorship and the group welcomed her back with great applause.

When Sherri and I got up to speak, I was so overcome with emotion... I was looking at the survivor in the group and was just overwhelmed with it all. Thoughts of my mom, our teammate Maurine (with metastatic bc), my other YOUNG survivor teammates and this new survivor just bowled me over. I know I am immersed in the bc world, but it seems epidemic to me. I am so happy, though, that a group like the Rotary is so open to hearing what we have to say.

Sherri and I talked, not about our disease, but about HOPE and the ability to make a difference. We were able to play our video Walk Like a Princess for the group and it definitely had the impact I thought it may. I noticed some tears in the audience. Of course, Rotarians know firsthand the ability to make a difference. The Rotary motto is Service Above Self. Enough said.

Team update - We are now 30 members strong! If you haven't checked out the updated website, please do!

On the website you can purchase your tickets to the May 14th Dance Like a Princess event.

We also have a new section on the website for Upcoming Events and Other Ways to Help. We have interesting ways in which you can help outside of the traditional donation. We are looking for event volunteers for the Warrior Dash on 6/25 (you can sign up online) and we have an Avon event from the 18th to the 28th of March, where we will be making 50% of everything purchased.

I just went out for my first official training run of the spring. Gotta get this body in shape for the Warrior Dash!

Happy Spring!


Friday, March 4, 2011

The people in our lives help shape our lives ....

I believe certain people are in our lives for a reason. I also believe that the people we choose to surround ourselves with help determine who we are and how we behave and view adversities. We can look at adversity and face it head on and overcome it in the best way possible or we can let those situations overcome us.

This past week I spent some time with two true Tough Warrior Princesses. I have neatly labeled myself a Tough Warrior Princess and to me, I am so much tougher than I ever thought I could possibly be, however, in most area's of my life, I truly have Princess status. I am married to the MOST wonderful man in the world. He lets me be a Princess and knows there are so many ways I am not tough and barely know what a warrior is. When my car breaks down, the windshield washer fluid gets low, a light goes out in the house, the cat pukes, an appliance breaks - not a worry - Mike will take care of it. I am helpless! I can't imagine taking care of a home on my own. And he is a great cook too!!

My friends Lisa and Sue - they are Tough! Both are single mom's with teenage children. Yes, I knew they were both intelligent, accomplished and strong; but I did not know the extent of it. Mike and I rented a house with them up in Stowe to ski during February vacation week. I watched these two women all week and they showed me what it means to be tough. Sue's car transmission blew right before the trip and she had to deal with not only how to get it fixed while she was away, but to figure out how to pay for such a huge unexpected expense. Yet, she skied and her kids skied and they dealt with it; and she was a blast to be around. I got a glimpse into Sue's life and I am in awe of what a great mother she is and how extremely hard she works. She has to deal with stuff that I would never know how to deal with on my own. Then there is Lisa, who I have known a lot longer. Lisa took care of Alexa for me since Alexa was very young. I always knew how strong and independent she was. I am so happy that Lisa has had such a huge influence on Alexa's life, what a great example! Lisa always finds a way to make things happen. She never sits back and always has a plan. I watch her work two jobs and raise 3 amazing children and own her own home. Her children, unknowingly still, are so blessed. That she finds ways to afford to always take them on the special trips that will define their childhood memories and be a great role model.

I'm speaking for Lisa and Sue here, but life hasn't gone exactly as planned for either of them, yet they are stunning examples of strength and positive action and certainly show me how to be better.

The official definition of a Tough Warrior Princess is a strong female personality, determined in the pursuit of her goals and often eager to do take on a typical 'man's work' like fighting wars or performing manual labor to accomplish those goals -- when of a royal backround, a woman warrior may be called a warrior princess.

I want part of the mission of the Tough Warrior Princesses to be to show women who are in tough situations that they can rise above. You can sit back and have the pity party and let life swallow you or you can decide to be the change by making it happen. Sometimes simply taking the focus off of yourself is the beginning of true change.

Sherri and I went to our oncology appointments together recently at Dana Farber. We have the same oncologist and coincidentally had appointments the same day. We were talking with our oncologist about the fact that New Balance had done the video and how we had recently set up the Tough Warrior Princesses as an organization and would be filing for non-profit status. This gives us room to direct funds we raise in other directions, besides just our Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walks. Our oncologist told us stories of the needs of women she sees every single day. She sees a lot of younger women who are either single or divorced with small support systems. Every day that they come in for treatment is a day out of work with no pay - which cannot be afforded. These younger women have trouble finding rides to treatment, as their circle of friends typically all are working as well and also cannot afford to take a day out. I remember how lucky I felt that I had not only a HUGE support system, but the luxury of taking time out of work and two layers of disability policies from which to draw. And, still, how hard it was to stay strong and face each of the steps of treatment and unknown outcomes. I surrounded myself with people who certainly let me have my down moments and pity parties, but each and every time they pulled me up by an example of strength and wisdom. (Call Cheryl if you want to know what an Un-Tough Warrior I was at moments of my journey)

I want to help women who don't have the support systems, who don't have the luxury of disability or the luxury of friends waiting in line to take them to chemo. Who have to deal with getting children to and from school or day care, when they can't. I'm sure some of these women have never had examples of what a Tough woman can do when she sets her mind to it and never had the luxury of being a princess.

I wish I could describe to you (I'm sure I will in another post) each of the women and my wonderful token male brother we have on the Tough Warrior Princess team this year. We are truly defining Tough Warrior Princess. Each person brings a whole new dimension to our team and I know that as a group we have the power to make a HUGE difference.

Lastly - but certainly not least -- please mark your calendars - Saturday, May 14th for the 2nd Annual Dance Like A Princess Silent Auction!!! Plans are well under way and tickets will soon be available for purchase directly from our website. It will be held from 7-12 in Amesbury at the Holy Family Parish Hall.

Thank you so much for your support!