Monday, May 30, 2011

A Story of Heroes!

There are heroes everywhere, but I have found some truly outstanding ones. In my blog last year, I wrote the story of Kelsey, a young girl who had been severly abused until she was 3, when she was adopted by two Heroes - Heidi and Peter. Heidi and Peter have helped mold Kelsey into one of the most amazing young ladies I have ever met. I met Kelsey for the first time last year when Kelsey had a birthday party and donated all of her gifts to my 2010 Komen walk. $1,000! This year, Kelsey and Heidi endured the most unimaginable loss - Peter passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack. This man was the picture of health. He was in great physical shape. He was a true hero -- not just to Heidi and Kelsey, but to so many others. After making a huge donation to my walk last year, Peter turned to my daughter, Katie and handed her a large donation to her upcoming Juvenile Diabetes walk. Peter had previously lost his brother to Juvenile Diabetes. He was so compassionate, kind and understanding.

This year, after just losing her father, Peter, I was shocked to learn that Kelsey was again going to do a birthday party and donate the proceeds to my 2011 Komen walk. Kelsey just turned 11.... and suffered the worst year. Yet she still wants to do something outside herself in an effort to cure breast cancer. Kelsey was impacted by a teacher in her school who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Kelsey started planning her party and that's where more heroes come into the story. Asha, a friend of Kelsey's with a birthday at the same time asked if she could join in. Kelsey and Asha combined their parties and asked that all gifts be made to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. WOW. Asha is just turning 10 and already is learning what is important. I'm so grateful to Asha for joining in and making the event even bigger. Then, there are Asha's parents. Chris and Mahdu - obviously heroes - they are raising a great girl. I remember meeting Mahdu at last year's party - she is a special woman.

At the party, everyone wore the same TShirts, breast cancer headbands and beads. It was a stunning event with tons of kids. It was held at CoCo Key Water Resort. Asha and Kelsey had made a gift bag for me with breast cancer items inside. My favorite item is my pink rubber survivor bracelet, which I now wear every day. It reminds me of what it means to be a survivor. Being a survivor means never giving up, making the most of whatever is dealt to you and turning it into the best example you can possibly make it. Heidi and Kelsey are not only heroes, they are true survivors.

Thank you to my heroes - Kelsey and Asha, Chris and Mahdu and dear Heidi and of course, Peter, who I will never forget.

The money is still coming in from the Birthday party.... but the total raised so far by these young ladies is.... $2,160. Now, if 2 young girls can raise that much money in 1 day, what can we all do if we put our minds to it?

Thank you Kelsey and Asha. You are in my heart forever!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tales of an Aging Princess.... Growing Better!

Another trip around the sun... it doesn't seem possible. So I just celebrated my 43rd bday, only the funny thing is, for some reason I thought I was 43 all last year, so this feels like a bonus!

Birthdays can be like a cancer diagnosis ~ you face your mortality and at the same time people come out of the woodwork to wish you well and although you may be thinking how old you are you remember the gifts in your life. The people. You reflect on the good and the bad. Some of us choose to look at the bright side and others only see the dark. What I have learned since cancer and facing yet another birthday -- LIVE life. So many people don't ever start living because they are too afraid or will do it tomorrow. I have decided that any time I want to do something, yet some little reason holds me back -- just DO IT!! Take your fear that is holding you from your good and STOMP on it. Now, I haven't done anything crazy, but I make many conscious decisions every day to push ahead with something even when my old self is telling me to hide or back away.

The morning of my birthday we were doing a team training walk. The girls arrive and I'm showered with well wishes, gifts and of course, a tiara. It was a beautiful sunny morning and as we are walking up a hill everyone seems to stop and tell me to look -- I was busy fiddling with my phone and paying no attention. I look up and in the woods is a sign with my picture on it! Sherri had made TONS of signs, as I was soon to find out and they were all posted strategically around our walk route. Each sign had our Princess logo, a pictue of me and words of wisdom or wit. Sherri and Cheryl had spent the morning posting each sign - Crazy girls!!! Of course, Jody came equipped with her camera and the fun we had! I confirmed what I already knew about myself... I don't always pay attention to small details. There was not one sign along the route that I noticed first, w/out someone slowing down or stopping so that I would. And these signs were not small or bland.... Big and colorful and awesome, just like our team. Thanks ladies!!! Best bday gift ever!

Some of us from our team went out and did the 20 Mile Walk for Hunger in Boston this weekend. It was a fantastic day and a great training walk. We also celebrated another team member and young survivor's birthday along the walk - Tina Journeay. Happy Birthday Tina and thanks for spending it with us! The Boston walk was a nice change of scenery from walking the streets of Amesbury.

Our training walks are ramping up and any given weekend if you drive around Amesbury, Merrimac or Newburport you are likely to spot a group of very dedicated walkers in training.

Dance Like a Princess Silent Auction is planned and coming together. We have over 130 auction items -- please don't miss this!! We have everything from spa's to sporting events, family photos to airline tickets, restaurants to boat cruises. We have many Boston and other North Shore items this year as well. I could go on and on. The items are AMAZING! Come out and show your support. We have spent a lot of time putting this together. It means so much when you see a friend walk through the door. The support is what makes it possible. To get your tickets you can contact me or go to and purchase them right on line. Please don't wait!!! We want to see your smiling face at this event.

Tough Warrior Princesses are well on their way to being a NonProfit. Our official mission statement is: "The Tough Warrior Princessses are committed to raising funds for breast cancer research, educating and enlightening the public on the need to find a cure, and providing support to local women and their families impacted by cancer."

(We are trying to get the word out to find an attorney to help. If you know of anyone capable and willing to donate some time to a great cause, let me know)

This weekend I have two amazing young girls, Kelsey and her friend Asha, who are having their birthday parties and donating all of the proceeds to my walk. The party is at CoCo Key Water Resort. Many of you will recall my blog post from a year ago highlighting Kelsey's unique and stunning story. This year, it means even more, as she has recently lost her father. I am so excited to be able to spend this day with them! I'll be sure to update soon to let you know how it goes.

Last, but not least, Congratulations to Sherri Ziomek, Breast Cancer Survivor, TWP Captain and Great Friend. She celebrated 5 Years Cancer Free! She is a shining example of hope. Here's to many more years of those types of anniversaries!