Friday, August 30, 2013

Honoring our loved ones

HONORING EMMA, Bridget, Mo and Mom forever - Who are you honoring?

I am so blessed!  I am healthy and forging onward.  I wish I could say the same for the four warriors who have shaped my life in ways unimaginable. Emma Journeay, Maurine Turcotte, Bridget Spence and my awesome MOM.  I could write for hours and hours about each of these incredible warriors.  All taken way too early to cancer.  NO words will ever do justice to what each of them experienced and how they each lived through it with courage and taught those around them to live.  For these three, and for my mom, who taught me courage, giving back,  a positive attitude and a belief beyond what we see, are critical to living a happy life and helping those around us who may not be. I am also honoring my friend Peter Devereaux.  See his blog .  Peter is living with metastatic breast cancer.  His story and the cause of his cancer is alarming.  He recently had a setback and I think of him every day.   

Take a moment to think of people in your life past and present and what they have taught you.  Honor them.  Take a moment to comment here on the blog and write about the people you honor.  It is healing and gives us all a way for them to live on.  

An Update on The Tough Warrior Princesses:

On August 17th and 18th, some of our Tough Warrior Princesses participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event.  My favorite part of the event was the remembrance tent that we set up.  Anyone at the event could come to our tent and hang a name or a message for a loved one lost or battling cancer.  We were also taking requests by Facebook.  It was such an honor to be able to write down other's loved ones names and take a moment to honor them.  Listening to all of the names of people lost to cancer being announced at the relay was somber.   I heard so many names of past friends, acquaintances and loved ones.  It was humbling and scary to think how many are lost to this dreaded disease.  

Hopefully, by being at this event, people in the community are more aware of the resources we provide to those fighting.  Thank you to all who supported us and to Cheryl Woodsom, who organized everything.  

Last month, we had 15 princesses take part in the Komen 3-Day / 60 Mile event.  I did not walk this year, as I wanted my fundraising efforts to focus on Tough Warrior Princess non-profit and our local mission.  The team this year had heavy hearts, but they turned that into love and joy.  They walked for so many - but especially Maurine, Emma and Bridget.   They took what they learned from Maurine and treasured and enjoyed every moment of the journey. It was inspiring to watch them.  The young team members Alexa and Dylan were just awesome to watch, each raising over $2,300 for the cause.   Then we had Maddie, Mia and Tyler serving on the Youth Corp. team.  What an absolute inspiration these young kids are.  I got to stand on the sidelines these three days with a great group of cheerleaders for our team.  We followed them everywhere with our "In Memory of Mo" signs.  So many women and men came up to us and told us stories of Maurine and how they had met her on previous walks.  We even had a team member this year from western MA.  Melissa - she joined our team because she had the honor of walking a few miles with Maurine last year and was forever impacted.  When she joined our team, she didn't realize that Mo had passed. She thought she would walk beside her - in spirit, she did.   I got to cheer beside Maurine's husband, Jim. He honored every single walker as the came in to camp and wouldn't leave until the last walker arrived in.  He so sincerely thanked each person for walking and was overwhelmed with Maurine memories and stories from the participants.  I can't imagine the range of emotions that Tyler and Dylan went through these three days.  They certainly know how one person can have a HUGE impact.  They learned from the very best.  

On June 27th, the Tough Warrior Princess organization had the great opportunity to help the Commonwealth Newburyport Cancer Center with their annual Cancer Survivor Celebration.  This event is a beautiful night for cancer survivors and their all-important caregivers.  It was held at the Newburyport Firehouse Theatre.  Interlocks was there offering 'Look Your Best' makeup sessions and a great spread of food was done by 17 State Street Cafe. Survivors had the opportunity to describe what Hope meant to them and the stories were read on stage.  Denise Desimone, a stage 4 cancer survivor and a talented speaker and musician inspired us with her words and astounded us with her beautiful voice, despite the fact that her cancer was throat and neck. She is proof that sometimes what seems impossible can be overcome.  Alexa also had the opportunity to perform her dance solo at the event.  She danced to "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" by Martina McBride.  It is quite an emotional display and it is a dedication to Maurine Turcotte.  Many, many thanks for the Commonwealth Newburyport Cancer Center for funding such an event and including us in it.  

We have a great opportunity with a contest that Anna Jacques Hospital is involved with in the upcoming opening of the Gerrish Breast Care Center.   They are participating in the 2013 Medline Pink Glove Dance competition.  This is a national music video competition where hospitals compete for a chance to win a $25,000 towards the charity of their choice.  AJH has selected The Tough Warrior Princesses to be the recipient of that $25,000 award in the event that they win!!  We are now looking for anyone that wants to represent us in the video's grand finale scene.  It will be a large crowd that will participate in a 30-second dance sequence. Please join us outside at the Main Entrance of the Hospital, wearing a TWP or pink t-shirt and jeans - at 5:30 p.m. on September 12th.  (Rain Date September 16th).  No dance experience required, just enthusiasm.  No RSVP is needed.  

What's next?  We continue to get referrals to those newly diagnosed.  Our survivor baskets are in demand and we are working on ways to fund more in the future.  We are looking for businesses to get involved to donate goods and services to those newly diagnosed.  Our Outreach committee is working on creating a wider list of resources and contacts for survivors.  

There are many of us that are participating in the Dana-Farber Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund walk on September 8th.  We do this to raise funds to honor Emma Journeay and support research on neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the nerve tissues.  Follow this link and join our team!  Make sure you join the team 'Every Step for Emma.'  

Our belief is that we can create an army of volunteers who simply stand ready to help when possible.  Please be sure you are on our newsletter and email list.  If you haven't already liked the Tough Warrior Princess page on FB, please do.  By having everyone interested connected, one post or email stating that we need help to give a ride, prepare a meal, etc. can be met easily.  

Lastly, consider playing in the Roberta Mellon Memorial golf tournament.  This year is our 3rd Annual at the Amesbury Golf and Country Club.  This tournament was founded to raise funds for Juvenile Diabetes and funds go to Katie Mellon's walk for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The tournament also raises a portion of the proceeds for the Amesbury High School golf team.  The event is to be held on Friday, October 11th this year. Please contact me for more information.