Thursday, May 12, 2011

Call for Nominations

I am finding it hard these days to put Miss Daisy down long enough to write a blog, but for a good and worthy cause, I can find the time to write! I am reaching out to you, my blogger community, today with a very special request that is close to my heart.

Some of you may know, many of you may not know, but in my free time I get a lot of joy from speaking to high school and college students about breast self awareness and my breast cancer journey. I never heard a story like mine before my diagnosis and if I had, I know I would have done things differently. This work, as well as my work with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, has gotten me some incredible recognition over the years, everything from days at Fenway Park to cute clothes and pink coffee mugs to some very humbling awards.

Daisy and her LIFE Hero
The one award and recognition that has meant the most has come from the incredible Val Skinner Foundation. In 2009, I was honored as a LIFE hero. LIFE stands for LPGA Pros in the Fight to Eradicate Breast Cancer. Every year the organization hosts a golf outing and luncheon where they raise money for the Val Skinner Foundation’s Young Women’s Initiative. This event was a memory I will cherish forever. The LPGA Pros don’t just lend their name, time, and money to this non-profit, these ladies truly give their hearts and souls to the fight. We cried together, we laughed together, we exchanged so many hugs, and I still keep in touch with this incredible group of committed individuals.

To make the event even more memorable, not only was I honored, but during the awards ceremony the organization makes a point of interviewing and honoring the LIFE Heroes’ friends, family, and caregivers. Big Man was interviewed, Mommy was interviewed. It was so touching to see my story and to hear my loved one’s thoughts on my journey and my strength.  That wasn’t something I had ever heard before. The event is noted as the biggest single-day golf event fundraiser for breast cancer initiatives, and when I was honored in 2009 it raised $500,000 for breast cancer programs. Since its inception in 2000, LIFE has raised more than $7 million for the fight for against breast cancer!

The money that the Val Skinner Foundation raises is being used for a cause that is so close to my heart -  fighting breast cancer and preventing breast cancer in young women. Held at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton NY June 27th the LIFE Event benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ). Val Skinner founded LIFE after the loss of her friend and fellow LPGA golfer, Heather Farr, who died of breast cancer in 1993 at the age of 28. The Val Skinner Foundation is the founding sponsor of Komen On the Go, a mobile breast health education initiative. Bright pink Komen On the Govehicles teach Americans everywhere- at community festivals, public universities, and neighborhood centers - about breast health and empower participants to share information with friends and join the breast cancer movement. In its seven year history, Komen on the Go has visited 597 sites with a total audience of 17.5 million people!   

The Val Skinner Foundation also opened the LIFE Center in 2002 at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ). Young women at risk who visit the LIFE Center at CINJ and its six satellite locations in New Jersey area hospitals are counseled on available medical options to manage their risk and are provided with a management plan tailored to their unique level of risk.  In 2008 the LIFE Centers launched a program called BioCONECT, which stands for biology of cancer, on-line education, connecting teens.  This science curriculum uses breast cancer as the context and is designed to be integrated into high school biology courses.  Through hands-on experiments, role-plays, games and cooperative learning activities, the BioCONECT curriculum provides teachers with innovative methods to address state and national science education standards (improves science skills) while increasing breast cancer awareness.

No other group that I have encountered has ever been more focused on educating and empowering young people to take control of their health. Not a day goes by when I don’t wish I had been more empowered and fought for a mammogram as soon as I felt a lump. I get choked up and excited when I think about the work this event makes possible! What a beautiful tribute to Heather Farr! I can only hope to be half as honored if I should ever lose my battle!

Now, this is where all of you come in. Each year, the event honors LIFE Heroes, individuals who have demonstrated courage in the face of breast cancer and purpose in the fight against the disease. Do you know of any young woman who has shown inspirational bravery during her fight? Would you like to honor that special young breast cancer survivor with a special award? If so, I’d love your nominations! I want to share this inspirational day with one of my blog readers. Everyday I receive touching emails and comments from all of you. All of you have stories just as powerful as mine. Everyone of you has faced a battle. All of you are incredibly strong. I am humbled to know you, if only virtually. So please, consider nominating a loved one or even nominate yourself! To submit a nomination, send a one page letter (subject:LIFE Hero) to telling us about the young woman and why she represents a LIFE Hero.  Please submit your nominations by Thursday May 19th.

For more information about the LIFE Event or Val Skinner Foundation call 866-882-LIFE or visit Please submit a nomination letter! I am so proud of all of you and I want to share your stories with the world and shout them from the roof tops. Together we can cure this!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day.....To Me!

I am so thrilled to introduce to you, my blogger friends, the newest member of the Little Girl-Big Man Family, Daisy!

Daisy & Daddy watch the Celtics defeat the Miami Heat!

She's Perfect!

Daisy is a 12 week old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and we are just so in love! The past few months have been difficult for me, and Big Man watched all of that first hand. He decided to finally cave and grant me my puppy wish as a way of inspiring me. It might not seem like I need inspiration, but sometimes I feel like I don't know who I am outside of cancer. This little bundle of joy reminded me that I am a wife, and now a "mommy". I have great friends, all of whom have been coming to visit the little one!

I had a very full and active life before cancer, and I need to make sure I remain that same person. I am getting so much joy from nesting and worrying about something other than my health, something as trivial as how long it's been since her last walk or whether to feed her 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup of food! Instead of pouring over cancer research websites, I've been brushing up on Dog Whisperer. I have a set of CT scans coming up next week, and I've barely thought about them. I'm too absorbed in my home life.

So thank you, Big Man, and Happy Mother's Day to me! I promise in front of all the blogsphere that I will never nag the Big Man for anything ever again. I have everything I could ever want! A beautiful husband, a beautiful pooch, a beautiful home, and a loving mom who happens to be my best friend!

Today is good. I hope you all are enjoying your special days. For the mothers who read this blog who also happen to be dealing with a cancer diagnosis...I hope that motherhood allows you to forget the cancer stuff at least for a moment, and focus on what is really important in life, which is to give love and to be loved.