Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What a difference a week makes!

The last time I posted, we were ranked number 7 for the Boston 3Day for the Cure. Since then a lot has changed. Drum roll please..........Tough Warrior Princesses are NUMBER 1!!! Thanks to all of you, we have raised over $10,500! AMAZING! There are many teams that are larger than us, but we will work hard to remain in the top 10. Keep those donations coming! You can click on the link to right of this page to be part of finding a cure for breast cancer.

This jump did not happen overnight, but close to it. Things all began to change shortly after Gretchen and Theresa joined our team. They immediately started bringing in money! They have both raised half of their fundraising minimum already! Unbelievable! On the same day that they joined, Patty sent out her donation letters. It was a very special day for Patty...her one year anniversary. If you followed my blog last year, you have an understanding of what these anniversaries mean to survivors. We no longer worry about getting older, we relish it! Please read Patty's blog to hear more about her special day. With Patty's letters out, the money continued to flow in.

Wednesday night was an exciting night for all of us Princesses. It was spent with numerous status updates on Facebook, and emails going back and forth. Little by little we watched our thermometer climb, and our name go up the ladder. By the end of the night we had moved up to 5th place.

Thursday night was spent at another Get Started Meeting. I met some amazing survivors who were volunteering as well. I once again shared my story and was touched by 2 other stories. One woman found a lump when she was just 20 years old and pregnant with her daughter. After a biopsy she found that she was lucky, her mass was benign. The experience affected her so much that she felt she had to do this walk. She knew she was one of the fortunate ones who will be able to see her daughter grow up. The other woman, a little bit younger than me, had found a large lump, and upon a biopsy was told that it was benign as well. Unfortunately, she has had to have 5 reconstructive surgeries to remedy the situation. She says it was just like having cancer without the chemo and radiation. She said it was great to be in a room of women who truly understood what she was feeling. When she said that I had such a feeling of purpose knowing that I was personally making a difference in the lives of others. I can't imagine what it would be like for my daughters to never have to worry about breast cancer. It is my lifelong wish.

Friday was pretty uneventful, but we started school vacation! Yay! This past weekend we traveled to Connecticut to visit Andy's brother and his wife. We were given tickets to see the Lion King in Hartford. What an unbelievable show! We all loved it. Thanks John, Jen, Mark and Gary!

While in Connecticut I did not check my email as often as usual. If you are as addicted to your computer as I am, once you are registered for the 3Day it becomes another website that you check frequently, looking for that mercury to rise. By the time we left CT, the Tough Warrior Princesses were at number 2! We were about $500 away from the top spot. On the way home, I got a phone call from my mom saying that we had made it (thanks to a very generous $500 donation to Gretchen!). So here we are are at number 1. Who knows how long we will be here, but boy does it feel good!

So that seems like it would be a good place to end uplifting blog, but there is more.

Fifteen years ago I took a job at Waltham High School. I kind of fell into the position just days before school started. I was going to be teaching a small group of students in a language based classroom. It was there that I met Kaitlyn. She was a freshman in my class. Each teacher has "one of those students"--someone who sticks with you forever. Kaitlyn is mine. She was one of those kids who worked so hard to overcome her disability. She would commit to something, and with sheer determination she would achieve it. It was more difficult for her, but she never gave up. I was lucky enough to teach Kaitlyn for four years. Our relationship grew and once she graduated and attended college, we kept in touch. She used to babysit Zach when he was little. She was even the one who watched him the day that the girls were born. Once we moved to the North Shore, we didn't see Kaitlyn as much. When I was diagnosed, it really affected her. In college she had an advisor who was also diagnosed with cancer and lost her battle. Through Facebook we got back in touch. When she found out that the walk was going through Waltham last year, she surprised me by showing up at a cheering station. When I listened to my voice mail last night and there was a message to call her, I immediately thought she was engaged. There was another message following that said, "No, I'm not engaged." She sure knows me well. I couldn't imagine what she wanted. When I got her on the phone, she asked if it would be possible for her and her friend Korinne to join our team. I was honored. "Of course!" was my reply. When I didn't think that the week could get any better for the Tough Warrior Princesses, it did. Two more people means $4,600 more for breast cancer research. This has been a good vacation so far!

Royally yours,

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eight was Great, but Seven is Better!

The number "7" is considered lucky in many cultures. This past week it has been for the Tough Warrior Princesses.

Shortly after I made my last post, the Tough Warrior Princesses moved up to #7 in the fundraising totals! Wahoo!

Last week started off really crappy for me. I felt like I was getting sick, but as all mom's do, I just trudged along. At work on Monday I really started to go downhill. By the end of the day I was too miserable to tour our new school! Can you believe it? After my hour drive home, I walked in my house with chills and a fever. Unfortunately, I spent that evening and most of the next day on the couch.

By Tuesday evening I was starting to feel better, which was good because I had a Get Started Meeting with Patty and Cheryl. I really wanted to go because they were going to be there. If it were just a regular meeting I probably would have stayed home. I'm so glad that I went. We all shared our stories about why we we walk. Again, I can't say it enough, how much this disease affects so many families--to think that 1-8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Look around at your best girlfriends. One of you will be diagnosed in your life time. Very scary.

As soon as Patty started talking at the meeting, Cheryl started crying. This is something we all joke with her about. Now, Cheryl will tell you that she is an emotional basket case, but what she does not tell you is that she is also an amazing cheerleader. Personally I wish I could be that comfortable to let my feelings out. Cheryl is going to make this year a special 3Day. Every year I have always tried to keep my feelings in check, but she gives me permission to let them all out. Thanks Cheryl! xo

Another moment during the meeting that got us a little teary eyed was when Patty walked up to a young woman who lost her mother to breast cancer last year. The woman looked to be about the same age that Patty was when she lost her own mother. Patty knelt down beside her and softly spoke about how she wished that she had as much courage as this young woman does to do the 3Day at her age so soon after her mother has passed. I was so proud of Patty. It takes a lot of guts to walk up to a complete stranger and share your deepest feelings. That moment is what the 3Day is all about. Over 3 days there will be more just like that--different women, similar story. It is one of the many reasons why I walk.

So Wednesday night I had book club, and was so exhausted, both physically and emotionally, I really didn't feel up to going. Boy am I glad I did. After a meaningful discussion of what heaven means to us and debating over the ability to make peace with yourself (we were discussing The Five People You Meet in Heaven), we broke up into our little conversations. It was at that time that my friend Gretchen started asking lots of questions about the walk--time commitment, training, the actual 3 days. She then told me she was thinking about doing it with us. I was ecstatic! I have really gotten to know Gretchen better this year, and she is a really fun person who can tell great stories--what an asset to our team. Gretchen said she has not personally been affected by breast cancer, but has had to face many other forms of cancer within her family. Cancer is cancer, it doesn't matter what kind. I told her she could look over my Walker Handbook to get more information.

On Thursday evening I received an email that Gretchen was in! Maddie and Mia were thrilled and immediately asked if Ella, Gretchen's daughter and Maddie and Mia's friend, could come over and help make signs. Even better news was that my friend Theresa from my book club decided to do it too! Theresa is a teacher with Gretchen, and I just met her a few months ago. I'm sure this journey will help us to get to know each other better. Then on Friday, Tina officially signed on. So now we are seven, and 3 of us are survivors! Lucky seven, but eight would be great too!

Think about joining us!

Royally yours,