Friday, May 21, 2010

Realizations and Celebrations

Okay, so now that I am writing this, I hope that my mom will finally get off my back. (xo Mom!) I have been planning to write a blog for literally a month, but I have just been completely overwhelmed with work. I have had a bazillion meetings and papers to grade. Fortunately the meetings have ended for the year, and I only have poetry portfolios left to comment on. MCAS is over, and final exams will be here before you know it. I love the late spring when the school year starts to wind down and the anticipation of summer is brimming in the air.

Where to begin? Here goes...

April and early May brought forth lots of emotions for me.

At the beginning of April, the Tough Warrior Princesses gained a new member--Maurine Turcotte. Maurine has walked the 3Day before, and is known by many around town. She is a true inspiration to me as she continues her daily life, head held high, living with cancer. I admire her exuberant personality as she refuses to let cancer beat her. She provokes in me the drive to continue to help others. SHE is the reason that I do this walk, and I am excited to have her by my side in the survivor circle.

During April vacation I found out that ANOTHER close friend of mine, Marcia, was diagnosed with breast cancer. How many does this make now? The numbers are getting too high to count. I was discussing this with my friends and we are just baffled by the amount of local women battling this disease. Yes, we are getting older, but doesn't it seem more prevalent now than in years past? The thing that is most disturbing about this case is that Marcia truly is a pillar in our community. She does so much for others, always has a kind word to say, and has more faith in God than anyone I know. Throughout all of this, Marcia continues to take care of her 3 amazing boys with the support of her loving husband. She is still at the ball field almost daily, and has not lost her perky smile. She even continues to make the scones for our Snack Shack! Why her? What reason is there to deem her part of this sisterhood? The realization that cancer does not discriminate comes to the forefront again.

On May 3rd, 2010 I celebrated my 4 year cancer-free anniversary. It is always such a bittersweet day for me. I relish in the fact that I am healthy and that my cancer has not returned; but, I cannot help remember that summer 4 years ago. Each year that I become further removed from treatment, my fear of cancer's return grows, until I reach that 5 year mark. Next year is a big anniversary for me! They say that if you make it to that point, you are in good shape. That is what I am looking forward to. During this time of reflection, I am reminded of the support of my family, friends, and loved ones. I think that I had over 30 comments on my Facebook page that day. Thinking back, I know that I couldn't have made it through that time without all of you.

Last month I was able to participate in The 3Day Expo. The Expo was held at Bentley College. It is a day when 3Day participants join together to find out what the event is all about. There are 3Day Outfitters where you can buy clothes, a post office where you can write letters to teammates, tent set-up, and workshops on packing and blister care. I was asked to be a member of "Ask an Expert." I don't know if I would consider myself an expert, but those who know me, know that I love to talk and especially about the 3Day (just ask my teammates--they have heard my stories more times than they care to, especially on our long walks). I shared my experiences with blisters, my thoughts on fund-raising, and my general love for these 3 days. I think I motivated other walkers, but I, myself, walked out of there inspired.

Shortly after that was our May 8th fund-raiser--a night that I don't think I will soon forget. As I have said before, when we began planning this event, it started out as an intimate evening between friends. Well, let me tell you...we must have a lot of friends because we had over 250 people at the Lafayette Club and raised $8000!!! I am humbled by the generosity and kindness of all of you.

The week leading up to the fund-raiser was hectic and crazy. The great thing about our team of 10 amazing women is that everyone pulls their weight. If someone says they are going to do something, then they follow through. We met Monday evening to discuss last minute details. I passed out the t-shirts and Theresa shared the signs she designed for the auction. When we realized that we had almost 50 auction items, we knew that we needed to do something so that we could make the most of our donations. Maurine had the brilliant idea to have 3 different auctions with 3 different ending times, that way if people did not win an item during the 9:00 raffle, then they knew they had more money to spend on the 10, and 11:00 raffles. Needless to say, it worked!

The Friday night before the event, we met at the Lafayette Club to decorate. In terms of decor, there isn't much there, so we wanted to make it as festive as possible. We brought in tons of white lights, and lots of pink--pink tablecloths, pink balloons, pink candles. Cheryl had a huge banner made with our logo on it that people were able to sign. I have to admit that my favorite decoration were the tough warrior princesses that I made. They are adorable. Hopefully they, coupled with our banner, will help us with our tent decorating.

The auction items were amazing. The biggest seller was the 3 Pats tickets. Other items that brought in big amounts were the Sunset Cruise, Sailing for 6, consultation with a lawyer, clambake in a bag, electrical work from George White, and Red Sox tickets. The most coveted item was the dogwood tree. There was almost a fight over it! Even after the auction was closed I had people offering me more money for it! Unbelievable!
The thing that impressed me the most about that night was the generosity of everyone. A friend at work found out about it, made a hand-painted tray to donate, and drove all the way from Framingham to attend! I was more than thrilled when my sister-in-law Emily called the week before and asked if she could donate some of the canvas bags that she makes, in shades of pink of course. I told her that we would be delighted to have them, and she said she would bring them when she came out that day. Well, on Thursday before the event, Emily told me that she would not be able to attend, but that she was going to drive up Friday afternoon with my 3 year old nephew, Nathaniel, and my almost 2 year old niece, Sophie to drop off the bags. Seriously? Four hours in a car with two little kids just to drop something off. She knew that I would not be able to spend time with her, but that didn't matter. She just wanted to help. Can you believe that? Help she did. Her bags brought in $135! Thank you so much, Emily!

The evening ended at midnight with those still in attendance helping to break everything down. By 12:45 we were all cleaned up, and you wouldn't known we had even been there. Amazing! What a night!

I know that I still need to get through this year's walk, but we have already begun planning next year's silent auction. The English teacher in me feels that if this is something we are going to do every year, we need to come up with a catchy name for it. Unfortunately, the creative juices are not flowing! If you have any great ideas, please let me know.

The money from that night brought us all closer to our goals. The princesses have now raised over $30,000 for Susan G. Komen. If we reach $33,000, then we will be considered a power team and will receive special recognition at the 3Day. The $33,000 means that on average, each team member will have raised $3,300. For me, I am still working to reach my personal goal of $5,000. I am almost there. If you haven't donated yet, there is still time. Just click the link on this page to donate.

Again, thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

Royally yours,