Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All things TWP

So it has been a long while since I have written.  I am not going to make excuses like I usually do, but I am going to say that the TWP have been VERY hard at work trying to find our place in the world.  For many years, we have been known as "those girls who do the walk."  Well, yes, many of us do walk the 3-Day, and that is where we started--Me, Patty, and Cheryl deciding to walk for a cure, but now we are SO much more than that.  Finding a cure for breast cancer is still a priority to me, to us; however, the TWP realizes that cancer doesn't discriminate, so why should we?  We are there to help ALL women! This is our true passion.  So, we are working hard to create our new image.  In doing so we have lots of exciting news!

Recently we have teamed up with Charlene Dolan from Dolan Financial Services.  Why might we team up with Charlene, you ask?  Simply said, she is amazing.  She has a wealth of experience, not just in finance.  She has been on numerous boards, knows lots of people, and fortunately for us, she has taken a liking to the TWP.  The more I get to know her, the more I admire her.  She has met with me and Patty on several occasions, and she has forced us to hone our vision for TWP while striving to strengthen our non-profit.  She recently helped foster what I believe will be one of our greatest partnerships.  Ready for this...The TWP have partnered with the Greater Newburyport YWCA!!!  Part of the YWCA's mission is to empower women.  How perfectly does that blend with the TWP?  In addition, many of you may not be aware, but the YWCA offers an unbelievable service to women who are breast cancer survivors.  It is called the Encore Program.  Encore is a session based program designed specifically for those who have experienced breast cancer at any time in their lives. It incorporates gentle exercises, relaxation techniques, information and peer group support. It is safe, fun and therapeutic.  Ilene Grady, who runs the program, shares similar views to us, in that she believes that health and wellness is essential before, during, and after treatment.  To kick off our partnership, the TWP will be hosting a swim party for Encore members and TWP families.  The event has been affectionately named, "YWCA meets TWP--Embracing Possibilites"  Doesn't that sound great?  It gives me so much hope for the future.

Over the last month we have also met with Deb Chiaravalloti, a local marketing rep.  We wanted her take on our princess logo.  Obviously our logo is pink, and we are not all about breast cancer any more. We had a great meeting, but most  importantly, she loved our princess and what it represents.  We are just trying to figure out how to make her appeal to all forms of cancer.  It might take a bit, because we want her to be just perfect!  Be on the lookout for her debut, I'm sure it will be a smashing one!

We also have another project that is underway for the month of October.  I met with Mayor Keezer about a month ago to discuss it.  I was cautiously optimistic that we would have his support, but it went way beyond that!  He is thrilled with our idea!  During the month of October we plan to "Light the Town Pink!"  Community members will be able to purchase pink lightbulbs, and for one weekend we hope to light up the entire town.  This year it is pink, who knows what color it will be next year!  In addition to that, we will be releasing our "Men of Amesbury Support Cancer Awareness Calendar!"  Ron Mushow from Ron Mushow Photography and Judy Dodier have been hard at work hunting down some special men, both young and old, for our calendar.  We promise to have someone you know donning the pages.  You'll have to visit one of your favorite downtown businesses to purchase one!

Also, I wanted to mention our survivor baskets.  Earlier this year we received a grant  to compile baskets for women newly diagnosed with cancer.  To date, we have made 10 women's days a little bit brighter.  We have gotten requests from all parts of the North Shore!  I would be remiss if I did not mention Coleen Magowan and her business Wicked Cool Seaglass.  Coleen has donated a beautiful cancer ribbon charm made of sea glass and sterling silver to EVERY basket!  If you know of someone who could use a basket, or if you have something that you would like to donate to a basket, just shoot me a message, and we can work out the details.

Now, I assume most of you know what is happening in two days, right?  Yes, I will be participating in my 5th 3-Day starting on Friday!  I cannot wait.  Each year you think that I would anticipate it less, but that is just not the case.  I have so many dear friends, my 3-Day family, that I just can't wait to see.  My favorite part of the 3-Day is walking with "newbies."  I become filled with excitement watching them experience it for the first time.  It brings back that rush that I had that first time I saw those big inflatable columns or the pink flags being marched out on stage.

Yes, this year will be different.  Every year is, but it doesn't mean it will not be as good.  What I am most excited for this year is something that my daughter Maddie initiated.  By now, you all know of 9 year old Emma, and hopefully have read about the facebook campaign "Light the Way for Emma Journeay" to provide strength and support as Emma battles Stage 4 Neuroblastoma to find her way home from the hospital. (If you don't, you can read more about her story at Emma's Pen Pal Adventure Around the World.)   This year, Tina was asked to carry the "my child" flag at Opening and Closing Ceremonies.  To be asked to carry a flag is such an honor, but for Tina to be asked to carry this particular flag, well, there are no words.  Our hope is that Tina will be able to join the Boston 3-Day, and more importantly, her TWP at some point to celebrate Emma.  However, as any parent understands, this may not be feasible, and luckily for us, we have Tina's BFF Vicky waiting in the wings to do Emma proud!  The next piece is where Maddie comes in.  She thought it would be great to have candles set up outside our tents "lighting the way" for Emma.  How perfect!  I mentioned it to Bridget, the 3-Day Field Coordinator, and she suggested I mention it to other teams.  This morning it has gone viral on facebook and there are requests to light candles at ALL of the 3-Day cities around the country for Emma and Tina!  Absolutely unbelievable!  This is why I will continue to walk the 3-Day.
Obviously, you are aware that this has been a challenging year for many of the TWP.  For some it may feel like this walk is insignificant compared to what is going on in their lives.  I completely agree with that; however, I think the 3-Day is the initial glue that bonded the TWP.  While we have all become close friends, the 3-Day is the one time of the year when we all get together and support each other.  It is a time when we can cry, laugh, or scream together.  It is one weekend when we all join for one purpose. It doesn't matter if it rains.  To quote a friend, "I'd take rain over chemo any day!"  It doesn't matter our feelings toward SGK.  What matters is that we are together trying to make a difference, and holding each other up while doing it.  What matters is that we are a team.  What matters is that 3-Day provides HOPE. 

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