Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't let the parade pass you by

AUBURN, IN - We went to a fantastic performance of "Hello Dolly" at a local middle school on Friday. The lead was so wonderful I am sure we will all hear about her on Broadway one day! Her performance in “Parade Pass You By” really made me give pause. The scene is a woman who is reviewing her life and wants to do as much as possible before her life passes her by. I was dragged back to the moment only briefly when my 6-year-old, ever literal, said ‘Hey mom, she’s too late. There goes the parade.'

Everyone I know who has been handed a cancer diagnosis has created a bucket list – a wish list of their parade items. Where to go, what to do, whom to meet. Someday I will publish mine here for you, but right now I just want to point out that we all need a boost sometimes. A boost, a friend, a faith that will take us to the point that we acknowledge that we will have something to look forward to.

No one knows how much time we have, but we should try to focus on the good we can do with that time. Is your bucket list a selfish one, can you make a change for the better with the things you really want to accomplish? Here is what keeps it all in perspective for me. I have been corresponding with a woman who’s son has cancer; he’s 17 years old. And another woman who is about to give birth to her son – they’ve been going through chemotherapy together (pregnant with breast cancer, sound familiar? ☺). These are people who are really concerned about their children missing their personal parade. Every time I chat with them, I take another look at that list and remove a selfish dream with one that might actually do some good.

I hope you all find a great charity that you won't let pass you by in the parade! (If you can’t think of one of the top of your head, just visit until you can pin one down.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

PJ Party, Part II

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - Well, we did it. We gathered together in a hotel in Indianapolis to celebrate, cry, dance and eat a great deal of chocolate - all while we wore our PJ’s. This image is just the survivors in the crowd, a feisty crew. This event was a fundraiser for IWIN – a breast cancer service provider. Let me just list a few things that patients might need that you might not have never even thought about:

Walk the dog. Sometimes, you are too tired from chemo to get up and go for a walk.
Mow the lawn. See above.
Babysit their children. They might not need a day out, just a day of rest and know their precious little ones are in good hands.
Buy a gas card. Do you know what it costs to have breast cancer treatments – even with insurance?
Treat them to a photo session. No, its not our most photogenic time, but we are realists. We don’t know how much time we might have left, wouldn’t this be a great gift for our loved ones?
Put some flower pots on their porch. Then maintain them! Will take a few minutes a week for you, but will help them daily.

These are just a few of the things I know I needed and a few of them were gifted to me by my sweet friends and co-workers at Vera Bradley. Now that IWIN is located all over Indiana, I can recommend their services to every patient that calls me from this state. Thank you, Nancy and team, for doing this amazing work. Now you, gentle reader, know what to do if you want to help someone and can’t necessarily donate monetarily. Get out there and help make a change!