Tuesday, July 28, 2009


PLATTSBURGH, NEW YORK - General Trading Company decided to host a breast cancer event and send a portion of the proceeds to the Vera Bradley Foundation, yay! I was there and got to meet and great all the fun customers. One lady approached me with a very unusual question. “Will I take ANY donation?” she asked. “You betcha” was my immediate reply. You need to know a little background; I get this all the time. People seem to be saddened by the fact that some organizations are limiting participation or even donations if they do not meet or exceed a certain size. In most cases, they just have to limit donations to help cover administrative costs. Our philosophy, however, has always been that the only way we can find a cure is if we all work together. That means, in some cases, pooling many donations to make one big impact. To me, all donors are the same in my heart. They all have reason for giving, a connection with loss or struggle against a common enemy. If you give me $.12, $12,000, hotel points, airline miles – you name it – you are all embedded in my soul. So yes, to my friend who wanted to see if I wanted to take a roll of coins back to the VBF home office, YES we will and yes we do want any donation. More importantly, we want to know about you and why you are giving these coins.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Compassion = Love and Support

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - I travel a lot, you all know that by now. It never fails, I always meet at least one person that made me glad I took the trip. Once in awhile, I meet someone that makes me vow to see them again, no matter what I have to do to make that happen. This is Marylee, and she is completely deceptive. When I say that, I don’t mean that she is in any way dishonest; but rather, you can’t look at her and assume you really know her story. She is petite, gorgeous and looks like the most delicate flower (like all the ladies in her family). Wrong, wrong, wrong. Marylee is an oak, strong all the way down to her roots. She is a cancer survivor, but on this blog that wouldn’t really be a surprise, would it? Here is what she told me about the rest of her story, though – the thing that puts her in my ‘hero’ category:

“In my lifetime I've cared for three women whose lives were coming to an end. When each passed, I knew I provided them with an attentive and loving environment, but all I did was grieve after their passing. I never felt that I could, in any measure stop their pain or the disease; I experienced feelings of failure. Time is a healer. Eventually I came to terms with the reality that all we can do as human beings, is to give our love and support to those who need us, and be content that at least we did something.”

Yea, that is Marylee. Just living the best example one can ever give – that of giving total love and support to her fellow human beings. I watched her grandson skate over to her a few weeks ago and hand her a flower in her honor. Well, I tried to watch. I was really crying too hard to see much of anything. But I did clap really loud.