Monday, May 30, 2011


USA - They died wearing uniforms; I live wearing vibrant, sassy clothes. They died in remote locations; I live in my snug America. They died defending freedoms; I utilize freedom every second. They died away from their loved ones; I get to kiss mine every night. Thank you, U.S. Armed Forces, for what you've given me.

Friday, May 20, 2011


FORT WAYNE URBAN LEAGUE, INDIANA - “Teacher” is what one little peanut called her. I’d not met her before, this cancer warrior, but was asked if I would like to go hang pink ribbons with some children who had raised funds in honor of their instructor at the FW Urban League.

After I met her (yep, true to form, we hugged and cried within about 2 seconds of meeting each other. Life is good.) I got her message. You know, when you meet someone there is always something they want to make sure you understand before you part – that’s "their message." In my line of work, I meet so many cancer patients and their messages are typically tied to treatment issues, early detection, equality in healthcare, etc. But not this lady, her message was clear, firm and decidedly not what I usually hear.

Hers was this: “THESE KIDS ARE GREAT." Period. She kept saying it over and over, how hard they work, how much love they show, how gentle they can be, how they are rarely acknowledged for the kindness they have within them. Well, this is for you, you little sweeties. This is a big thank you from one lady who was sick, just like your teacher. Thank you from all of us for working hard to raise money to help other sick ladies. Thank you for knowing that if you think about taking care of someone else, it helps your heart, too. Thank you for your hugs yesterday. Thank you for knowing that the future can be bright for all of us.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


FORT WAYNE, INDIANA - I work with a lovely gal whose desk is perpetually awash with color. At the moment, her cubicle is festooned with banners, hanging lanterns and streamers, but that’s because she just celebrated her birthday. BUT – take a peek at what she has just hanging around on a daily basis. Color! Lots of it!

My first thought when I saw all of these ribbons was "how apropos." (Ok, that was my second thought. My first was "oooohhh pretty, can I touch them as if I am a 4-year-old with an attention spam problem?" But I digress …) The reason her color is so appropriate is that she lends all of us here at the Foundation a bit of color all the time.

The entire Vera Bradley Product Development team, of which she is a part, create all of those wonderful products that benefit us in so many ways. In addition to the work they do all year, a large number of the team also participates in our annual Classic event by doing volunteer work or getting out there and playing on a team.

Thank you, my wonderful PD team. I love your colorful selves!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


WORLDWIDE - What to get, what to do, how to act, when to deliver, how to ask ... So many questions arise when you want to help someone through a crisis, medical or otherwise.

There was a wonderful article posted recently that really helps address many of those questions with some great answers. Love these tips!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


INDIANAPOLIS - I had an interesting conversation with a fellow survivor recently. She wanted to know if I was aware of statistics about cancer and divorce, cancer and discrimination, cancer and (fill in the blank). I told her that, indeed, I was very well aware of these stats based entirely upon my own interactions with other patients.

I've known about them for years, actually; it's a quiet little rumbling conversation that no one really wants to bring to the open. I've been asked more than once: What do you think about this?

It's a percentage, that's how I look at it. Certainly, there are times when things will go wrong. Devastating, disheartening, discouraging. There seems to be a common thread with those who have come out on the other side, however.

We just survive. Find another reason to get up and keep fighting. I'll cry with you when you need it, pray with and for you always, and I'm always quite happy to celebrate the victories as well. Chin up, survivors. Rally around each other so that we can ignore the stats. :)

Image: Courtesy of ImageNation

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - After speaking for a few years, I've begun to wonder if I am having any impact at all. It doesn't happen often, this concern of mine; usually once I've been back on the road I hear from enough people that I see the worth and realize that we need to continue.

Quite recently that old concern paid me a visit again. And then I was given my answer; in a way I rarely receive. After I was done sharing my story, I walked to the back of the room. A woman stopped me just as I was about half way to the back. She was weeping.

"My doctor just told me the exact.same.thing. that you were told, Heidi." I was stunned by this. There we were, surround by hundreds of people and she was so open and candid about her most personal and frightening moment. I cried with her, we hugged, and I asked her to call me. Email me. Text me; whatever I could do to lend support during this.

Every single time I talk to people, I have the same hope; that, even though I am still nervous to go up to the microphone, even though I am self-conscious about myself, I hope that just one person can hear something of benefit. That one part of the message can be useful, hopeful, interesting.

So, I met my One just this past weekend. Batteries fully charged, I am heading to my next event prepared to meet my next One. Until there is no more need to worry about anyOne.