Tuesday, August 30, 2011


KELLS, IRELAND - One of my friends from Ireland sent me a sweet link to a great fundraiser over there. Their National Cancer Helpline provided assistance to more than 20 thousand people last year – a staggering statistic! They offer free nursing services to people across the country and are actively trying to help find ways to educate about and reduce risk for cancer. They raise an impressive amount of money, but offer an even more impressive service of compassion.

No matter where you are on the big pink map, there are always people who are affected. I see it every day, and it always moves me. 

Congratulations, my pink sisters in your green isle. Love you and what you are doing, keep up the good work!!! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011


INDIANA - Socks. I kid you not, that was the extent of the request. Socks with a pink ribbon to be specific. Yesterday, I got an email from a lady who wanted a local girls sports team to wear socks with a pink ribbon. A friend of mine was going to purchase said socks, and make sure that the girls had them the entire season. So no cost whatsoever would be assumed by the team or coach.

No possible way, says the coach guy. His basic premise was "I really hate the oversaturation of the pink ribbon and I am sure everyone else on the planet is too, so no way. Period."

Sometimes, we just say and do things without taking a step back. We use our immediate impulses and let our faces snarl without realizing that just one little act might actually be kind of a big thing for someone.

Like the little girl on the team who’s mama died from breast cancer last year - she’s about 10 or so, and it is kind of important to her to wear this pink ribbon on things. Like her little teammate, who’s mama is a breast cancer warrior, too, and is now a passionate advocate for all things helpful to patients. Like the people in this town who have been impacted and might actually like to see these girls showing others that it matters.

Yes, we are probably oversaturated. I don’t think anyone would question that. I think perhaps sometimes, however, we just need to let little girls wear them if they miss their mommies. I wear one every day, because I miss mine. Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


USA. I have so many friends and 'cancer sisters' who are right in the middle of their run/walk/roll Fundraising seasons. I see their posts on all of my social media sites, I get email updates and my phone buzzes all the time telling me I have yet another photo of yet another sweet friend in pink running shoes.

And I.Love.It.

These are men and women who don't want to sit still any longer and wait for change. I just posted recently that I applaud those who do something - anything - to ensure we make a better future.

Yes, I know some are vastly more successful than others, but I have to say that I don't care. The pics from the big city walks give my just as much joy and hope as the small town walks that had a grand total of 20 people doing the event.Including the dogs. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011


USA - This, my friends, is a piece of paper I get once a month. It has big, scary words and I'm convinced that I am one of perhaps only 3 people that have actually read it in its entirety.

It's the warning label from my cancer meds; I get a refill once a month. I used to be averse to looking at it - I just didn't want to know what might be coming down the road.

When some weird things started happening to me, I decided I should take a peek just to see if they might possibly be normal side effects. Sure enough, there they were. Heart issues, bone pain, weight fluctuations - you name it, all there. Drat!

Now I have a decidedly different view on these warnings. I pop it open, see what's new and then breathe a sigh of relief on the ones I don't have. Phew!

I know that sounds silly to some of you, but hey, I take what I can get in the world of optimism. What else am I supposed to do with something that has more 'Oooh you'd better watch out, sister' kind of warnings then the TSA signs in the airports? :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - I’m sorry, my wonderful Devon. Sorry that you and your sweet family are on this journey. You have creative vision, a tender heart and an unquenchable spirit of generosity; in short, you are the most rare of gems. Every word you say, that you write, that you express; they are all words with more meaning and thought behind them than anyone else I’ve ever met.

When we met, we were preparing to ride on a float for a parade. Two strangers - connected by social media, breast cancer and a superfantastic handbag company. When I left Pasadena, I knew that you and your family would always be a part of my heart. You convinced me that surgical scars are not who we are, but just a small part of what we have done. In your mind, scars are beauty marks that indicate life, survival, power through grace. 

You, dear Devon, are the embodiment of power through grace. Those tumors are just another blip you will chalk up to survival, my friend. I hate cancer. I hate that you have this happening right now. But I love you, and your whole family. Happy birthday, my Devon. My prayer is that I get to say happy birthday to you about 40 or 50 more times. xoxo

Photo credit: Catherine Money

Friday, August 12, 2011


WORLDWIDE – I  was visiting a friend's breast cancer foundation facebook site yesterday; she has asked me to critique it from the rare perspective of both patient and professional. The review was great; I love what she is putting out there, how she’s saying it, and the number of people already interested in helping her cause. I was immediately drawn to the comments, most of which were from people desperate to help in any capacity.

"Please tell me what we can do to help," "please connect me with someone who needs a ride to treatment," "please let me know if someone needs my services for no cost," etc. I see people who are quite focused on their donations ("I only want mine to go to research, period." "I only want to help women who need money for travel expenses." Things like that.) and I also see quite the opposite. ("I don’t even know what to do or how to help, but my best friend was just diagnosed, and now I’m totally on fire for this cause.")

And I like all of these types of donors. Love, actually.

There are so many resources out there, and it seems to be overwhelming for most people when they want to dip their toes in the "giving pool." "Whom do I turn to if I just want to make sure patients get a ride to treatments?" "Whom should I send a check for wig donations?" I actually talked on the phone for an hour after my speaking engagement yesterday with a woman who had no idea where to turn for assistance, and that was followed that evening with someone who wanted to donate money for services. 

We are all out there, a big group of people who want to help. We are also out there, a big group of people in need of that help. Connecting the two seems to be an intricate dance! My suggestion is based solely on reputation. ONLY ONLY ONLY donate to a group that you know funnels the dollars where you want them to go. That includes products  don’t just shell out cash for a pink ribbon product unless the tag tells you what you need to know. Does it tell you where the money is going? If not, move on and  buy something else. Go to local cancer centers and hospitals – whether you are a patient or donor, they can give you a list of all local service providers that will dispense help and help you to dispense help on your own. 

Here’s the key, in my humble opinion. DO SOMETHING. JUST DO. Get out there and find your cause, your passion, a spot for your commitment. Nothing is too small, nothing will go unnoticed. Foundations, service providers, etc. don’t just need cash, you know. We need donations of things like hotel points, airline miles, rental car points, volunteer time, you name it! (Seriously, we do. Email me at hfloyd@verabradley.com if you want to donate anything listed (or something else) to the Foundation.  

Jump on board and give us a hand, we fundraisers. Jump on board and give us a hand, we patients. Just jump. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI - Genie Alice is quite the gal. Quite. I read her story recently and wanted to make sure she got a spot on our blog. We are open to many types of discussions here on this little blog, not just breast cancer. This time I want to talk about Genie Alice.

A few months after marrying her true love, Nate, he started getting headaches, vision problems and neck pain. Stupid cancer. Grrrrr. But Nate is working hard for his recovery and sounds like he is quite a fighter. Brain surgery, rehab, you name it, and he’s overcome the challenges. Right by his side the whole time was Genie Alice. She says she just wants to "encourage others."

Well, my dear, you have encouraged me. I hope that you can be a beacon of light to those who find themselves in situations that are "different than our dreams" but still willing to keep going. Nate is blessed to have you; and we are so thankful you were willing to share your story with my friends at MD Anderson.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA - So many people have tattoos. I've never given them much thought, most of the men in my family are in the military, so I've seen them forever. One guy I met has a little replica of Adam/God from Michelangelo, and I found that to be super fantastic. One lady in chemo had a butterfly on her head - she said if people were going to stare, she wanted to give 'em something good to peek at. Heh.

My sweetie friend Julia found this cartoon and sent it my way, and it has made me laugh for two days straight so far. I like that people throughout the ages have utilized body art as a way to display pride, memory or status. I don't know how many people are aware that the lady next to you in line at the grocery store might have a tat of her own - and in a fairly intimate place. So for our little education journey today, please feel free to research "radiation tattoo." They might not be barbed wire on a sculpted arm, but I'm fairly certain that my fellow cancer patients are pretty proud that we made it through the tattoo process. And all that followed as well. :)

Cartoon courtesy of xkcd

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Personal (a)

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - I meet cancer researchers, cancer patients, cancer research donors, cancer clinicians ... well, you get the point. Lots of people in the world of oncology, and all the time. I have found that two groups routinely say similar things about one another - the donors and the researchers. They both want to know about the people behind the check or inside the lab. It seems that many middle layers see them both, but rarely do researchers meet the donors. Particularly the donors who give amounts that aren't equivalent to the average car, for example.

What I've heard quite a bit is what the people are like. Are they funny, those researchers, or just serious and staring into test tubes all the time? Do they talk to each other or work alone? Do they dress perfectly like on TV?

I wanted to help shed a little light. The first blog for this is focused on the researchers. A little behind the scenes. And of course, since it's from my camera, we are choosing to look at the footwear choices of these brilliant people. You also get to see their refrigerator and the cartoons they have taped up around the place. Researchers are wonderful, and you will love to get a peek into their world.

Next up - the nationwide cancer donor. :)