Monday, October 31, 2011


CHICAGO - Here for an event, stopped to grab a bite. Everything is going swell; nice cup of tea and some pasta ... quiet.

Then my waiter says "Hey, nice pink ribbon. Guess this is your big month, huh?" You betcha. Big is one word that might cover it.

A little time passes and he returns. He's obviously quite shaken when he returns. "I'm sorry I was so freaked out before, ma'am. My grandma just started her chemo and we are all still really really worried about this whole thing."

So we talk. I tell him what to expect, how the upcoming radiation will affect her compared to the chemo. What she might need to help give her comfort. Then I write my info on a napkin (I never assume I'll need business cards at a lunch ... I wont make that mistake again!) As I was leaving, he grabbed my hand and said "Thank you. You have no idea how reassuring and hopeful you have been. I'm so glad you decided to stop in here!!!"

Me too. Welcome to the journey you never wanted. Someday, maybe you can give hope and comfort to someone, too. It really does make it all worthwhile.

Monday, October 24, 2011


ATHENS, ALABAMA -  48-year cancer survivor. Forty-Eight Year Cancer Survivor. (That deserves to be capitalized, I think, don't you?) I met her while speaking at an event for a Athens/Limestone Hospital in Alabama. They are driven to provide great health care to everyone who needs it in their community. Nobel mission, indeed. My friend pictured above wanted to make sure she had just a moment of my time before I left.

She is in her 90's and her survivor age is the most impressive I've ever heard. 48, come on. When I asked what I could do for her, what did she want to tell me? Her statement took my breath away.  

"You," she said, "have something very important to do. You have to tell your story as often as to as many people you can. Don't ever stop."  

I told her I would certainly try my best, and gave her a big hug. Just as I was leaving she whispered in my ear:

"You have a big job. But you have a great deal of time to do it in - after all, you've got the whole rest of your life."

So now I'm off, doing my job. For the rest of my life.  xoxo

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Stacie, Baby Dottie's mama

Sweet Baby Dottie Mae

UNITED KINGDOM - Stacie, please know that there is an army out here for you. We are working every single day to help find a cure. My prayer is that your sweet Dottie will never have to make the choice that you did. RIP, fellow cancer warrior.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


CAMP HILL, PENNSYLVANIA - I’ve just finished speaking at Kathies Christmas store (have you ever been to that place? Stunning. I highly recommend. Ok, back to the story…) and Dolly comes over to me. She hugs me – I have to bend way over as she is not 6’ tall and I decided to wear heels. Not my smartest move. She whispers in my ear: "I have fallen in love with you. And since your mama has passed, you can be a part of my family now." Now THAT is the way to greet someone, let me tell you.

We then spent the better part of the next hour visiting, hugging, crying and showing each other photos of our new extended families. Dolly is a survivor, a sweetie and a huge Vera Bradley fan. Her daughters are kind, successful and generous (and now I'll call them sisters). 

Dolly is one of the reasons it is worth it for me to do what I do. I meet people who need to know that they aren’t alone. That there is hope, a connection, camaraderie. That there are companies like mine that don’t just slather everything in pink and pretend that it might help – they focus their giving on a specific issue and then just work like crazy to make a change for all of us. 

Here is to you, my Dolly. It was nice to meet you, and I hope to see you again next year. I do think, however, that our hearts have known each other for quite a long time.  xoxo

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


FORT WAYNE, INDIANA -  It’s a little hard to see, this is a still shot of a video (soon to be posted on the Vera Bradley Foundation Facebook) – but it’s worth sharing with you. This is Carolyn, my dear friend that past posts. So she made her annual trek to home office to deliver what she is contributing this year.

Let me tell you something; she inspires awe in me. I know survivors, and a HUGE number of them. I can count on maybe one hand the number of people who are in the fundraiser/survivor category, though.  And of them, I would say maybe 2 or 3 are even in her galaxy. She has taken the disease that touched her and has poured her energy into an annual event that raises money to help others.

She didn’t try to re-invent the wheel, didn’t try to come up with a gimmick or strategy that would have imitated someone else’s idea. She knew what she loved to do – skate. She knew her ample skill set – marketing and nonprofit fundraising. She just sat down and pulled them all together. I’m not saying it’s easy. She works harder and more hours than anyone else I know, but it’s what she knows that makes it so successful. She has friends in one great big family, the world of the ice arena denizens. It’s been 8 years since her first event, and it has grown every year. It did start small, like everyone who does this work. Skate for Hope has now raised more than $300,000 to help fight breast cancer.

But this year – this year, Carolyn gave us a check for $50,000. FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.  (worth repeating). One woman. With a big heart, a strong passion and a remarkable husband encouraging her every step of the way. I wanted to tell you again about her. I’ve heard the "I’m just one person and I can’t think of anything I can do to help people" thing too much to let them not see her and know about her.

***One more thing, I don’t have a photo of this, but she was wearing the most adorable black faux-snakeskin peep-toe black stiletto pumps. Just in case you thought she couldn’t get any cooler …***

Saturday, October 1, 2011


NATIONWIDE - I don't put things out here for recommendation often, but this is an exception. Panera Bread is making bagels for October that help various breast cancer agencies and foundations (including ours!).

I've had these bagels and let me tell you — they are super yummy!!! I think it's the cranberries that make them just perfect. Get one for yourself and tell me what you think. Come on, you have to eat breakfast anyway! :)