4th Annual Chemo Care Tote Campaign

As part of “Giving Tuesday” I am kicking off  my “4th Annual CHEMO CARE TOTES” Campaign.

When I began my journey with Thirty One in 2011, I wanted to make a difference.  Actually, I have been making  difference all of my life – from collecting funds for MD as a child to working in soup kitchens and food pantries to bringing a smile to those who are struggling.  I want to share my spiritual gifts of “helps and encouragement” so others know someone cares when they are struggling.

Here is the message I received from past recipients:

Wanted to let you know I have handed out all of the beautiful bags you had donated for women battling breast cancer. Each person loved the bag and it put a smile on their face to know someone was kind and providing a sense of support as they started their chemotherapy treatments. Thank you again for supporting our patients.

Yes, I cried the first time!… Now, I get goosebumps every time I read it.  Cancer has touched each of us in some way – a friend, a family member, a sister, a mother, a father, a child, and the list goes on.

This project is near and dear to my heart.  It is a tribute to my family who fought a good fight against this dreaded disease and lost: Edythe (kidney cancer), Elsie (breast cancer), Pop-pop (lung cancer) and my dad (prostrate cancer). I spent many hours in the Oncology Units with Elsie and Edythe as they underwent chemo treatments.  I held their hand when they struggled with the insertion of the needles.  I was there when they were sick from the chemo and sat by their bedside when they were too weak to go out.  As a friend said #cancersucks.  It takes many from us long before their time.  It ravages families.  It leaves children parentless.  It has parents burying children.

With my own health struggles, I have spent many hours in the infusion units of local hospitals.  I am blessed to only have to be there a short time – time for blood work and special testing.  The many women I have seen are not there for a one time visit, they are there for weeks of painful treatments.  They smile and carry on conversations  while encouraging each other.  My heart breaks and the tears come each time I leave the unit for I know what their struggles are like.

Your gift/ sponsorship of $25 will pay for the bag.   I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with a variety of things like a blanket/scarf, notepad, pen, bottle of water, lotion, warm socks, chap stick and crossword puzzle book. Donations will again be delivered to the local Cancer Care Center at Southern Ocean Medical Center to bring a smile to the face of those who are fighting this dreadful disease.

chemo bagsLast year, we delivered 31 bags BUT this year, my goal is 50.  I know it is a HUGE jump but I am confident we are up for the challenge. Yes, I know it is the holiday season.  Yes, I know money is tight.  STOP for a moment and think how you would feel if someone handed you an unexpected gift – no strings attached – when you were feeling your lowest.  Let the love of this holiday season shine through with your help.

For $25 you can bring a smile to someone who is fighting the cancer battle.

You can sponsor a bag in memory of someone, in honor of someone or just anonymously. Payments can be made via check, credit card or through Paypal at hopesgiftcloset@comcast.net as a friend/family.   If you see me at a vendor event, I will be happy to accept your donation.

Won’t you help us to make a difference today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Honoring Family

Today will be an emotional day, one of remembering two people who impacted my life – or at least trying to remember through the fog of MS.  The memories come and go but the impact they had on my life will live on.

I will be celebrating Edythe’s life at a vendor event today.  Strange right?  The vendor event is a fundraiser by Holly Assembly, Order of the Rainbow for Girls for the scholarship fund names in honor of her.  Growing up, Rainbow had a place in all of our lives and even through the MS fog, I still remember many of my Rainbow teachings.  Edythe was on the Advisory Board for Holly Assembly.  She helped to mold and shape the lives of girls for many years.  The scholarship is part of her legacy.   Her kindness, compassion and caring lives on in the lives of others.  Edythe was a strong independent woman who inspired me through some of the darkest days of my addiction.  Her smile and laugh could light up a room.  If you are in the area, stop by and say hello. Or if you would like to support this cause, click HERE to place an order on my Thirty One website.  I will be donating 100% of my Thirty One commission to the scholarship fund as well as 50% of the sale of awareness angel ribbons.  Complete the form at the end of the blog post if you are interested in awareness angel ribbons (additional colors are available).

  

Today also marks the one year anniversary of my dad’s death.  Some will not understand why I decided to do this event but I know my dad would totally get it.  Dad wouldn’t want me to sit around crying and being sad, he would want me to enjoy life. My dad and my mom were on the Advisory Board of Iris Assembly when I was in Rainbow.  He would definitely get why I am doing the fundraiser today.  Dad was loving and kind, nonjudgmental and accepting. Yes, there were tough times with  years of anger and hurt.  Dad was not perfect but are any of us.  He admitted his faults, and even with memories of bad times, I forgave him.  No matter how bad a situation was, he always found the silver lining and worked through it.  He leaves a legacy filled with memories for his family and friends. Dad liked to cook especially on the grill.  Didn’t matter if there was snow or rain, he found a way to grill.

Today is about honoring two people who impacted my life.  I celebrate the legacy they leave behind – the memories, the stories, and the traditions.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Twas the Night Before Christmas

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Christmas Eve day… the hustle and bustle reaches immeasurable heights as last minute shoppers make the final dash to the malls for the perfect gift.  Holiday office parties are in full swing.  Others are home preparing for family and friends to arrive – dinner cooking (is it fish? or turkey? or ham?).  Kids are eagerly counting down until Santa will arrive bringing gifts for one and all.  While still others are grabbing a quick dinner as they head to church to celebrate the real reason for the season…

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As for our family, the holidays have changed so much.  The first change came when breast cancer took Elsie from us.  She was the glue which brought us all together – no matter what happened all year long.  The changes continued when Alzheimer’s took Grams from us.  Belinda grew up and headed to college – more changes.   During the first 4 years she was in North Carolina, she traveled home where we spent Christmas with us.  Five years ago, kidney cancer took Edythe (mom’s middle sister).  Now Belinda is married and holidays are shared with her extended family in North Carolina.

Tonight we will be at my best friend’s house celebrating Christmas with our extended family.  This year, Rob is off on Christmas Eve so we will be together. Mom and Sal will join us.  As for Christmas Day, hubby will head to work so others can enjoy the day with their family. I will spend the day with mom.

As I sit with hubby looking at the Christmas tree – memories of Christmas Eve’s past flash through my mind.

The many years of trying to get Belinda to go to bed so Edythe, Elsie and I could put presents under the tree.  It was really hard carrying things past HER room to get to the living room.  It always made for a lot of laughs.  The early morning calls to wake everyone up so Belinda could open presents.  Waiting patiently for mom to get off work so we could open presents.  The funny thing was – Belinda wasn’t a morning person so we always had to WAKE her up.  Really, on Christmas morning????  Then instead of opening all of her presents and THEN playing with them.  Christmas morning was a forever process.  We learned games were opened last or at least towards the end or else nothing else would get opened.  Belinda wanted to play with toys as each one was opened which could definitely make for a long day.  Great memories of days gone by…

Cherish the moments with family tonight.  Let the struggles of the year go for you never know what tomorrow will bring or if we will even be here tomorrow.   There are tears of joy, tears of sorrow for those who are no longer with us and tears of anticipation for what God has in store for me and my family over the next year.

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Merry Christmas to my friends, family, Thirty One customers and hostess and all of my blog fans.  You have blessed me in so many ways this year…

Make a Difference with Chemo Cares Totes

Make-A-Difference-Daylogo-version-3Make a Difference day was started in 1990. It is a national day devoted to helping others by doing volunteer work in the community.  It can be almost anything – just doing something to make a difference in the lives of others.  Today, millions of Americans will participate in community improvement projects. Maybe by cleaning up, fixing up, painting, and making repairs in neighborhoods or in parks or non-profit organizations.  It doesn’t matter what project you take on. It doesn’t matter whether you help a non-profit organization, the community, your town, nursing home, a church, a food kitchen, or any other group in need. What matters is you participate.

This is a great way to get the kids involved in giving back to their community. Make it a family outing. The joy on the faces of others as you make a difference in their lives will make a difference in your own life too. My mission is to make a difference in the lives of others.logo-fb-cover

My vision is for a world where women are not judged on their circumstances but empowered to learn from them so they can have harmony in their life and make a difference in the lives of those around them.

I try to make a difference in the lives of others whether it is with a smile, a thank you, a card sent in the mail, or holding the door.  I want to help organizations (and individuals) raise needed funds to pay a bill or for their kids activities or for holiday presents. I want to help them to share their SPARKLE with friends and family.

Today is the kickoff of my “CHEMO CARES TOTES” Campaign.  Now through November 15th, I will be collecting sponsors ($25) for THERMAL totes filled and delivered to the Infusion Unit at Community Hospital for individuals going through treatment.

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Cancer has touched my life with the loss of family members – my grandfather to lunch cancer, my Aunt Elsie to breast cancer and my Aunt Edythe to kidney cancer.  I spent many hours in the Oncology Units with Elsie and Edythe as they underwent chemo treatments.  I held their hand when they struggled with the insertion of the needles in their pic line.  I was there when they were sick from the chemo and sat by their bedside when they were too weak to go out.  As a friend said #cancersucks.  It takes many from us long before their time.  It ravages families.  It leaves children parentless.  It has parents burying children way to soon.

Recently due to my own health struggles, I have spent many hours in the infusion units of the local hospitals.  I am blessed to only have to be there a short time – time for blood work and special testing.  The many women I have seen are not there for a one time visit, they are there for weeks of painful treatments.  They smile and carry on conversations  while encouraging each other.  My heart breaks and the tears come each time I leave the unit for I know what their struggles are like.

Don’t make it just one day a year to “make a difference”. Consider helping others on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. I know, the holidays are coming and you say there is no extra money. Volunteering your time is another way to make a difference. A small random act of kindness can make a difference too. Small gestures can make big changes.

What will your commitment be to help others today? M ake a difference on Make a Difference Day!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

September is National Prostrate Health Month

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According to the American Cancer Society, Prostrate Cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in American men.  In fact, 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with Prostrate Cancer in their lifetime.  In 2015, approximately 220,000 men will be diagnosed and approximately 27,000 will die from the disease.  Fortunately, Prostrate Cancer is highly curable if detected early through prostrate screenings.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is a leader in funding and accelerating the world’s most promising prostate cancer research. And PCF is also a go-to organization for disseminating prostate health information to men. PCF is proud to offer multiple forms of information about this disease to men and their loved ones. Below is a sampling of informational materials that the Prostate Cancer Foundation has developed in an effort to make each month of the year a time for men to stay informed, aware and involved in the fight against prostate cancer.  Check out the Foundation’s website for lots of great information.

My dad is one of the 7 that has been diagnosed with prostrate cancer.  He did a form of chemo treatments several years ago.  He had a few side effects but overall, he kicked it.  Only to find out that it resurfaced again this year.  I have to say, I was a little surprised when the PSA test came back with high numbers but the doctor was optimistic that another round would squash it again.  So, back to shots with some side effects but overall GREAT results.  The PSA numbers are down to almost zero which is the goal.

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No matter what the cause, you can personalize a bag to show your support.  Prostrate Cancer is light blue and the zip top organizing tote (above) is in Spirit Gray.  The top picture is a Spirit Cinch Sac in navy with the light blue ribbon.

Do you know someone who is battling cancer or another life threatening illness?  Would you like to brighten their day with a gift that will touch their heart?  Why not consider a ThirtyOne Gifts  bag to fit their individual needs.  Whether it is carrying things to treatment or organizing their meds?  We have an option and I am happy to help you find the right one for that someone special.

Fundraising opportunities are always available.  It can be for an organization or it can be to help someone out with their medical bills.  Whatever the reason, let’s work together to bring a smile to their face as they face life’s challenges.

Let’s pay tribute to those who are still fight and those who have lost their fight… post their name here so we can all say a prayer for peace, comfort and healing.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!