Thanks(4)giving

It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: cancer

Week 48-Costumes and Charities, Day 5-Little Red Riding Hood

Halloween is almost here!  We decided to celebrate a little early and joined our friends for a costume party last night.  Frankenstein, Carrie, a gypsy, Flavor Flav, the most interesting man in the world, Clark Kent and Lois Lane, and Little Red Riding Hood were all just kicking it for a couple of hours.  Through my usual Sunday Facebooking time I also saw that there were several other Little Red Riding Hoods partying it up last night.  Her outfit is pretty cute so it’s no real surprise that she’s a popular costume each year.  Plus everyone loves a happy ending to a story.  Those Brothers Grimm were talented men.

So cute!

The Little Red Riding Hood cycling event is put on every year by the Bonneville Cycling Club to raise money and awareness about all different kinds of cancers that affect women.  This event is cool because it’s a girls only event!  With five different routes that are 18, 36, 50, 80 and 100 mile distances, there is a ride for everyone.  LRRH even tailors their t-shirts for their female riders.  No bulky Beefy-T shirts for this event.  They also make sure they take care of their riders by making sure there is endless food at all the rest stops along the rides, and put on a big finish line celebration.  LRRH takes place in the beautiful Cache Valley in Northern Utah, and gives us girls the ultimate excuse for a girls weekend.  Be sure you sign up early though if you’re thinking about riding for cancer.  The event is limited to 3000 participants and last year registration was full in only 23 hours.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it cancer.  Classic stories like LRRH are being given a new digital life by the company Speakaboos.  They combine the voices of celebrities with beautiful illustrations and original music to make reading fun for children.  They develop literary skills and learn about technology at the same time in a safe way that their parents can feel good about.  Speakaboos also donates a portion of its proceeds to a couple of charities that benefit children.  One of these is The National Education Association who envisions a great public school for every student.  Started way back in 1857 NEA knows that a public education is the gateway to opportunity, and everyone deserves that right.

Little Red Riding Hood Ride Donation

National Education Association Donation

So here’s to you Little Red Riding Hood!  You and your fashionable red cape are easy to spot at a party that is full of ghouls and ghosts.  That Big Bad Wolf almost had you tricked, but luckily you saw right through him and his big teeth and hands.  Thanks for teaching us that double checking can never hurt.

Week 48-Costumes and Charities, Day 1-Dorothy

Happy Halloween week!  I’m so excited for Halloween this year because we have a great party to go to, and Clay, Melanie, and my Mom are coming up to join in on the festivities!  I wish I could celebrate with all my friends and families but I’ll take what I can get.  As all my students were leaving today I asked them what their Halloween plans and costumes were.  The responses ran the gamete but my favorite was “Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz.”  First of all, that’s my favorite movie so the “Wizard of Oz” part was not necessary.  Second, I haveALWAYS wanted to be Dorothy for Halloween and have yet to do so.  I’m just thankful someone else gets to click their heels three times and realize there’s no place like home.

This is totally me, right?

Thanks to the Great Ormand Street Hospital Charity you can see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece all for charity.  GOSH opened on another very celebrated holiday back in 1852.  On Valentine’s Day GOSH started it’s very first day with only ten beds to treat very sick children.  They have been dedicated to children’s health care from day one, and have worked endlessly to find new and better ways to treat childhood diseases.  GOSH is also focused on collaborating with other hospitals in order to be the best children’s hospital in the UK.  GOSH also trains the most pediatric nurses of any UK hospital, and has more than 50 different clinical specialties.  Their talented staff and world-class treatments are the reason that more than 175,000 children are seen at the hospital every year.  You can also decorate cards and posters to brighten the day of children being treated at the hospital.  These children aren’t just patients to GOSH, they are like family.  Dorothy even has her own charity.  Well maybe not the Dorothy from Kansas, but Dorothy’s Family is a charity that was created in memory of Dorothy Traver.  Dorothy lost her battle with cancer 8 years ago, but DF honors her memory through serving local children who have been diagnosed with cancer.  DF works to unite family and friends in order to alleviate the financial burden of hospital and family service program bills.  Dorothy’s Family started in Orlando and has grown to include Denver, New York, and Chicago.  Support, and care, and love, oh my!

Great Ormand Street Hospital Charity Donation

Dorothy’s Family Donation

So here’s to you Dorothy!  I’m not dressing up as you this year, again, but one day I promise I will!  You have been my favorite character for more years than I’d like to admit, but it’s because you are timeless.  You cared about getting the Tinman a heart, the Scarecrow a brain, and the Lion some courage just as much as you cared about getting home.  We may not be in Kansas anymore, but thanks to you, we know that following our hearts will take us exactly where we need to be.

Yep, I'm pretty sure you're right

Week 40-All I needed to know, Day 2-I learned from my Nana

Happy Birthday to the sweetest woman I ever met in my entire life, my Nana!  I miss her so much, but I’ll never forget the pearls of wisdom she would tell me, my brother, and my cousins.  You’re gonna get a good laugh out of this one, but she said, “Be sure you have a BM everyday.”  Seriously she said that, and of course she said BM instead of any other word choice because she was too adorable and old-fashioned to say anything else.  Well, that and we were kids so she didn’t want us cursing at age 4.  Sure it’s funny, and yes it’s also a little gross, but I’m still thankful for her advice.  You can’t tell me you don’t feel better after your daily BM.

Happy Birthday Nana! 🙂

The other reason I still love this advice from my Nana is that it could literally save your life.  Well sort of.  If you’re thinking and talking about your colon health then you’re a step in the right direction for knowing about your risk for colon cancer.  The Colon Cancer Alliance is the oldest and largest support organization for those dealing with colorectal cancers.  Hundreds of thousands of individuals receive services and information from the CCA each year.  They connect a network of survivors and others who have been touched by diseases to help those who are newly diagnosed.  CCA is on a mission to end the suffering and death caused by colon cancer and they won’t let anything stop them.  Getting screened for colon cancer is so important, because over 80% of cases can be prevented with regular screening.  So get your butt in gear!  What do Katie Couric and Diane Keaton have in common?  If you said incredible skin then you’re absolutely right, but they are also supporters of the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance which is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.  Wow that is a mouthful.  NCCRA shares the mission of the CCA by promoting early medical screening and funding for research to develop better tests, treatments, and hopefully a cure.  Katie’s husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer at the young age of 42, and she has made it her mission to make sure his name lives on through those who fight back and beat colorectal cancer.  I think she’s doing a pretty good job so far.

Colon Cancer Alliance Donation

National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance Donation

So here is to what my Nana taught me!  Her actions alone taught me how to love unconditionally and give to those around me until I can’t give anymore.  Even though her advice was lost on me when I was just learning what a GM, I mean BM, was I can greatly appreciate it now.  Thankfully she wasn’t afraid to just be her regular self, and make sure everyone else around her was regular too.

Week 27-Get Bikini Ready, Day 5-Pool Heaven

Now that we’ve got all the basics covered on how to get bikini ready, let’s talk about how much fun it is to go swimming!  I learned to swim at a very young age and have LOVED it ever since.  I’m also a Scorpio which is a water sign so that might have something to do it too.  Plus you can you get workout in and catch a few rays while you’re splashing around in the water!  You’ve watched the Summer Olympics.  You’ve seen the bodies on those swimmer.  One word; hot.  It’s also a good thing to know how to do in case you ever fall out of a boat or something.  I”m thankful that water is there to keep me cool on the inside and out during the sweltering summertime.

World's largest pool heaven

You may not know this, but the multi-gold-medal winning swimmer Michael Phelps also has a heart of gold.  The Michael Phelps Foundation is a non-profit that is focused on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthy lifestyles.  MPF has three great programs that help people, and specifically children, reach their full potential not only as swimmers but as individuals going for their dreams.  The Level Field Fund helps close the financial gap between talented athletes and the funds they need to continue to train and develop to the next level.  The Im program encourages healthy and active lifestyles for participants by offering water safety courses, recreational pool activities, and swim training as well as health and wellness education.  MPF also reaches out to other non-profits that encourage swimming and being healthy through Caps for a Cause, where the one and only Michael Phelps signs swims caps for the organizations to auction off for their own fundraisers.  He may not be an Olympic athlete but this September Virgin Mobile mogul Richard Branson and his team are attempting to swim the Irish Sea.  They are hoping to raise over 1 million pounds for Cancer Research UK, as they try to set a new Guinness World Record with their 56 mile swim.  With roots dating back to 1902 CRUK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research.  The chances a person has of surviving cancer has doubled over the past 40 years, and CRUK has been in the thick of the progress that has been made.  Richard and his team are willing to face treacherous seas and even sharks to help fight cancer, the least we can do is like their Facebook page!

Michael Phelps Foundation Donation

Cancer Research UK Donation or The Swim Donation

So here’s to you pool heaven!  We know you’re an oasis during the summer days when we feel like we’re stranded in the Sahara.  You’re as popular as the ice cream shop and the well air-conditioned movie theaters when the temperature rises.  Thank you for giving the tired, hot, and weary a place to float their heads.

I need this float!

Week 27-Get Bikini Ready, Day 4-Buy a new babing suit!

Rock it Barbie!

You can work out everyday, get a spray tan, and shave those legs but if you don’t have a bathing suit, or babing suit as my friends and I like to say, then you’re not bikini ready!  Most of us dread getting into one, but unless you want to be that kid that swims in shorts and a t-shirt you’re gonna have to bite the bullet.  Luckily there are lots of affordable and body friendly options out there for everyone.  Even the one-piece is making comeback in a big way!  It turns out that leaving a little something-something to the imagination is all it’s cracked up to be.  I’m just thankful someone designed a suit that I can wear to go swimming and cool off in the heat of the summer.

It probably comes as no surprise that there has been more than one hottie-with-a-body celebrity to design a bikini for charity.  Take for example Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow who designed a swim suit for the Lily Pulitzer Colorful Cause: Celebrity Designer Program to support the EB Medical Research Foundation.  EB stands for epidermolysis bullosa which is a painful, genetic skin condition that causes skin to break and blister at the slightest touch.  Those who suffer by EB fight daily against fluid loss and infections from the open wounds they have on their bodies.  They are also very susceptible to skin cancers and do not usually live past the age of thirty.  Gwyneth isn’t the only celebrity supporter of this great charity that is working to learn more about EB, its causes, how it can be treated, and how it can be cured.  Brad Pitt, Courtney Cox, and Eva Longoria have all dedicated their time and famous mugs to support EBRF.  The Victoria Secret ex-girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio, Bar Rafaeli, designed the perfect little black bikini to benefit Boarding For Breast Cancer.  This non-profit’s name pretty much sums up what they’re all about.  Their mission is to increase awareness about breast cancer, early detection, and the value of an active lifestyle.  B4BC believes the best way to prevent breast cancer is to combine early detection by giving yourself monthly self-exams, and an active lifestyle of snowboarding/skiing/any exercise you love!  Plus they have awesome apparel that lends a little humor to talking about two very important assets that all us women as blessed with.

EB Medical Research Foundation Donation

Boarding For Breast Cancer Donation

So here’s to buying a new babing suit!  Sure you can wear the one you had from last year, but isn’t it much more fun to buy a new one and donate your old one?  I think so!  It’s also much more fun to actually say babing suit, than bathing suit.  Go ahead try it, you’ll thank me later.  Thanks for helping us reach our full summer potential!

Week 26-Half Way There! Day 1-It’s a celebration!

Get our your party hats, balloon arches, noise makers, and calorie loaded treats because it’s a celebration!!!  This is officially the half-way point in my 365 days journey of being more thankful and sharing it with the world.  A lot, a lot, a lot has happened since I began this adventure 6 months ago and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the journey takes me.  I’ve thought about how I could make this week special for a while now and I think you’re gonna like what this week has in store.  Let’s just say that we’ll have some special guests bloggers at some point, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out when and what they are thankful for.  Thank you to everyone out there who supports me and pushes me to write another blog each day.  Without you I would just be writing to myself, which would be a lot less fun! 🙂

Cheers Week 26!

After writing this blog I have a daily reminder that each day is a reason to celebrate being alive and relish in the opportunity to live another day.  Lance Armstrong and the LiveStrong movement embodies this mantra.  Lance credits his life to cancer, because when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 25 he decided simply living wasn’t good enough.  He also decided that if he was going to live strong then he wanted to help other people with cancer do the same.  Founded in 1997 the Lance Armstrong Foundation wasted no time getting to work.  LS is there to help you the moment you find out you have cancer, during your treatments, and after when you are not a victim but a survivor of cancer.  The awareness events, programs, and advocacy work at the end of LS is changing lives.  “We believe that unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything.”  Amen.  Plus who didn’t/doesn’t have one of those yellow bracelets?  I’m not having a party to celebrate this week, but if I was I would totally go through In Lieu of a Gift for my e-vites.  That’s because you can attach a charity to your invitation for people to donate to instead of bringing a gift to you event.  I love this idea!  There have been lots of other charities where you can buy gift cards, or e-cards, or some kind of merchandise that will support a charity but this gives the host of the party the ability to decide what charity they want to support.  Seriously the older we get what else do we really need in life?  More stuff?  Not me.  I’ll take my awesome family & friends, great experiences, and the gift of giving back to causes I believe in over new towels any day.

LiveStrong Donation

In Lieu of a Gift Registration…make your next party one that you and your guests will never forget!

So here’s to a week of celebration!  I love a party as much as the next person, and I think this week is going to be one to remember.  26 weeks down and 26 weeks to go.  It’s all downhill from here and I can’t wait to enjoy the ride.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy this very special ride through thanks(4)giving town.

Week 24-Do I have to?, Day 7-Wash clothes

My kinda place

I would say that I hate washing clothes, but that’s not entirely true.  The washing part isn’t that bad.  It’s the drying, folding, and putting away that I’m not a big fan of.  I really hated washing clothes when we lived in New Jersey because I had to pay to wash and dry our clothes in the laundry in our building.  That’s adding insult to injury if you ask me.  Even though we are lucky enough to have our own coin-free laundry set up in our townhouse in WV I’m still not chomping at the bit to break out the Tide and fabric softener.  I may not like it, but I am thankful that we can just wash our clothes instead of throwing them away and buying new ones every time.

One really great campaign that you might have heard of is Tide Loads of Hope.  LOH makes sure that the victims of natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina in 2005, still have their basic necessity of clean clothes met.  One truck and a multitude of vans are able to carry 32 energy-efficient washers and dryers.  This awesome mobile set-up is capable of washing and drying over 300 loads of laundry a day.  Tide and it’s volunteers wash, dry, and fold the clothes for the families, because like me, they believe that giving back is all about the little things.  Since they began LOH has washed more than 34,000 loads of laundry and made the day of a countless number of families.

Holy laundry Batman!

You have also probably seen those Electrolux commercials with the beautiful and chipper Kelly Ripa selling washing machines, dryers, and multiple other household appliances.  When she’s not slinging laundry or keep Regis in line, she is joining Electrolux in raising money and awareness about the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  Kelly is even throwing a virtual tea party where you get to pick your outfit, your tea set, and raise a buck for OCRF.  OCRF’s mission is to fund research in order to develop early detection methods and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer deaths of women in the U.S.  I don’t know about you, but that number astounds and scares me.  Those who research ovarian cancer and fund this admirable cause are heroes in my book for sure.

Buy a Tide Loads of Hope T-shirt of the Tide with the yellow caps!

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Donation

So here’s to you washing clothes!  I like you a little more than taking out the trash, but not by a lot.  You are the reason I’m not the smelly kid at work, and why I can always get the spill stains off of my shirts.  You are time-consuming and really no fun at all but you have proved that you can give people in need a real sense of hope.  We can use liquid, powder, or even these cool new sheets that also get used in the dryer to get you done.  Thanks for helping me remember that I could be washing these clothes with a bar of soap, bucket of water, and a washboard.  Yea, that usually shuts me right up.

Week 19-Letters, Day 4-S

Oh sweet, sweet Saturday I am so happy to see you!  You seem to show up just when I need you the most.  You help us remember how to relax, do something fun, and forget about the worries of the work week.  You give us an excuse to watch a Sex and the City marathon, Star Wars VI-Return of the Jedi, or the first season of Sons of Anarchy.  Saturdays are also great for getting around to all of those other household chores the weekdays never let you finish, or volunteering for you favorite charity.  Saturdays are just splendid, no matter how you spend them.

The Alex who stared it all (www.alexslemonade.org)

I remember being a little kid setting up a lemonade stand in front our house on a Saturday trying to make a few extra bucks.  Our road really wasn’t prime time lemonade stand property, but it was always fun and got us out of the house.  Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was started in 2000 by a brave four year old little girl, named Alex, who was suffering from neuroblastoma.  Her first lemonade stand raised over $2,000 to help fund cancer research so doctors could “help other kids, like they helped her”.  Even as she was battling her own cancer, she continued to her lemonade stand in her front yard every year and the new spread about this brave little girl.  Lemonade stands were set up across the country and people donated their proceeds to Alex and her cause.  ALSF has raised over $40 million to help fund research for childhood cancers, and helped fund over 150 cutting-edge projects.  Even though Alex passed away in 2004 at the age of eight, her family and her supporters have made sure her legacy continues to live on today, tomorrow, and beyond.  Another thing that I really, really, really love to participate in that starts with S is shopping.  Most people, and especially women, can totally relate to this.  Endorse For a Cause lets you shop and give back to your favorite charity at the same time.  In case you haven’t picked up on it I’m a big fan of charities that let me shop and be philanthropic simultaneously.  EFAC knows that we all want to make a difference with our lives, and supporting great causes like Feeding America or the American Cancer Society is now as easy as buying a new pair of stilettos.  Become a member of EFAC and share your favorite retailers and products with your friends by tweeting or updating your status and a part of the money you (and your friends) spend goes to the charity of your choice.  There’s only one word for how great that is. Sweet!

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Endorse For a Cause Donation (Sign up today and share!) And check our Marie Claire for more gifts to benefit charities

So here’s to you S!  Sundaes, soccer, salmon, Scrabble, Saturday and Sunday also really appreciate you starting them off.  Wheel of Fortune thinks you’re pretty special too because you’ll always a freebie in the last puzzle.  Spring and summer couldn’t start off on the right foot without you, and a game of chess needs you to end.  Be sure you think about the ‘ole important crooked letter as you enjoy your Saturday evening and your Sunday morning.  See ya tomorrow!

Week 17-Potpourri, Day 3-Jokes

I love a good joke, practical or not, and what better day to celebrate that then on April Fool’s Day?  I probably love jokes so much because I love to smile and laugh.  I am a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine, and it burns more calories than frowning, so I try to participate in the fun as much as possible.  Scott is always making me laugh and playing little jokes on me, which I love.  We’ll be that old couple out shopping putting things in other people’s carts that they don’t want.  Just be thankful it wasn’t your cart…

It turns our that there are a ton of other comedians out there who like to give back to others through laughter.  Comic Relief is a great non-profit in the US and UK that is in the business of helping those in need.  Founded in the US in 1986 big wigs like Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, and 47 other comedians help to raise over $2.5 million in one year alone.  Last year CR hosted events to help raise money to continue to help victims of Hurricane Katrina rebuild, and donated over 60,000 shirts to Haitians affected by the earthquake.  CR always manages to bring the comedic community together when the needs of people around the world are most important.

Who me?

The International Myeloma Foundation knows how important a joke is, so they host an annual comedy celebration to benefit the Peter Boyle (aka Frank Barone) Memorial Fund.  Boyle passed away from the uncurable multiple myeloma, bone marrow cancer, in 2006.  His “son” Ray Romano has hosted the event every year since it began in 2006.  Comedians Kevin James, Carlos Mencia, Doris Roberts, and Patricia Heaton have all been a part of the show.  All of the proceeds of the ticket sales for the show and the silent auction go to the PBMF which is dedicated to finding a cure for myeloma.  Unfortunately we all know that there is nothing funny about cancer.

Comic Relief Donation (or call 1-888-586-7389 for US donations)

International Myeloma Foundation Donation

So here’s to you jokes!  You can make someone’s day with just a couple of funny words, and help them turn that frown up-side down.  You can be dirty, short, practical, knock-knock, or clean, but hopefully you’re always funny.  You can be around for years and still be new to the right person.  You can be an icebreaker at a party or the reason a bachelor gets a second date.  Thanks for helping us laugh a little, and give back a lot.

Week 16-March Madness, Day 1-Big 12

That’s right, it’s the time of year again when we all become college basketball fans and professional gamblers.  Everyone from your mom to the president are filling out their brackets and are probably in one pool or another trying to win some money, and the even more valuable pride.  The Big 12 has the most teams of any conference in the big dance this year with a whopping 11, which is 4 more than the next conference.  I’m thankful for all the great basketball that I’m going to be watching in the next few weeks, and the great causes these college and universities work to support.  So lace up your high tops and get ready to score some major karma points.

Even though there are 11 teams from the Big 12 playing in the NCAA tournament, there can only be one winner.  President Obama informed ESPN that Kansas was his top pick to go all the way and be crowned the next national champion.  I’m not sure if I agree with Mr. President or not, but I do think that The University of Kansas Cancer Center is working hard to win the battle against cancer.  Led by a team of 160 world-class scientists, KCC is focused on reducing the burden of cancer through cutting edge research, clinic trials and community cooperation.  KCC is on a mission to become designated as a National Cancer Institute center, which is the best of the best in cancer research and care.  Patients at NCI-designated centers are at the top of list for the newest laboratory discoveries and clinical trials.  A NCI-designated cancer center might be even better than a NCAA Championship.  Well, I guess that depends on who you ask.  With all this march madness going around it might be easy to forget about the true madness that is happening in Japan right now.  While we are counting rebounds and points the people in Japan are counting bodies and days since they’ve seen their loved ones.  There are lots of great, credible organizations out there where you can donate to earthquake and tsunami relief efforts, but Save the Children really spoke to me.  They work all over the United States in over 50 countries to create real and lasting changes for children in need.  It’s pretty obvious but today’s children are tomorrow’s future, and we need all the help we can get.  Over 100,000 children have been displaced from their homes since last Friday when tragedy struck Japan.  STC has been responding to disasters for almost 80 years, and over 90% of their expenditures in 2009 went to program services.  Saving the children of Japan isn’t just an organization, it’s a challenge to us all.

The University of Kentucky Cancer Center Donation

Save the Children-Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund Donation

So here’s to you Big 12!  You haven’t been around that long but you’ve proved to the rest of the conferences that you show up to play.  You have accumulated 39 team crowns and 459 individual NCAA Championships over your short fifteen year history.  You are spread out over seven states, have fans all over the country, and have every mascot known to man.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a Jayhawk, Cyclone, Tiger, or a Bear, because we’re all in it to win it when it comes to giving back.