Friday, September 21, 2007
Dedicated to a survivor
My grandmother, Avis Schmoll, was a breast cancer survivor. I remember how difficult and painful it was for her and our family as she found the disease. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I dedicate this column to the women fighting their own battles, to the survivors, to the women who lost in their fight and to my grandmother, who will forever remain my hero.
I love shopping for do-good items, especially ones that support breast cancer. Why not demonstrate your happiness with a super soft, pink "Happy Mom" thermal tee? For the month of October, PeaceLoveMom will donate 25 percent of the shirt’s profits to breast cancer research. For $50, it’s a fabulous splurge. The design and deal are also available in the T-shirt style, $38. To order, visit www.peacelovemom.com.
Can’t live without …
My writing journal is the one thing I can’t leave behind. You see. I write. It’s what I do in my spare time. I feel naked without it.
Pat Caswell-Evans, Chicago
Some people find strength from their heroes. I get mine from my grandmother; I keep on going when the going gets tough with her in mind. Who is your hero? Share your heroes and heroines in 30 words or less. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making Strides for the cure
Celebrating life is important; it is part of being a woman. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. Sometimes you have to stop and celebrate surviving. One opportunity is the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5-mile walk Oct. 21. Walking with survivors, families and supporters is one way Verlena Mooney-Newell chooses to celebrate life.
Single and new to Chicago, Verlena found a lump above her left breast and was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer at age 35. "I consider it a girl-next-door story," she says. "When I was diagnosed, I was afraid, confused."
She found support in her family and various cancer support organizations. Her mother and sister came up from Texas, while another sister came from Los Angeles. "A calmness came over me, there was a voice inside that said, ‘I can make it through.’ I had that power, belief in myself and I held onto my faith. That was so important. I’m really glad to be alive," she says.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 8,500 woman in Illinois will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Nearly 2,000 will die from the disease. "Breast cancer does not have to be a death sentence. Visit your doctor on a regular basis and get mammograms when necessary," Verlena says.
This October, Verlena is celebrating 11 years of remission. She is now happily married to husband Daryl and they have two boys, Daryl, 6, and Grant, 5. "There is love, life and laughter after cancer," she says.
Registration for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk begins at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m. To register or to find the closest walk near you, visit makingstrides.acsevents.org. There are four walks in the Chicagoland area. For information on breast cancer, visit www.cancer.org.
Wrap yourself in courage
Perhaps you know a FabMama going through her own battle or who is a cancer survivor. Or you are the FabMama facing cancer. Courage is key. One fabulous way to surround yourself in courage, quite literally, is with a "Courage" blanket from Affirmawraps. The cozy pink blanket is covered in positive messages about courage and comes with a Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul. The best part: 20 percent of each purchase will be donated to breast cancer charities. Nothing beats curling up in a blanket with a good book while helping others affected by breast cancer. The packaged bundle, $39.95, will be available through Dec. 1, 2007. To order, visit www.affirmagy.com.