Category Archives: Breast Cancer 3-Day Ambassador

Vote for FORCE in the Chase Community Giving Challenge

If you regularly read my blog, you know that I am very passionate about a lot of organizations, but there are two in particular that are nearest and dearest to my heart.  One is Susan G. Komen–the organization dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer. 

The other organization is quite a bit smaller and in the shadow of the biggies but no less important.  It’s called FORCE and their mission is to improve the lives of people affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  It was started by a wonderful woman who cares deeply about this cause and who works tirelessly to make a difference in our community.  FORCE has helped me, but more importantly I’ve seen the masses of women who have come to challenging crossroads in their lives and have persevered with the support of FORCE.  I’ve sat in local meetings and watched women tearfully talk about how alone they felt before they discovered the support of FORCE. 

FORCE has some important roles in our community.  First and foremost, FORCE has the ability, through local outreach coordinators all over the country, to provide support on an individual and group level to women who are navigating the complex world of hereditary cancer.  In addition to the local support groups, the message boards provide a safe-haven for women to come together.  And the toll-free 1-800 number is a place for people to turn when they don’t know where else to go.

Second, FORCE advocates for the hereditary cancer community–taking on issues such as GINA to make sure our rights are protected and we cannot be discrimated against for our genetic make-up.

And last, FORCE helps raise awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer so that women can learn of a cancer causing genetic mutation, take preventative measures and avoid a cancer diagnosis. 

Have I convinced you enough how much I care about and love this organization?  If I have, please take a few seconds to vote for FORCE in the Chase Community Giving Challenge.  If you have another few seconds to spare, post it on your Facebook page, tweet it and share it with your friends. We have the opportunity to win a grand prize of $250,000, one of 4 runner up prizes of $100,000 or one of 195 $20,000 prizes.  With your help, we can make this a reality.

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Ta Ta Breast Cancer in action

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure is still 4 months away but we are in heavy planning and fundraising mode. Very soon we’ll be entering training mode.

So much exciting news to report. We now have 48 team members–nearly double the size of last years team and we are shooting for $125,000. We’re still growing too and until Midnight CT on 4/23, you can save $25 off the registration when you use GOTEAM in the promotion code. So come on…Join us…We promise you an experience to remember.

In other news, we have tons of great ways for you (if you don’t want to walk) to help our team.

Getitpersonalized is offering a great Mother’s Day promotion. Stop by Sunday April 25 from 12-4 or Tuesday April 27 from 12-5, get your photo taken or bring in an existing photo, pick out your gift and they’ll have your personalized photo gift ready for you before Mother’s Day. Gifts start at $15. Be sure to mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer and 20% will come back to our team.

Shop for a cause at AISH in Oak Park on May 6 from 6pm-9pm. Great shirts for kids and adults, jewelry and personalized notecards.

Join us for drinks, dessert and singing with Lisa Soble Siegmann on May 16 from 7pm-10pm at the JCC Teen Center–a little bit of camp in the heart of West Bloomfield. The cost is $36 per person and $50 per couple and every dollar gets donated back to the 3-Day.

Join us for our annual fundraiser at 24 Seconds in Berkley, Michigan Monday June 21 5:00-9:30 for all you can eat pizza, salad, turkey roll ups, veggie roll ups, chips and salsa plus mac and cheese, chicken tenders and french fries for the kids. $13 for adults, $7 for kids.

We hope to see you at our 2nd annual 3-Day 4th fest July 2 from 6:30-11:30 for great food, raffles, auction and fun.

As spring approaches, In home Window and Carpet Cleaning will donate a percentage to Ta Ta Breast Cancer (and they do a great job). Be sure to mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer when you book your appointment.

For some great pampering, visit TD Nails in Berkley on Mondays or Tuesdays and mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer and a portion of your service will come back to our team.

If you can’t make it to any of our great fundraisers and still want to support our team, visit our team page and choose any one of our 48 team members to make a donation. We all have to make $2,300 and we appreciate every penny you can donate.

Thank you for helping Ta Ta Breast Cancer say goodbye to breast cancer forever.

Ta Ta Breast Cancer is working it…

The sun is shining and even though we are still at the beginning of February, my mind keeps wandering to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. My team is kicking it into high gear with some great fundraising, and I’m so proud of all of their ideas and energy. I’m feeling confident that we’ll end this year with a nice round $125,000 and thinking how much good this money can do in this fight. I now, sadly, know 5 women who are battling stage 4 breast cancer and all I can think about is how desperately I want them to live, long, full, enjoyable lives. Our only hope is research and the way to get there is by raising money. So that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m raising bucks, and I’m not stopping. Why? Because one friend in her 30s is seeing tremendous results on a Parp Inhibitor trial. And another friend in her 20s is starting a clinical trial shortly in hopes of seeing major disease reduction. All of these women need newer and better drugs to continue to fight this disease and that’s exactly what the money we raise helps fund.

My biggest fundraiser of the year is quickly approaching, and if you live in Michigan, I’d love to see you join us. We are seeing Spring Awakening at the Fisher Theater on Thursday April 29 at 8:00. For each ticket sold, $24 goes directly to Susan G. Komen and helps one of my teammates closer to their $2,300 goal.  And you pay the face value of the ticket.  It’s a win-win for all. If you are interested in joining us, you can RSVP on my event page or get in contact with me directly. If you can’t make the show but wish to donate or even walk, you can visit our team page.   And stay tuned for lots more exciting fundraisers before August. 

Help us save lives. Help us fight this disease. Help us end breast cancer.

Another big win for Ta Ta Breast Cancer and Brogan & Partners

Awhile ago, I posted about Ta Ta Breast Cancer’s big win at the D show. Well the logo pulled out another big win at the International Graphis Awards—yep, that’s right international award for Ta Ta Breast Cancer. I’m especially proud that the logo was created by my good friend and colleague, Dave Ryan. Dave’s created great work for my clients for many years and snagged awards along the way but this one was near and dear to my heart. So a big thank you to Dave and Brogan & Partners for pulling out one more big win.

Let the Breast Cancer 3-Day fundraising begin

We seem to be kicking into high gear in the fundraising area pretty quickly which is great news since we’ve got a team of 30 members so far for the 2010 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the cure—all with a $2,300 goal.

Our big 2009 fundraiser

Here’s what we’ve got planned:

We’ll be wrapping gifts at Borders at 13 mile and Southfield Rd. on December 4, 5 and 11th from 10a-2p. Stop by and say hello, grab some gifts and let the lovely ladies (and one man) of Ta Ta Breast Cancer wrap them for you. Hope to see you there.

Also, on December 5th, print out a flyer and drop into Catching Fireflies for some great holiday shopping. 12% of whatever you purchase will benefit our team.

As always, you can visit TD nails on Mondays or Tuesdays, mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer and our team will benefit with 10% of your purchase.

Needs your carpets, tile or grout professionally cleaned; call In-home Window Cleaning at 248-623-5858. Schedule a free estimate. If you hire them, make sure to mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer and 15% will come back to our team.

And you can always do your holiday shopping online by registering as a member of our shopping portal. The great news is you get cash back and Ta Ta Breast Cancer benefits too.

Stay tuned for announcements about some other great fundraisers in the spring including a mother/daughter event at Salon Pavlina in Farmington Hills and our big theater fundraiser-Spring Awakening winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical in 2007. We’re hoping to raise $125,000 this year.

Got any other thoughts or ideas for us or want to join our team, leave a comment or get in touch.

100 things to share about cancer in honor of my 100th blog post.

In honor of my 100th blog post, I’ve started a list of 100 things to share about cancer. I actually thought a lot about this list.  I didn’t want to bore with you with lots of useless facts.  Haven’t found 100 organizations that I love and while I’ve met lots of cool people through my journey, I can’t think of 100 to highlight.  This is a combination list and includes really cool organization, some interesting facts and statistics, great doctors, some cool people I’ve met along the way and anything else random I can share with you. I hope you find some of the links and facts within this post helpful.  Please note: I am not a doctor–just a survivor involved in the breast cancer world.   

I’ll start with really cool organizations. Some I know pretty intimately and some I just know on the surface. Regardless, they are all worth checking out and have some pretty great people involved.

BRCA and other hereditary cancer facts

  • About 10-15% of cancers are hereditary.
  • A BRCA mutation can give you up to an 87% lifetime risk of breast cancer.
  • Ashkenazi Jews have a 1 in 40 chance of having a BRCA mutation.
  • The general population has a 1 in 400 chance of having a BRCA mutation.
  • Family history on your father’s side is equally as important as family history on your mother’s side.
  • If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you should talk with a genetic counselor to assess your risk.
  • Triple negative breast cancer is common among women with a BRCA 1 mutation.
  • Estrogen positive breast cancer is common among women with a BRCA 2 mutation.
  • Men with a BRCA 1 mutation have roughly a 6% lifetime risk of breast cancer.
  • Men with a BRCA 2 mutation have roughly a 7% lifetime risk of breast cancer.
  • Bilateral mastectomy is the best way to avoid breast cancer in women with a BRCA mutation.

Random Breast Cancer facts and tidbits

  • Each year 10,000 women under age 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • As of 2008, there are 2.5 million women in the US who have survived breast cancer.
  • There will be an estimated 192,000 cases of breast cancer in the United States this year.
  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer is very frequently misdiagnosed. See other less common breast cancer symptoms below.
  • If you feel a lump, it’s best to have it removed or biopsied rather than waiting and seeing.
  • Women under 40 have very dense breasts.
  • Abnormalities in breast tissue are difficult to detect through mammograms when women have dense breasts.
  • Monthly self breast exams are very important.
  • There are many types of breast cancers.
  • Breast cancers in women under 40 tend to be more aggressive and have a worse prognosis.
  • There are other ways to cut your risks of breast cancer if you are at high risk — like the drug Tamoxifen.
  • Susan G. Komen spent 100 million dollars on breast cancer research in 2008.
  • Every major advancement in breast cancer research has been touched by a Susan G. Komen grant.
  • Women can get breast cancer in their 20s and often these cancers go undiagnosed.
  • Doctors can test lymph nodes for cancer by first doing a sentinal node biopsy.

There are lots of other breast cancer symptoms other than a lump

  • Swelling of all or part of your breast
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple pain or nipple turning inward
  • Redness, scaliness or thickening of your nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge
  • Lump in your underarm

Breast cancer reconstruction options – lots of great ones

  • Immediate reconstruction with tissue expanders
  • DIEP Flap
  • One Step
  • Tram
  • Nipple Sparing
  • Lat Flap

Really cool people I’ve met through my breast cancer experience

  • Lori Buckfire – check out a hilarious blog from a very inspiring person
  • Pam Lucken – a survivor I met after she was diagnosed, now a good friend
  • Patti Nemer – knows everyone in the Michigan Breast Cancer community
  • Valerie Fraser – Inflammatory Breast Cancer Survivor and big advocate in the breast cancer community
  • Jonny Imerman – testicular cancer survivor and founder of Imerman’s Angels
  • Missy Mazorati-Bergman – another wonderful breast cancer survivor who walked around with the boldest bald head ever for 6 months
  • Laurie Alpers – survivor friend who got very involved with FORCE early on and now walks with me on Ta Ta Breast Cancer
  • Whitney Ducaine – my genetics counselor who helped me start the first Southeast Michigan outreach group for FORCE
  • Lindsay Avner – founder of Be Bright Pink
  • Sue Friedman – Executive Director and Founder of FORCE
  • Joanna Rudnick – Producer of documentary In the Family
  • The women of Ta Ta Breast Cancer — both my new friends and old friends
  • The walkers, crew and staff of the Breast Cancer 3-Day who devote so much to finding a cure for this disease
  • My new FORCE family including all the wonderful genetics counselors in Southeast Michigan
  • The women and men I met at the FORCE conference in Orlando
  • Lots of really inspiring advocates I met at the Susan G. Komen Advocate Training
  • The women battling cancer everyday and reminding me why I need to keep fighting

Fun websites to buy  cancer gear

 Great doctors

  • Dr. Alvin Schoenberger – greatest OBGYN ever who was very aggressive in making sure we took action with my lump
  • Dr. Jeffrey Margolis – brilliant Oncologist who treated me
  • Dr. Daniel Sherbert – super nice and extremely talented Plastic Surgeon
  • Dr. William Kestenberg – performed my biopsy, results on Thursday night, scheduled all my tests throughout the weekend so I didn’t have to wait the weekend to learn that the cancer had not spread
  • Dr. Scott Schell – my breast surgeon
  • Dr. Ruth Lerman – follows me for yearly breast exams, also a breast cancer survivor
  • Dr. Dana Zakalik – Oncologist very involved in cancer genetics and helped start our local FORCE group
  • Dr. Laura Freedman – Radiation Oncologist and personal friend who was always willing to talk to me
  • Dr. Melissa Davidson – my trusted sister-in-law also a physician who  reviewed my pathology report and all my test results and spent lots of time helping me navigate
  • Dr. Scott Davidson – my brother-in-law who spent lots of time on the phone with me following my diagnosis and during my treatment

Easy ways to raise money

  • No need to plan an elaborate black tie dinner, a backyard party with all the food donated and an auction can generate lots of good income without requiring a big donation.
  • Promote your favorite places and ask them to make a donation in return.  TD nails has donated several hundred dollars to the Breast Cancer 3-Day just by having people mention Ta Ta Breast Cancer. 
  • Have a bar night — we promoted our 24 Seconds fundraiser via Facebook and a small amount of email and raised over $1,000 without any out of pocket cost
  • Theater nights — we promote and buy as many tickets as we need — raised over $3,000 for Annie

Some Great Books

Great Movies

As I was developing this list, I realized that I have a ton of great people reading my blog who could provide some additional input into my list of 100 so I’ve left room in the list–I have about 10 left.   Any organizations you love, doctors you trust, must-read books, new things you’ve learned, tidbits that we can all share.  The more we can help eachother out, the better we can fight.  So go ahead and post a comment, help me complete my list of 100.

Additions to the list

Thanks Molly, Patty, Kim, Laurie and Alyssa for adding some great sites and tips to check out by posting a comment.  Keep em coming….

  • Sister’s Hope – Recommended by the Pink Fund
  • eraceibc.com – A site devoted to Inflammatory Breast Cancer
  • thebcmall.com
  • Unbeatable – a musical about breast cancer.  I need to know when they are coming to Detroit.  Looks pretty darn funny.  Check out the description I pulled from their website and the very cute image.3417805339_54165a1dda

UNBEATABLE! juxtaposes the gravity of a cancer diagnosis with optimism, hopefulness and a keen sense of humor. The message of UNBEATABLE! is universal and applies to anyone who goes through life at full speed, without realizing that in the end, it is the people we love in our lives, not the “to do” lists, that deserve our time and attention.

Laurie’s Additions

  • Dr. Julio Sosa – Plastic Surgeon
  • Shades of Pink Foundation – non-profit to help women with financial issues after a breast cancer diagnosis
  • Dr. Pamela Benitiz – Breast Surgeon

Another suggestion from a trusted source…

Dr. Gail Parker – therapist in Southeast Michigan available to provide support to people with BRCA Mutations

A fun Breast Cancer 3-Day video–Plymouth, Michigan style.

If you are considering walking with us next year, check out this video for some inspiration. I found it on YouTube. I love that they caught the Ta Ta Breast Cancer cheering section pretty close to the beginning(notice the little guy in the Tie-Dye and the man in the pink shirt on the phone) I also love that they caught my reunion with my daughter who was at overnight camp for four weeks before the walk. Enjoy the video–it’s just a little taste of what the Breast Cancer 3-Day is all about.

Blisters are healed. Time to start thinking about 2010 3-Day.

Since we got back from the walk, I’ve had lots of people tell me they are walking 2010 and our team is up to 5 members in the past week.  I love my friend Pam’s post “Why you should seriously consider walking the 3-Day”.  She does such a great job of summing it up and I couldn’t agree more.  Pam and I met when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 months after me.  We’ve been friends ever since and although we don’t see each other often; the breast cancer bond has formed a unique friendship.  Our other breast cancer friend, Missy is also part of Pam’s team.  In Pam’s blog, she mentions that Nancy’s Naughty Nockers (NNN) now changed to No More Naughty Nockers has raised over $200,000 in three years—that’s a ton of money in this fight.  I am also proud to say that Ta Ta Breast Cancer has raised $160,000 in two years.

In 2010, we’ve formed another goal.  NNN and Ta Ta Breast Cancer, while remaining separate teams, are forming a bit of strategic alliance orchestrated by Pam’s husband Bill and me.  We’ve decided that the two teams together are going to raise $250,000 in 2010.  We’ll support and help promote each other’s fundraisers.  So come on, enough waiting, join the 3-Day and let’s start working towards this unbelievable goal.  If you join now, you can save $35 by entering POWER10 in the coupon code area.  We can’t wait to see you at the 2010 walk.

Pam, Missy, Ellyn 2009 3-Day

Pam, Missy, Ellyn 2009 3-Day

The 2009 Michigan Breast Cancer 3-Day is over. The memories will last forever.

 Just settled in with a cup of coffee and an hour to gather my thoughts about the past weekend—my 2nd Breast Cancer 3-Day. It’s hard to put into words the thoughts and emotions of the past weekend. It’s so much more than 60 miles. It’s about celebrating survivorship and remembering the women and men we’ve lost to breast cancer. It’s about raising awareness of the harshness and the reality of this disease. It’s about raising money so we can continue to crush breast cancer. It’s all that and more. Lifechanging may be the only way to describe the experience.
 
I walked with 24 other amazing women of Ta Ta Breast Cancer—I met 5 of them for the first time on Friday morning.DSC_3213

 

Others, I met during training walks. Some were acquaintances prior to the walk. And some others are the people nearest and dearest to me—my mom, my aunt, my sister-in-law and some of my best and oldest friends. Sharing this experience together takes all of these relationships to a much deeper level.

If you have ever thought of walking the Breast Cancer 3-Day (now called the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the cure) but just didn’t think you could do it, trust me, you can. If you live in Michigan, join us next year. If you are in another state, grab some friends and don’t wait another day to sign up. If you can’t walk, crew or volunteer. You will thank me later.

We have to do this for so many reasons. But I think 5-year old Samantha Dubin summed it up so well when she returned from a cheering section and said to her brother Josh.

 “The women are walking now, so they will save my boobs later.”

Talking cancer with my 7 year old

Last night, I was lying in bed with my 7 year old and remembering a very similar night almost 2 years ago—the night I was diagnosed.  It prompted a discussion about my experience.  I’ve wanted to talk to him for awhile to make sure he is not afraid—I’ve had little indications that he still thinks a lot about my experience.   It’s not entirely surprising since we certainly didn’t sweep my experience under the rug.  It’s become a big part of who I am and the activities we do as a family—fundraisers, walks, cheering at the 3-Day.  Right now he is making an art book to sell to raise money for cancer. 

The conversation was so interesting and his questions were so insightful.  I almost forgot I was talking to a 7 year old.  And I was reminded that he doesn’t forget anything.  He wanted to know why there was one survivor at the 3-Day in a wheelchair and what happened to her.  I explained that they didn’t find her cancer early enough and it had spread to other parts of her body.  I also talked about how important it is to find new and better medicines to treat cancer when it’s spread.  I told him that’s a big reason why we work to raise money.  ry=400From there, he wanted to know how you find cancer.  Can they see it in your pee he asked? So I talked a bit about my lump and how I initially felt the lump.  He also asked how they knew it was cancer and I was able to tell him how they looked at the cells very carefully.  I was amazed at his comprehension and interest in the little details.  I know he loves science and he seemed fascinated by everything.  I even explained why I went to Dallas last week and learned how to look at proposals for research.  He said, “You mean the research that doctors and scientists do?” He totally gets it, and he didn’t seem afraid. 

I’m more confident that he talks about cancer because he is interested and not because he is scared.  I hope he sees cancer the way I do as something we need to conquer and not something we need to fear.  I’ve learned that fear is not helpful but action is, and I hope in little ways this cancer experience has taught my children the same lesson.

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