Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
See...Janelle Karras was my mom's "little" cousin.
I had heard about her my whole life, but geography limited us to only meeting once in person back in December 2010. Within minutes, Janelle lived up to my mother's hype of being an
inspiration to everyone who knew her. She was truly an amazing woman!
Even though Janelle and I spent little time together, she made and will make a big impact on my life. I hope I can do the same to others no matter the length of time we spend together.
I hope you do too.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Honestly, I had never heard of one before I started contacting hospital gift shops about Kare’n Cards. When I talked about them with other people, most had a blank look on their face and questioned, “Who?”
The mysterious individuals I’m talking about are Child Life Specialists. Child Life Specialists help children and their families cope and live with a serious even life threatening illness.
The first one I met was amazing.
The five hundredth one I met was amazing.
The one thousand one hundred and ninety seventh was amazing.
I think you get my point:
Child Life Specialists are amazing.
Next week I’m going to share some of their stories. If you know one or are one, I invite you to join the conversation and be a storyteller on this blog.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
On her own time and out of her own pocket, Jo Ann Namm decorates pillowcases. What’s the big deal about that you ask? See…
Jo Ann works with terminally ill patients and their families at a famous hospital in LA. One day she came up with an idea to spark a timeless interaction between the dying patient and their family and friends. Based on the dying person’s favorite hobby, she would create a custom pillowcase. If the patient were a Harley fan, then she would buy Harley Davidson fabric and sew a pillowcase. If they were a Lakers’ fan, then the fabric would be Lakers. You get the idea.
But she didn’t stop there.
Jo Ann took it one giant step further. She invited the patient to share a word or words that they wanted their loved ones to remember them by or for. Whatever they said, Jo Ann crafted on the pillowcase. When the time was right, the pillowcase was given as a gift to the family and friends… by their loved one. Often, it was the last gift exchanged between them. Can you visualize the emotion? Can you imagine how cherished that pillowcase is?
It happened and is still happening because Jo Ann Namm sparked a timeless moment using... pillowcases.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Meet Valerie Brown who is a full fledged member of the small band of survivors to have stared down breast cancer twice. The first time she was a 34 year old single mother to a 14 year old daughter. It was the 1970s which may not seem long ago, but when it comes to cancer treatment it was almost prehistoric. So Valerie planned for the worst by making the best choices of guardianship for her daughter Carla. Then she focused her energy on fighting the cancer. In the end, Valerie won the war!
Twenty five years of checkups went by with great news. Then... the enemy returned to pick another fight. Maybe it's because she grew up on the tough streets of Boston, or perhaps it's just her disposition, whatever it is Valerie Brown is the wrong person to mess with. Apparently, breast cancer didn't learn its lesson the first time, and like the champ she is, Valerie knocked out cancer...again.
This past fall, Valerie's husband, Bill, threw her a 2nd "Five Year Cancer Free Anniversary" party. If I remember correctly, over 120 of her family and friends from all over the country came to West Palm Beach to celebrate the historic moment.
To survive cancer once is remarkable. To survive cancer twice borders on the miraculous. And if you doubt miracles happen, then you need to meet Valerie Brown because that's what she is.