Seven Ways To Celebrate “National Cancer Survivor’s Day”

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7 Ways To Celebrate National Cancer Survivor's Day

National Cancer Survivor’s Day is a relatively new day of recognition on my radar, but I think it is really important. It is significant to me because I sometimes need a reminder that there ARE people who are surviving cancer. You see, I do a lot of work these days with the DIPG community – a pediatric brain cancer that claims the lives of nearly every patient. For them, being a survivor means you are alive today. It is the most stark reminder that we should all appreciate each day. Every. Single. Day.

So on this day to honor survivors, I thought I’d touch on some things you can do – every day – to make a difference for those fighting the cancer battle. I really want to focus on the “mundane” things that most of us do every day, so I’m gonna go through my typical day and show you how easy it is to make a difference.

#1 Social Media – When I get up in the morning, I typically check Twitter or Facebook to see what my friends are up to. I like to share their positive messages and I frequently share a message about cancer fundraisers. (Even if you can’t afford to participate in a fundraiser, sharing it on social media is a powerful way to help.)

#2 Pretty Flowers – In the summer, I will typically let the dog out and then wander into the back yard with him for a minute or two. I like to check the progress of the flowers, and that reminds me that National Brain Tumor Society has a bulb fundraiser that lets you have a annual reminder of your gift to their cause.

#3 Recycling – Back inside, I usually grab a quick bite to eat and then shower & get dressed. As I use up containers, I drop them into a small box for recycling. The salon I frequent has signed up to help with recycling, too, so our containers add up pretty fast.

#4 Wearables – What I’m wearing each day will vary, but on “casual” days, it’s almost always some sort of awareness shirt. Dressier days see me wearing a wristband, bracelet, or necklace. On a good day, I can wear all four things!

#5 Online Purchases – Then it’s usually time for the computer. If I need to order anything online, I make sure I check the vendors that use iGive.com or AmazonSmile so I can donate a percentage back to Dragon Master Foundation. My emails have a tagline that points people back to those simple ways they can raise money for charity. I really think everyone should use AmazonSmile. It doesn’t cost the participant anything, and it can add up quickly for the charity.

#6 Social Media – Ok, I know I’m listing this again, but things go by pretty fast on Twitter, so one tweet a day won’t necessarily reach a lot of people. During the day, whenever I end up on social media, I try to add a Tweet for the cause.

#7 Food – At the end of the day, we either make something at home or go out to eat, but either way, I’m careful to pay attention to the brands that support cancer research – especially brain or childhood cancer research. Those are much harder to find that other types, but you can bet we are there when Chili’s supports childhood cancer awareness every year! And our grocery store, Dillon’s, lets us donate a portion of our grocery bill to Dragon Master Foundation each time we shop with our rewards card.

So there you have it. Seven easy things you can do nearly every day to make a difference in the battle against cancer. Maybe if we all make it a daily effort, there will be a few more survivors to celebrate next year when this day rolls around.

Celebrate Life

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My family would tell you that I get a little wrapped up in brain cancer awareness. It’s true. My brain is always thinking about how I can raise more money for Dragon Master Foundation and how I can help people understand why this database is so important. It’s a huge task, and it can be all-consuming. I’m grateful for my family’s support, but I don’t ever want them to feel like they take a back seat.

Today is Austin’s 20th birthday. I no longer get to call her “the teenager”, and she has definitely been taking on the role more and more of a young woman – not just a “kid”. It makes me a little sad – as I’m sure it does her. After all, those carefree days of childhood are to be treasured. I feel like she didn’t get to have a fully free childhood, in part because of cancer. It took David’s life, but it also took Austin’s best friend.

Despite that, she has picked herself up, dusted off the disappointments, and started building the person she wants to be. She is smart and has a sharp sense of humor. She is creative and has a sense of timing and awareness that gives her an insight that most people never develop. She is solid at the core, and I’m so proud that she is beginning to trust herself and her own decisions. I believe that once she settles on her true passion, she will be unstoppable.

In some ways, she will always be that little girl following her brother. But in so many ways, she has had to blaze her own path. Her first steps were timid, but she walks with more confidence every day. It is an honor to be able to celebrate her life today.