I think about caregivers on a regular basis. I think about their strength, their sacrifice, their service, and their spirits. So, when my friends at the American Cancer Society asked if I would join in their 100 Caregivers Stories series, it was a no-brainer! I’ve never been shy about talking about my caregiving experiences with my mother and am currently working on a webinar series to address the unique needs of youth caregivers.
Although I have since transitioned out of that role, I’m still honored to be surrounded by so many amazing people who have stepped up to provide care to a loved one battling cancer or another disease.
I think of my bonus mom, Angie, who somehow is able to juggle her career with caring for her mother who is living with Alzheimer’s. I think about friends who recently lost parents to cancer after lovingly (and sometimes painfully) watching their superwoman succumb to the illness. And, I think about a young woman that I know who not only cared for her sister with cancer, but also stepped up to support her sister’s daughter.
Caregivers are so incredibly valuable for so many reasons. There are economic, societal, and health benefits to caregiving but, above all of that, caregivers remind each of us we are all connected. To every person who has ever been a caregiver or is one right now, here’s a short quote that will breath a little life into you on your worst days…
Patience and fortitude conquer all things. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Would you like to honor a caregiver? You can sign up here to share a blog post.
As a part of the American Cancer Society’s 100 Days/100 Stories series, the 100 Caregiver Stories series wants to shine a light on 100 amazing caregivers by the end of 2013. I am a member of the ACS’ Blogger Advisory Council. No financial compensation was received to publish this post.
As news stories continue to pour out of Oklahoma, it’s clear that the this ordeal is far from over. It’s such a sad situation and I am sending much prayer to everyone affected by the tornado, especially to the families of those who have lost a loved one as a result.
Huffington Post has compiled a list of ways that you can help. Check it out here.
Nine days ago, I took a BIG step towards completing a huge goal of mine. I walked in the 2013 Commencement Ceremony at my alma mater, University of Illinois, in celebration of my almost-completed* Master’s degree in Health Communication. Being down there brought a wide range emotions from joy to periodic sadness. The joy came from being back in Chambana. The sadness was a result of wishing that my Mother could’ve been there with me like she was in 2005 when I received my undergrad degree down there. Throughout all of the various emotions, the most powerful one was pride. I was am so proud of myself for really sticking with this program, even when I wanted to do everything else BUT study or read.
Class of 2013!
Completing my degree was the first thing that I’ve been able to cross off of my 30 Before 30 list and now I’m fired up to keep checking things off! A personal challenge of mine is closing the deal and following through on my brilliant ideas. Part of that has been fear, but that’s behind me. It’s all about moving forward.
With one journey wrapping up, I’m already on the prowl for a new one to begin. That’s the good thing about life. If you wait long enough, there will always be another path to create, another story to write, or another journey to begin. What are you in the process of creating? What would you like to start? There’s no time like the present to make it happen. Trust me. There’s NO greater feeling than completing a challenge.
I’m a living witness.
*Once I complete my capstone research project this summer, my graduate studies will officially be completed.
Two of my fav fab givers recently teamed up to bring us a handbag that I’m sure will be a summer staple in my wardrobe. On the inaugural edition of her new online magazine, The Life, designer Rachel Roy announced that she and FEED co-founder Lauren Bush Lauren collaborated on a limited edition FEED tote created to help fight hunger in India. For every tote sold, 100 school meals will be provided to children throughout the country.
Rachel Roy and Lauren Bush Lauren with the new FEED India totes ($78).
Mother’s Day is around the corner and this can be a challenging time for those of us who are currently navigating life without ours. Next Thursday, May 9th, Bright Pink is hosting a yoga class where young women who have lost a mother or have a mother battling breast cancer can celebrate and honor them. The class will take place at their Chicago office (670 N. Clark St. Suite 2) and it begins at 7pm.
This is one of many Experiental Outreach activities that the organization hosts throughout the year. The Face-to-Face Experiential Outreach Groups are essentially support groups that happen within the context of fun activities like yoga or pottery-making. After the activity, attendees are invited to participate in a discussion related to being young and at high risk for developing breast/ovarian cancer.
If you’re interested in joining next week’s session, you can send your RSVP to Mary Kate Fitzgerald at MaryKate@BeBrightPink.org. The event is free, but it is BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat).
This week’s tragedy in Boston has reminded us that while there is plenty of evil in the world, good triumphs all. The country has rallied behind Boston to show our support and love, and various companies have joined in as well.
Adidas announced that it plans to sell a limited-edition t-shirt to benefit the victims of Monday’s attack. The “Boston Stands as One” shirt retails for $26.20 and is being sold on the Adidas website. The company is donating 100% of the proceeds to The One Fund Boston Inc. [UPDATE: The shirt is now sold out, but the company plans to produce more.]
It makes sense that Adidas is leading this initiative. After all, the company has sponsored the Boston Marathon for the past 25 years. It’s great to see them extend that support in other ways.
April is National Volunteer Month and there are plenty of ways that you can get out and give back. After coming across a list of NYC spring volunteer opportunities, I decided to create one for Chicago. Ideally, I thought about doing one for all of springtime, but I think that a monthly guide is easier to digest!
I present to you four opportunities that caught my eye. Check them out below!
The Glass Slipper Project
Prom season is right around the corner and The Glass Slipper Project wants to make sure that girls in the Chicagoland area have gorgeous gowns to wear on their big night. Volunteers are needed to help the girls as they “shop” for their dress, accessories, and makeup. Also, if you have alteration skills, your help is needed as well!
Dates: Saturday, April 20 and Saturday, April 27
How to sign up: Check out the various volunteer opps here and sign up for whichever one fits your schedule!
How to sign up: Register through the MS Society’s website here.
Healthy Kids Day at the Lakeview YMCA
Each spring, YMCAs across the country take part in YMCA Healthy Kids Day. It’s an opportunity for families to spend fun time together while improving their health. One Brick Chicago is getting a team of volunteers together to set up, help with registration, run games, serve healthy snacks, and more.
Date: Saturday, April 27
How to sign up: Register on the One Brick site here.
Hanging at the Greater Chicago Food Depository
Repacking Sessions with the Greater Chicago Food Depository
The repacking sessions at the Food Depository top my list of favorite service projects. For a few hours, you’ll help GFCD staff break down thousands of pounds of donated food into smaller portions that can be distributed to food banks and partner agencies for families. This Wednesday night session is still open and can be slotted in after work!
Date: Wednesday, 4/17 (6-9pm)
How to sign up: You can RSVP for this session online.
Are there any other cool service opportunities that I should know about? Post in the comments below or tweet them to me using the hashtag #FabVolunteer.