A daily record of gratitude; from quilting to photography to a mix of technology, books, movies and the musings of life!

Welcome to my Blog of my daily gratitude and photo of the day!

Since January 1, 2012, my goal is to write a daily sentence or two (or paragraph or two) about gratitude of the day and to include one photo (at least) that I took that day (but will add others from time to time). It has definitely been a challenge most days throughout the past eight years, and welcomed the challenge again this year - 2020 - Covid and all. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Stupid Cancer!

If you've never heard of Matthew Zachary, founder of one of the country's largest non-profit, Stupid Cancer, you are now! Matt is unbelievably inspirational and was our keynote speaker for the Special Love's Parent Getaway Weekend in Winchester, VA, this past weekend.  Let me say this 45 year old cancer survivor (brain tumor), or shall I say, dynamo, was a college senior when diagnosed (a concert pianist!) and his whole life shifted after that devastating diagnosis. Not one to wallow in self-pity, he began a few early cancer foundations for young adults with cancer which eventually morphed into Stupid Cancer in 2012.

The mission of his foundation is to empower young adults affected by cancer (any type!) by ending isolation and building community. You can read more here: https://stupidcancer.org/about/who-we-are/

Matt shared his story with 75 parents with children with cancer of all ages. Cancer, as we all know, never discriminates, so his thoughts and actions through his foundations through the years resonated with most, if not all, the parents and caregivers in attendance. He then led a panel discussion with a bereaved parent (Sharon Johnsen); a sibling (sister) of a cancer patient (Emma); a long-term survivor (Malcolm Jones) and a parent of a 23 year survivor (me!). It was tough facing some of the questions posed to all of us on the panel, but we answered honestly and poignantly on topics few ever discuss, especially in an open forum. However, if something we said could help one person in that room once back with their loved one in the battle of their lives, then our discussion was all worth it for sure. 

Of course, we all realize that this "cancer club" is something no one would ever want to be a part of, but in the waaay outside chance a loved one is diagnosed, there are wonderful people and organizations in this world that CAN and WILL HELP anyone who seeks it out. Stupid Cancer is one of those organizations, as well Special Love, Inc., in helping relieve isolation and building wonderful communities to fight the good fight!

A huge HOW-HOW to the parent committee, Jan Bresch, and the Special Love staff for hosting this stellar weekend, all our wonderful volunteers (make-up artists, yoga instructor) and Matt Zachary of Stupid Cancer, and now his raw, unapologetic podcast about advocacy and health care; OffScriphttps://offscrip.com/ is a must listen to on your favorite podcast place. 

BSoleille! The bright side of being inspired by my tribe of cancer fighting mama and papa bears!


Below: the PGW committee with Matt Zachary: Marilyn Eichner; Shari Fisher, Matt, me, Sharon Johnsen and Special Love's CEO, Jan Bresch

Matt Zachary

Panel discussion

Matt, Sharon, Emma, Malcolm Jones and me
Sharon Johnsen just finished with pampering and make-up by Chrissy Tamsi!

Matt and Bill

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