Near and Dear to My Heart

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“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” ~ Kevin Arnold 

On this Valentine’s Day, I thought I would write about a cause that is near and dear to the hearts of many. There are millions and millions of families affected by cancer each and every year. The number of books written by cancer survivors and by family members of the deceased helps us to realize that cancer directly or indirectly touches everyone’s hearts at some time in their lives. Books on this subject are helpful to others, because it brings to the forefront the enormity of the disease. Writing about cancer serves great purpose in fulfilling a need for survivors and family members to share their hurt, their physical and emotional trauma and sometimes, very happily, their triumph over the disease. By reading stories of others who have experienced the effects of this disease, it helps survivors and families realize that they are not alone.

Events such as The Race for Life raises awareness of the need to raise money for cancer research. Teams that participate in the annual Race for Life Relay, Nordic Style are dedicated to keeping the spirit of their loved one alive and to raising money for research. Amy’s Angels will be competing for a second year at the Trapp Family Lodge (of Sound of Music fame) www.trappfamily.com  in Stowe, Vermont, and defending their title as the top fundraising team. The Race for Life Relay, Nordic Style kicks off on March 19 and 20th, 2011. 

If you are unable to put together a team to compete in one of the Race for Life fundraising events, held across the country annually, but still wish to support cancer research or honor the spirit of a loved one that you have lost to cancer, please visit this link, and make your pledge to the American Cancer Society this Valentine’s Day. www.relayforlife/nordicstyle.org

I will be routing for the women on Amy’s Angels team come March from Steamboat Springs, CO. My friend, Amy whom I lost to breast cancer almost two years ago, is near and dear to me in spirit every day. Her legacy lies within the minds of hundreds of children that she educated, mentored and loved in her 30 years of teaching in Vermont.

 Go Amy’s Angels, go!

Amy’s Angels Remember

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“We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.”                          ~  Jeremy Irons

I am going to be in hot water with our regular blog followers if I do not mention the outcome of “Relay for Life: Nordic Style”  that “Amy’s Angels” participated in last weekend at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT. It is hosted by the American Cancer Society as a fundraiser for cancer awareness and also as a way of remembering and honoring all those who have lost their lives to breast cancer.

The team we established in memory of our friend Amy, won the prize for the largest contribution in fundraising. How awesome is that? With our friend, Kathleen (Chatter as we call her) at the helm, we managed to raise almost $14,000!! Can you believe it? Well, I can! With little Miss Chatterbox at the lead, she chatted up the event to every person that she has ever encountered in life! She knows, first hand, the importance of finding a cure for cancer, and the need for raising the funds. Chatterbox- thanks for leading the way and remember “In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips.” ~ unknown

It was a bittersweet weekend. It was a chance for our sisterhood of more than 30 years to have a reunion and to be there to support Amy’s surviving daughter during the weekend of remembering Amy on what would have been her 58th birthday. We had promised Amy two years ago, at our seaside reunion, that we would carry on with  the race, with her or without. Sadly, her absence was greatly felt and her presence greatly missed.

Next year, and hopefully every year,  “Amy’s Angels” look forward to reuniting and remembering our friend. While we, “the sisterhood” are apart fulfilling our daily routines, we will spend time in quiet reverence for all those who have fought the battles of breast cancer.

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“Amy’s Angels” Rise

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“At the end of the day when we bow our heads, we are not so different at all.” ~ Judy Jones

This summer, regular readers of this blog followed the loss of my dear friend, Amy. She, like many other women each year, succumbed to breast cancer. I blogged about the dignity and strength with which Amy handled her illness until the very end. What she taught us all is a story of strength and inspiration. She demonstrated, in the most eloquent way, how to continue to live life in the face of terminal illness.

On March 5 in Stowe, VT at the Trapp Family Lodge, Amy will  be honored by a team of her friends and family in the Relay for Life, Nordic Style. “Amy’s Angels” have risen to the top in fundraising efforts. We have raised almost $8,000 to date, with several weeks to go! My sister and our friends will be doing a lap or two on my behalf on March 5, which coincidentally was Amy’s birthday. I will be remembering the beautiful and fun times we shared as friends for 30+ years, and all that she taught me throughout our friendship.

The money that has been raised for “Amy’s Angels” and by all the other teams participating in Relay for Life ,along with all the other fundraising events that the American Cancer Society sponsors each year, represents a joint belief among Americans that a cure for cancer must be found.

Go, “Amy’s Angels” Go! ! I will be with you all in spirit on the day of the event and so will Amy!!