Friday, July 31, 2009

Young Invincibles

There are more and more ways for young adults to get involved in the fight for health care reform, and Young Invincibles is another worth checking out. The group is made up of 18 to 33 year olds committed to making sure the voices, and needs, of the millions of uninsured young adults are heard. Hopefully their website will have more to offer in the future, but for now you can read about their mission and sign up to receive more information.

Its really important that young adults speak up and get involved. Dealing with a serious illness is difficult enough. Trying to do it when youre uninsured shouldnt have to happen to anyone, but does far too often. Our family was in that very position last year when my husband was diagnosed with a recurrence of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. No one should have to scramble to come up with $1500 for additional meds after 8 hours of treatment and blood transfusions, but it happens. The added stresses of being uninsured certainly dont help with recovery or healing!

It seems like the only fitting thing to say right now is from the words of my husband, Rick: "I'm involved, you should be too." Quit complaining, start doing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What we're up to....

Things may seem a little bit quiet around here but I assure you its a flurry of activity here at BRICKS headquarters (aka "my kitchen table").

The last couple of weeks have been spent doing LOTS of paperwork. Im currently working on a grant proposal to try to get some funds to work on the booklet I had mentioned in a previous blog post. In addition to that, Ive also been working on getting the ball rolling with making BRICKS a real, nonprofit entity. This involves lots of IRS forms (ugh) and lunches&brunches with prospective board members (not ugh). Ive also bought a couple of domain names and registered the full version of the "BRICKS" name with the state.

I started keeping a time sheet for myself, just to try and keep track of how much Im working and what Im working on. Its sort of like working a part time job when I get home from my full time job (in addition to being a full time mom). But things are moving and feel positive, thanks to the words of encouragement from so many of you. Please continue to tell your friends about what we're doing, and come back often for more updates. Hopefully there will be lots of great things to share very soon!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

BRICKS now listed on Be Well!

Yesterday I got a very happy email from my friend Jude Vachon, the hardworking lady behind the Be Well! zine, letting me know that BRICKS for Young Adults had been added to the Cancer Resources section of the Be Well! website.

Be Well! was started in 2005 in Pittsburgh, and is a resource guide offering a wealth of information for individuals who are un- or under-insured. Everything from dental care, to womens health, to resources for the recently unemployed are available in both the print version of the booklet and the web site.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BRICKS now on Facebook

I have resisted for some time, but now you can find BRICKS on Facebook. If you're on there, please add us (its sad to see that we have no friends!)

Bricks Pgh
Bricks Pgh
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A note about today....

Those of you who know me know that today would have been, is, the 2 year wedding anniversary of Rick and I. Of course my emotions have been all over the place, and there is some sadness today, but I feel the need to explain something very important about what today means to me.

When Rick and I decided to get married (and plan a wedding in 6 weeks) we knew two important things- that we wanted to be married to each other, and that there was no sense in waiting (who knew how much time we had, even though he was cancer free at the time) AND that our marriage was about a very private, personal moment between the two of us. We decided to have a 'wedding' despite really wanting to focus on our intimate commitment to each other, hence the exchange of our vows being done in a near whisper, for only each other to hear (yes friends, that was on purpose).

So today as I think back about our wedding day, I want to hold that moment as it was intended- as a quiet, intense, personal moment between my husband and I. I want to remember and honor what that means. My husband lived a very public life in the art world, and shared himself with so many people. But he made it abundantly clear to me that being married was something only he and I shared, that allowed me access to him in a way no one else had or ever would. Today is my day, and Rick's, to celebrate what we found in each other, and not even death can take that away from us.

Monday, July 13, 2009

BRICKS is on MySpace!

Just in case you needed one more way to keep up with us, I added a MySpace page for BRICKS for Young Adults. Come on, be our friend. Click here to add us!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

BRICKS added to i2y's Stupid Cancer Blogroll!

I'm Too Young For This!

Thanks to Matthew Zachary, Founder/CEO of the I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation and 13-Year Young Adult Survivor, this here blog has been added to theStupid Cancer Blogroll.

i2y provides young adults with cancer and young adult cancer survivors with TONS of resources on their web site, as well as through social events and outreach in cities across the country. There are loads of ways to help out and get involved, be sure to spend some quality time on their web site!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Planet Cancer announces retreat dates

Young adults with cancer are invited to participate in a retreat just for them hosted by Planet Cancer:

Spend a weekend with us on Planet Cancer learning how to find a new sense of normal (whatever that is!) after a cancer diagnosis.

Networking—Meet other young adults with cancer, share your experiences, and benefit from each others’ hard-earned wisdom.

Information—Learn from expert guest speakers on topics ranging from insurance to nutrition to handling stress.

Recreation—Prove yourself on the rock wall or in a game of cut-throat Jenga!

Retreat Dates Announced! 25-40 Retreat Aug 21-23 in Austin, TX, and the 18-25 Retreat Oct 23-25 in Boston, MA. Contact Jessica at, or call 512.879.6532.

Good news- the retreat is FREE for participants, you just have to get yourself there! For more information and application forms, click here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Spreading the message....

Whenever there is an event at our house, and weather permits, my son likes to draw on the sidewalk to announce whatever it is we are celebrating. Balloons, flowers and slogans (Happy Birthday! Party inside!) brightly liven up the concrete in front of our stoop.

In an effort not so far off from my son's, DeepLocal has partnered with the Lance Armstrong Foundation (and others) to create Chalkbot, a concrete decorating robot-machine rolling its way along the Tour de France celebrating cancer survivorship and raising awareness. People can create messages of encouragement, support, or in memory of loved ones by simply sending a text message, and are notified with a link to an image of their message after it has been printed.

Nathan Martin, DeepLocal CEO and childhood friend of my departed husband, talks about his involvement with the project:

Like all great work, Chalkbot has a long history of work that it references, draws inspiration from, and learns from. It makes me think back to the messages I used to yell at punk kids before I became a CEO. The Chalkbot is not about technology; it is about how the technology is used.

More of Nathan's thoughts about the project can be read by clicking here. I was deeply moved by Nathan's mention of Rick, and to know that his personal experiences of dealing with a friend with cancer, and the loss of that friend, were put into this project.

To see videos of how the Chalkbot works, click here or here.

To participate in the project, and learn how to send your own message to the Chalkbot, click here.

Hopefully the Chalkbot will function like my son's sidewalk drawings- spreading messages of love and celebration to everyone who sees them.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Planet Cancer

Planet Cancer is an online community for young adults with cancer, as well as their loved ones. PC has tons of information on their main site, and also has a myspace-like social networking site/message board. Their "Real World Advice" section offers links to research, articles, grant & scholarship information, and more.

Recently, folks from Planet Cancer participated in a discussion at the White House regarding health care reform, you can find more about their visit with the President on their web site.