Saturday, August 29, 2009

Update: Young Invincibles website launched

In a previous post I mentioned an organization called Young Invincibles, that works to get young adults involved in health care reform. At the time their website was pretty minimal, but they have since launched a full version of the website, and I encourage you to check it out!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thank you, Netflix

A couple of months before Rick passed away, he thought we should cancel our Netflix subscription. We were definitely hard up for cash and pinching pennies, but to me, sitting on the couch together having a good laugh (or cry) over a movie was one of the last activities we could still do together.

I won that tiny battle, and we kept the subscription, curling up on the couch at night with our movies. Some were ones I wanted him to see, others ones he wanted me to see, some were movies we both loved as kids. After he died, the movies kept coming, and every now and then I make some time to watch one of them. When movies that were his choice arrive, Im often surprised at the relevance of their content. Movies about love, and loss, and not being afraid. And sometimes, like today, a movie comes that I just cant figure out. My husband had a silly and sometimes dry sense of humor, and as I sat here today watching "Im Gonna Git You Sucka", a movie I'd never seen before, I can hear my husband's funny little giggle.

And maybe thats all the movie has to do- remind me of his laugh. Im glad for the nights we sat with the laptop, adding tons of movies to the queue, and that the movies he picked are still coming to the house these 5 months later. Sometimes he reminds me that everything is ok. That I will be ok. And that through the sadness, its still ok to laugh.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We're back!

Hi all,

Just letting you know that we took a few days off for a little (much needed) vacation, but Im back and ready to go. Lots of things to talk about over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned. My son goes back to school tomorrow too, so we've been busy, but I promise to get back on track with the posts and updates.

As a reminder, we are on Facebook AND MySpace, so please add us if you havent already!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fertile Hope

For many young adults, a cancer diagnosis is completely overwhelming. But having to make major decisions about your reproductive future can add stress to an already difficult situation. How many 22 year olds know how many, if any, children they want to have, or how to make sure its an option for their future AFTER going through cancer treatment? Even if they can answer those questions, how many people, young or old, can afford to take the measures necessary to ensure their reproductive options?

This is where Fertile Hope comes in:

Founded in October 2001, Fertile Hope is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.

The organization was founded by cancer survivor Lindsay Nohr Beck as a result of her own endeavors to preserve her fertility in the face of critical cancer treatments.

The permanent changes in reproductive function are now recognized as one of the most prevalent side effects of cancer therapy. Over the past three decades cancer fighting treatments including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery have led to major advances in the cure rates of various malignancies occurring during the reproductive years, but all have the potential to cause permanent infertility. While several successful fertility preservation options are available, they are underutilized due to a general lack of awareness, education and financial resources.

Fertile Hope addresses this be providing education, financial assistance and support to young adults, as well as by raising awareness and contributing the fertility preservation research. Please visit their web site for loads of great information, or check out the founder Lindsay's blog. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, we have copies of Fertile Hope's 2008-09 Cancer & Fertility Resource Guide available, and would be glad to put one in your hands.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A logo!

Im so excited (and really nervous!!) about how quickly things are moving here at BRICKS headquarters. It is with great joy and enthusiasm that I present our wonderful logo to the world!

Many thanks to board member Jeremy H. for making the logo, as well as a really great informational handbill that I hope to make available for download in the near future.

Ok- its back to grant writing for me. More soon!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Building resources = Sharing myself?

I know the blog posts have been a little scarce lately, and I have been, admittedly, distracted. I think thats fair for a new widow, dont you?

Either way, I think I got really caught up in needing to focus on my "mission statement" of connecting young adults with cancer to community resources that may be valuable to them, and forgot that I myself might actually be one of those resources. As a young adult cancer widow, I have something to offer others, and I think I lost sight of that in trying to concentrate my efforts on other aspects of BRICKS. The prospect of sharing my struggles with others is scary, but quite possibly necessary.

So, from here on out, I promise to find a better balance, to share what Im going through with those of you who are reading this. I know that there are people reading who I have no desire to disclose the intimate details of my life to, but I also know there are people who will benefit greatly from what I can give, and that far outweighs the other.

My friend Kairol, of whom I often speak, has asked me to guest write for her blog, Everything Changes, and I would encourage you to check there as well as here for my writings on my trials and triumphs as a young cancer widow. I promise you, dear readers, to be a little more giving of myself. When I married my husband, an artist, he cautioned me that he shared himself with the world. And although I certainly respected that concept before, I understand it now better than ever before, and strive to live by it as Rick did. I'll do my best.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

For the love of Liz

In contemplating my own loss, and dealing with being a young widow, I have become painfully aware of a few things- people dont like to talk about the death of a young person, and there arent a lot of useful resources out there to help young adults who have lost their partners. Of course, there are all sorts of grief counseling options, but who's there to babysit your kid, make sure you can pay for groceries or dont default on your mortgage?

After the sudden passing of his wife, Liz, in 2008, Matthew Logelin tackled this very issue, and just this year the Liz Logelin Foundation was created. Their mission statement reads:

The Liz Logelin Foundation was established to assist families who find themselves in the heartbreaking, catastrophic situation of having lost a spouse, life-partner, and parent. The Foundation’s goal is to financially assist these families as they deal with the loss of their loved ones, and struggle to move forward.

To learn more about the Logelin family, or to find out how you can make a donation or apply for the financial assistance, visit their website. But just a word of caution- Matthew, Liz & baby Madeline's story is absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking, so prepare yourself! Be sure to visit Matt's amazing blog as well.