Monday, July 19, 2010

More good press!

The Pittsburgh Better Times is a publication for people in the Pittsburgh region who are divorced, widowed, or separated, and they recently ran an article on their website about me and my work with BRICKS for Young Adults. You can find it by clicking here!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Help Be Well! Pgh

Our friends at Be Well! Pittsburgh have launched a small fundraising campaign to help move their project forward, and we're calling on our friends to lend a hand. You can make a donation of any size by visiting their fundraising page. Be Well! is a crucial and critical resource for un- or under- insured folks in the Pittsburgh area. More about them:

Be Well! Pittsburgh has been around since 2005. We’ve shared resources (10,000 or so booklets, a website at, community health fairs, info sessions, visits to health care and social service providers, lots of referrals,…) in the hopes that people will be well with or without health insurance, even at lower income levels. We want people to stay well and have also shared info on preventive and alternative health care resources.

- distribute 2000 updated resource booklets (and get the donations together to print them)
- find more affordable alternative health resources and share that info
- focus on relationship-building with health care and social service providers in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh
- find more info on preventive health care, in particular environmental concerns and health care and their relationship e.g. toxic burden
- talk with interested/involved people about what health care “reform” will mean and how we’ll deal with it
- learn how to better evaluate Be Well!’s work with the help of a smart statistician
- send monthly email progress reports to all contributors

A laptop. We need $900 for a laptop. We’ll do the rest – the actual work for six months and the fundraising for printing booklets – ourselves, on a volunteer basis.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

3 years

Three years ago today I had the amazing privilege of marrying a very special man. My life, both then and now, would not have been the same without him.

To Rick- still, 16 months later, it was worth it. And you were right, we're ok.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

BRICKS founder nominated for Community Service award

Charissa Hamilton-Gribenas, founder of BRICKS for Young Adults, is one of three nominees for the Women's Small Business Association's Community Service Award. The winner will be announced at the "Honoring Extraordinary Women" luncheon the be held on Wednesday, July 14.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Just wrapped up the Im Too Young for This Cancer Foundation's Stupid Cancer show on blog talk radio. So awesome. I'll post a link to the broadcast as soon as its posted. Hopefully I didnt sound like too much of a weirdo. Special thanks to Matt, Jack, Lisa and everyone at i2y for doing a show on bereaved spouses, its definitely a lesser discussed topic and one that needs more attention.

If you happened to tune in tonight, let me know what you thought! Was there something we didnt address that we should have? Was there something you were glad we mentioned? I seriously think we could have talked for hours and hours about this subject!

*edit 7.6.10* if you missed it live last night you can hear the show here:
Bereaved Spouses Stupid Cancer Show

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"I Cant Remember"

Today I wanted to share a passage from the BRICKS for Young Adults Cancer Awareness and Resource Guide, that we put out in March of this year. The segment comes from the story of 28 year old Katlyn Basilone of Erie, PA, who was diagnosed with cancer while in high school.

There are still plenty of booklets available- people can request one by making a small donation via the paypal button below. Any amount is wonderful; we ask for donations only to off-set the cost of shipping, the booklets themselves are free.

"There are a few specks I remember when I first found out. A family doctor appointment soon followed my slight tumor-like finding. I sat on a table (or maybe it was a chair) when the nurse came in and spoke to me as though we were previously engaged in conversation, or that I had the slightest clue of what she was speaking. She cheerfully strung together words that sounded like, “You’ll lead a normal life someday,” and “I’ve been through it too.” Confusion washed into a piecing together of our crossed, unshared timelines. She later felt sheepish for the abrupt breaking of a young adult’s reality. I cried a lot of tears that day, and I remember those tears of confusion and change.

I remember everyone thinking I was so brave. I don’t think it was bravery to do what one must. I don’t remember cancer being much of my reality. Sure, I had lost my hair, and was called away for innumerable tests, surgeries, prescriptions, and runs to the little girls’ room. I know these things happened. I have a few pictures and scattered journal entries. Others validate me, or I may very well believe it all to have been a dream.

I don’t remember a lot, but what I do remember does not include a feeling of, “I can’t do this.” It was very much like an obligation I had to fulfill. Like the Sunday ritual of cleaning the family bar; no one wanted to do it. No one asked to do it. We all would loathe it if we were allowed. I am sure of this. No one ever got out of doing it. The more diligent you were at finishing a task Dad or Mum doled out, by finishing it well, the sooner you’d receive your ticket to freedom. Bitching wasn’t really an option. I guess that’s how my cancer felt, like it was not an option.

-Katlyn Basilone, January 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010


If youve ever wondered what my voice sounds like, youll have your chance to hear me speak on the internetblogtalkradio thing, on Monday, July 5, when I appear as a special guest on the Im Too Young for This Cancer Foundation's Stupid Cancer Show. You can learn more about it RIGHT HERE.

Monday's topic is Bereaved Spouses, and promises to be interesting. Please tune in and spread the word to any one who may benefit from the program!