Saturday, December 3, 2011

And speaking of marrow donation-

Here is an article that ran in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about donors being paid for their stem cell donation.

Court allows pay for most bone marrow donors

What are your thoughts on this-
Is it still a "donation" if there is compensation?
Will payment increase the number of individuals willing to donate?
Could this exclude lower income patients in need from getting the donor materials they need to survive?

Its incredible to me that this is happening just DAYS after my own notification that I may be a potential bone marrow donor match for a patient in need. It seems like such a no-brainer to me- MY body makes healthy cells, I can give some away and make more. Would I be any more likely to donate if there was compensation involved? Absolutely not. My mild inconvenience and temporary fear is NOTHING compared to whatever the person who needs my bone marrow is going through.

Tell me what you think about this, Im really curious! I want to hear your opinions!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What are the odds....

Last night I posted a video about a young man looking for a bone marrow donor match.

Today I got a phone call from the Be The Match registry that I have been selected as a potential match for a patient in need.

In June of 2009 I joined the registry, which I documented here. I have been hoping and waiting, nervously of course, to get the magically phone call saying I was a match. And today it happened.

Of course there are more steps and it may end up that Im not the best match for the 39 year old, female, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patient. With any luck, I will be. I go for additional screening blood work on Tuesday, and will be sure to keep everyone posted.

What a beautiful thing it would be to be on the OTHER side of this nasty disease. To be on the healing side. Think positive thoughts for me, and for the woman I truly hope to be able to help.

Monday, November 21, 2011


BRICKS for Young Adults is honored to be a part of this amazing event!

Join The Sprout Fund as we celebrate 10 years of support for Pittsburgh's creative community!

On Friday, December 9, 2011, TENACITY: a retrospective of original performances from Sprout's first decade will showcase artists who define the daring, the diverse, and the delightful in Pittsburgh's performing arts scene.

The evening features the best Sprout- supported performing arts groups and individuals, together on stage for one night only at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in downtown Pittsburgh.

Seating is limited. Buy tickets now for this once-in-a-decade experience!

General admission tickets for TENACITY are $125 each or $200 for a pair.

Doors open 7pm; curtain at 8pm. Tickets include a pre-show reception from 7-8pm and a post-show party from 10-11pm featuring live music from the Turpentiners.

For complete information on performances and event supporters, visit

The Sprout Fund enriches the cultural landscape of Pittsburgh by seeding new and emerging artists and performance companies, as well as supporting the cutting edge work of our finest artistic innovators Sprout's funding in the arts nurtures and cultivates our region's talent and helps to make Pittsburgh a viable environment for a thriving arts community. Learn more about Sprout and its programs at

Thursday, November 3, 2011

BCIV this weekend!!!

Join us this saturday at Modern Formations Gallery, 9am-3pm, for our FOURTH annual replenishing blood drive to benefit Central Blood Bank!

As always walk-ins are welcome, and there will be tons and tons of delicious cupcakes for everyone! Beautiful extra fancy mugs will be available to the first 48 donors. We will also have amazing prints for sale ( 8x10 for $20, 11x14 for $30) to benefit BRICKS for Young Adults. Prints are VERY limited.

Even if you are ineligible to donate please come by and say hello or bring a friend who can donate. Cant wait to see everyone saturday!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Amy's Blend at Caribou Coffee

I noticed today that the local Caribou Coffee (southside) is donating proceeds from the sale of their "Amy's Blend" coffee to the Cancer Caring Center, my favorite local cancer support organization! The concept is a tribute to Caribou Coffee roastmaster Amy Erickson, who passed away in 1995 after dealing with breast cancer. She was 33 years old. To learn more, click HERE, and get yourself over to Caribou to support the Cancer Caring Center!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Indescribable Pain

Several years ago I met Elijah Oberman when my two-piece lady-punk band opened for Eli's band, The Shondes at Garfield Artworks in Pittsburgh. Now, our paths cross again but for an entirely different reason- cancer.

Eli has written a beautiful piece called "The Pain of Indescribable Pain", where he talks about being a transgendered man diagnosed with breast cancer. He talks about facing a diagnosis, its treatment, its recovery, and coping with all of it.

Many thanks to Eli for being willing to share his story!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

They Might Be Imposters

Check it out- a benefit show for BRICKS for Young Adults!!

Saturday, September 17 at 7:30pm

4207 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS COVER SHOW! Pittsburgh bands play the songs of They Might Be Giants!

$1-3 donation to BRICKS for Young Adults, providing support for young adults with cancer.

Middle Children
They Might Be Jerks
Weird Paul Rock Band
Attention Deficit Evi
Ben Blanchard
Pam Hanlin
Scott Fry
...and possibly one or two others

Facebook invite can be found HERE. Come on out and join us!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blood & Cupcakes....FOUR?!

Thats right friends, its that time again. Time to start thinking about our FOURTH annual Blood & Cupcakes replenishing blood drive to benefit Central Blood Bank.

Details to come, but mark your calendars NOW for Saturday, November 5, 2011. You can count on all the things you love about B&C- the donor raffle, the friendly faces, that warm fuzzy feeling you have knowing youre helping other people, oh yeah- AND CUPCAKES!!!!

Check back here for more info, and dont forget to read over the basic donor qualifications to see if you are eligible to give blood!

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Hope Post

I recently learned about The New Hope Post, a publication working in conjunction with the New Hope Challenge. The Post provides a great source of information for anyone hoping to learn more about cancer awareness and resources. The Challenge is a 3000+ mile cycling event meant to raise awareness along the way. More about both of these things soon, but for now please check out their websites! Such good stuff!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Somehow I missed all of July....

...but August promises to have lots of good info!

Lets start by talking about the Crawl for Cancer to benefit my friends at the Cancer Caring Center!

This team-based bar crawl is held at location all over the country, with the Pittsburgh event taking place on Saturday, September 17. For more information visit the Crawl for Cancer web site!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To blog or not to blog....

Im not sure that the thoughts rolling around in my head are worth sharing, so of course, here I am. Typing them out, working through them.

Ive been thinking a lot lately about how to go about the second edition of the BRICKS for Young Adults Cancer Awareness and Resource Guide. I think its a worthwhile project and I learned a lot the first time around. Surely the second time through will be easier. I have the funds I need. I know, more or less, what Im doing. What I dont have are stories. I need YOU for that part. Ive put out the call a few times, Ive emailed individuals who I thought might want to contribute, the response has been disheartening. People say its necessary, that the project has value. I know that writing about one's cancer experience can be extremely difficult and deeply personal- but isnt that the point? Isnt that what makes the booklet so important?

If youve considered contributing to the booklet, please let me know. Post in the comments here or shoot me an email at brickspgh at gmail dot com. I would really love to make this happen again.

Another thing that will happen again, without doubt, is Blood & Cupcakes. This November will be my fourth time hosting the blood drive, and its almost time to start working on it again, which I can hardly believe. If youre a regular donor, or have never given before, now is the time to start thinking about coming out and helping us reach our goal of 60 units of blood collected for the Central Blood Bank, in honor of their 60 years of serving the community.

Theres lots more to talk about and think about but for now I think this all I want to type about. Ha. More soon, dont hesitate to get in touch with questions, comments, concerns, or contributions.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So its been a while.....

....and things have been a little slow around BRICKS headquarters. Here are a couple of important things we wanted to share with you:

1: The SAMFund is now accepting applications for its grant program for young adult cancer survivors.

Part I of the application for 2011 SAMFund grants is available now. The deadline for submitting Part I is: Wednesday, July 6th by
5:00 pm EST.

The SAMFund proudly provides financial assistance to young adults as they move forward with their lives after cancer. With our support, survivors are empowered to achieve their educational, professional and personal goals.

Grants provided by The SAMFund cover a wide range of post-treatment financial needs, such as (but not limited to): rent and utilities, car and health insurance premiums, graduate tuition, vocational training, student loan repayment, current and residual medical bills, family-building expenses, gym memberships and transportation costs.

Learn more by CLICKING HERE.

2: The Cancer Caring Center will be hosting their Jeans, Jewels & Jazz event on Wednesday, June 22 from 7-10pm. All proceeds benefit the Cancer Caring Center: celebrating 23 years of service to our community. This local non-profit has provided a wide variety of free support services to cancer patients and families including children. All services are free.

To learn more about this fundraising event CLICK HERE.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Funerals, Parties & Home Renovations

2 years ago today I was at my husband's funeral. 1 year ago today I was at the BRICKS booklet release party. Today I went to IKEA and Home Depot.

It struck me as incredibly odd/crazy/terrifying that so much has changed, and yet so much is still the same, after 2 years. TWO YEARS. Lately Ive been wondering what Ive done with my life in these 24 months. Have I done enough? Am I "better" enough? Are things "normal" enough? If I look at the ways I spent March 20th in 2009, 2010, and 2011, then the answer appears to be yes.

Im not sure if thats the right answer, or if there even IS a right answer. I think, though, that there is some sense to this. Maybe getting through all of this is sort of like working on my house. One little job at a time, one small improvement. Do another project when I have the time and resources. I can live with it as is, but I just have to keep working and making it better.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fast Boy & 2 Girls

Many of you may know my friend Ezra Caldwell from his submission in the BRICKS for Young Adults Cancer Awareness Guide, or maybe from his amazing blog, Teaching Cancer to Cry. Or maybe youve quietly lusted after one of the custom bikes he's built. If somehow you DONT know of Ezra, now is your chance to change that.

In just a couple of weeks, Ezra and his wife Hilary, along with their friend Emily, will participate in the 2011 Colon Cancer Challenge 15k Run sponsored by the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation. You can sponsor the team by clicking HERE.

Ezra was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in July of 2008. This event obviously means a lot to him & his wife, but these are amazing people who have touched my life in a big way, and I hope people will support their efforts!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

F is for February.

Sorry its been quiet around these parts, folks. But, to be entirely truthful, February has more or less sucked. Nothing terrible or life shattering has happened- its just been a long, cold winter, and Ive had way too much free time for thinking.

Response to the call for stories for the second edition of the booklet has been practically non-existent. I think its an important project and resource but I havent had the energy lately to beat people for their stories. The rapidly approaching 2 year anniversary of my husband's death has had me thinking more about how Im spending my own life. Its a complicated mess of emotions that leave me unsure of what I want or need to talk about in this space.

So, maybe when the snow melts and the sun comes out a little bit more I'll have more to say, for now thanks for sticking around and checking back in.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hey Steelers fans!

Put your fandom to good use and help the Cancer Caring Center!

Enter to win a football w/ Lithographed signatures from the 2010 team (pictured above)! Entries are $10 or 3/$20. Donate securely through Google Checkout or call the Center at 412-622-1212 with a credit card. Winner will be drawn at noon on the Friday before Superbowl. All proceeds benefit cancer patients in Western PA.

Learn more about the Cancer Caring Center and their amazing work by clicking here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cervical Health Awareness Month

Did you know that January is Cervical Health Awareness Month?

You can learn more by visiting the National Cervical Cancer Coalition website or The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation website.

If you're a lady, call your doctor, midwife or nurse practitioner to schedule your annual exam, including a Pap smear. If you're not a lady, remind the ladies in your life that taking care of their reproductive health is super important!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Health Zine reading at CLP Oakland!

Zine Reading: Health Zines
Thursday, February 3, 2011
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

We'll hear readings from the BRICKS for Young Adults Cancer Awareness & Resource Guide as well as from other great health-related zines. Bring your favorite health zines to share! Open mic after readings.

Classroom A
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I dont make resolutions. Probably because I dont want to set myself up for failure. That said, I know lots of people do, and maybe instead of setting unrealistic goals for ourselves, we should use this as an opportunity to remind ourselves of the things we should be doing anyway.

Changing bad habits is a guaranteed way to help improve our overall health. Losing weight, quitting smoking, eating better- all respectable and important resolutions. But how about getting that pesky mole looked at finally, or going for your first mammogram? Or maybe its finding a primary care doctor or making sure your "annual exam" really does happen annually? These things can be life saving, so no more excuses. If you are fortunate enough to have health insurance, USE IT! If you arent currently covered by an insurance carrier, take a look at resources that exist primarily to help eliminate this barrier to care.

If youre not sure where to go or how to start, ask someone. Find a friend to go with you, make a day of it. Just do it. Make the appointments. Ask your doctor questions. Resolve to take control of your health.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

WOW- 10,000 views!!!

What a way to start the new year- took a look at the blog stats and as of today the BRICKS for Young Adults bog has had 10,000 views! So exciting!

Thanks to all of you for your input, questions and thoughts, and for making all of our efforts so successful. I look forward to another year of doing good work!

Have a happy & healthy new year!