Monday, August 6, 2012

It's been real....

...but I think it's time to shut it down.

I've been thinking about packing up this BRICKS thing for a while now, and I've decided it's time to call it quits. I realize this opens up a whole can of worms and you all probably have a bunch of questions, so let me try to address them straight away.

Who, locally, will be there for Young Adult cancer patients and survivors?

Well, this is what makes my decision easy. The Cancer Caring Center has started a great young adult program, and Gilda's Club continues to work hard to keep their young adult support group going. It is with great confidence that I say any of you who need their services will be in good hands.

What about Blood & Cupcakes???

This year will mark our FIFTH annual Blood & Cupcakes replenishing blood drive to benefit Central Blood Bank. We've decided to partner with the Cancer Caring Center this year to maximize our reach and capacity, as well as pass the torch for organizing this big event. I may decide to host a drive again, maybe even next year, but with a new theme and a new attitude. Don't worry, I'll let you all know when it happens!

I thought there was going to be a second BRICKS booklet?

True- that was the plan. I've been trying for nearly 2 years to gather enough submissions to make the effort worthwhile, but no dice. I got a handful of really great stories, maybe with their authors' permission I can post them here, they are definitely worth sharing. Despite my efforts there just wasn't enough interest, and without adequate funding it would have been hard to dedicate enough time and resources to completing it. I'd love to see another organization pick up this idea and run with it, I still think it has value and that the first booklet was a wildly successful project.

What about any money BRICKS raised over the last couple of years?

Some of that money has been used to mail out booklets free of charge to any person who asked me for one. What a gift it has been to be able to send them to the people who asked for them without them having to spend a penny on even a little bit of shipping! Some of the money will be put towards supplies for this year's blood drive. The rest I intend to write a big old check for and give to the Cancer Caring Center's young adult program, so they can continue to work for the young people dealing with cancer in our community. If any of you take issue with my choice, I would invite you to go into their offices and have a chat with the very small staff who works amazingly hard- they are some of the most dedicated women I've ever met and deserve more support than I can give them.

Now that you're not going to be a slave to BRICKS, what will you do with all of your "free time"?

Great question! Last month I was nominated and accepted for the Board of Directors at Metro Family Practice, a non-profit community health center located in the Wilkinsburg neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I very much believe in Metro's mission to care for and serve all people regardless of their ability to pay, which is why I've chosen to use my insurance dollars there as a patient for the last 6 years. I'm honored to begin my three year tenure on the board.

Aside from that, I'll continue working my day job at The Midwife Center for Birth & Women's Health, where I've served as the Client Services Manager for 5 of my 6 years there. Again, it's the commitment to serving women's reproductive health care needs regardless of their ability to pay that keeps me there, as well as the Center's commitment to empowering women to understand and control their health care decision making. Through both of these positions I can stay involved in health care in Pittsburgh, and hopefully connect young people to preventative and diagnostic services that they may not easily have access to.

Long term, I'm also applying to the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, and hope to begin classes there in the fall. I'll continue tight rope walking, wrangling my chihuahuas Eskimo & Pugsley, and watching my son enter the grand adventure that is HIGH SCHOOL.

There really aren't words to express my gratitude to all of you who have supported BRICKS for Young Adults over the last few years. I am eternally indebted to your kindness, generosity, enthusiasm, skills, love and friendship. This is certainly not the end for me, just a change. I hope you'll continue the work and be well.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cancer Prevention Study participants needed!

The American Cancer Society is looking for participants for its CPS-3. Please read below from their site:

"If you've ever known someone with cancer, you know that birthdays are a very significant milestone. There are nearly 12 million people in America who have survived cancer - and countless more who have avoided it - who will be celebrating birthdays this year. You can join the movement for more birthdays and fight back against cancer by enrolling in a new research study called the Cancer Prevention Study - 3 (CPS-3). The American Cancer Society's Epidemiology Research Program is inviting men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 years who have no personal history of cancer to join this historic research study. The ultimate goal is to enroll at least 300,000 adults from various racial/ethnic backgrounds from across the U.S. By joining CPS-3, you can help us understand how to prevent cancer, which will save lives and give people more of their most precious resource: time. More time with their families and friends, more memories, more celebrations . . . and more birthdays.

CPS-3 is a grassroots effort where local communities from across the country can support cancer research not just through fundraising efforts, but also by participating actively in this historic research study. Study enrollment opportunities will take place at various venues in select communities across the United States and Puerto Rico. For more information about CPS-3 and the selected enrollment locations please email or call toll-free 1-888-604-5888."

Although I really despise their "official sponsor of birthdays" nonsense tag line, this is a really great opportunity for those of us who have not been diagnosed with cancer to participate in an important study. For more information, visit their website by CLICKING HERE.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Please help Jim!

Hello readers! Its been a while and I apologize! But today I have a good reason to post.

Jim Semonik, creator of the cancer charity compilation series, Electronic Saviors needs assistance paying for medical bills after battling cancer. He is truly an amazing human being and I am honored and proud to call him my friend. Please throw a couple of dollars his way to help cover his medical bills if you can. He does so much for so many, let's do a little for him!

You can help Jim out by clicking here, and if anyone wants to donate $500 in my honor, to have Jim throw a party for me, I'd be forever grateful ;)

Monday, March 26, 2012

One Week!

Join me next Monday, April 2, at the Cancer Caring Center for a workshop about writing about your cancer experience. I'll have copies of the booklet available and attendees are encouraged to bring their own writing to share. Those in attendance are welcome to consider contributing their submissions to the second edition of the booklet. Call the Cancer Caring Center at 412-622-1212 & speak with Stephanie for more info!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Official Ironmen Rally: A Pittsburgh Tribute to Guided by Voices

Benefit show TONIGHT!!!

Exactly what it sounds like - PGH bands play a heap of Guided by Voices tunes.

$5 - Proceeds to benefit BRICKS for Young Adults.

Weird Paul Rock Band
House of Assassins
Trashed Aircraft
The Red Western
Horse Garbage
Marvin Dioxide
The Claymores
Brass Panda
City Steps
The Lopez
and more...

The Thunderbird Cafe
4023 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA

Facebook invite here for more info!

Monday, March 12, 2012

3 years.

Many of you may know that Saturday is the 3 year anniversary of Rick Gribenas's passing. What you may NOT know is that BRICKS for Young Adults is joining forces with The Cancer Caring Center to make programming for young adult cancer patients accessible and available to as many people as possib Please consider making a donation in Rick's honor this week to support BRICKS and the CCC. Click here to make a donation.