Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Resolution: Kick Cancer to the Curb

Together, let's join in the fight to kick cancer to the curb! CURES ROCK! Resolve to be a warrior, and make your resolutions to fight cancer now. Here are 9 resolutions for the year '09:

1. Eat right. Add anti-cancer foods to your diets (yup, the broccoli and cauliflower you love so much...ha ha). And, as much as it pains me to write this being the self-confessed steak-lover that I am, cut back on red meat! The LIVESTRONG web site has awesome nutrition information and forums...at least check it out by going to: http://www.livestrong.com/

2. Stop smoking...or never start. I don't think I even have to begin to explain how much this will help your running and reduce your health risk. Take the LIVESTRONG "Dare to" Quit Smoking: http://www.livestrong.com/dare/142-quit-smoking/

3. Reduce your stress. There is a 100% chance that living will kill you (I know, a shocking statistic), so live each day to the best of your ability. Learn to let go of the "outcomes." Take a chill pill. MEDITATE. EXERCISE. The summer season of "Team in Training" is starting up soon. Join a local team, raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and get some of the best coaching around in exchange. It doesn't matter if you haven't walked 1 mile in your life; there are walk, run, hike and bike teams for every level. For more info, go to: http://www.teamintraining.org/

4. Know your family medical history. If you don't know it, resolve to learn about it, ask questions and pass on what you learn to your family. Early detection can save your life or the life of a loved one.

5. Get examined. I understand that ya'll hate doctor visits and probably drag your feet on this one. You think that "you" won't get cancer because you're too fill-in-the-blank (young/old/smart/healthy/tough). It happens to "other people." Yeah...uh...I thought the same thing to, and that didn't quite work out according to my plan when I heard the words, "You have cancer" in 2006. Have a mammogram, a prostrate exam, get a colonoscopy, have your skin examined. I'm guessing you probably just cringed at all those words, but stop being a big baby and be a warrior! I can tell you this --- what you don't know CAN hurt you.

6. Join an advocacy group. Nobody should fight alone. Join your local LIVESTRONG Army. For more info, go to the San Diego LIVESTRONG Army web site by clicking here.

7. Let your voice be heard. Write to congress. Write to the new president. DEMAND that they make cancer a national priority. IT DOES MATTER. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. The L&L Society's "Toolbox for Advocates" is a great resource.

8. Laugh every day. A recent study published by Harvard Medical School and UCSD showed that HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS. Social networks affect mood --- Happiness is a good virus, and your happiness affects the mood of someone you've never met. Now, go read this news story, and let your beautiful smile, laughter and spirit SHINE ON in '09!

9. Give back. There is nothing better than the feeling of giving back. There are some great organizations doing great work to fight cancer and support patients and their families. Many of you are already heroes because of your involvement with TNT. Have your family and friends check out these organizations, and volunteer or donate while they are there:
The Lance Armstrong Foundation: www.livestrong.org
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: www.lls.org
Stand Up to Cancer: www.su2c.org

Sunday, December 28, 2008

TNT Run Update - 4 Weeks to go!!!

(Pic: TNT Run Team - Winter Season 2008)
First and foremost, I would like to thank all of you that have so generously donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Lance Armstrong Foundation this year. Your commitment to the cause of making cancer a national priority and finding a cure is incredible. I am honored to know each of you, and even more honored that you take the time to read my blog and reach out with your support, whether monitarily, cheerleading, volunteering, etc. Our team has raised over $120,000 so far, and we plan on hitting our goal of $130,000 by the end of our season! This is only possible because of your BIG hearts. THANK YOU!
As you all know, I have been training with "Team in Training" for another full marathon (yup, all 26 miles...and don't forget the .2 miles at the end!), in order to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The San Diego Run Team is enthusiastic, motivated and has truly accomplished so much this season. On Dec 2oth, most of the team ran 20 miles...the longest in their lives...which was so exciting. In one week, the rest of the team faces their 20 miler before the "back down" period that preceeds a marathon. As for myself, I'm still working through pain due to an ankle injury, so I've been out the last month from running. I started back in with short runs this week, but it looks like I'll have to rethink my full marathon (26.2 miles) into a half marathon race (13.1 miles). Still a very respectable distance, but my heart was set on the longer race. "Patience, grasshopper." I am trying to remind myself to focus on this amazing journey, and not the outcome of a race. For now, I'm still planning on racing at the Carlsbad Marathon (or Half Marathon) on January 25th, and you are all invited to join the crowds in cheering on our team.
I am also getting geared up for the annual "Team Julie" reunion season for TNT summer season. That's right! Mike and I will be back raising funds and running together for the 2nd year in the row (ok, he runs about 2 hours ahead of me, but you get the point). If you missed the Women's Running magazine article, Mike and I were both mentioned...click this link. We'll carry on this annual tradition by running the Rock 'N' Roll San Diego Marathon (May 30th) this year to raise funds for a great Cause -- and I'm doing a double-header by following that up with the inaugural Rock 'N' Roll Seattle Marathon one month later (June 27th)!! I will keep pounding the pavement until we have that cure for blood cancers (and all cancers). GO TEAM!

Friday, December 26, 2008

TNT Running Update

A few of you have asked for a running update. I know I've been a little remiss in my Team in Training (TNT) updates through my blog. You can always check out the right side of my blog, and you'll see my "mini Twitter posts" for when I just don't have more than 160 characters to say (which I realize for me is a small miracle...). Also, don't forget to follow "livestrong_sd" on Twitter, as it's our local San Diego LIVESTRONG Army update.
This season for Team in Training has been awesome....and frustrating...and challenging...and amazing... so many things rolled into one. The two things that always provide me with the motivation to lace up those running shoes for a loonnngggg run are the following:
1. Finding a Cure for Cancer:
My number one goal is to raise as much money as possible for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year, I've raised over $11,000 for LLS across seasons, and our San Diego team has already raised $120,000 this quarter, with a goal of $130,000!!!
2. The TNT Team:
It's the Team that motivates me. Where else to you meet a group of people dedicated to a good cause. They wake up at o-dark-thirty on Saturday mornings (for months) in order to do long runs in preparation for a full or half marathon...not to mention the endless mid-week runs. They raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society while they are training. Some have no personal connections to cancers, and others are survivors like me, or caregivers. No matter what, they seem to always bring their smiles and amazing spirits out there to pound the pavement for a cure. I am inspired by them, and it is their spirit and stories that make me try even harder.
TNT Update: Our San Diego TNT Run team is almost ready for our January marathons, which include the Disney World Marathon, Arizona Rock 'N' Roll Marathon and the Carlsbad Marathon. It's been quite a journey these past few months...sweat...laughter...injuries...great days...tough days... you name it. In August, many of us were strangers, and now we're about to complete some major life milestones together. I just think that ROCKS! I know that just like in my last marathon, I'll be equally touched during my race when I see so many "purple power" teammates out there. I am truly blessed to know that they have raised so much money for leukemia & lymphoma research. They are heroes. I have 4 more weeks to go until my 2nd full marathon --- the Carlsbad Marathon in northern San Diego County, CA. Yup...a full 26.2 miles of sweat and tears...you can bet I'll earn every dollar that you have all donated in support of this Mission. You are all welcome to come to the race and cheer. Just leave a "comment" to this post, and I'll contact you with the details of the "Cures Rock!" cheering squad for the San Diego TNT Run Team!
Thank you for all being a part of the process in finding a cure and supporting patients with blood cancers. Someday, when we do find a cure for blood cancers (and all cancers), you will know that you played a role in that discovery. CURES ROCK!!!
(Pic, L to R): Ensley, Julie & Captain Pattie at the TNT Fletcher's Cove 18-mile run.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Global Iniative Video & LIVESTRONG Day Announced!

Cures Rock! -- and, as the Leader of the LIVESTRONG Army of San Diego, the local Army and I will be making sure the world knows it as the LIVESTRONG initiative goes global. Check out the recent 3 min YouTube video on the Global Initiative of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I connected with one of the first international army leaders today...Sandy...who is starting up the first LIVESTRONG Army "Down Under" (that's Australia to most of you). And, I can't forget the trooper, Henrike, in Germany, who continues to inspire me (Hi, Henrike!). We had the last LIVESTRONG Army Leader call of 2008 this past week, and it turned into an amazing recap of all the wonderful work that has been accomplished this past year. We'll post an article on the San Diego LIVESTRONG Army web site later this week.

For now...mark your calendars! LIVESTRONG Day of 2009 has been announced! It will be held on October 2, 2009. For more information, see the blog post at the LIVESTRONG web site. 10//2 is the date that Lance Armstrong was first diagnosed with cancer -- and the date he says he finally started to "live." The day started years ago as the LAF’s effort to influence public policy in Washington, D.C. by bringing advocates from across the country to our nation’s capitol. We'll celebrate it together, as we work to make cancer a National Priority and help change the stigma of this disease around the world!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Music for Cancer Treatments

I have been asked often what kind of music I listened to during my treatments, and if I chose to use mental imagery while getting "poisoned" -- errr -- I mean, "treated" with chemotherapy. Personally, meditation is my pain and chemo drug of choice, and call it what you will. Finding a way to silence your inner demons, finding balance in chaos, having faith that transcends any circumstance and seeing the humor in life is pretty critical. I can assure you that it's much easier said than done, so I did find that utilizing images and music certainly helped. No...I did not use a picture of a cute, baby koala (although I have a link to ZooBorns on my blog if that does it for you). Instead, I looked through sales catalogs of yachts. Afterall, the $9 million yacht pictured in the catalog was cheaper than the $25 million beach home I had my eye on after my recovery, so it was a steal in comparison. LOL. Hey -- you know --- one can dream up anything to get through sitting in a room with freezing saline and chemo surging through your body. Some choose baby zoo animal pictures, and I happened to choose the idea of sailing to a remote island, and sipping drinks with colorful, little umbrellas in them. Which, now leads me to my choice in music for my cancer treatments. Some of my favorite music during treatments was Bob Marley (especially "Everythings Going to be Alright"), Jack Johnson and Israel “Izzy” Kamakawiwoole. Trust me, you'll be picturing that green or red “chemo” dripping through your IV as a tropical, *magical* elixir to get well in no time.

My iPod was a lifeline of sorts during treatments. It is also why one of the latest blogs on the Lance Armstrong Foundation's (LAF) web site completely intrigued me. Using Twitter, the online social network tool, LAF asked their LIVESTRONG fans what their favorite music was during treatment...and the list was great to review. If you are going through treatment, I encourage you to visit the blog post to see what your fellow cancer warriors used as "power songs" to get them through their battles: http://livestrongblog.org/2008/12/16/songs-during-treatment/ Listen --- and LIVESTRONG!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

LIVESTRONG: End of Year Video

Take 3 mins. Watch the End of Year video for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The Lance Armstrong Foundation unites people to fight cancer believing that unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything.

Three Ways to Give: Thanks to generous supporters like you, 2008 has been an amazing year. The LAF has even more exciting plans for 2009. So please watch the video and consider giving to the LAF this holiday season by making a donation, using their discount code to shop at the LAF store (watch video to get it!) or by forwarding this video to family and friends. Watch the video.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Running Magazine Article on "Team Julie" & Team in Training

The inaugural issue of Women's Running Magazine, formerly Her Sport Fitness, has a great article called, "Run for a Good Cause" by Jen Murphy in their new January issue. As part of an awesome highlight on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training (TNT) Program, the "Team Julie" story was mentioned. Pick up a copy of this magazine at your local fitness store, and read about all the great charity running programs out there. Since I know you may not subscribe yet, click here for the full (.pdf) article. I'm currently involved with Team in Training for my 2nd season as a Mentor, and I'm training for my 2nd marathon --- the Carlsbad Marathon in January 2009. I also am planning on mentoring for the '09 Summer Season of TNT to train for the double-header marathons of the Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon and the Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon.

It has been an incredibly rewarding experience and an honor, to meet and run with an extraordinary team of people who are running for a great Cause --- fighting to find a cure for blood cancer. Our current TNT San Diego/Hawaii Chapter Run Team (Winter Season) has already raised over $110,000 for the LLS Mission, and we're not done yet! Click here if you'd like to find out more about TNT, and make a difference by donating to my TNT fundraising account (or use the link on my blog). CURES ROCK!
(P.S. Click on the pics for a larger size.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Captain Cure Premiere

Ask and you shall receive. Here are photos from the Captain Cure Premiere in Ty's hometown, which was also coordinated with the local LiveStrong Army. Yes, happy readers, we'll be having a premiere party in Southern California in the beginning of 2009. It's one thing to see the concept sheets...it's another to see the final comic book. They rock.

"Though there is no cure - LOVE, HOPE AND FAITH ALWAYS PREVAIL." ~ Captain Cure & MetRex, Captain Cure Comic Book

Pic #1: Ty, the artist, standing between the characters, MetRex and Captain Cure
Pic #2: Girl coloring Captain Cure sheets

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Redemption Song

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"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds."

~ Bob Marley
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shine on, super-stars!

A recent study by Harvard Medical School and UCSD shows that HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS. (Social networks affect mood.) Which means, happiness is a good virus, and your happiness affects the mood of someone you've never met. Now, go read the story, and let your beautiful smile, happiness and spirit SHINE ON! http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20081204/happiness-is-contagious

Feel like spreading a cheerful spirit through color? Pantone, which provides color standards to design industries, picked "mimosa," a vibrant shade of yellow illustrated by the flowers of some mimosa trees (as well as the brunch-favorite cocktail), as its top shade of the new year. It believes the public will embrace optimistic colors of yellow in 2009. Read all about it in Yahoo News.

Color yellow is a great way to add a dose of sunny optimism to our nation and to let our spirits shine. Wear yellow to show your support in standing up in the fight against cancer and making cancer a national priority. This holiday season, Give 100%. http://www.livestrong.com/give100/


You can also sign up for our San Diego LIVESTRONG Army. Our Registration Drive has been extended to December 17th. Register at: http://my.livestrong.org/joinlocalarmy (Note: Select the "SAN DIEGO" Army in the drop-down list.) Read more in my November 30th blog post.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Curing All Blood Disorders - World Aids Day

Today is World Aids Day. It has me mindful about our need to cure all blood-related disorders, like leukemia and HIV/AIDS. It's always been on my mind that perhaps a cure for one, would open up research to find the cure for the other. I stumbled across this article in the Wall Street Journal from earlier this month, regarding a doctor, a mutation...and a potential cure for Aids: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122602394113507555.html In short, a bone marrow transplant that was meant to treat a patient's leukemia, also gave him virus-resistant cells. The patient is still recovering from his leukemia therapy, but he appears to have won his battle with AIDS. And sure, while this could just be one of those once-in-a-million cures that isn't viable beyond theory, as the WSJ reported, it "is stirring new hope that gene-therapy strategies on the far edges of AIDS research might someday cure the disease."
Like I always say, folks -- CURES ROCK!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friendship & Caregivers

I recently had the opportunity to throw a baby shower for my best friend before the Thanksgiving holidays. Yes, I know this is where you stand there scratching your head with a bewildered look on your face, 'cause we all know that kids and me are like oil and water. Ok, that's not true. My niece seems to have an affinity for me...and she thinks I live inside the Sphinx in Egypt (or so she told me at Christmas last year when I gave her a Little Einsteins' Egypt set). So, hey, the kid thinks I'm an alien. It's not a bad thing, and I take it as a compliment. Alas, I digress. So, I threw this shower up in "The O.C" (of course, none of us that grew up there actually ever say it like that, but again, I digress). What struck me as incredibly amazing was how a group of youngsters that met when we were all 5 years old or so, could all still be friends over 25 years later. Think about it. How often do we say, "yeah, that's my friend...so and so..", but what a treat it is to say, "that's my FRIEND," and really, really mean it. You know you have true friends, when you haven't seen them in awhile, and yet, no matter what happens in your life --- no matter what ultra-intelligent or ultra-stupid things you decide to do --- they always love you. My BFF is like that to me. Actually, the folks in this picture are all like that to me after all these years (Pictured, L to R: My twin - Angie, Ellen, Cameron, Me, Gina). It's pretty awesome. My point of this little rambling note is just that. It's not a serious blog post about a breakthrough in cancer, but it is about something that gets us through our tough experiences, like cancer, which is our friends and family. During this time of Thanksgiving and Christmas, don't forget to thank those that have been there for you in your experience. It's easy for us to block them out and focus on our own battles, but at the end of the day, we have to understand how amazing they are to be there for us in a situation they have no control over, like when deadbeat Leuk knocks on your door. Cures rock (of course!), but so do the caregivers, friends, family and co-workers that look out for us. They were equally impacted, changed and challenged through the experience. Don't be afraid to sit down over a cup of tea and ask them about it, give them a huge hug, and ask them to tell their story. I promise, they won't disappoint.
(P.S. For those that were praying for little Tommy after he was born 2 months early, he came home this past week before Thanksgiving.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Register by Nov 30th for our LIVESTRONG Army!!!


Our November Registration Drive for our San Diego LIVESTRONG Army is almost over! Please take 2 minutes to go to: http://my.livestrong.org/joinlocalarmy , and sign up for our local army! (Note: Select the "SAN DIEGO" army in the drop-down list, which is the one I'm leading, not the "north county" one which is a different group.) Also, please hit the "share this" green icon below, and share this post with a friend today!

What is the LIVESTRONG Army? We are an army of San Diego volunteers with a grassroots mission to inspire and empower our community to join in the fight against cancer. We are a grassroots organization of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, but our local army is inclusive of ALL local cancer foundations, teaching institutions, hospitals, support groups, individuals, etc. Our goal is to UNITE in our efforts, which include the local, state, national and global levels! By joining our army, we can keep you informed of advocacy news, events, information and volunteer opportunities.

If you have any questions, please post a comment, or visit our new web site at: http://www.sandiegolivestrongarmy.org/


PLEASE JOIN TODAY! THE REGISTRATION DRIVE ENDS NOV 30th!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving: Give Back & Never Give Up

This is the week of Thanksgiving, which is one of my favorite holidays. In my opinion, it's probably the only remaining non-commercial holiday left when we can join with family and friends, or sit quietly alone, and reflect on what we are thankful for in our own lives.

Being involved with the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has brought me in contact with so many amazing individuals. The CNN video story on my front page (below) is one example that really touched my heart deeply and made me incredibly grateful for stars shining so brightly, if briefly, on their journey on this earth. Please take the time to watch this short video (2:30 minutes) by clicking on this news story link to CNN.

"What's the best thing about life?" asked the reporter.
"Just having one, " Brendon says, a young boy who lost his battle with leukemia, but left behind a legacy. His dying wish was to help the homeless.
"What gets you sad, sweetie?" the reportor asked.
"That someone gives up," Brendon said. (He never gave up.) "Follow your dreams. Don't let anything stop you."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Captain Cure Comic Hits the Streets!

I am very happy to announce today's launch of Captain Cure, a comic book by artist, Ty Wakefield (& Alternate Reality Media, Inc).

The premiere party will take place tonight from 6:00pm – 8:00pm in Morgan's Alley Banquet Hall located in downtown Lewiston, Idaho, the artist's hometown. The event features an author signing, and it is free and open to the public. Don't worry if you cannot make the trek to Ty's hometown. The "Cures Rock!" Campaign, in partnership with Captain Cure Comics, will be hosting a premiere party in Southern California in early 2009.

Here's the scoop:
Captain Cure is a 24-page, full-color, illustrated comic book based on the artist's own story....and it's fit for any kid, ages 3 - 95! (Yes, I am still a kid at heart and yell, "Wonder Twin powers, activate!" for no reason at times...lol.) The story begins with Jack, a little boy diagnosed with cancer, who discovers an unexpected side effect from chemotherapy – super powers! Jack becomes Captain Cure, and together with his friend, Diane (also known as MetRex), works to fight the villain, Cancer, and his goons, Sick and Tired.

Ty Wakefield, a kid-at-heart himself, has been battling osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) for 2 years with the help of his amazing wife and 3 daughters, ages 8, 5 and 4. "My hope is to both help children and their loved ones understand cancer and its effects, taking away the fear and opening the fight. Not to mention being able to directly help those who slip through the cracks, like I did." Ty is a shining star and honorary member of our Cures Rock! Campaign to kick cancer to the curb.

Proceeds from sales of Captain Cure will help build an endowment to directly impact those fighting cancer. The Cures Rock! Campaign will be partnering with Captain Cure Comics, along with the LIVESTRONG Army of San Diego (a grassroots organization of the Lance Armstrong Foundation) to help promote and create awareness of this new tool to help kids (and grown-up "kids") fight this ruthless disease.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Captain Cure" Comic Book Release on 11/20!

It's finally here! You all remember my group from my Fundraising track at the LIVESTRONG Summit in July 2008, and the wonderful artist, Ty Wakefield. The much anticipated launch of Captain Cure (Comic Book, Issue #1) is finally here! It will launch on Thursday, November 20th. I will blog more details on Thursday, so you know where to buy copies, how to use them as a non-profit fundraiser for your cancer foundation, or how to order them as an "angel" for the hospitals/clinics in your area. CURES ROCK...and so does CAPTAIN CURE!

Captain Cure is a revolutionary comic book of 24 full color pages. The proceeds from the sale of this wonderful book will go to help individuals battling to kick cancer to the curb! This is a great tool for those dealing with cancer. The story is based on the artist/writer's journey, as told through the eyes of a child stricken with cancer.

"Though there is no cure [yet] - love, hope and faith will always prevail!" -Captain Cure, Issue #1

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you, Veterans!

I would like to thank all of our brave veterans who have served and defended our great country. We are incredibly blessed to have our freedom. I am deeply grateful for your service and all that you do for us. Thank you.






(Pics from the USS John Paul Jones DDG53)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

LIVESTRONG Army San Diego Web Site Launched!

The official LIVESTRONG Army San Diego web site has launched!

We are an army of San Diego volunteers with a mission to inspire and empower our local community to join in the fight against cancer. You can visit our brand new site at: http://www.sandiegolivestrongarmy.org/

We also have a Facebook group at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=42300003645&ref=ts And, you can follow us on Twitter at livestrong_sd.

(Many thanks to Thomas for helping me out on the final implementation!)

UNITY IS STRENGTH. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

1st Complete Cancer Genome Sequenced

Exciting news today in the world of science today --- The first complete cancer genome was sequenced! Even more extraordinary (to me) is the fact that is was completed using the DNA of a female that died from Acute Mylogenous Leukemia (AML), the same cancer that completely changed my life.

Cancer treatment for this extremely aggressive form of leukemia hasn't changed much (if at all) in the last 50 years, and in fact, pretty much has stayed in the dark ages. This is an awesome first step to start changing the way we can target treatments for cancer (granted, it'll be far into the future). Even more extraordinary is that most of this research was done through funding of a private donor, although the NIH eventually chipped in the end. There is an interesting article in the New York Times (start with this one) and also in Science News. (Credit for picture: Timothy Ley, Science News article)
CURES ROCK!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congrats to Obama! (Yes we did!)

I am very proud of the voice our nation had on Tuesday, November 4th to elect CHANGE into this nation. While we do have work ahead of us, it feels like hope has returned to the nation and world. Regardless of who everyone voted for, I think we can all agree that this election isn't the end of a road, but just the beginning of a tough new one. For those of us involved in cancer advocacy, it also means the next step to taking our grassroots efforts to a regional, national and global level.

In a "twittered"/texted comment from Doug Ulman (Lance Armstrong Foundation's CEO) on Wednesday, 11/5, he said: "As we continue our social movement around cancer and health, today is an example of what can happen with dedication and passion over time." He also posted this video blog: Doug’s Vblog - 11.05.08

In South Africa, Nelson Mandela, the civil rights icon who helped bring down his country's apartheid regime, released a letter to Obama that said, "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place."


Let's dream ...BIG.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted!

I hope you all took the time to vote today. I did. After all, I had to remember that the struggle for women's voting rights in America lasted for 144 years and 94 years for African Americans. Let's not take our rights and freedom for granted! If you haven't voted yet, you still have time (if you live on the West Coast).

I voted, and since my polling place was in my favorite part of San Diego, I was able to go for a great run along Torrey Pines State Beach. Of course, I was decked out in my "vote yellow" t-shirt and "I voted" sticker, which spawned a few questions from undecided runners/voters heading to the polls. Just to make all you East Coasters jealous as you run through the snow, I've added the pictures from my run today. Ah...it's rough living here in California, but I'll manage somehow.

I'm an (Imerman) Angel!

I'm an angel!!! Ok, before you start laughing too hard and reach to straighten my crooked halo, let me clarify that I am one of the newest Imerman Angels! When I went through my battle with cancer, I didn't have someone near my age with my AML disease to talk to about it. I am going to make sure that for at least one other person on this planet, it doesn't happen to them as a young adult facing cancer. I've signed up with Imerman Angels as part of their 1-on-1 cancer support database....the largest in the world at this point.

Imerman Angels is an amazing 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, started by one amazing person, Jonny Imerman. Jonny is one person that everyone should get to meet. He has a heart of gold...or platinum...you get my point. Please take 5 minutes out of your day to visit their web site at http://www.imermanangels.org/ and understand their services. They connect current cancer patients with cancer survivors (like me) with their same diagnosis for one-on-one cancer support AND they connect caregivers of cancer patients to caregivers that have walked a similar battle. They have a lofty mission: Beginning January 1, 2013, every cancer fighter in the United States will have free access to a cancer survivor within 24 hours of being diagnosed.
We need your help! If you know of any cancer survivors or patients, please forward them this blog by clicking the "share this" green icon below this post. Also, if you do have a blog or Facebook site, please do the same and post it to your comments to spread the word about this organization that is offering very needed cancer support. Thank you!

Get to the polls & vote!


It's your turn to be heard. Get to the polls and vote. If you'd like to take one last minute to understand what our candidates are saying about their views on cancer funding, prevention, and survivorship, go here: http://www.voteyellow.org/ .

Vote Yellow (vōt • yel-ō) 1. n. An expression of choice made by 12 million cancer survivors and their loved ones. 2. v. To declare one's opinion that our leaders should make cancer a national priority. 3. n. A philosophy believing it unacceptable to lose 560,000 Americans to cancer each year. 4. n. LIVESTRONG

Monday, November 3, 2008

LIVESTRONG Army San Diego - Success at the Komen booth!

The LIVESTRONG Army of San Diego had a very successful day yesterday with our booth at the Susan G. Komen "Race for a Cure." The booth was positioned right next to Registration and where the speakers for the day would be talking to the group of 14,000 people! We made some wonderful contacts within our San Diego community, and even met up with a few folks that were also LIVESTRONG Summit 2008 delegates! Over 100 people signed up as volunteers for our grassroots force to unite against this deadly disease in the San Diego Community. Many thanks to those that manned the booth!!!
Stay tuned as we launch the http://www.sandiegolivestrongarmy.org/ web site this week. Our Facebook Group "Livestrong Army San Diego" already has 24 members. Please come join us! (I also "twitter" from the username "curesrock." )

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Team in Training (TNT) - Video time!

GO TEAM! For all you Team in Training (TNT) fans out there, fellow teammates, teams in other states, alums, etc., etc., etc., I'm posting this blog video for you. Click here to watch the latest installment video for our TNT Run Team (Winter Season, San Diego/Hawaii Chapter). It's 24 minutes of crazy TNT runners. :)

Much of the film is of our training runs, and we also leave messages for two folks battling their cancer now in the hospital. Since my awesome "Cures Rock!" cheering squad reads this blog, it's necessary for me to tell them where I'm in the video, so I don't torture ya'll with endless footage (tempting...). So, ....
You'll see me in the beginning leaving a message for a girl in the hospital with leukemia (1 min mark), later asking for help with the cause (3 min mark), running at Lake Miramar (17:53 mark) which goes straight into the purple hair adventure, which we won through the white t-shirt contest....which is around 19:00 min mark. If you missed that initial challenge video (only 2 mins long), click here. Oh yeah! And Dr. Joe's pups at the Aid Station at 23:40 min mark!

As you can see, we've been having a lot of fun lately. Yes, we are all volunteers raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society....we just do it while running...and laughing...a lot.

Friday, October 31, 2008

LIVESTRONG Army: San Diego & Race for the Cure

The San Diego LIVESTRONG Army is hosting it's official first outing in the local community...and our official "launch" in our community. On Sunday, the Susan G. Komen "Race for a Cure" officials have graciously offered us the ability to host a booth for our LIVESTRONG Army. We are extremely excited joining in the fight to kick cancer to the curb! We will use the booth to talk to attendees about the various tools of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (e.g., survivor notebooks, young adult alliance), and we'll also be signing people up to join our LIVESTRONG San Diego Army! Our goal is to have anywhere from 300-500 people join our local army of volunteers willing to unite and join the fight against cancer.

We also have a "LIVESTRONG Army San Diego" Facebook Group now, so please join, if you are a member of Facebook. Our web site will also be launching this weekend (once I finish the content), so stay tuned.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Livestrong Army San Diego - Working the LAF Booth!

While most of the LIVESTRONG fans are out riding their bikes today at the Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge (leavin' cancer quakin' in its boots) --- the newly-founded LIVESTRONG Army San Diego is at their first volunteer activity with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Suzanne and myself (Co-Leaders of the San Diego Army) are working the Lance Armstrong Foundation's booth with the LAF staff at the American Public Health Association conference being held at the San Diego Convention Center this week. There are so many materials to help health professionals support their cancer patients and families. For more information, go to: http://www.livestrong.org/

Monday, October 20, 2008

Perspective

It is so easy to get caught up in how "big" all our problems seem at times. A little perspective always seems to do me good. Today, I visited with my best friend (of 28 years!) and her little son, Tommy, who is still in the hospital's N-ICU after being born 2 months early. He was such a cutie, and it reminded me that no matter how big our problem seems --- or how tough we have it -- there is always someone out there having a tougher day that we can reach out to with a helping hand. While I can't really "do" anything to help him, it was great to at least visit and see him squirm around in his incubator (made my problems seem much smaller). Heck, if such a little dude can be a warrior, battling to grow big and strong, then I can certainly deal with my little problems. Little Tommy may only weight 3lbs and a couple ounces, but he stole my heart. LIVESTRONG, little dude. "Be Fri", if you're reading this blog, thank you for a very special day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Costly Cancer

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I was devasted by a recent survey printed in USA Today this week. The survey presented information that 1 in 8 folks with advanced cancer turned down recommended care because of the COST. Among lower-income patients 1 in 4 refused treatment. Seriously? We live in the greatest country on earth in my opinion, and yet we're in a place with our healthcare system where people have to decline life-saving treatments due to the price-tag.

I mean, it's one thing if you're shopping at South Coast Plaza in "The O.C."...you know...strolling along, drooling on the windows of Hermes, Chanel, Armani, Versace, etc. And then you think, "Wow, as much as I love these adorable Prada shoes, they are just too expensive, and I can do without." It is a WHOLE other story to be presented with medical treatments that could SAVE YOUR LIFE, and yet you think, " I can't afford this at all, so I have no choice but to decline and live out the rest of my life with dignity" --- or -- "These costs will devastate my family, and I want to make sure that when I die, they have something to sustain themselves, so I choose not to have treatment."

Yes, I am usually peppy and upbeat on this blog because I personally feel that feeding the warrior and fighting this disease is the only way to win -- but --- surveys and articles like these just show how much farther we have to go, folks. We are an awesome nation, but I implore you now as you go to vote in a few weeks, and I desperately will implore whoever is the new President, to start making changes in how we BATTLE this disease. This is war, ya'll. It is not just a war against a deadly disease impacting people around the world, but it's a war to fight for a better healthcare system, to fight for funds that will help with cancer prevention and early detection, etc., etc.

Please, join in the fight. If you are in the local Southern California area, please contact me to join our LIVESTRONG Army and be proactive in this war. If you're not in the local area, please still email me, and I will connect you with a local LIVESTRONG Army in your area. Or, click here to sign up for your local LIVESTRONG Army online.

Nobody in this amazing country should ever go to bed hungry and without a roof over their head...and nobody should have to go to bed with the burden of choosing between their cancer care costs and their lives. There is no price for human life, we should all be able to live out the end of our days the way we choose and with dignity. Let's unite and make change happen. CURES ROCK.
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Cancer Charity Fundraiser a Success! (TNT)

Sunday night was the YBSNGL (a.k.a. Why Be Single?) Singles Party Fundraiser to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Single or non-single (we had "taken" stickers for couples), everyone came out to enjoy a great night of fun at the La Jolla Brew House in La Jolla, California. The event was hosted to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and to create awareness about young adults with cancer. I would like to write a HUGE thank you to all of those that came, donated, and bought food/drinks to support this fundraising party. I would also like to extend a HUGE thank you to the La Jolla Brew House for helping us host this event and donated a percentage of the profits towards LLS. It is awesome to see the local community involved in raising awareness about blood cancers AND uniting to fight against this stupid (really stupid) disease.

What's next on the horizon? Oh yeah…get ready….a "Pick a Fight with Cancer" Dodgeball Tournament will be officially announced shortly for November (we're finalizing the date/location now). The funds will go to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society AND The Lance Armstrong Foundation in support of the local LIVESTRONG Army of San Diego. Our goal is to UNITE all cancer organizations to continue to raise the need for early detection, prevention and awareness of cancer. GO TEAM & LIVESTRONG!

P.S. Don't forget to register to vote!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

San Diego Team in Training Run Team... ROCKS!

CURES ROCK...and there is no doubt in my mind after today that the San Diego Team in Training (TNT) Run Team also ROCKS! The coaches had their doubts, but we managed to have the entire team show up in their TNT white shirts. WAHOO! I mean, look at this picture...do we look like a TEAM or what?! Today, the marathoners on our run team ran 10, 11 or 12 miles -- the most many of them had ever run in their lives! They did GREAT!! It was a gorgeous day along the coast, which was perfect for a long beach run (other than the sand in my shoes, but it's a small price to pay for the AWESOMENESS of living in San Diego). Two people had to pay the price for losing this "White T-shirt Contest" with our Team shirts --- the COACHES! Yup, the coaches had their hair painted purple today...and let me say that I had a grand ol' time lending a hand, as you can see me doing in the second picture. The Fundraising Tip of the week from the Fundraising Mentor (me)? Have FUN with your FUN-draising -- and let me tell you -- this week was hilarious, and we raised money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. To date, our little ol' Run Team has raised approximately $68,000 for this season for TNT/L&L Society! AWESOME!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Team in Training - White T-Shirt Contest!

Team in Training: White T-Shirt Contest!!!
(That's "white" not "wet" just to be clear....lol.) So, I'm feeling under-the-weather today with the flu, so what do I do? Make silly TNT videos (of course) for my favorite Winter Season - San Diego TNT Run Team. Don't forget, Team --- our White T-Shirt Contest is on SATURDAY! Watch this video for a little motivation, wear that white shirt on Saturday and get ready to run 10-11-12 miles! Click here or copy/paste this link into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gcpe6sa58aM


YBSNGL!!! Also, don't forget that Sunday is our TNT Cancer Charity Singles Party Fundraiser at the La Jolla Brew House! Everyone in town is invited! (Yup - even if you're not single, you can come -- we have "taken" stickers for you!). http://www.lajollabrewhouse.com/ (Click "Events" and you'll see our flyer!)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Every second counts.

"The butterfly counts not months, but moments, and has time enough."-Unknown

Today was an incredible run with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training (San Diego Run Team). The run caused me to look inward (again) at my own journey with cancer....and that moment of hearing the words, "you have cancer" which suddenly forced me as a young adult of 31 yrs to face the prospect of my own death. I suppose that is why I am so proud of the Lance Armstrong Foundation for taking their LIVESTRONG brand global, and I am so proud of my TNT team. It's time to make change happen.
In running and training with our team, we work harder to be stronger, so we can run a faster race and try for our personal record for time. New shoes, new clothes, interval training --- whatever it takes to whittle down the time it takes to run the race. Yet, in facing a battle with cancer, it's all about stretching out the time...and to be grateful for each day we wake up and for each breath we still have left in our lives. I have lost several good friends my age to their battles with cancer over the past two years. While I could be bitter about the little time we had together, instead, I am grateful for the extra moments and time their cutting-edge treatments gave them to be with me and their families. Instead of shaving time off an endurance run, they fought like hell and added those extra precious days, seconds, hours to their lives to let their light shine a bit longer in this world.
The next time you are out there running for charity (or watching someone run by you that's running for charity), remember what it must be like for those that are not trying to shorten their race, but add just even one more breath to fight their disease. The next time you hear one of us involved with the LIVESTRONG Challenges or Team in Training ask for donations, before you say "no," perhaps you'll think about this blog and those that cannot run. Don't tell me a story about how you "almost" gave to a charity because that just might have "almost" have saved a life. "Don't just almost give. GIVE." Please donate to my TNT campaign, as I am still short of my goal. Click on the "Cures Rock!" logo on the right side or click here to donate. If you're still not convinced, please watch this 15 second video by the Ad Council. Things may be tough with the economy, but not as tough as the battle some of these patients are facing. Thank you, all, for being my personal heroes in battling the disease of cancer!!!
video

Thursday, October 2, 2008

10/2 - Lance will never forget it.

Today is 10/2. Sounds like an insignificant day of sorts, but back in '96, it was the day that Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer, changing his life forever. It's a reminder of those types of days when we face tremendous challenges. It's those days that we choose to fight like hell or stand down, laugh 'til tears stream down our face or cry. And, it's those types of days we look back on, and remember how we are now "obligated to the cure," as Lance often writes. It is because of my own day like this, that I now stand up to advocate for change, for awareness, for prevention...

There is a great note on the LIVESTRONG Blog, so I'll leave it to them to tell the story of the day....and they also posted Lance's press release from 1996. Go here: http://livestrongblog.org/2008/10/02/102-2/
LIVESTRONG!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I am an endurance runner.

We're into our 7th (or is it the 8th?) week of endurance training with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. It's hard to believe that in a couple months, I will be running another marathon! Who me?! I shocked and amazed myself when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon...and now I'm on to a 2nd (Carlsbad Marathon), AND I am planning my 3rd (San Diego Rock N Roll) and 4th (either Seattle Rock N Roll or Alaska Marathon). I've even started to look into adding cycling and swimming to my training, as I consider the possibility of a future triathlon. What?! This week, I looked at my wall calendar at work, and amidst notes on seminars, vacation time and work off-sites, was circled dates for Half Marathons (like the Silver Strand Half in Nov.) and marathons. When did I become this person?

I am finding that my endurance running continually reminds me how fragile life is and how each day may be our last. There is something in overcoming the "wall" runners hit that teaches me how to persevere. I am not running for myself. Now that I no longer have leukemia, I am running for all of those patients that cannot run, to help raise money for a cure. I know folks are always worried about "if" they'll be able to fund-raise, or "if" they'll be able to actually run 26.2 miles. All I can say is that you'll never know unless you put down those potato chips, get off the couch, start running and start asking your friends and family to donate to fight blood cancers. "Team in Training" has made endurance running a team sport of sorts, and they'll help you every step of the way. If I can finish chemo and train with them to run a marathon...anyone can! What are you waiting for?!

Please consider donating to support my fundraising efforts to stamp out blood cancers (and all cancers) for good! We raised over $10,000 last season, and I'm still raising money! Click here to donate. Also, if you'd like to join Team in Training, click here for more info.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vote Yellow!

Vote Yellow (vōt • yel-ō)
1. n. An expression of choice made by 12 million cancer survivors and their loved ones. 2. v. To declare one's opinion that our leaders should make cancer a national priority. 3. n. A philosophy believing it unacceptable to lose 560,000 Americans to cancer each year. 4. n. LIVESTRONG™

With the Presidential debates tonight, I urge you to VOTE YELLOW. http://www.livestrong.org/site/c.khLXK1PxHmF/b.4486705/

1 in 2 men... 1 in 3 women...will hear the words "you have cancer" in their lifetime. Keep cancer in mind for all of us when you vote in November. Vote yellow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TNT Fundraising Event - La Jolla Brew House

It's back by popular demand! The San Diego Chapter's Team in Training "YBSNGL?" Fundraiser!!! I am one of the co-hosts of this event and selling tickets, so if you live in San Diego, and you'd like to attend, please email me at curesrock@gmail.com. This fundraiser benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and is part of my TNT marathon fundraising! So, please support if you're local, as I am still short of my fundraising goals. (Yes, we have "taken" stickers for those that are coming as couples! ) Also, if you cannot make it, but would LOVE to donate to my TNT "Cures Rock!" fundraising campaing as I train for my 2nd marathon in Carlsbad, CA, click on the Cures Rock logo on the right side of this web page or click here.

Details: La Jolla Brewhouse, Sun. Oct 12th @ 7pm!

Tickets: $10 pre-sale / $15 at door


Lance Armstrong's "Tour de France" Dedication to Julie

A great reminder that I had armies of support beside me in my fight. (Thanks, Lance!) Even with the recent media, this video isn't about the bike...but the fight against cancer. LIVESTRONG!

Stage 2 Dedication: Julie Westcott -- powered by http://www.livestrong.com

Guinness World Record Broken to Fight Cancer

We *Heart* Our Fans

Cures Rock! on Facebook

Donate & fight to kick cancer to the curb!

500 Miles. 17 days. 2 States. 1 Mission to Cure Cancer.

500 Miles. 17 days. 2 States. 1 Mission to Cure Cancer.
January 1 - 17, 2010
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