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 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: , 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:


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 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:

We also have a Facebook group at: And, you can follow us on Twitter at livestrong_sd.

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


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)

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.'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 get my point. Please take 5 minutes out of your day to visit their web site at 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: .

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 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.

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

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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