Living Beyond Breast Cancer – What’s in it for you?

www.lbbc.org/sites/default/files/LBBC003_Org_Bro_8x8_Optimized.pdf

Here’s a PDF brochure of the services that LBBC.org provides – you can find EVIDENCE-based, expert vetted information so you don’t have to go searching all over the web or wonder what Google searches will turn up for you today. If you’re looking for clinical trials, an ear to listen, advice you can use now, including difficult to discuss topics like sexuality and breast cancer, and much more. LBBC tends to focus on us with metastatic breast cancer and those diagnosed at a young age – however, the information is for anyone diagnosed with breast cancer at any stage and any age. I am happy to be a part of this organization and I hope you’ll find the same caring support and valuable data that I’ve come to rely on, year after year.

I’m also pleased to say that 86% of the funds raised by and for LBBC go directly to their programs. That’s huge. Not many organizations can run that close to the razor’s edge financially and deliver the quality of services. And you won’t find a bunch of pink washed rah rah crap either, there’s real stories by real people and their voices are like yours from all walks of life — all races, stages, socioeconomic groups, and son on. No one is left out.

Yep, I’m slightly biased, but the bias comes from experience and having been all over the web looking for what LBBC provides.

I was well enough to attend the conference in Philadelphia this year and was so very much looking forward to meeting some of the women who I call my community of support, and only know virtually through our blogs and primarily through twitter – but alas, COVID, you suck, and took my first opportunity in five years since diagnosis and flushed the in-person ever important hugs and talks away for a while. But LBBC put together an amazing virtual conference and you can watch and listen to the program on their site, at LBBC.org. And I hope there’s next year, too.

For a good time and a good amount of information from people you probably know – patients – that voice that rarely gets heard at conferences – you’ll find something useful. I can bet my life on it and my life is extraordinarily valuable the longer I live with MBC.

Hey, enough yakking! I’ll let you read the brochure at the top of the post and follow the links included.

Hugs and love.

Ilene

2020 Patient Advocate in Training for Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Hear My Voice program

(So proud!)

Relay for Life

Finally, after three years and some months, my energy and my spirit rose to the occasion, not only to passively raise money but to also actively participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I’m on a local San Jose team, which I came to know a couple of years ago at an estate sale. The woman who held this particular estate sale turned out to be the team’s captain. Team JBK – captained by Mary Keenan. We raised over $34,000 this year and came in first of all the teams in our area.

I arrived at 8 am, on time (a miracle) with the decorations for our two tents – about 60 bright multicolored paper flowers and long plastic Mexican banners for the Cinco de Mayo themed relay. My table full of vintage jewelry and other antique goods sold in our booth along with other team members’ donations of hand made jewelry, Home baked cookies and brownies, and a few other cool things. My wares and cash raised from my wonderful friends, my partner Craig, and my sister Jan, all totaled about $1100 bucks. My pals you can see flanking me (I’m in the middle) of the first photo – Lisa and Sue – walked with me around the track until about noon. I returned in the evening about 7 pm until 9 and walked with Craig and Lisa’s 13 year old son. Craig dedicated two luminaria – one in honor of me and one in memory of his mother. I dedicated two: one to my grandmother Leah Kaminsky who died in 1969 of metastatic breast cancer; and the other to my father, whom I lost at a young 71 in 2013 to brain cancer.

I wept and made whimpering noises as I tried to contain my emotional outpouring as we walked the track lit by the bright purple HOPE shining against the lake at Almaden Lake Park and all the other survivor honoraria and the memorials to all of our lost loved ones. The bagpipe music played Amazing Grace, and my tears flowed. For everyone here and gone, for wearing a purple “survivor” T-shirt, and for my own fears and my own life changed indelibly by cancer and its ravages. I wished my dad were here. He’d be by my side. He is by my side. So is Leah. She walks within me, beside me. I cannot remember her except in photos. But I know on that day, yesterday she burned in my mind as bright as that sign of hope.

I hope to raise more next year. Thank you and I love all of you for support and raising me up with your hope when I cannot do it myself.

The Gracie Foundation

Everyone needs a little pampering, a surprise gift of love, and no one moreso than a person with metastatic breast Cancer. The Gracie Foundation provides all that and a deep feeling of warm love in a priority mail box to its recipients. I received mine on Monday and not a moment too soon, either. You can nominate yourself or be  nominated by someone else to receive the amazingly beautiful and incredibly useful, high quality priducts to make breast cancer treatments just a little easier to bear. In my box: a large bottle, with pump, of body lotion; a scented soy candle; a cooling eye mask; a bath scrunchie; a gray knit cap; pink warm socks; an awesome mug for a big cup of tea; delicious scented soap; a pen and todo pad for chemo brain days; face cleansing wipes; and a book explaining the origins of the idea and the woman who founded this wellspring of love to carry on her legacy through giving even beyond her physical lifetime.

Gracie’s husband, who she married just a week before her fight with cancer ended, carries on her legacy and so he and volunteers ship off a little of Gracie’s beauty to others who need a bit of that special thing that made her a much loved woman of substantial giving.

Thank you, Gracie. Your spirit and soul fill my heart with beauty and joy, and I think that’s just what you had in mind. ♥️