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. ♥️