Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year

Wow! It's been over three months since I last wrote anything. It has been a bittersweet few months. I'm beginning this new year with much optimism and a healthy outlook.

Most of you who know me and follow this blog (if there's anyone left out there), know that Jessica Kaylor, my friend Janette's niece, passed away in October from breast cancer. Jessica and her aunts have kind of been like "Blog" friends, long distance from Texas. It was quite a tragedy for me when she passed away as she had a deep impact on me and my diagnosis. I understand she was diagnosed at stage 4, and I at stage 2, but I still felt a "sisterhood" as we were both diagnosed within a few weeks of each other. Life is unexpected and turns on a dime. Who's to say when it's your turn to go. Live every day to the fullest.

New Year's eve I found out that my friend Kristi, (my sister-in-laws sister) had a PET scan as a follow-up to her treatments and there are spots on her lung and lymphnodes. She had breast cancer (Stage 3) before I was diagnosed and had surgery, chemo, and the works. Now after years of remission, it seems to be back, now in other places. She also has 3 children my kids ages.

Are you sick of hearing about all this? I am. That's why I can't just sit and do nothing. That's why I started Community Cares. That's why I am trying to do my small part to help.

This past year I was able to help about 10 mom's dealing with cancer treatments or other type disease by providing their families with meals, laundry or cleaning. That's 10 moms, 10 dads, and about 23 children.

I was able to get about 19 business sponsors some of which are: In Putnam - Club Fit, Chili's, Dantes, Four Brothers, Ye Old Lantern, Fratelli's, Arturo's, Bucci Brothers, Dish, Charlotte Berwin Fine Foods, and Stahly's Deli, in Poughkeepsie - Chili's, Olive Garden and Bagaboo Creek and the list goes on...

I did all this with the help of all my volunteers. They all deserve a huge thank you and "pat on the back": Tracey, Joanne, Cheryl, Belle, Lisa, Sandra, Ann, and Karen. There are so many others to thank! And the list goes on...

I am humbled by the amount of donations that Community Cares has received. People putting their hard earned money up for a good cause, one I believe so strongly in. Each time I get a donation, it solidifies my resolve and says, "Yes, I believe in what you are doing, too!"

I had two fundraisers at Chili's, who have been WONDERFUL, and a great support for this cause. I need to thank Janette Yetter for her help with the Pancake Breakfast! I couldn't have done it without you!!

I was also honored to receive a nomination from the Cornell Cooperative Extension for the volunteer award ceremony they have at Guideposts. I was very humbled and honored to be recognized amongst so many here in Putnam County.

This past year has been a learning experience in the midst of the chaos of raising 3 children and caring for a wonderful husband. I feel like I'm holding on by the skin of my teeth, and it's quite a ride. "Thank you, Lord for another wonderful year!" and the best is yet to come!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Community Cares Chili's Fundraiser

Here is me and Elizabeth at our first Community Cares fundraiser. We are planning another one Saturday, October 18, from 8am to 10am also at Chili's. It's a pancake breakfast and raffle. I'll be selling tickets $5 for kids, $8 for adults. All proceeds go directly to Community Cares and are tax deductible.

Community Cares is a non-profit I started last year that provides support to families with children whose primary caregiver is going through cancer treatments. We provide donated meals from restaurants, cleaning services, laundry services, and babysitting services. It is all provided to our clients free of charge, therefore, we rely on donations from the community.

We are always looking for volunteers to deliver meals, teenagers seeking community service for babysitting, as well as business sponsors. I really want to get a nice website up this year. I'll keep you posted. For now, check out our site at

Me & My Girls

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Honoring My Grandma

I did an interview for Community Cares for the Support Connection Newsletter. You can download a copy if you click on the Support Connection link on this page. Than look for the Spring Newsletter. I am in the Survivors section. They did a nice job!

As many of you know, my grandmother passed away last week. I went to Nebraska for her funeral. She will be missed. My family is taking donations in her memory and donating it to Community Cares. I was very touched and honored.

I gave a eulogy to honor her memory. Here it is:

When I thought about saying a few words about my grandma, I started thinking about a million stories, memories, trips we've taken. How she's been there my whole life and been to everything no matter where I lived, or what it was for. It's difficult to boil it all down into a few words, so I'll just highlight some of my recollections.

My grandmother has been there for me my whole life, 43 years... but that's not even half her life. She had a whole life before I was born. I often thought of her growing up in Minnesota, going to the lake, spending time with her family. She went to Johnson High School and graduated in 1932 and she ran track. I know, she gave me her class ring because I graduated in 1982 and I also attempted to run track. She worked at Montgomery Wards, married my grandpa when she was 21, and had a little baby girl, my mother, for her 22 birthday. At their 50th wedding anniversary I found out that they eloped and got married. After they had my mom, they had two more children, which turned into 9 grandchildren, which turned into more than 14 great grand children. They were married for 60 years. She taught me something about commitment.

My grandma was sweet, funny, humble, solid gold, self confident, generous, honest and strong. She was one of those people who would give you the shirt off her back, yet was uncomfortable taking anything back. If I bought dinner she was always digging in her purse to pay for her share (just like my mom). She deserved diamonds and gold and riches, but was happy with what she had. She was a true giver, always giving of herself, never asking for anything return, and never expecting anything in return. She taught me something about generosity.

I never heard her yell, cuss, never drink more than one glass of wine, I never heard her gossip or talk bad about anyone. She taught me about self control.

One of my greatest memories in my life, not just of my grandma was when we went to Sweden, with my mom, Diane, and Grandma. Spending time with her in Sweden is one of those gifts in life that don't come along that often. Going from house to house, tracing our families history, hearing stories, visiting churches, seeing pictures of her family. We were welcomed like royalty in Sweden by everyone and I know that was because of the great respect and love for my grandma. Everyone loved and respected her. From every walk of life, everyone who met her. She taught me something about respect, giving it and receiving it.

She didn't always have it easy, and life was sometimes hard, but you never knew it. She walked on, head held high, no complaints, no mater how she felt or how hard times may have been. She taught me something about humility.

I remember as a child always getting together at my grandparent's house for dinner. We would go over to their house and play tag, watch home movies, play cards, play in the basement. When we were kids the yard and grandma's house seemed so much bigger and so much fun. First thing we'd do is open the drawer in the dining room and pull out some crayons and coloring books. She made the best oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn. She made the best chocolate pies, pecan pies, pumpkin pies. She made the best Christmas cookies, which she made every Christmas, even this past Christmas. She always made pies at Thanksgiving, cookies for Christmas. After church, we would stop by and she'd take out her homemade sweet rolls, always ready when someone dropped by. She taught me the comfort of home and tradition.

My grandma was there for everything from birthday's and dance recitals, to baptisms and weddings, from the birth of my children to my cancer treatments. And I know she was there for all of her children and grand children, and even her great grandchildren. We always felt like we were the most important, and loved. She taught me something about the importance of family.

Some of my earliest memories are going on trips with my grandparents to the lake or to Minnesota. We would always stop at the gas station and they would buy a sack of candy bars and we would pick which ever candy bar we wanted. I loved that. She told us stories and jokes in the car on the ride. She loved to do puzzles, crochet, and play the piano. Some hobbies I also share with her. As many of you know she liked to go to the boat and put a few dollars in the machines. That was her social life. She enjoyed it! Whenever we got together we always played cards and laughed so hard. That kind of laughter is so genuine and fun and soul cleansing. Some of the best laughs I had in my life were with my grandma. She taught me something about just having fun!

Each of these recollections sounds small and ordinary. My grandmother wasn't rich or famous. She didn't have a big career, or fancy house, or was adored by thousand of fans. But each story adds up to a wonderful extraordinary, special women who was truly great. She is someone to live up to, someone to emulate, someone to tell future generations about. The don't make them like her anymore, but we can remember in our own lives the lessons she taught us, and take them with us. She lives on in each one of us.

I don't know haw many of you listen to country music, but there's a song by Kenny Chesney called don't blink. I goes "take each breath God gives you for what it's worth... Don't Blink, just like that your 6 years old and your taking naps,and you wake up and your 25 hight school sweetheart becomes your wife, don't blink you just might miss your babies growing like mine did, turning into moms and dads, next thing you know your better half of 50 years is there in bed and your praying God takes you instead, trust me friend 100 years goes faster than you think, so don't blink, life goes faster than you think." the last words my grandmother said to me was "I love you", so I'll make them my last now, I love you grandma...We'll see you again someday...

Come To the Community Cares Fundraiser

There will be a Community Cares Fundraiser, June 23 at Chili's Somers by the Stop & Shop. 10 % of your total check will be donated to Community Cares. Just mention to your server that you are there for Community Cares. We will have flyers on hand to pass out to give to your server, but just mention it to your server so Community Cares gets the donation.

Check out the Community Cares web site (which will be soon revised) at

More to come.....

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's Been 3 Years Since My Diagnosis - Still Strong

It's been a while since my last post. I sure hope there is someone out there. Three years ago in February, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was the ride of my life. I went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. It was the worst experience of my life and yet makes me stronger and gives me purpose each and every day.

Having been through all that and now looking back it is very painful. I think my way of going forward and not looking back is what I am doing with Community Cares, the non-profit I started and am now working almost full time to help moms going through cancer, or other major illness take care of their children by delivering meals, housecleaning, laundry, babysitting, transportation, etc. All donated by businesses in our community.

It is so painful for me to have been through all that and see other friends diagnosed within a few months of me still fighting, still getting treatments, and yet still optimistic, and still strong. Jessica and Cathy, you are my hero's, you are. Its very hard for me to look back, I can only look forward. With every mom that I help, I dedicate it to Jessica, Cathy, and all the mom's out there who are raising their families in the midst of this nightmare of cancer and still find the strength to encourage everyone else.

My pain today doesn't come from the fact that I went through this. It comes from the fact that people I care about are still in the trenches. I pray everyday for you and a cure to this disease. I'm not a doctor or a researcher, but I will do everything I can to help women diagnosed with this to live better lives. I am just a mom, but I can do what I can do to help.

Okay, thanks for listening. I get a little emotional this time of year. It's when my journey through this began 3 years ago. I've been done with treatments for 2 years now. I am stronger than ever and ready for great things!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

May you have a very happy and healthy new year! We are very blessed this year as always to be healthy and very happy. This is the year I will get my non-profit off the ground. In case you don't know, it is called Community Cares. We help families where the primary caregiver is diagnosed with a major illness like cancer, or MS and we help out with laundry, house cleaning, meals, etc. Anything that will help families with small children deal with the day to day of maintaining a household while going through chemotherapy, or other debilitating health issue.

We work strictly on donations from the community. We depend on the generosity of local restaurants, laundries, and house cleaning businesses as well as donations from individuals and businesses.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, you really don't know what to expect. When I went through chemo, I had lots of help from my family and friends. Unfortunately, there are people who are not as fortunate and may be away from family, or maybe don't want to be a bother, or even think they can do it on their own and don't want to ask for help. Whatever the situation, we are here to help. All our services are confidential and free of charge for our clients. Because our services are free of charge, we depend on donations to help out. I'll keep you posted on our progress. It seems like someone everyday is diagnosed with cancer and has children to raise. It's not easy, but that's where Community Cares help out!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

MS Walk, May 20

May 20th is the Sayegh Law MS Walk in Carmel at the Carmel Firehouse. I hope you can make it to the event and participate. It is always a fun event even if you don't walk. The following weekend in Memorial Day Weekend, and I am organizing a community tag sale in my neighborhood that will raise money for the MS Walk. So far I have four neighbors participating and willing to donate a portion of their sales to the Walk, and others donating items for sale. The Tag Sale will be Friday and Saturday, Memorial Day weekend, May 25th and 26th from 9:00 am to 4:00pm. The sale is located off of Archer Road to Oak Pond Lane. Follow the signs around the neighborhood to each house hosting a tag sale. I'll look forward to your support with a great cause.