Spreading

So,

Despite all good intentions, I’ve once again been away from blogging for an extended period of time.  We’re mostly settled in to the new place, I’m working, Dru’s making friends and doing well at daycare, and Kris is doing well in his new job.  

But October always is a busy month for us anyway.  It’s Kris’ birthday, a number of family member and close friend birthdays happen, and our anniversary.  Now that Dru’s big enough, he had 2 birthday parties to attend, and there’s Halloween tomorrow, of course.  But it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness Month and World Series Season, so everything seems to be happening at once.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month arouses mixed feelings for me.  I don’t think we should need a month to push awareness of this – I don’t think you can turn around without bumping into someone whose life has been changed by Breast Cancer.  My maternal grandmother had breast cancer in the 80’s and wore a prosthesis the rest of her life (except when she forgot it in hilariously random places).  My mother-in-law’s dear friend lost a battle with breast cancer last year, and her family is still learning to cope with her absence.  Needless to say, I don’t know that there’s anyone out there anymore who ISN’T aware of breast cancer.  I appreciate the walks, and the fundraising push, but I don’t know that we should be focusing on awareness so much as Prevention, and I know that there is a larger push for prevention awareness now than there used to be.  

I know that it’s not fun to think about having to check yourself, but all of us, men and women, need to be getting checked regularly for all cancers – if you’re eligible for a cancer screening, whether breast, colon, prostate, etc, PLEASE get checked.  And for those checks you can do at home – especially breast checks – do them!  Get your partner involved, they have a vested interest in keeping you healthy as well!  It was something that we, as girls, were briefly taught how to do the self-exams, I think I even received a little door hanger thing showing me the steps.  However you get the info, use it.  And if you find something odd, don’t wait, talk to your doctor.  I’d much rather be embarrassed because I had a clogged milk duct then find out I ignored a serious problem because I was afraid of being paranoid (that’s a fun paradox isn’t it).

As for the World Series, well it kind of ties in, doesn’t it?  The past few years, the World Series has been doing a Stand Up To Cancer Push, and actually, that’s a bit more towards what inspired this post.  One of my oldest friends has an uncle who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year.  Recently, a group of students at the High School where he taught (in Troy, MO) started a fundraising and awareness campaign in his honor.  It’s trending on Twitter, they’ve got pictures and signs from the World Series (GO RED SOX!) and it’s becoming a huge thing.  I think it’s great that social media is being used to help this man and his family.  It’s always been my belief that social media can be a great tool, even if it’s used usually as a way to overshare pictures of hamburgers or thoughts about kittens.  

So, even though October is almost over, let’s continue spreading awareness and prevention.

 

#TheMixMovement

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Giving

Like many people right now, we’re not flush with cash.  But I still have a desire to give back.  When I was in high school, I regularly participated in the local soup kitchen.  When I was in college, I helped build houses with Habitat for Humanity.  After college, time seemed to get away from me, and it was harder to do.

I don’t remember how, but I discovered freerice.com back in 2007 or 2008.  It’s run by the World Food Programme.  When it first started, it was a vocabulary game.  Every right answer earned rice, which was donated to those in need.  Now I love vocab games, so I did it religiously for a while.  Then I completely spaced out and forgot about it.

Right before Thanksgiving, I rediscovered it.  They’ve expanded the options.  Now, it’s not just vocab words, you can do chemical symbols, SAT Prep, multiplication, and foreign languages.  In a total of about 45 minutes, I donated almost 3500 grains of rice.  I’ve done it more sporadically since then, but I’ve been going back and doing it.

Today, I clicked on the link to the totals of rice donated over time.  Here’s what they have to say:

  • Year 2007
  • Year 2008
  • Year 2009
  • Year 2010
  • Year 2011
  • Year 2012
  • Year 2013
  • 12 255 121 230
  • 43 942 622 700
  • 16 773 400 950
  • 13 198 863 280
  • 8 218 094 800
  • 3 351 398 496
  • 89 679 890

Now, the site started in late 2007, so 2008 was its first full year in action.  Since then, the numbers have dropped drastically.  So I’m challenging myself (and anyone else who wants to join me) to get it back up to at least where it was in 2010.

It’s a way you can give back without spending a dime.  And since we can’t really afford to donate money, time is all we have.  But I can spend 15 minutes and donate 1000 or more grains of rice.  According to their website, it takes about 19000 grains of rice to feed an adult for a day (averaged, not exact), so while it takes some time to build that up, you’re getting some education, some fun, and they’re getting what they need as well.  So maybe instead of messing around on other websites, we could all try and give 15 minutes a day to this cause.  I’m certainly going to try.

Raising

Awareness.

Most of you are aware of the plethora of ways people are supposedly raising awareness for breast cancer and other illnesses.  The most recent one for breast cancer sent me over the edge.  In the past they’ve simply annoyed me, but this one seems particularly bad.

The messages I was getting yesterday told me that I needed to make my status “I’m x weeks and craving y” x being determined by the month I was born, and y being determined by the the date of my birth.  In my case, it would be “I’m 12 weeks and craving bananas.”  Here is why this bothers me so much.  THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BREAST CANCER.  Instead, it’s designed to get people commenting on the poster’s status – apparently about a pregnancy.  It’s HUGELY insensitive.  Whoever came up with this idea didn’t stop to think about a couple of things.  What about women who can’t conceive?  Couples who have been trying and trying and are now being asked to make light of something that important to them.  Or people who are not close (geographically) to their families.  What if I had posted that I was 12 weeks and craving bananas?  Most likely I would have been flooded with congratulations posts (as I was when we announced that we were pregnant with Dru) and my parents and friends that would NEVER find out that kind of information first on FB would have seen that and known that I hadn’t told them.  Which is why this version upset me so much.

So I decided to post a different status: “Okay, I have a better idea than trying to confuse people – I SUPPORT BREAST CANCER AWARENESS. I donate, I walk and I wear the ribbon. Please, instead of spending time on FB confusing people, bring real awareness and help.  Thank you”.  I didn’t really do it to start a war, but I wanted to put out there that I do, in fact, support Breast Cancer awareness (as well as other causes) through REAL effort.  I then posted a call to action for those who chose to step up.

I am walking in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Walk (their breast cancer walk) with Kris’ office team on October 16th, 2011 in Hoffman Estates.  Here’s the link to my walk page.

For those of you who are willing to step up and not just be attention whores on FB, support me or someone else in walking, walk yourself, or maybe just post what I posted as my status.  Let’s bring REAL awareness here.

And don’t forget – men can get breast cancer too (and lose loved ones to it) so there’s no good reason to set out just to confuse them.

And yes, I understand the ostensible purpose of these statuses.  But as someone on my status said last night (I think it was Brandee) it tends to trivialize and annoy more than raise awareness.  So instead of playing games, let’s make a difference.

Giving

So I was recently considering my crafting status, and realized that though I have attempted knitting briefly in the past, I never really got into it.

In talking to Kris, I then decided that in my quest for the perfect winter hat, and my obsession with sweaters, it’s probably a good thing to give it another shot now that I have both time and (theoretically) patience.  So I started scouting the internet for knitting sites, in need of patterns and tips.  I stumbled across a site which has plucked at my heart-strings and my sappy nature – www.headhuggers.org  Basically, the woman who started the site is a knitter who is planning on making hats for people undergoing medical treatments and in need of hats.  And just in case I fail miserably at knitting (it could happen) she has a bunch of patterns whose owners have offered to allow her to distribute them for the charity, and they include sewn hats – so I have a backup plan!

After reading the rest of her site, I found links to two more sites which de-Grinched me even further.  Sue (the site’s owner) also runs a charity knitting/crocheting/etc for newborn babies in need.  Most of you who know me at all, know that babies are my big weakness.  A baby in need is my Kryptonite.  So I jumped over to this site – www.miracleshappen.us and decided that I needed to stop clicking so that I could stop melting.

Going back to the Head Huggers site, I then scrolled to the very bottom – where I saw a link to another melt-your-heart site – http://www.cleaningforareason.org/ which provides 4 free housecleaning sessions (1 per month for 4 months) to women undergoing chemo nationwide.

As I sat here looking at my computer and turning to goo, I decided that I HAVE to start knitting now.  Because my gooey caramel center demands it of me.  I will learn to knit, and then donate the CRAP out of my projects.

This is my new plan.  Who wants to join me?

Also, I really want a cute winter hat that fits.