Monthly Archives: July 2015

The #Ribboning Movement: Participate in the #Ribboning Relay

MyLifeLine.org initiated the first ever National #Ribboning Day on July 16, which was inspired by MyLifeLine.org members, Jen and Britton.

Jen and Britton are two caregivers who independently journeyed with their spouses, who lost their battles with terminal cancer in 2011 and 2012, respectively. They later met through a personal connection with MyLifeLine.org and were married on July 16, encouraging their wedding guests to ignite the #Ribboning movement.

“MyLifeLine.org supported Britton and me during a very dark part of our lives, and we want to support them however we can,” said Jen Garza, member of MyLifeLine.org, and Executive Director of Texas4000 for Cancer. “#Ribboning is our way to keep love going.”

We are excited to share the overwhelming response of celebrities, businesses and nonprofits who have joined us in raising awareness and supporting all people impacted by cancer by sharing their #Ribboning photos or posting about the movement.

  • InStyle and Zac Posen shared some stylish #Ribboning photos
  • Ralph Lauren joined the movement by having four of their models ribbon
  • The SAG Awards team posted their #Ribboning photo
  • Sacramento Kings Head Coach George Karl and family posted a #Ribboning photo
  • People.com thinks #Ribboning might just become this year’s planking
  • The Ellen Show says all the cool kids are #Ribboning

Join the #Ribboning Relay
We are continuing to raise awareness for all people affected by cancer through the #Ribboning Relay, and we are passing the baton to you, asking everyone to either ribbon or give.

Participating in the #Ribboning Relay is Easy:

  1. Have a picture taken of yourself in a “Ribboning” pose with your body in the shape of a cancer ribbon.
  2. Post the picture to Facebook with #Ribboning and share who you are Ribboning for. For example, “I am Ribboning for my Aunt Barbara.”
  3. Pass the baton – tag friends and ask that they participate by #Ribboning and passing it on or by giving at www.ribboning.com.

ribboning

 

Jen + Britton: Inspiring Compassion and Caregiver Awareness on first ever National #Ribboning Day

At MyLifeLife.org, we are blessed and inspired by the unique and extraordinary stories shared by our members.

Today, July 16, is a celebration for two reasons. It is not only the wedding day of special friends, Jen + Britton. It is also the first National #Ribboning Day, inspired by Jen + Britton’s journey from love to loss to love again.

Jen has said this isn’t your average “boy meets girl” love story. Jen and Britton met after tragic circumstances. They married the loves of their lives, Ruben and Jax, who both passed away from cancer just months apart from each other in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Jax and I bonded when she was using MyLifeLine.org after her breast cancer diagnosis. She became an advocate for our cause, a volunteer and a friend. My favorite memory was when I visited her home with my 6-year old son, Ryan. She was so frail and so sick. Despite how she was feeling, she lit up when Ryan sat on her lap and they worked on a puzzle together. She wore a silly hat to make him laugh, and I took a photo of them together. I was shocked when Jax passed away a month later. She was young and positive and hopeful, which seemed immortal to me. I had met Britton, Jax’s husband, a few times and admired the way he cared for her.

I met Jen soon after Ruben passed. As Jen would say, she “searched” for me when she heard I was visiting the LIVESTRONG offices in Austin where she worked at the time. She graciously thanked me for creating the platform she needed to galvanize her personal community during Ruben’s time throughout hospice care. Jen used MyLifeLine.org to describe to her friends and family that they were living, not just dying, until the very end. Even when Ruben’s prognosis was grim, he squeezed more life and vitality out of his days.

While Jen + Britton struggled to cope with their devastating losses, I thought of them often. It didn’t feel right that they should suffer alone.

Since Jen lived in Austin, and Britton lived in Denver, their paths were not likely to cross. Until one day, an idea sparked in me…maybe they can help each other. Maybe they can find comfort in knowing someone else in the world just went through the same hell.

They gave me permission to introduce them over email and started writing to each other. Communications were slow at first, and eventually Jen came out to Colorado, and they met in person.

Happiness alert! The bonding created over their shared grief became more than that over time. They fell in love, Britton moved to Austin, he proposed, and they are getting married today.

The entire MyLifeLine.org team is celebrating the union of two people who deserve all the happiness in the world. As Britton says, Jax and Ruben are irreplaceable. Jen + Britton will move forward by framing this as a new chapter, and they are grateful to spend it together.

Now, how does their story connect us to National #Ribboning Day? At MyLifeLine.org, we started #ribboning last year on Instagram as a way to humanize the cancer ribbon you see on cars, retail windows and advertising on all channels. #Ribboning has come to symbolize that cancer is not about the color of a ribbon….it’s about the people. Cancer may be a disease, but it’s also a community, and we believe in compounding the emotional benefits of human support and unity.

#Ribboning is simple – have someone take a photo of you in the shape of a cancer ribbon and post it on Instagram. This movement caught on and people from all over the world have posted #ribboning photos to show support for cancer patients and survivors.

Jen + Britton inspired us to take #ribboning further and to proclaim their wedding day as National #Ribboning Day to raise awareness for the unique needs of caregivers. The emotional tidal wave of cancer doesn’t just hit the individuals diagnosed; it also hits those people closest to them.

On their own, Jen + Britton created a fundraising page to ask wedding guests to donate to MyLifeLine.org to “keep love going.” This fundraising page evolved into us creating a video that shares their story in their own words, and then the fundraising page migrated over to IndieGoGo with a bold goal and shared vision to raise awareness and funds for an organization dedicated 100 percent to providing free communication tools and services for cancer patients, caregivers, family and friends.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Jen + Britton’s wedding and National #Ribboning Day!

Visit our IndieGoGo page for Jen + Britton’s video story and learn about the #Ribboning Relay that will move MyLifeLine.org forward in our mission to serve millions of families in cancer’s wake.

Jen + Britton

5 steps to creating new beginnings after cancer

This is a guest blog post by Gina Costa-Goldfarb, breast cancer survivor and Certified Professional Coach. Gina-Costa-Goldfarb-Photo

Step 1: Define what the “new normal” is for you.
Survivors tend to look at their lives in a whole new way. At times, survivors may feel alone because of all of the involvement in their doctor appointments and treatment, or they may feel isolated because of the disease. It is up to you to create what your new normal is. This is a precarious time in your life filled with change, but you have a choice in how you want to create your life going forward.

During this stage we will explore how you want to move forward with relationships, with your career and how you want to integrate that back into your life if you have been absent from work. We will also explore how you want to live your life, how you can create healthier eating habits, exercise, meditation, etc., and what if any internal blocks are holding you back from creating the life that you want to live and what your “new normal” can look like.

Step 2: Follow up and self-care.

Following up for routine check-ups and testing is of utmost importance to maintaining your health. Self-care is just as important as is eating a well-balanced diet, exercising and staying hydrated. Self-care will keep you both mentally and physically fit. What can you do for you today that will make you feel good? Women are so used to doing for others that they often forget to love themselves. Go for a walk, go to the gym, go to a movie, go shopping, meditate, curl up on the couch and read a good book, get your hair and nails done. Get someone else help you, delegate things to others. Any action you can do to reduce stress and overdoing it while giving to yourself is what you need to do. Give up control and let others be responsible too. Diary something to do for yourself every day and add something special once a week. Work at establishing goals for yourself.

Step 3: Live in the Now

Living in the present moment is key to survival and keeping worry and anxiety about recurrence at a distance. In order to do this you need to slow things down a bit and focus on what you are doing in present moment, not the future. Mediate and get connected to yourself, to your spirituality. Deal with your emotions daily, feel the feelings. Experience life. We need to stop the chatter and voices inside our head with relaxation techniques. Live moments in each day instead.

Step 4: Survive to thrive
Living in the now will not only help you to survive, it will allow you to thrive in life. With less fear and worry in your life you will be able to focus on what it is that you want in life. Those of us who were “doers” need to learn how to just “be.”

Step 5: Create New Beginnings
What is your passion? What have you wanted to do all of your life? Looking back at your life pre- diagnosis, what do you want to change in your life and what do you want to keep? What serves you and what doesn’t? The time is now. Your time is now. Why wouldn’t you want to begin creating a vision and taking the steps to live into that place? What would that look like?

About the Author: Gina Costa-Goldfarb is a breast cancer survivor and Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner. She is the founder of New Beginnings Coaching Services, LLC. Gina helps women diagnosed with breast cancer cope, step-by-step, with the emotional and physical challenges they experience, so they gain confidence and feel in control of their life again. You can connect with Gina on her website, Facebook, or email gina@newbeginningswithgina.com.

new-beginnings-after-cancer

The Bucket – poetry by a cancer survivor

This week’s blog post is a featured poem by Linda Nielsen, a cancer survivor.

The Bucket © Copyright by Linda Nielsen

The doctor had the answer,
and the news, it wasn’t good.
With one word my world stood still,
I totally understood.

A bucket of icy cold water,
came cruelly sailing my way.
It’s the only way to describe,

my feelings that gloomy day.

Than that same cold bucket,
came crashing down upon my head.
It’s how I felt when told my options,
could surely leave me dead.

So through the grueling treatment,
I had to wonder at the irony,
drink those buckets of water,
was what they kept telling me.

Even though I did it all,
I really still wasn’t sure.
If my thoughts of surviving this,
wasn’t a little bit premature.

But here I am years later,
after thinking I’d surely be dead.
But instead of kicking the bucket,
I’ve planted flowers in it instead!

Linda Nielsen

Click here to check out more poetry by cancer survivors featured on MyLifeLine.org’s blog.

The Bucket by Linda Nielsen - Poetry by a Cancer Survivor