With May just around the corner, I have the PERFECT Mother’s Day gift!  In the past, The Trillium Project has paired with individuals for fundraisers.  With my prodding, we did a group fundraiser this time.


Imagine a room full of children, ages 4-16.  All of whom have a mother who have heard the words, “You have breast cancer.”  We had a painting party, involving 15 families.  The kids had a great time painting various pictures.  Some were distracted…some intensely focused…many laughing.  The paintings were then cut in to smaller pieces for necklace charms and magnets.  Each woman selected a signature word to write on each piece.  They are beautiful, unique pieces of artwork.  I’ve added a group picture to the photo gallery.


My word is BELIEVE.  You can check out the website to see the 15 individual wordswww.thetrilliumproject.org and click on YSC fundraiser.  Then you can click on each name to see the individual bio, reason for choosing the word, and the paintings that are made into jewelry.  You’re invited to join us for the fundraiser sale at Hessel Park Church (700 Kirby Ave., Champaign) on Sunday May 6th from 5-7 pm.  Here’s my bio to give you a glimpse of the significance of BELIEVE:


I was 30 years young, nursing my 8 month old baby when I found the lump. After the diagnosis settled in, I was determined to get through the year. My “to-do list” included a lumpectomy, 6 months of chemo, and 7 weeks of daily radiation. I thought then breast cancer would be behind me. One year from the date of my surgery I decided to celebrate being cancer-free with a tattoo of a cross with a pink ribbon hanging on it.  It’s on my left foot to remind me that my faith has been crucial in this journey.  Just weeks later, a scan showed a recurrence in the breast. Another scan showed several lesions in my bones. I was 31 and forced to confront the illusion of immortality due to a terminal diagnosis. I decided my focus would be to see my son go to kindergarten. At the time, he was almost 2, and I knew the odds were against me seeing this goal. I continued on in treatment until my body couldn’t keep up with working full-time, being in treatment, and being a divorced, single mom. So, I left my job and when statistically I should have been dead, I created my bucket list, which I named The Magic 7 of 2011. After accomplishing all 7, I wrote a memoir to thank those who helped me in my feat. “Learning to Live Legendary” was a surprise to everyone! I truly am content in my life. I’ve learned my time is a precious commodity. I’ve also learned that quality of life is extremely important, especially when quantity of life is unknown. With this new year came a new theme: the Delightful Dozen for 2012. One goal, each month of the year. My goal for August…taking my son to his first day of kindergarten.  I’ll drop him off, then head to get another tattoo that says BELIEVE.


Living legendary as a mom with Stage IV breast cancer. Author of Learning to Live Legendary and What You Might Not Know: My Life as a Stage IV Cancer Patient.

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