Does Cancer Cancel School?

Gotta love how kids keep things light.

Ten-year-old Joey asked me the other day, “If you have cancer, do I have to go to school?”

“Yes,” I told him.

He continued: “If you have a really big surgery, do I have to go to school?”

“Yes,” I told him.

This went on for a few more questions, and, now, I think he knows that he’ll pretty much report to school regardless of my health status. Good try, though!

Read More

‘You Are the Best Medicine’ Book Giveaway

book-cover400jd090310
harpercollinschildrens.com

You probably know Julie Aigner Clark best as the mom who launched the wildly-popular Baby Einstein empire. I know her voice was ever-present in my house during those early years with baby Joey. He was not a very happy and content boy, but Baby Mozart and Baby Bach helped infuse our crankiest days with a little joy. We liked Baby Santa’s Music Box, too, and even though Joey is now 9 years old, and his brother is 7, that Christmas DVD is still in our media cabinet. Yea, a good Spring Fall clean is in order.

Julie has accomplished more than just engaging little ones, though. She has partnered with John Walsh, host of “America’s Most Wanted” to create The Safe Side (all about kid safety), and there’s also Memory Lane (for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia). And now, what might be my very favorite is her new book, “You Are the Best Medicine.”

Julie (a two-time breast cancer survivor) wrote the book, Jana Christy illustrated it, and WOW, what a treasure for parents with cancer who want to explain the disease to their young kids in the most delicate and gentle manner.

In her book, Julie draws parallels between navigating cancer and growing up:

For a while I will have to take medicine that makes me feel bad, and this medicine will make all my hair fall out. I will look different. But I will laugh when I remember your own sweet little baby head, how round and bald it was, and how warm it was on my lips when I kissed it every day.

I like Julie’s overall message — that children can help parents feel better, just like mom and dad do for them; that cancer can be a tough; that life can return to normal; that love and kindness really are the best medicine.

I also like that 100% of the proceeds from the sale of her book go to breast cancer research, and oh, best of all, I hope to soon talk with Julie herself. Just as soon as I do, I’ll publish my interview here. If you’ve got a question you’d like me ask her, please leave it in comments!

So, do you think you want to read Julie’s book? Well, then, I recommend you get yourself a copy. But first, throw your name in the hat and try to win one for free. Right here. Right now. All you need to do:

  • Leave a comment and share why you want this book in your hands!
  • Leave your comment no later than 5PM ET on Tuesday, September 14, 2010.
  • You may enter only once.
  • Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia, who are 18 and older.
  • One winner will be selected in a random drawing. using random.org.
  • One winner will receive one book, valued at $16.99.
  • Winners will be notified by email, so make sure to check next week to find out if you’ve won!

Best wishes!

Read More

Cancer Survivor Rebecca Needs Your Vote!

hair-4-you-400jd060910
Vote right now! And thank you!

My new two-time-cancer-surviving friend Rebecca needs your vote. You see, she is trying to get a charity called Hair 4 You off the ground. It’s a great one, and the goal is that it will provide free wigs for kids and teens with medical hair loss. In order to make it all happen, though, Hair 4 You needs to become an official non-profit 501(3)c, which means Rebecca needs some funds.

No, she doesn’t want your money, just your vote (voting is absolutely free and requires only an email address and password).

So, can you pretty please stop by the Pepsi Refresh Challenge website and cast your vote for this 24-year-old, who would really love to win a $25,000 prize. Imagine what she could do to brighten the worlds of young people who just want to feel normal. And hey, you can vote once every day, so start now, then keep voting through June 30.

Rebecca thanks you.

I do, too.

Also, you should consider becoming a Facebook fan of Hair 4 You. This way, you’ll get updates on how Rebecca’s cause is coming along.

Read More

Charting My Survival, One Kid at a Time

Easter 2010
Easter 2010

All I have to do to chart my progress post-cancer is to look at these kiddos. The one on the far left is Danny. He was 18 months old when I was diagnosed. He’ll be 7 in May. Next to him is cousin Jordan,  a brand new baby at the time (and now 5), she sat with my mom at all of my chemo infusions. Jordan’s sister Tori, almost 3, was not even a thought when breast cancer consumed our lives. And Joey, almost 4 all those years ago, is now a big ‘ol 9-year-old.

What did I count this Easter, besides the 125 eggs I hid in our yard? My blessings. Here are four of them!

Read More