Archive for September, 2009

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Racing for a Cure

September 25, 2009
Click here to hear Kathy Thompson's amazing story of survival

Click here to hear Kathy Thompson's amazing story of survival

On Sunday morning, downtown Toledo will become a battleground.  The enemy: breast cancer.  The warriors: 18,000-plus men, women and children.  The weapon: their feet!  

Many of the warriors already have battle scars: those wearing pink shirts and pink caps are breast cancer survivors.  This year, there will be more than 1,200 of them: some running, some walking, some being pushed in wheelchairs or riding on the trolley because they’re going through treatment and are simply too weak to take the steps.  If you watch the crowd, you’ll see people patting them on the back, cheering them on, and giving them hugs; complete strangers in some cases offering encouragement and thanks to those who continue to fight.  

And it’s not just ladies wearing those pink shirts.  At least three men who are survivors will be wearing pink too.  Surprised?  The only criteria for developing breast cancer is having breasts and that includes women and men.     

Some in the crowd have already lost loved ones to the enemy.   Leslie Droll’s family members will be there remembering their wife, mom and grandma.   The emotion is still raw for the Drolls.  Leslie just lost her battle a year ago after fighting breast cancer for 14 years.   She walked in the Race every year after her diagnosis, proudly wearing her pink shirt.   This year’s Race for the Cure is in Memory of Leslie Droll. 

Click here to hear Leslie Droll's inspirational story

Click here to hear Leslie Droll's inspirational story

Looking around in the crowd, it’s not hard to see why so many people participate.   People walk with names and pictures on their backs celebrating loved ones who are breast cancer survivors, and remembering loved ones who have died from the disease.   

As honorary chairperson for the NW Ohio/Komen Race for the Cure for the past 15 years, I’ve witnessed many incredible and inspirational stories:  high school friends reunited 20 years later on the race route, both wearing pink survivor shirts; a high school football team pushing a mom in a wheelchair; a 24 year old woman who’d shaved her head the night before the race because her hair was falling out from her chemo treatment. 

I’ve been completely inspired by so many scenes, but the one that always sticks with me happened a few years ago.  I was watching the first runners cross the finish line and I saw a woman in a pink shirt running toward me.  When she got about a block from the finish line, a man in the crowd pushed a little girl into the street.  She looked to be about 3 or 4 years old.  The runner in the pink shirt took her daughter’s hand and they finished the race together.  Tears were streaming down my face as I realized this is why we do this every year: so that little girl doesn’t have to lose her mom, and so that little girl doesn’t have to worry about being diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Since the first NW Ohio/Komen Race for the Cure in 1994, we’ve raised millions of dollars to help provide breast cancer screening, education and treatment to women right here in Northwest Ohio.  75% of the money stays in our community. Last year, more than 5,000 women in our area received mammograms, treatment, and support services through funds raised at the Race for the Cure.   The other 25% of the money raised goes to the national Komen for the Cure organization for breast cancer research.    Charity Navigator ranks Komen for the Cure as a 4-star charity, the highest ranking available.  That means your money is well-spent when you give to Komen. 

If you haven’t registered for this year’s Race for the Cure, what are you waiting for?

Think about those pink shirts.  Think about that little girl.  Then arm yourself with a pair of sneakers, and come prepared for battle Sunday, September 27th at 9 AM.  

I promise it will be an inspirational experience you’ll never forget.

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Where are your Manners?

September 12, 2009

I can hear it as clear as a bell in my mind: “Chryssie…where are your manners?”  It was something my mom said to me when I would shovel food in my mouth at the dinner table or when I would accidentally burp out loud after drinking a coke.   She didn’t yell about it, just playfully scolded so I would remember next time to behave more mannerly.   Teaching good manners is something I’ve always tried to be conscious of as I’m raising my daughter.    We are not born knowing how to use a napkin at the table or to chew with our mouths closed.  Gentlemen have to be taught to open a door for a lady, it’s not some innate law of nature knitted deep into the Y chromosome.  

So Wednesday night when President Obama was heckled on national television by a member of Congress during a speech on health care reform I thought,  “That man’s mother obviously didn’t teach him any manners.”   When I learned the heckler was Republican Congressman Joe Wilson from South Carolina, I was shocked.  Southern mothers ALWAYS teach their sons manners.  I can say this with certainty because my family is from the South.  It’s as much a rite of passage as lathering up for their first shave or buying their first corsage for a prom date.   

Click here to hear Joe Wilson's outburst

Click here to hear Joe Wilson's outburst

What could have possibly possessed this man who was elected by the good mannerly people of South Carolina to cast aside all rules of decorum and shout “You lie!” at the President of the United States in the middle of his nationally televised speech?  It’s a rhetorical question; I don’t have an answer but it’s been bothering me since it happened.  

We occasionally run video of lawmakers in other countries who settle their differences by throwing punches or slapping each other.  One time I even saw a man pull off another man’s toupee in frustration.  Whenever I see that I always think “Thank goodness that would never happen in the U.S. Congress.”   That’s why the outburst cut me to the core.  There was something so uncivilized about it.  Something so unmannerly.  Something so un-American.

Congressman Wilson has apologized to the President, and the President has accepted his apology.    But I’ll bet the congressman is dreading going home to see his mama.  You know the first question she’ll ask him: “Son, where are your manners?”

Click here to see Kanye's bad manners at the MTV Awards

Click here to see Kanye's bad manners at the MTV Awards

Serena Williams at the US Open

Serena Williams at the US Open

POSTSCRIPT:  Over the weekend, there were two other horrible examples of bad behavior/bad manners on national television.  Serena Williams at the US Open, and Kanye West at the MTV Video Awards.  I’ll bet their mothers are ashamed too!

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Special Kids, Special Help

September 3, 2009
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SPECIAL KIDS THERAPY

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SPECIAL KIDS THERAPY

As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids.  So what would you do if you knew your child needed a special medicine or special therapy you couldn’t afford?  Thousands of parents in our area agonize over this every day as they are turned down by insurance companies.  Tammy and John Eisenreich were in that position.  Their son, John was diagnosed with autism, and needed a special speech therapy their insurance company wouldn’t pay for.  They were scrambling to figure out a way to come up with the money when they found “Special Kids Therapy” in Findlay.

SKT is a unique organization, run entirely by volunteers and the agency is licensed to help people in the entire state of Ohio.   It is primarily a funding organization.  In other words: if you don’ t have the money to pay for something that would benefit your special needs child, they can provide a grant.  No special need is too great or too small.  They have funded traditional therapies, like the speech therapy the Eisenreichs needed, but they also grant money for kids to swim with the dolphins, take ballet classes, or go horseback riding.  And parents with special needs kids know those “extras” are NEVER covered by insurance.  

SKT also has an incredible multi-sensory playroom that special kids can use throughout the week.  The “toys” are hi-tech and fun for the kids, but definitely serve a therapeutic purpose at the same time. 

This  Friday at the Hancock County Fair, a special concert will benefit these special kids.   Billy Ray Cyrus, Julianne Hough and John Michael Montgomery are among the big stars who will rock the stage September 4th in Findlay.  Tickets are $40–and all the proceeds goes to SKT.  

Have a great time, hear some great music, and help out some great kids at the same time!

CLICK HERE FOR CONCERT TICKETS AND INFORMATION