jillianduch
How do you tell the world your two-year-old is probably dying in 140 characters or less? Layla Grace's mom didn't - she spread it out over several Tweets last Friday at 
www.twitter.com/laylagrace





Layla Grace has Neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer (the same form of cancer Noah had). Last week, doctors told her family that despite the treatments, they had found new tumors. They started oral chemotherapy, which slows the tumor's growth rate in about half of these situations. A doctor also told them they should prepare like they have two months left for her.


This week's Crafters for a Cure focuses on Layla Grace's mom's dear friend, whose Etsy shop includes a necklace, bracelet and T-shirt with sales going toward Layla Grace's medical bills. Here's a little bit more about the shop, and Layla Grace, in Kinsey's own words.

What I create:
I create a collection of jewelry designed to bring awareness to Neuroblastoma, a very common yet aggressive form of childhood cancer. A friend of mine's daughter, Layla Grace Marsh, was diagnosed last year, and she has been in the fight of her life ever since. Each piece in my collection carries her name, and is handmade with the utmost care and for the cause.



My favorite piece in my Etsy shop is:
By far, my favorite piece is the hand stamped necklace. When making this piece, I tried to think of a single word that would represent Layla. Not only did I come up with one, but I thought of two. The first that came to mind was"courage". She is the most courageous person I have ever known, and her spirit is so strong that she inspires me. The second word is "faith". No one can say they have endured cancer without having faith. These words are one the necklace, along with an amethyst stone to represent cancer, and the awareness ribbon in gold to represent Neuroblastoma awareness.

Why I hate cancer:
I hate cancer because it is a vicious monster that knows no boundaries. It affects all people, young and old, with no regard to the pain it causes. I hate cancer because it will take of my oldest friend's 2 year old baby, despite how hard she has been fighting it.


The cancer initiatives I support:
I support as many cancer initiatives as I can. I run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, as well as support the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation. This year, I plan to participate in as many fund raising activities as I can to support Texas Childrens Hospital, who has treated Layla since her diagnoses.

What more people should realize about cancer is:
How awful it is. So many people have no idea how bad it is. It is painful to see what it does to those affected. To see a person transform into a shell of their former self. To watch a child lose her hair, lose astonishing amounts of weight, throw up, get poked and prodded, have surgery after surgery, all to lose the battle-it has forever affected me. I hug my child more than ever, just because he is healthy and here.

My favorite cancer-awareness slogan: "Cancer Sucks"

The biggest blessing in my life is:
Having a wonderful, healthy son, whom I get to hold everyday, and getting the privilege to learn such a great deal about life from a 2 year old little girl with a heart of gold.

Find out more about Layla Grace at:



P.S. Be sure to check out the Chailatteplease giveaway. Tell us who gives you great support. :)
jillianduch
Warning: This post is (mostly) about shameless self-promotion and brazieres. 
In that order.

Last year, when I was raising money for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, I made a million little notecards that I used as thank-yous and for fundraising. And now, I have piles of them sitting around, inside little cellophane envelopes that are collecting dust. So, I'm hosting a little giveaway to lighen the load.


Specifically, I'm giving away three sets of these cards, my favorite:




Here's how it works:



- Make sure you are a follower. Either on this blog, through google reader, or Twitter.
- Leave one (and only one) comment letting everyone know who gives you great support when you're sagging... who lifts up up and separates you a little ... who keeps you perky... You get the idea.
- If you tweet about this give-away go ahead and enter again in the comments section here.
- If you post about this give-away on your blog do the same and enter again in the comments section here.
- The giveaway will be open until 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1. Then, I'll use a random number generator to pick three winners. Make sure to leave an e-mail address or some other way for me to get ahold of you if you win. 
jillianduch
I've read a few blog posts about the New York Times and other papers charging for online content and started pondering -- would I pay for their news? Sadly, probably not. Unless I wanted a specific article I had heard about elsewhere and needed it for a specific reason.

I have no idea if I'm like everyone else, but in order to sign up for a regular subscription for something, I have to feel like it's a part of my daily life. I take time to consider whether the expense is worth it. Match.com - at one point, yes. Newsweek (paper version), at one point, yes, but those just gathered in piles of Things I Meant To Read. So, New York Times, no.

But, Facebook? Yes. I'm addicted. I usually log in a few times a day and would probably pay $10 or $15 a month for the privilege of browsing others' status updates and posting the mundane details of my life.

To recap some of the status updates I've posted in the last few weeks:

Jan. 26: After Tuesday even the calendar spells W T F... (borrowed from Adam Roberts)

Jan. 9: Borrowed advice: If you can’t make a decision in 9 seconds, you’re not ready to make that decision.

Jan. 7: hehe. the guy in line in front of me at walmart just bought 2 40s of beer and a pregnancy test.

Jan. 5: Happiness is ... "chasing" the dog with the hairdryer while I'm blow-drying my hair

Dec. 21: wonders what her dog is thinking when he stares at her SO intently. (Comment from Sarah Jo Brenner: Dog: I bet she'd be good with ketchup... lol)

Dec. 21: Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option. (Stolen from Krysta Harding.)

Dec. 12: A NASCAR fan and self-proclaimed gearhead told me tonight that I am better looking than his car. I haven't seen said car, so I'm going to take his word for it ;) (Yes, that was our second - and last - date. He seemed like a really nice guy; we just didn't click...)

Dec. 9: got a "fan e-mail" at work two days ago that still cracks me up. Direct quote: "Long live JILLIAN DUCHNOWSKI!"

Dec. 8: has a perverse urge to order pizza just to see how they deliver it in this snowfall...

jillianduch
This week, I donated $10 to Haiti relief efforts via text. While on a short work break.


Uber-easy. Super-convenient. I had meant to donate SOMETHING earlier. But then I didn't get around to it, pondered what an appropriate amount would be, and got busy with other things.


Sometimes I wonder if potential 3-Day donors get that way. They see you, talk with you about the walk, take your donation form with the best of intentions -- and then life happens.


I am by no means a fundraising super-star. (I started fundraising about 12 months before my last walk in October and adopted an "if at first you don't succeed, just keep on trying" approach. That was after I abandoned my original lofty goal of finishing all my fundraising by spring so I could focus on training for the summer.) But I pondered the convenience factor while I was exercising (and staring blankly at my reflection in the gym mirror) yesterday, and here are a few suggestions I've got:


* If you're on Facebook, set up a group page for yourself or your team right away.  Then, ask people to join and challenge your closer friends/supporters to ask 10 of their Facebook friends whom you don't know to join, too. You can use this group to write about why you are walking, post pictures, updates of your other fundraising efforts, and links to your fundraising page in a way that will remind people what you're doing without being too in-their-face. They might not donate right away, but if they keep seeing all your hard work, there's a better chance they'll donate before the event rolls around - plus, you'll have a nice virtual log of your efforts.


* Wear a conversation piece. Maybe a pretty pink breast cancer-themed bracelet. Or a training shirt that says something like "Ask me why I'm walking 60 miles in 3 days." Or a bar shirt that says "I love my big/itty bitty tatas. Ask how you can help them." Or dress your dog in a pink sweater when you take him for a walk. (I HAVE NOT done this ... but I might.) Then, when people take the bait and ask, tell them about the walk and ask them for an e-mail address so you can send them more info. That puts the responsibility to take action on you, not them.


* Use the 3-Day widgets. They can go on your e-mail signature or your blog. If you're logged into your 3-Day Participant Center, you can find the widgets under "Resources" on the upper left-hand side. They'll also post a Facebook application by the end of the month that's a little more extensive. You can see a sample of my widget here on my 20-Something Blogger page.


Any other easy fundraising ideas? My fellow online ambassador Leanne...the walker recently did a $10 Tuesday fundraiser and is seeking other ideas to compile into a huge blog post.






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jillianduch
I only got two comments about my Annarbor.com post. A postive(?) one:
Torn. Had a subscription but never received the paper. Since it's online - seems in real time and interactive. I read it now.
And a not-positive one:
The latter. [jillianduch: IE, s/he misses the Ann Arbor News.] People I talk to generally don't like annarbor.com. There aren't enough reporters, the comments can be very rude to each other, and the copy editing is terrible. They simply don't have enough copy editors or reporters. They probably don't have enough of anything, the names of contributors on the Contact Us page is completely out of date--people who left months ago are still listed. 
I check it most days but I don't read it the way I read the (traditional) paper and so I know I miss articles I would like to know about. I think most people I know feel that way, and a lot of them never open it up. I also miss having a real live paper. In print. To add insult to injury--the printed version is on a cheaper version of newsprint, which yellows very quickly in the sun. 
Last, but not least, people who got to reapply for their jobs generally got a) less money and b) much higher health insurance deductibles. So it was basically a way to screw the reporters, advertising people, etc. economically. Which does not make me feel good about the whole enterprise.

I also ran across an article on Poynter Online about an Ann Arbor community forum on life without a newspaper, which included some recent research into how folks these days get their news. And I laughed when I got to the comment from the man who missed re-using newspaper bags while walking his dog. (Dude, move on to plastic grocery bags...those even have handles.)


The consensus from the event seemed to be that online publications don't foster in-person discussion the same way printed newspapers do, don't support a community identity in the same way printed newspapers do, and don't utilize the same story-telling format that printed newspapers do.


Or at least the online publications that those readers read at that particular time. 


I'll admit, I've rarely seen a series of online comments on any publication that I could imagine happening in-person without creating some sort of public disturbance. Or a riot. (Side note: Dooce.com reacted to mean commenters by posting them all on a page with tons of ads. As in, be mean to me all you want, I'll use it for ad revenue. And the Bloomington, Ill., Pantagraph silenced online comments for an entire weekend because they had gotten so nasty.)


But I imagine readers/journalists will adapt to the other concerns. Hyper-local content, reader-submitted posts, and reader-uploaded pictures can be similar to engagement announcements and local press releases. And sure, breaking news posts are short and don't really have any "story-telling" elements, but some publications allow reporters to post longer versions online of articles limited in print by space. Engaging writing is engaging writing. If readers can handle Kindle, some will probably handle longer, well-written online news articles, too.


It sounds like the real problem might be creating brand loyalty and helping readers find content through the vast fragmentation that is the Internet and Twitter and Facebook. How many people will click through to read about how the local schools are spending tax dollars when they're distracted by e-mail, re-tweets about whatever it is that Kim Kardashian does with her time and ads about blasting belly fat? When you get a print newspaper, the choices were pretty much news, sports, lifestyle and ads...
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jillianduch
Handmade Help isn't a person. And it's probably not fair to call their works "crafts."


Handmade Help is a group of well-established artists who have been affected by cancer and want to help. All the profits are donated to a four-star cancer charity. I ran across their Etsy shop and fell in love with several pieces. The images on their Etsy site are copyright-protected from reproduction, so I didn't want to steal any to post here, but take the time to click on my links.

Like this one. Oh, and I totally love this. And thisAnd this one called "Civilized Graffiti." If you have an extra $200 lying around, feel free to buy it for me :)


I liked them so much, I stole borrowed some copy from their shop to tell you a little about them.


Who are they?
We are all artists who have a good deal of expertise in our chosen field of art. We have either a Masters Degree in our field, have been selected in juried shows, have won prizes, or all of the above.


Because the entirety of the net profit from all sales in this shop will go to cancer research, most, if not all, of our artists remain anonymous in honor of the good deed they are doing. Our prices may reflect a marked decrease in the amount one might expect to pay in another venue and our artists may be donating items they have been experimenting with, or items that are not in their usual medium. However, each artist has made their reputation and is not participating for self promotion -- you will see in the work, their talent.


(From Jillian: This is $19 worth of lipstick red fun.)


Who they support:
Our belief is that cancer can be cured, and that treatment can be improved.


Your purchase will help support cancer research through these four-star cancer research foundations: Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Cancer Research Institute, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation. As well, donations have and will be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, the American Cancer Society, and Stand Up to Cancer, where Handmade Help maintains a "team" where you can see contributions grow. You can see where their money goes by clicking here: http://www.standup2cancer.org/su2c/money 
Stand Up To Cancer's main site is: http://www.standup2cancer.org/


(From Jillian: They have some pretty political commentary. And boobies. And they accept custom orders!)


Where to find them:
Twitter: HandmadeHelp
jillianduch
I'm hardly a veteran 3-Dayer. I've walked twice, crewed once, and will crew again in August, but there are tons of people with many more miles and many more closing ceremonies worn into their feet. I know the 3-Day Web site offers tons of fundraising and training information (and great message boards), but there are some cool little things about the 3-Day I didn't learn until I got a little more involved. Here are a few:


The 60-Mile Men

They have a calendar. Yes, yes, they do. Each year, this Michigan-based non-profit features 12 male 3-Day participants (tastefully) not wearing much. It's funny, but they also tell you why they are walking/crewing and what effect breast cancer has had on them. Some have participated in two events; others more than 20. They sell the calendars and some apparel, and net proceeds are donated to Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in the names of the dozen men who bared it all for the world to see.

They are currently accepting applications for the 2011 calender. According to their application:


We have only two criteria for our calendar men:
  1. You MUST have participated as a walker or crew member in at least one prior Breast Cancer 3-Day
  2. You MUST be participating in at least one 2010 Breast Cancer 3-Day.
    And if you have seen our calendar, we (obviously) don’t care what you look like.



Underground Advice

The 60 Mile Men Web site also houses The NEW Underground Guide to the Breast Cancer Walks, a 40-page digital tome filled with advice and funny stories written by a veteran walker (who also posed for the calendar as Mr. October 2009.) He reminds us: A journey of a thousand miles must still begin with a single step.



Pink Beard Barry

If you haven't experienced the 3-Day before, it probably sounds strange when I say there's a VERY GOOD chance you'll see this guy at your event. But there is. Despite the fact that thousands of people walk at their own pace and take their own time at the "Pit Stops," you'll probably bump into a lot of people more than once.

And Barry tries to be everywhere. He's walked in 55 events since 2002 for a total of more than 3,400 miles and more than $135,000 raised, according to this article. He also was the 60 Mile Men's Mr. April 2009.

He's dedicated to either walking or crewing all 15 events in 2010. To walk them all, he needs to raise at least $34,500. As of this morning, he had $2,300 of it in the bag.


We raise our shoes



I don't know if this happens at all events, but it happened in Chicago and Washington D.C. the years I was there. During closing ceremonies, when everyone is tired and achy and still pumped full of Gatorade, a circle a breast cancer survivors walks onto the platform, and everyone takes off a sweaty walking shoe to "toast" the survivors. At a time when most really don't feel like bending over to untie their laces, the crowd reminds these survivors that they walked for them. And so someday there will be a world without breast cancer.




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jillianduch
I read a news article about the earthquake that hit Haiti for the first time today. Really.

I think I found out about the earthquake from a co-worker the first day after it happened, but (as insensitive and rude as it might be) I didn't really care to read about misery in a far-off place and significantly upgrade the amount of misery I processed in one day/week. Yeah, I guess I became one of those people who think: Why does there have to be so much BAD news in the news?

Obviously, it's an important news story. It just didn't drag me in.

Then, I started seeing commercials about donating to help Haiti via text message. I didn't quite understand how texting would help until I ran across a news column explaining that the money would go to the American Red Cross and that the donation would be added to your next phone bill. I can handle an extra $10 on my phone bill, so I considered texting. And actually did it this morning. (Here's another article about texting fundraising.)

But I still didn't read. Based on the headlines, I guessed: Haiti was a relatively poor country before the earthquake, so people are probably starving now. What infrastructure they have was probably destroyed (at least in some places), so water and sewer systems, etc., probably aren't working. Desperate people were probably looting and terrorizing those who weren't looting. Humanitarian aid would be too slow to get there, because when you are starving and thirsty, unless aid is there right now, it's too slow.

And, I'll be honest. I vaguely wondered where exactly Haiti was. I was pretty sure it was in the general area of Cuba. (It is. You can check out the CIA World Factbook profile of Haiti here.)

I also figured a lot of people died. Way more than in Sept. 11 or Hurricane Katrina. News coverage of both demanded my almost-undivided attention for hours, but both those happened at a time when I didn't have a full-time job. Or worry about managing my stress levels.

But now, I have a full-time job and do actively try to manage my stress so I can approach the problems I face as calmly and clearly as possible. I figure I have the ability to affect change in the situations in my personal sphere, but the change I could (potentially) effect in the situation in Haiti is so minimal that it's not worth expending the emotional energy involved in absorbing news coverage there. I might feel differently if I knew someone with relatives/friends/acquaintances in Haiti, but I don't.

Is this attitude insensitive? Politically incorrect? Another example of an elitist American attitude that undervalues Third World (non-white) cultures? Or is it an example of humans relating better to the local than the global?

I'll let you decide. :)
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jillianduch
I pouted and snapped a few pictures when I saw this at the Newseum in October:






It's not fun to think about newspapers closing or struggling to adapt to a new media environment. It's also not fun to realize that one of the newspapers on my resume no longer exists. (I interned at the Ann Arbor News in the summer of 2000. Am I too old to include my internships on my resume?)

But there's no use denying certain realities exist: multi-media reporting, an expansion of (cheap) advertising avenues, the RECESSION. There's also no denying that effective communication centers around talking to people in a means they can understand, using words they can understand.

So, about a week ago, I started stalking annarbor.com. Very casually, mind you, but I just wanted to see what they're all about. Now that the initial publicity has died down. And I was pretty impressed.

I'll admit I was only luke-warm about their website design (Where's the defined hierarchy of stories I learned about in my college newspaper design class? Where's the dominate art? Apparently, I'm not the only one who thought so. And, there's other fledgling news efforts in town.)

But the social-networking component is interesting. It looks like those who log in to comment can upload a picture and "follow" specific reporters. In a limited sense, reporters interact with their readers by posting comments on the story responding to basic questions and acknowledging if they corrected the story for some reason. It also appears that editors actively moderate the comments sections and post their own comments announcing that comments have been removed. They also politely encourage commenters to stay on the topic of the story.

I also really like their presence on Twitter and Facebook, where you can (for the most part, it seems) follow not only the news organization, but individual reporters. I assume that means if you care mostly about university coverage, or business coverage, you can follow the reporter who covers those beats and interact with them there if you want. That is probably similar to following the reporters directly on the news web site, but saves the reader from having to create a new profile and log-in on the newspaper site.

So, I kinda wonder: Do Ann Arbor area people love it, or miss the old Ann Arbor News?
jillianduch




Coffee syrup and pancakes! Oh my!



That's one of the packages JAVA & Co offers as part of its JAVA Pink for the Cure. This husband-wife team produces specialty coffee-infused syrup (in a variety of flavors!), sweets and other decadent goodies here in Illinois. A portion of the sales from JAVA Pink for the Cure line is donated to breast cancer awareness and research.
You can read a little more about them, in Jamie's own words, in this week's Crafters for a Cure.



What I create: Chef-inspired coffee infused specialty foods

My favorite product in my shop is: Hands down -
the coffee infused syrup. Not only is it versatile in the kitchen, it is truly decadent!

Why I hate cancer:
It’s a disease that knows no limits – young and old, male and female – it’s invasive, destructive and can be lethal.

The charities I support:
Charities for breast cancer awareness and the fight against breast cancer.

What more people should realize about cancer is: With early detection, your chances of winning the cancer fight increase dramatically.
It doesn’t have to be a death sentence.

The biggest blessing in my life is: My family.

My New Year's resolution is: Live each day to its fullest.
It might not sound that creative, but too often I find myself paying too close attention and getting caught up in the details and routine of life and sometimes, I forget to live life and enjoy it. For 2010, I want to be present and enjoy each day for the gift that it is.



jillianduch
Last night, I ate my roommate's ice cream.

In my defense, it's been in the freezer for weeks, and I distinctly remember her saying that she didn't actually like ice cream. Rather she bought it for visiting family. Who are no longer here. So it's not really wrong, right?

Sigh.

I didn't eat because I was hungry. Or because I thought ice cream would be the perfect fuel for my body before climbing on the Stairmaster. I just wanted something sweet. And sugary. And let me tell you, it did taste great. (And I did go work out later.)

But that's rather besides the point. I've been thinking about emotional eating more lately, partially because I do it a lot without realizing it. Like, having an icky morning at work? Nothing a trip through the Taco Bell drive-thru or a call to the Chinese place (which is programmed into my cell phone) won't cure. And, it actually does. I actually feel more calm after taking a lunch break and indulging.

I guess it's just dawned on me that emotional eating doesn't have to be about strong emotions, but it can be about little, nagging emotions, too. I found some blog posts here and here about emotional eating, but for now I think I'm going to focus more on recognizing when it happens and trying to avoid it.

So, yeah, sorry about the ice cream, Crystal. If you want, I'll buy you more :)
jillianduch
I've recently re-immersed myself in an (unhealthy) obsession with checking my Google Analytics stats to see how many people are reading this blog. (The answer: Not as many as my ego would like.)

I briefly considered pulling the plug on the blog to force myself to dedicate a little more time and energy on any number of the other daily/demanding pursuits. But I'm not going to.

Why?

Because I like finding my own voice. Not my reporter's voice. My voice.

I'm a 28-year-old white woman who doesn't quite comprehend that she's an adult. During the four-odd years it took me to get my bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois, I interned at the Ann Arbor News, the White House, then-Michigan State Senator Alma Wheeler Smith's office, and USA Today. I thought I had one hell of a resume when I graduated, but now I know I was just clueless to the fact that I was clueless. About a lot of stuff.

I was an editor at my college newspaper, but freaked out and quit half-way through my term. I was managing editor at a small weekly newspaper, freaked out, gave a month's notice when I quit, and managed to get myself hired at a daily paper. I married a guy who was completely wrong for me, freaked out (a lot), and finally managed (with a lot of help) to get divorced (two years ago). Everyone's a bit of a mess in their early 20s, right?

I have a few stories. And I don't think blogging has to be about search-engine optimization, self-marketing, or navel-gazing. I like having a log, complete with pics and cool fonts, of the stuff I've done in recent months. And the thoughts I've thunk.

I like reading other blogs, but unlike my original fears, I don't think it really detracts from my other reading or "real world" pursuits. Unlike most areas of my life, my blog is MY little piece of the world to control.

So, I'm going to keep shaping it. And worry less about how many people are reading it. But I do kinda hope you come back and read me again. :)
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jillianduch
The first creak must have been a warning.

I didn't notice.

I was laying on the floor, curled around my roommate's toilet, with a wrench (is that what those things are called?) trying to tighten the bolts on the tank. I had replaced the flush valve on my own toilet (on the second try), and the roomie's family noticed her toilet had the same hard-to-flush problem. I figured I was more-than-qualified to handle this one on my own.

I also figured I'd better make sure the tank was bolted on tight, because I had an up-close-and-personal look at the rubber ring that sealed the space between the tank and the base of the toilet. Too loose and water would leak everywhere, right?

Not so much. Tighten those little suckers too much and THE WHOLE TOILET TANK BREAKS. INTO HUGE CHUNKS AND LITTLE SPLINTERS.

The roomie heard the first creak, which I assured her was nothing. She also heard the crash minutes later when the whole thing fell apart and a quarter of the tank hit the floor. I told her I hoped we could all laugh about it.



She surveyed the damage and suggested I call my mom. Because that's what she would do.

So, a phone call to my mother, a trip to Menard's, and about $40 later, I had a new toilet tank. The big box-store worker seemed delighted that they had my model (who knew there were so many different toilet-tank models?) because apparently, someone had special-ordered it. That added a little pressure to the situation. If I ruined this one, another replacement would be days, if not weeks, away.



I spent about 20 minutes stressing that the new tank was a slightly darker shade of white than the rest of the toilet. Even though the box said white. And a Google-search revealed manufacturer information indicating white was the lightest shade produced. And the roomie took several pictures intended to demonstrate that the new tank's promimity to her beige shower curtain was just making the tank SEEM darker.

Then, I cut my finger clearing out the broken pieces. And the roomie suggested I let a professional handle it. Multiple times.

But, before sleep befell us that night, I had properly bolted on the new tank. And it flushed. Without breaking or flooding the second floor with toilet-water.


Success??

Now, I just need to replace the towel bar that keeps falling down whenever a towel is placed on it...
jillianduch

Welcome to my new blog feature. Each Friday (or super-late Thursday), I'll introduce you to a crafter (or artisan) who dedicates part or all of the proceeds from his or her work to a cancer charity. Some will be 3-Day walkers; some will have been touched by less well-publicized forms of cancer. But hopefully, all will be examples of how creating can sometimes combat a disease that does little but take.


For my inaugural "Crafters for a Cure" post, we have Koryn, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in fall 2008 and just had her chemotherapy port removed. (P.S. Koryn is presently raising money for her son to walk with her in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. You can find out more about donating to him here.)


What I create: Jewelry (necklaces, rings, etc), notecards, wine bottle stoppers

My favorite piece in my Etsy shop is:

Hope For A Cure Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33409555

It was featured as an auction item at BreastCancer.org. It is my greatest hope in this New Year!



Why I hate cancer:

It strips people of their dignity. Breast cancer, in particular, strips a woman of many things that make her feel feminine....her hair, her breasts, her estrogen. And even in 2010, some people still can hardly say the word "breast". It is such a painful thing to go through a personal struggle so publicly.


The charities I support:

Avon Walk Foundation and The Breast Cancer Site, both of which fund mammograms for low income women. With changes in the insurance industry as well as in the government programs, funding for these screenings are diminishing and more and more women with breast cancer will go undiagnosed until it is too late. We will begin seeing more and more women dying of breast cancer.



What more people should realize about breast cancer is:


1.) Breast cancer reconstruction for a mastectomy does not give you a new breast, as if you've had a breast augmentation. It gives you a "shape" to fill your bra cup. Your breast is left numb and without feeling. This is permanent. You are left without a nipple in most cases, and even if you have nipple reconstruction, you cannot feel it.


2.) Breast cancer still kills women. In 2009, forty-thousand women DIED of breast cancer and nearly one fourth of those were women under age 55. And that was in the USA alone! (Not to mention over 155,000 women living with metastasized breast cancer that will eventually kill them). Many more women lose their breast(s) each year.


3.) The majority of breast cancers are fed by hormones. These hormone sources are found in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies. The rise in breast cancer incidences has gone up in direct proportion to the introduction of these hormones in the 1960s. Educate yourself about the facts at my educational site http://ReduceYourRisk.wordpress.com


My favorite cancer-awareness slogan: I fight like a girl!


The biggest blessing in my life is:

The people in my life who supported me through breast cancer treatment. An Army of women who fed my family for six months while I was going through chemo. My husband, who has been my rock.



My favorite post on my personal blog:

http://motherspreciousgems.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/happy-thanksgiving/

This posting was made just after my mastectomy. This song taught me to be grateful for all the things in my life, even the hardships. It has been a hard lesson but one that had cancer not struck, I never would have learned. There are blessings to be found in the crisis that come into our lives, if we look.


Where to find me:

Blog: motherspreciousgems.wordpress.com/

Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BosomBuddies


Know someone who is a "Crafter for a Cure"? E-mail me at jillianduch [at] hotmail [dot] com