Cancer Sucks!

1375191_578348018879210_18687895_nThis post is for my friend, Summer Sanford. We have known each other almost 20 years. for most of those years, we have laughed together. That is, until October 2015. Now, we spend time crying. And a little more time “being strong”. We contemplate more. We ask “life” questions. We hope– a lot of hope. We pray. We look for answers and seek solutions. It has been a journey and not one that I wish for anyone. It is the crappy cancer one.

Her mom was diagnosed with Leukemia on October 1st of 2015. HER MOM. The mom that forever makes us laugh, has a mouth like a sailor, a heart of gold and a ferocity in her that lights up a small town! She fights for what is right, loves with her full heart and is not the person to mess with on a bad day. That mom.

She is an avid tennis player. And tennis is what gave her the clue that something was amiss. She was too weak to pick up the ball…. and that is how her cancer story started. It has been months of chemo and pokes and pricks. Trips to the emergency room. More unknowns than knowns. Months of maddening un-answers and saddening truths.

Through it all has been hope, love, laughter. Bonds that have grown and ties that have healed. Nothing is being left unsaid. And my friend, Summer, an only child and the absolute light in her mother’s eyes, has been instrumental in keeping spirits up. She has plastered the walls with funny sayings, hopeful messages, beautiful pictures and more. She has delivered special gifts and beautiful things for her mother’s eyes to gaze upon. She has put up Happiness Walls to encourage others and the nurses. So much good has happened.

But still, Cancer Sucks. The war has not been won (yet). They are still battling one day at a time. But, what I do know is they are doing it with grace and love and hope.

I love my friend very much. I love her mom and family. And, there are no words– just that cancer super-sucks!

Below is my friend’s story. I hope you find it in your heart to read and help. The thing is– we can kick cancers butt! But it is going to take an effort from us in all kinds of ways. Whether you walk, donate, gala or contribute— ALL of it counts and it all will help someone, in some way in some time.

We will FIGHT to the end. We will fight for those that have already gone and we will fight to give hope to others!


Dear Friend, As some of you may know, on October 1, 2015, my Mother was diagnosed with leukemia. At that very moment, my world turned upside down. As her daughter, watching her cancer journey has been hard. Nothing has been easy for her, from blood clots, to losing her hair, to the nausea and fevers associated with chemotherapy, to feeling like a human pin cushion every time she checks into the hospital, to the anxiety that creeps in while you are wondering if you can keep going and if the next thing is going to kill you. It’s truly one of the hardest things you can watch a loved one go through. The truth is, while we have made advancements to cure blood diseases; we need more help! I have been nominated to be a Candidate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year Campaign. This is a National Competition, and every dollar raised is a vote in my favor. My personal fundraising goal is $50,000, in order to name a research grant in honor of my Mom, as well as, the countless other victims of leukemia and lymphoma. I’m asking you to help by making a tax-deductible contribution towards my campaign. Together, we can find a cure and more compassionate treatment therapies with fewer side effects; but to overall create an environment of support for the families who suffer watching their loved ones on this journey. With your generous support, you can help me reach and surpass my goal and together we can raise funds for research, awareness and advocacy. Through donors and supporters like you, new hope in finding a cure for blood cancers has never been greater.

–Summer Sanford

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The Key to Change is Surrender

“The key to change is surrender”

I have been pondering this phrase for a few days. When I read it, the words jumped out and imprinted themselves on my mind. I suppose I will be reminding myself of this phrase quite often. I have been known to be one who doesn’t change easily. I am a little hard-headed. Not necessarily a bad quality, it has served me well in tough times. .

I read those words in John C. Maxwell’s book, Failing Forward. They are the direct quote of a gentleman named, Dave Anderson.  He was referring to overcoming his addiction to alcohol. First, let me recommend this book to anyone who feels stuck or has too many crazy voices in their head telling them they are some form of failure, not good enough or constantly replaying every time you made a mistake. I call it being stuck because you just haven’t gotten back up yet.

We all need to “change” something: a bad habit, a relationship, an addiction, attitudes etc. But, part of changing is admitting there is a problem. While we don’t need to become “new” people, we can become renewed or improved in certain areas. Remember, we have the seeds of greatness within us, but we may have some weeds choking out growth of those seeds. Pull the weeds. For example, What if your weed is procrastination? How does procrastination affect your ability to be the best you possible? Procrastination can create stress, chaos and turmoil for you and those involved. Procrastination can foster tardiness, it could affect the outcomes for others, and may deplete the confidence of others in your ability to be reliable. You might not identify it as “a big deal” because you like to fly by the seat of your pants. Great for you, but not everybody else. Therefore, relationships suffer. To overcome– you would have to “surrender” to the idea that procrastination is affecting you and those around you…. then the real kicker is you’d have to be open to means of improvement and committed to implementation.

If surrender is the key– it is also only a step in the process. It is a series of things that bring about long-term change. In my field, we have a system of activities that when implemented drive ongoing success. You’ll often hear us joke around and say, “Submit to the system!” It is so hard for us to do– surrender and  submit. Often times, we have to move our own ego out of the way, because it is prohibiting our growth and renewal. We think of surrendering as giving up power- but in reality, if embraced, it can lead to greater power.

How is that possible? Surrendering GROWS you! Remember, we are in the process of weeding out old habits, addictions, and negative behavior that are inhibiting our greatness. By surrendering, you are open to growth. You will challenge yourself to become more and to overcome. By submitting, you are agreeing to a series of ideas or activities that will drive the outcome you desire– and your seeds of greatness will have room to grow.

I do not see this as a “giving up” surrender. I see it as a very powerful, look-at-the-person-in-the-mirror, personal revelation surrender. Or better yet…a release. Releasing the old way to make room for the new way. Releasing the anchor so you can soar. Surrendering to achieve and empower yourself.

Surrender and repeat: I can be better! am valuable! I have great gifts to share! I will always strive to be the best version of myself!