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

Donate Here


Advice Nuggets

Do you have background noise in your brain, I do. It is the constant chatter that happens as I am working on something or pondering a problem. Interestingly, the chatter that talks to me loudest are the words from other people. All of the advice I have gathered over the years collected in the little rolodex in my brain. Sure, there are fabulous and profound quotes from people I admire like Mother Teresa and Benjamin Franklin….but the ones that surface the most are those words from family and friends.

The wisdom that they share becomes imprinted on us. While we think we know everything in our teens and twenties, they are busy offering nuggets of wisdom for us to pull from during our lifetime. Here are a few of the random advice nuggets that pop in my head…

“Honey, don’t worry, it all comes out in the wash.” ~ Grandma Teresa Maraldo

I heard this all the time in my teens and twenties. I think it almost daily now. Life just has a way of working itself out; there is no need to over-think it.

“Don’t worry about s**t  until you step in it.” ~ Tom Phillips

Tom never minced words. This phrase of his is a simple reminder that worrying does not do anything positive for the soul.

“There may be snow on the rooftop, but there is still fire in the furnace.” ~ Grandma Teresa Maraldo

In my teens and twenties this little saying of hers made me wrinkle my nose say “eeewww” and giggle. Now, at my age that will go untold, my perspective is this: the amazing human factor is that during our whole life we can love passionately. Pretty incredible isn’t it?

“Make sure when you find the man you’re gonna marry, he can change the oil in a car and fix a leaky pipe, you never know when hard times might hit and you won’t be able to afford to have someone else fix it.” ~ My Dad

Thanks Dad! Great advice. He also made sure he taught us girls how to do things for ourselves, in case we couldn’t rely on anyone else to fix it. By the way, he was right.

“Is it going to matter 2 weeks from now? Two months from now? Two years from now?” ~ Mitchell

This was shared with me by a work colleague. It is a measuring tool to help leave things in the past. It also helps me weigh out if I need to take action to rectify something.

“You eat a pound of dirt before you die.” ~ Grandma Teresa Maraldo

I kind of hope not, but it does make me feel better when I see my kids eat things off of the floor. (Gross)

“Well, now you know what you don’t want to do.” ~My Mom

Told to me many, many times as I tried different jobs and they didn’t “fit” me.

“Drive a stake and move forward.” ~ Awesome Husband

Decisive. Great advice.

“Offer it up.” Grandma and Dad

As a kid, I didn’t quite understand how this worked, just to pray over things that I found hard or difficult. Recently, it has been presented differently and has evolved into a bigger role in my life. It falls under the Pray Constantly file. No matter what we are doing, easy or challenging we can lift that task up and offer it as an active prayer, possibly for someone else who is sick, struggling or in hard times. As a teenager it was a small nugget of advice, as an adult it is a great evolution of spirit.

“Get ‘er done!” ~ My Mom (and pretty much every person I know)

That is all there is to it. Make no excuses, just get it done! Lots of times your friends will help!

“You don’t go to church for the Priest, you go there for God.” Grandma Teresa Maraldo

Offered to me as a teenager, carried forever. It has helped keep my focus intact while attending Mass.

“Be your own best friend.” ~ Grandma Teresa Maraldo

I use this with my children too. You need to like you first, have confidence and be independent. If you can be your own best friend, you will never be lonely.

These are just a few samples of advice nuggets I have received over the years. There are many, many more and I am sure I will collect more along the way.

What is a piece of advice that you were given that you carry along your journey?