Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays!

My absolute favorite time of the year is Christmas!  Celebrating the birth of Jesus, embracing and celebrating my faith and family are the foundation of my Christmas Spirit.  
No matter the "hustle & bustle" which comes with the season, I love the feeling of joy, hope and love in the air!
Again this year, we are blessed to be able to "adopt" a wonderful family in need and help them provide a memorable Christmas for their children.  

Wishing everyone a Blessed and Merry Christmas!

A record 14,400 families registered for Christmas assistance from The Salvation Army, will begin receiving new toys and grocery gift cards at Salvation Army Toy Shops in the Twin Cities metro area.  

Drake, Jasmine and I were so excited to be a part of this wonderful event!  While Willie was at home suffering from an extreme cold/flu, the kids and I were leading parents through the Toy Shop, assisting them choose the "perfect" gift for their children.   
The Salvation Army's motto is "Doing The Most Good", which is so significant for Minnesota children and families in need.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving brings family together and feelings of gratitude for the year past.
This year I am especially grateful for my loving family and our health.  Having lost my last living grandparent this year, I am especially aware of continuing and establishing new traditions within our family as a way to honor ourselves, and those we love, as we move move into the year ahead.
Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Leaders Launching Learners; Beyond the thrift stores

                  Two of my Minnesota Women of Today sisters

Our MN Women of Today group works closely with the Salvation Army, which is how I began my involvement.  Because I really love kids, working with the Salvation Army is a natural fit for me and I truly believe in the need to support members of my community.
Being a S.A. volunteer allows me to connect with and positively impact the lives of young people through the various programs this vital and amazing organization offers.

Getting ready for school will be a financial challenge for many families this fall. The cost of school supplies and clothing will put a strain on already stretched budgets. The Salvation Army is determined to help as many families in need as possible. We have the funding to help 850 children, but there are more on the waiting list hoping to receive assistance.
One of my roles as a "leader" is to help young people pick out and purchase new clothing for the school year.
What's most wonderful, is to see their eyes light up as they are able to shop and make cost-conscience decisions, with just a little guidance from me! 

Coats For Kids!

Well, winter is almost upon us!  That means it's time to go through the closets and sort through all of the winter gear, deciding what no longer fits our constantly growing kids, one year later.
This is your perfect opportunity to donate gently worn winter coats, hats and mittens to The Salvation Army Coats For Kids program!

For 25 years, the Coats for Kids program – a joint effort of The Salvation Army and 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS – has provided coats for Twin Cities’ children. More than 277,000 coats and winter accessories have been distributed to Twin Cities’ children through Coats for Kids since the program began.

As a coat intake and distribution volunteer, I sort through and organize hundreds of warm & comfy coats for some wonderful children in need!
There are hundreds of convenient drop off locations, simply click on the Coats For Kids logo/link above and find the one most convenient for you.
Thank you for your generosity and commitment to Minnesota children!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Zero CEO, Skip Lockwood

At ZERO - The Project to End Prostate Cancer, we commit ourselves not only to reduce prostate cancer or alleviate the pain from the disease, but to end it. We see a future where all men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer will be cured or manage their illness with good quality of life, with the support they need to minimize physical and emotional suffering and to cope effectively throughout their cancer journeys.

My years advocating for increased funding and legislation on Capitol Hill have allowed me to make connections with survivors, care-givers, urologists, advocates, and cause supporters from across the country.
I am pictured with my friends-survivors, Henry and James, and my dear friend, Sherry Galloway.
Three years ago, Sherry's 36 year old son Jeremy, was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.
He was a vibrant, fit and active young man and their family had no history of prostate cancer. 
He suffered tremendously and died a year and a half after diagnosis. 

Jeremy was her only child.
This is further evidence-Prostate Cancer is NOT an "old man's disease", as many believe.
I am in awe of her strength and impacts she's made while speaking on behalf of Zero at Congressional hearings to increase funding for Prostate Cancer.
My friend Mitch Laurance, actor (Matlock), ESPN Golf Commentator and Prostate Cancer Survivor at the Summit.  He's an incredible inspiration to men everywhere!
Mitch serves as Vice Chair and Spokesperson for Zero

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blue Moon Night

Light A Blue Bulb on the night of November 21st.
Men’s Health Night began as a project of the national men’s cancer survivor nonprofit, Malecare.  We are launching this project, with the hope that all individuals, families and organizations will take this idea, this one night for all of us, ever so briefly, to think about ourselves and the men in our lives.
r 21


The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember.

Please support the Movember movement by donating to the MN chapter, "Blackbeards Delight" team captain and Bobo's (our dog) veterinarian, Dr. Jay Epping. Donations can be made at:

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days. 
The funds raised through Movember’s US campaign benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) allows the voice of the cancer community to be heard. It is a national grassroots movement of people just like me and you — cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and their families and friends — who are dedicated to changing laws and policies to help people fight cancer.
 Jenna O"Rourke, Miss Teen Mn International and I lobbying at our state capitol on behalf of the American Cancer Society.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

National Alliance For State Prostate Cancer Coalitions

I am honored to be a scholarship recipient to represent Minnesota at the 6th Annual "National Alliance For State Prostate Cancer Coalitions" (NASPCC).  This amazing event took place in Chicago, Illinois on October 3rd and 4th. 
Here, representatives and grass roots organizers gather to work together towards educating the country about prostate cancer, as well as goal setting on a national level for 2011.  As a grassroots organizer and leader in MN, I gained much valuable information from the presenters and their organizations, and was able to make some wonderful connections from across the country, in aiding the awareness and educational efforts in Minnesota.
Immense Thanks and Appreciation to NASPCC President, Merel Nissenberg (pictured above), for her support and commitment to the Minnesota Prostate Cancer Coalition and the men who will greatly benefit in our state!

Komen For The Cure

 As an 8 year Twin Cities Komen For The Cure volunteer, this year was the BEST volunteer experience of all, because Jasmine and I were able to support the cause together-volunteering for the kids race portion.  We were the official "raceway decorators"-we SO love chalk!  Jas participated in the kids race, leading the pack in her heat!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Hartford Great Prostate Cancer Challenge!

Lace up your sneakers and join us in the race to end prostate cancer!

The Great Prostate Cancer Challenge® and partnering DASH FOR DAD races, the premier prostate cancer event series in America, are a heartfelt tight-knit community activity that brings together athletes, cancer survivors, physicians, caretakers, family members and friends.

As a 5 year Minnesota race volunteer and committee member, I am committed to this race series in honor of my dad and his continual, life-changing fight with prostate cancer.  
I am so grateful to Susie Overvold, Mrs. MN International 2010 and Jenna O'Rourke, Miss MN Teen International 2010, for their support and time spent volunteering at our race this year!

Jamie Bearse, COO of Zero, flew to MN to support and participate in our event this year!  
He heads the organizations fund-raising and communication department and oversees Zero's involvement in the Great Prostate Challenge races around the country.

Relay For Life

This is for you Dad!

Heart On The Hill 2010, MN State Capitol

The American Heart Association and American Cancer Society planned and executed a remarkably successful event!
As an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and American Heart Association Speaker's Bureau member, I had the privilege to speak to MN Legislators, urging them to pass The Tobacco Modernization and Compliance Act for 2010.  This bill, when passed, will effectively close the loop-hole that exist under current laws. 
Minnesota's current laws governing tobacco haven't kept up with rapidly changing tobacco products, resulting in many products which are not covered.
Part of the modernization of MN tobacco laws will reduce youth access to tobacco products, which as a mom of two beautiful and healthy children, is of utmost importance to me!

What an honor to sit down with and have an informative and impactful conversation about this vital issue with my district representative, Rep. Peggy Scott, where I sought her support in this very important piece of legislation.  I was also able to speak to a senior staffer from the office of Debbie Johnson,49th District Senator from Ham Lake.

National Start! Walk Day, April 7, 2010

Wear your sneakers to work...
You can support the fight against heart disease by simply Wearing Your Sneakers to Work for National Start! Walking Day on April 7th.  This is the day that adults nationwide make the pledge to Start! walking and to become active and heart healthy, especially in the workplace.
Drake and Jasmine joined me in volunteering for the MN Start! Walk.
Pictured with my boss, Mario Rivera, Director of Manufacturing, Greatbatch Medical-Mpls.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taking care of YOU

The more thoughtfully you protect your heart, starting as early as your 20s, the less likely you'll face the life-threatening challenges posed by cardiovascular disease. No matter what your age or where you feel you are in your life, the best time to take action and get healthy is always right now.
From jogging with your friends, to swapping healthy recipes, to keeping up with loved ones and learning your family history, your heart health depends on a life-long commitment. As always, the first way for you, as a woman, to Go Red is to take good care of yourself every day. Because when you do, your life can be as beautiful as you are yourself!