Friday, April 4, 2014

Relaunching & Paying It Forward


Giving the 'Stress Talk'
If you know anyone that has been through any sort of medical journey, you know or can associate with the financial burden that treatment over an extended period has or can have.  As a result I had truly been seeking direction on what it is I needed to do to help my family's financial bottom line.  I started reaching out to former colleagues and Managers about the possibility of going back into the conventional workspace.  I've had the opportunity to be at home with my children for the last 10+ year and I've enjoyed it very much. The thought of going back to the Corporate environment was even more of a concern when I considered having to find something that would allow me to make enough money to cover the expense of having my children cared for and still allow me to take care of the obligations that need to be addressed.

Many of you know or may recall I had a growing Spa and Wellness business that afforded me the opportunity to go into the home, workplace and community to share the importance of eliminating stress and give the 'gift of relaxation' through an amazing and relaxing spa experience. I help others 'de-stress and increase face value' through the education of proper skincare and the essentials of taking care of ourselves.  I have not been been able to pursue this business over the last few years as we've dealt with my daughter's illness and ongoing treatment.  I have been affiliated with and representing this company for a long time.  Connecting with people and helping others is my passion. Whether it is through providing solutions to issues, giving people permission to take 'the pause' or through helping them make changes in their lives by taking advantage of this opportunity for themselves and their family.   I pondered and prayed about what I could do, and the Lord continued to instruct me to 'use what is in your hand'.  Several months ago, my daughter was released from her treatment and a few weeks following that, I revived and relaunched my business.  To connect with me or learn more check me out at www.facebook.com/beautispava
   
I work with an amazing group of people and have never been more excited about this business until now.  About 4 weeks ago I was at a Leadership Conference in Dallas when a BIG announcement was made.  Let me preface the announcement by saying, BeautiControl has an amazing Foundation, W.H.O (Women Helping Others) www.whofoundation.org that has granted over 5 million dollars to community focused charities and organizations serving overlooked women, children and families.  I have seen dollars from the W.H.O. Foundation granted and serve the Richmond area several times over the last 10+ years.  I was at a loss for words when BeautiControl unveiled their partnership with the Make A Wish Foundation. I sat in that meeting sobbing as a Wish Family came out and shared their journey to victory over illness. Understanding their plight and knowing first hand how tremendous this is for families made me PROUD of this company I represent. Our collective mission in one month was to share this opportunity with 4,500 people. My personal desire was to do my part to make this happen by sharing it with everyone I could. The reward of going out and working on behalf of 'Paying it Forward' and blessing others for me, was bigger than any other reward the company could give.


Incidentally during a break the day before, I took a detour to a bathroom off the beaten path and ran into this beautiful lady. Obviously, she got the black and coral memo.  We chuckled, decided we had to take a picture because what were the odds amongst 2000 women you would 'happen' to run into someone in a long bathroom line dressed just like you.  Nothing happens by chance....she lives in Pennsylvania and her brother happens to be a Veterinarian in Glen Allen, Virginia (a short 20 minutes from where I live). We messaged one another a few weeks after our meeting in Dallas.  I shared with her my excitement for the Make A Wish partnership and she shared with me that she sat in the audience that morning in tears because her family was a Wish Family and her daughter has been in treatment for the last 3 years with a brain tumor. The odds just increased and I know without doubt our paths were intended to cross on that day.

Our lives were more connected than we could ever have imagined
I'm also so proud to say not only did we meet our goal, but we surpassed it and were able to share this opportunity with over 4,900 people.  The impact this will have on and in the lives of these two families is immeasurable.  I am thankful for opportunities that have opened up for me and people that have embraced my decision and helped me thus far in and through the process.  Together we can make a difference and the best is yet to come!! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Settling in Our Groove

These last few months have been a time to really getting back into our groove and enjoy the regular rotation of life.  It's very easy to want to jump right back into everything, but honestly just taking a step at a time, being present in the moment and living each day to the fullest without medical constraints or restrictions has felt like a true luxury.  I wish and want this for all our friends and family we know and love in the varying stages of caring for a child with illness and in treatment.

We continue to be so thankful for the restoration of Mireya's health.  Seeing her smile and knowing she is healthy brings us great joy.  The joy of the Lord continues to be our strength.

Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Students with Heart



I'm so proud of my daughter Paris who spent her birthday yesterday sharing and raising money for our dear little friend Emily's BandAid Drive.  We know this is a time that studying and making it through these last few weeks of the semester is the focus, so a special thank you to the students of LC that donated to help the children of Children's Hospital. Paris is her mother's child so she spent a lot of the day yesterday in tears because nothing is more moving than seeing the hearts of people come together to help and bless others.  That's what its all about creating awareness, paying it forward, being the blessing. Emily came in to our lives close to three years ago at the beginning of our medical journey with Severe Aplastic Anemia.  She and Mireya became very close friends and looked forward to seeing and spending time with one another in and out of clinic. This little girl is pure joy and a fighter. Keep Emily and her family in your prayers for complete victory over Neuroblastoma. Visit her site www.emilyhubbel.com to learn more about this special little girl and her journey. Last year Emily and her family raised over 3000 boxes of bandaids.  This is her 2nd Annual Band-Aid drive and we are so happy to be able to participate in this effort.  Band Aid donations are being collected through this week.

To my girl Paris and friends...you are awesome!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful

 Gone are the days of being consumed with a life solely driven by treatment and all it entails.  Today we are enjoying living life in a new way (the difference a year makes).  Everyone is healthy and happy and there is so much we are grateful and thankful for!  My prayer is that everyone take a moment to truly understand how fortunate and blessed we are despite it all.  There are many things that have the ability to steal our joy if we allow it. 'Choose' to maintain a positive disposition regardless of the circumstance or situation. Make someones day and change how you feel about yours!  Look for ways you could bless others today...a smile, a phone call, a hug, a encouraging word, a meal, a dollar, your time...the list goes on and on.


Take time to reflect on the positive and move past the negative to reposition yourself and help others. Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  Love and blessings to you all!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Campus & Community ~ Changing Lives


#TeamBolton & VSU President Dr. Keith Miller

Be The Match Team
Lovely Ladies of The Links Inc.
 
We spent some time this morning participating in a cause and effort very dear to our hearts.  I've blogged several times about Be the Match, an organization transplanting hope into the lives of individuals and families in need a bone marrow transplants.

My husband oversees Web and Technology Services at Virginia State.  The Drive was scheduled at the University to benefit a local 12 year old boy diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia in need of a transplant.  Without hesitation, we both knew we had to actively participate.  It all starts at the top....VSU President Miller arrived to help kick-off the drive and show his support of this campus and community partnership.  The Petersburg Chapter of Links Incorporated was on site to volunteer and help facilitate the process, along with the Be the Match Team and representatives from a local Sickle Cell Anemia Organization.

I'm believing that the VSU community will continue to show up and respond to this event today. Finding a match in my own household saved my daughter's life and I want to help those in the same situation have more donors available.  Please visit http://marrow.org/Home.aspx and join the registry or see how you can become involved with this organization and potentially change the life of this little boy or someone else in need of a bone marrow transplant.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Magnificent Grace


Five pictures worth a thousand words each and more.  So thankful for the grace of God that kept us in our right minds and with a measure of peace in the midst of a situation where we were often overwhelmed.  In the words of Marvin Sapp 'never would have made it without you'....we felt powerless, but not without hope, knowing God is/was able to turn our situation around in an instant.  The manifestation was not instant, but we kept trusting and believing and as a result, lives were touched and our faith increased exponentially.

We walk by faith and not by sight ~ the things we've seen and experienced over these last few years have given us a greater appreciation for life and those in our lives, but also showed us to keep things in God's perspective (what does God say about my situation) and to never, ever give up hope.  Mireya is our Warrior Princess, our son our Hero.  Every time we see this beautiful smile and think of his selfless love, it reminds us of God's love for us.  Thank you Father for your faithfulness towards us!!!!

Exodus 23:25 And ye shall serve the Lord your God and he shall bless thy bread and thy water and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Difference a Year Makes

 


One year....365 days.....ups, downs, tears, joy, regrouping, reclaiming, but best of all.....rejoicing!!  We've reached a major milestone, our one year appointment. It's hard to believe that just one year ago we were being admitted for our second bone marrow transplant.

In the Clinic, I met a few parents new to their diagnosis and the routine.  The Fishbowl was filled with kids receiving chemo therapy and transfusions.  I was immediately flooded with thoughts of the two and a half years of that rotation.  I encountered a parent overwhelmed with concern as their Medical Team gave them the news that a Bone Marrow Transplant is their next viable option.  We had moments to talk and embrace, but I look forward to being able to share (from the other side of the coin) our experience to help prepare and align their expectations.  My heart was also heavy as I noticed the frailty of life in a few of the young patients who have been fighting these illnesses with all they've got. I sadly learned mere days after this visit that one of those precious lives would suffer no more.  It's unimaginable and my heart grieves with this family. 

Prior to this appointment we'd received a letter that the Head of Peds Hemoc would be leaving VCU.  Reading this letter made us sad. Not sad for ourselves but for the hospital.  Dr. Godder is small in stature, but very matter of fact and she shoots it straight.  When your dealing with life and death of a child, you want 'shoot it straight' and give me all the variables (at least we did)!  This woman is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom.  What are the odds that one of the best Physicians in this arena would be 'in place' during our diagnosis and active fight to partner with us and be the overseer of our daughters care? We're sad to see her go, but are happy she'll be closer to her family and continue to be a major force and resource doing something she loves...."bone marrow".  It was bittersweet to have our last appointment with her just mere days before she leaves.  She made a point of coming in to have her appointment with Mireya even after adjusting her schedule to see the remainder of her patients the week before.

Mireya had to have an EKG and a battery of tests/labs completed to monitor her progress and success.  We'll be seen every few months for the next year to ensure Mireya's progress is staying on task. Today we had an unspoken release. The release of emotion likened to when you had your first child and the Doctor handed you a healthy boy or girl and you were overcome with tears and emotion. Mireya is even more beautiful than the day they handed her to us AND (despite it all) her health has been restored.  Reya has been taken off all medications!  She will be able to start getting her immunizations and go to school with no restrictions.  There are several objectives and areas we have to be watchful over, especially given the medications and treatment she's received over the last few years, but we're believing even the slightest of instances will not be on our radar. We continue to stand, trust, believe, and confess  that her body will function as it was created and designed without incident.  

We have met some amazing families and people.  It takes one to know one (and to understand)......our circumstances and situations may be different, but we're all fighting for the same thing.  I'm looking forward to continuing to to serve, support and be an advocate for care and to those organizations/foundations/businesses doing amazing things to make a difference in the lives of others.

Thank you for your love, support, prayers and any/everything that was done to lighten our loads and minds during this process.  Life is good and our best and brightest days are ahead of us.