Thursday, December 3, 2015

Optimism: The Road Less Travelled.

Donations can still be made to my CrowdRise account
and are much appreciated!
Here's the link.
For those of you who don't know this, I grew up in a very small town.  In fact, if you listen to John Mellencamp's "Small Town" he was probably singing about the slightly larger neighboring town near the town where I grew up.

Want more proof?  My husband's high school graduating class was larger than the entire population of the town where I grew up and I already had kids of my own when the first stoplight went in.  (The stoplight was pretty big news at the time and whether or not it is necessary still gets brought up in regular conversation.  Spoiler alert - not really.)

Though I never would have admitted it at the time, a childhood spent in Smalltown, USA helped shape the way I see the world - and my place in it.  But nowhere are these roots revealed more clearly than through my navigational skills.  For you see, the world I grew up in was a place where if ever I found myself lost - and drove/walked/rode my horse far enough - I would eventually find what I was looking for.

To be truthful, the misguided belief in my own innate ability to "find my way" is not particularly helpful when navigating cities with more complex roadway systems than what I am accustomed to - which is, you know, everywhere.  But it turns out, believing you will eventually get to where you need to go (even when you aren't certain you started out on the right road) is a pretty great way to get through life.

Light and love with the not-so-littles.
I share this with you now because, given the state of our collective news feeds (HOW is DonaldTrump still a viable presidential candidate at this point??!?) we could probably all use a little inspiration.  And something pretty amazing happened this week that I can't in good conscience keep to myself.

The last month has been a busy one here at Casa de Caro.  I put together a new website, checked a few items off my travel to-do list, and most importantly I began fund raising my face off to be able to volunteer in India with A Fresh Chapter. 

Frankly, this process has not exactly been an easy one for me.  It turns out it is really uncomfortable to ask people for stuff - especially when that stuff is money.  But as I often say - it takes a village to get through something as big as cancer, and survivorship is no different.

Despite my discomfort, all month long I've been amazed by the wonderful people who have contributed to this crazy dream of mine - and especially by the notes sent of encouragement, gratitude and even remembrance of those lost to this disease.  Friends, loved ones and fellow advocates have filled me with enough optimism about the human spirit to sustain me through a thousand Trump presidential campaigns (and that's saying something).

Need a little optimism right about now? 
We have you covered.
Then, on Monday - the last "official" day of my CrowdRise campaign - something happened which caused me to instantly dissolve into a puddle of tears at my desk.  I received an anonymous donation of $3,500 - putting me slightly over the $5,000 I needed to cover the program costs. 

(**Side Note: Although this generous donation was made anonymously, I was notified through CrowdRise who had made it.  Incredibly, not only was it someone I have never met, but when I sat down to write a tearful thank you to the person who had just made my dream come true, their response was simply: "No thanks necessary. Live joyously." If there has ever been a more profound statement of giving, I've not yet heard it.  May we all live with such a mantra.)

This means I've managed to reach my goal - even before our big Fill Your Bowl, Feed Your Soul fund raiser event set for this weekend.  It means that not only is my insanely big, amazing dream attainable - it is happening - and it's all thanks to my incredible, supportive tribe! 

So there you have it folks - humbling, indisputable proof that humans ARE amazing, that there IS goodness to be found in this world and that if you SAY YES to your dreams, the way will open up to you.  The hardest part is being brave enough to say "yes".


With this recent turn of events, we've decided to switch fund raising gears a bit on Saturday.  Although I still need to raise money to pay for my plane ticket to India (and those suckers aren't cheap!), all additional proceeds 
These brochures went up all over town -
bald head and all!
received from the event will be donated to two very worthy cancer related causes:

*  Half of the money raised after my travel costs will go back to A Fresh Chapter in order to help someone else affected by cancer create a positive ripple effect in the world. 

* The other half of the proceeds will be donated to Metavivor - an organization which directly funds metastatic cancer research.  As a reminder, around 30% of all early stage breast cancers will eventually return as metastatic disease.  Metastatic breast cancer is fatal and though it is the only type of breast cancer that kills, currently only 3% of research funds are dedicated to metastatic disease.  This organization is working to change that.

The donation to Metavivor will be made in memory of Bonnie Myers, my dear friend Bret's mother, who lost her life to triple negative breast cancer this year.  We love and miss you so.


So if you are free Saturday, please join us for an inspiring evening of community, light and love.  With any luck we should have enough soup to fill your belly and silent auction items to fill your stockings.  But more importantly, we will have plenty of hope and optimism to renew your soul.  (No matter what your facebook feed throws at you this week.)