Thursday, July 29, 2010

A hoop and a cause

I have been completely in awe this week by the people who have came into my life. Some people think it is God's hand at work; some think that it is the cosmic energy of the universe; some feel that when this happens it is kharma. Whatever you believe, it is happening in my life and it is so crystal clear that I am being surrounded by people to help me make the Little Pink Houses of Hope dream come to life. You anticipate that your family and friends will support you, but it is when complete strangers jump in full force that you feel the true power at work.

My son has been at the Chris Duhon basketball camp this week and CJ, the director, and I have connected each day. He tells the story of how he met the NBA player Chris Duhon. He was working as a skycap at the airport when Chris was late for a flight in college. He asked for his help to make his flight and CJ ran him through security in a wheelchair to make his flight. At the time, he did not know who he was, just that he needed help. Long story short, Chris came back the next week with tickets for CJ to the Duke-Carolina game and a friendship for life was born. CJ now trains Chris and runs an entire set of basketball camps around the country.

CJ has been amazing all week working with Jake and bringing our family into his life.   What a gift that is because his heart is huge and his personality is infectious.  His wife is a cancer survivor and he has offered to conduct a fundraising benefit for Little Pink Houses of Hope this year that will include some of the Globetrotters (some of which are counselors at Jake's camp) and other basketball players. He said it best, "People come into our lives to help in the critical moments that matter". I believe this to be very true!

This is just the most current example. I have had so many people that I have had the priveledge to meet or get to know better because of this journey. I am so lucky to be going down this path each day. And I am so happy that you are a part of the journey.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What are your gifts?

I have always been inspired and perplexed by asking the question to myself and to others- "what are your gifts?" and "are you using them?" 

I have been knee deep in planning for Little Pink Houses of Hope and my level of excitement increases everyday just thinking about this thought coming to real life and impacting the lives of others. Various people have said to me, just tell me what I can do to help with Little Pink Houses of Hope.  Of course, the logical things come to mind- we need houses donated, we need meals donated, we will need volunteers, we need money.  But the bigger question for me whenever I have that conversation is "what is your gift?" and "how can you use it to help Little Pink Houses?"  One of the things that I am very passionate about is creating a culture of giving for Little Pink Houses of Hope that is inclusive and driven by the good that we all want to see happen with this project.  Two events this past week made it clear to me that this culture is possible if we all are able to tap into our gifts. 

The first event started with a pedicure (a little treat for myself!).  After talking to my nail technician about Little Pink Houses, she made the statement..." if there is anything that I can ever do, just let me know".  My response was- "What gifts do you have and how do you think you could use them for Little Pink Houses"?  She immediately came up with ideas of how she could help.  How she could provide services, how she could fundraise, and how she could use her gifts.  She now owns these ideas, she will be driven to do something, and she will know that she is using her gifts to make a difference.  Isn't that what we all want- to be a part of something bigger than ourselves; to leave our mark?  That is the type of culture of giving that I want to create. 

The second event started as a facebook post by a friend who was hot in a barber chair.  What started out as typical banter about getting a haircut turned into an idea about using his connections (that is right, I am calling you out Todd!) to raise funds for Little Pink Houses with an extreme haircut fundraiser.   This would never have been the first thing that came to my mind to answer the question, "how can I help?"  and in his case, he never actually asked; the idea grew organically through the joys of social networking pressure:)

Imagine if everyone in our group was able to hone in and create a tangible way to help just by using their gifts.  For example, I know that each person in our group might not have $100, but may be able to use their gifts to raise $100.  As of today, we have 265 members.  That would be a total of $26,500 just for answering the question "what are my gifts?"!   Or it might be that your gifts are not in the fundraising realm, but maybe you are a part of a civic organization that does volunteer work.  Imagine if everyone of us find a way to get 10 service hours from others- that would be a total of 2650 volunteering hours!!!  Everyone's gifts are different, but what is important is not to sit on the sidelines.  Jump in and use your gifts!

Do you see where I am going? The question that I want to pose to you is simple- "What are your gifts?" and "How can you use them to help Little Pink Houses of Hope?"  Sometimes asking others this question about yourself is a great way to get in touch with your gifts.  Don't put it off- get started today.  Use your gifts!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


The reality show has developed the ultimate slogan from which we can all learn a lesson, including Little Pink Houses of Hope.    First, OUTWIT.  The retreat week will be designed to help create an environment that outsmarts all the typical traps of family living.  Take away the chores, the cooking, the cleaning, the doctors, the treatments, and the daily routine and what do you get?  A week filled with a chance to create lasting memories focused on thriving, not just surviving.  Secondly, OUTPLAY.  Little Pink Houses of Hope is excited to think about all of the fun aspects of the week.  A friend of mine recently pointed out how easily laughter is to create and how lovingly it can release stress.  In her case, all it took was a good shaving cream fight!  A reminder that Little Pink Houses does not need to have tons of programs; rather that it just needs to create an environment where families can PLAYOUT.  And finally, OUTLAST.  Now this is the key to winning the reality game survivor and is the key to living as a survivor.  Outlasting is about finding ways to create strategies and structures for coping.  Little Pink Houses will meet all patients where they are in their journey and help support them as they learn how to celebrate life as a family. 

There are no winners or losers in the journey of cancer.  We are all in this together and Little Pink Houses of Hope is excited that we will be there supporting survivors in their journey.