I started off this morning crying before I even had a chance to drink my coffee.
Last September when I went to Albany, NY, to participate in the fundraiser for pancreatic cancer research my parents spearhead every year, it was bittersweet to bump into Janice, an old high school friend. We hadn't been close friends, but I'd sure liked her a lot. It was sad to see her because her family was at the fundraiser to support her father, who'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
It's very hard to talk to people who love someone who's recently been diagnosed, because unlike with many other cancers, there's very little hope of survival. When someone tells me their father's been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I know it's likely they won't survive a year. That's a shitty context for reconnecting with an old friend.
Last night, Janice's father died. Jay was a journalist and he blogged prolifically throughout his illness. If it won't derail your day to get a little emotional, you should head over there and witness the honest, rich life he lived during the last eleven months, and meet his family. They're lovely people and I hope they can keep Jay's strength with them as they learn to live their lives without him.
The Upside Down
As my friend Chris has been saying so frequently recently, fuck cancer.
There's four months until the big Albany fundraiser on 12th September. I don't think I'll be able to get out there this year for it, but I'm going to participate in the walk on my family's team in spirit, cheering on the several hundred walkers and trying to raise some serious cash.
Last year you helped me raise almost $2,000 USD for the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the recipient of the more than $45,000 raised during the Albany event. Lustgarten is able to put 100% of raised funds toward research because a corporate sponsor – cable company Cablevision – covers all their operating costs. The research they help fund will hopefully lead to the discovery of early-detection tests that will allow pancreatic cancer to be discovered before it's too late (it's usually discovered too late; that's part of the survival problem). My father and several of my cousins participate in some of that research. Hopefully by the time my brother and I are in our 60s, the results of that research will allow us to feel a little less inhabited by a cancer time bomb.
(See in the photo how they call it the “Walk for Hope”? Hope would be a pretty freaking amazing advancement in the realm of pancreatic cancer where, as I mentioned, very little hope exists.)
The Big Time
I had a dream (it might have been a hallucination) about the crafts world knocking pancreatic cancer out of this world. In my dream, this was quite literal. There was like a war of rainbows and glitter and felt and glue and pins and needles and a hell of a lot of wool and jewelry and monsters and creatures, and pancreatic cancer was outta here.
I think we can, within the natural bounds of physics, maybe make this happen.
If you've got some money…
Please donate to support my virtual walk. Every dollar counts, so you don't have to have a lot of money.
If you live somewhere near Albany, NY…
Please consider attending the walk and raising funds on your own. I guarantee it'll be a fun time, and my parents will love to meet you. (If you attend, you simply must march up to them and introduce yourself.)
If you've got an audience large or small…
Please talk with them about pancreatic cancer, and please send them over here so they can help out and maybe make a donation, too.
If you sell your handmade goods…
Please consider donating some of your proceeds according to any system you'd like. For example, you could designate one item in your shop and say you'll donate the sale price of that item. Or you could designate June or August, or even July, as pancreatic cancer research month, and donate some percentage of your sales for that month. Or you could make several items of a particular sort and donate those sales. However you'd like, according to whatever you're comfortable giving. (And of course, feel free to inflate your prices as much as you think your customers will endure!) This would be a great way to inform lots of people about the huge need for pancreatic cancer research, and I bet they'll enjoy knowing they support a generous seller such as you.
No good deed will go unnoticed!
If you participate in raising funds via sales of your handmade goods, in addition to loving you in that ooey gooey cyber way I'm known to feel for people who support my family, I will promote the hell out of you on a very special page right here on my website. On that page, I will put a link to your shop or to the particular item you're selling as a fundraiser, with a description of how you're helping. And I will tell everyone I know about this special page.
If you've already listed your pancreatic-cancer-research-supporting goods, please tell me all about it right here:
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If you'd like to donate an item to the pick-a-prize auction that'll be held on the day of the event, please email me and I'll let you know how you can do so. Donated items should be valued at no more than $50 each.
If you have ideas or suggestions for how to raise even more money and thus possibly save many people from tragedy…
I'm all ears!