Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Granny Sqaud

I met the most amazing woman in New York. Her name is Barbara Zobian and she is the President of the Candlelighters of New York City. Barbara Zobian is an extremely giving person. She is a full time volunteer and works hard to make life easier for people affected by childhood cancer.
She certainly deserves the high praise and honor she recently received after winning first place in the OTTY awards. The "Our Town Thanks You" awards are given to leaders in the East Side neighborhood who "make special contributions to the greater New York City community." Barbara has co-organized the St. Baldrick's Boathouse at Central Park event for the past few years and has successfully launched Candlelighters, NYC, a branch of a national organization that supports families of children with cancer - needless to say, she keeps busy! Barbara provides support meetings, ensures the children and families touched by pediatric cancer are as comfortable as possible, and enjoys getting to know and play with the kids. She told Our Town newspaper, "New York is a magnificent place. Everyone is so helpful. Ours is a community that loves kids."

Here is one of her notes: This picture of four year old Laura and her Mom Trisha was taken yesterday. Laura came over wearing her footie pajamas, to meet me and Uno for the first time. Tonight is Trisha's 33 birthday and I have arranged for her to have a Birthday party at Maz Mezcal Restaurant, all donated. They are going with another wonderful family going through the same thing they are.Trisha said that this is the first time Laura has smiled in two weeks. How can I not do what I am doing. I am blessed to be a part of these wonderful children's,Barbara

Barbara is helping me with a new project. As a grandma to a child with cancer, Barbara and I both feel that grandma's have double duty so to speak. We have to watch our own child watch her child suffer with this monster of cancer. I have found that only grandmas with grandchildren who have cancer can understand what this life is all about. Other Grandmas are caring, loving, and sympathetic, but They Do Not Really Understand what it is like to walk in our shoes. And I pray to GOD that they never have to. As for the rest of us grandmas, we need other grandmas to share with, cry with, celebrate with, grieve with, and sometimes to just try to forget for one second that our children and grandchildren are living with this monster. So with the help of Barbara and the sponsor of Candlelighters of New York City, we are forming the GRANNY SQUAD!!!!!! CandleLighters is providing a conference call number and we would like to set up a time for all grandmas to call in at one time, to cry, laugh, celebrate, grieve, and just share the joy of being a grandma. Thank you, Barbara, for all you do for me and for our children's families. You are my inspiration. And who could not just love Uno the therapy dog!!!! Please, if you are a grandma to a child with cancer, please contact me at so we can get this going. I really am more than just the grandma!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sweetest Day

Sweetest Day. HMMMMMMMMMMMM I did not even remember it was going to be Sweetest Day until Friday evening when I arrived at the grocery store. I walked past a chocolate chip cookie as big as a pie, decorated with a huge Happy Sweetest Day LOGO and lots of frosting. Then past cupcakes decorated with the same, then small cakes, and finally Sweetest Day cards. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM Must be Sweetest Day is coming, OH WAIT---It is the very next day and I do not have a card or a present for my husband Scott!!!!!!!!!!!! So around the store I go once again picking out the perfect cookie, and the perfect card. And just think, if I had not needed eggs, I would not have even remembered!!!!!! Scott loved the cookie (of course not as much as if I had made it) and the card was a hit. But you ask what was his gift to me? Well, not a cookie because those of you that know me, know that a cookie would not pass my lips. Scott's present to me was in a conversation we had later that day. It went like this:

Scott: I love you.
Me: I love you too. I like us like this. You know, close and happy.
Scott: Me too.
Me: What did my note say that you found?
Scott: It said "I married you then, and I would marry you again"
Me: I would, you know.
Scott: Babe - even if we had to do all this again (Laura's cancer), I would still marry you again.

That statement was the best present Scott could ever give me.

Does sweetest day have to be a holiday?? No. I think any day is sweet, but some days are sweeter. Like yesterday.
There is a very sweet little guy CJ Shaw who was diagnosed with medulloblastoma on December 1, 2006. He had two masses on his brain and had emergency surgery that night to remove the larger of the two. A few days later he again had surgery to remove the other mass. It was cancerous. You can read his updates at:
CJ's aunt Erin is putting together a wonderful fundraiser for CJ and his family. I called her and offered to help out. So yesterday I spoke to Mrs. Michigan and asked her if she would like to make an appearance. Here is the sweet part--she said yes, without a hesitation in her voice, just YES!!!! It would be her pleasure!!!!! How wonderful it is that someone as important as Mrs. Michigan would just say Yes, just tell her when and where!!!! I have included a picture of her with Owen and Rich Michaels at Laura's fund raiser. I have never met CJ in person but he is one of my little angels in my Angel_Wings prayer group. His grandma Michelle and I have never met either, but we have talked on the phone and emailed back and forth. We have that the common thread of being the grandma to a child with cancer. I can not wait to share a grandma hug with her. That is the joy of being just the grandma!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Childhood Cancer Neuroblastoma

Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer.

*On the average 12,500 children and teens will be diagnosed with some form of cancer each year in this country.

*One in 330 children will develop cancer by age 20.

*Although the 5 year survival rate is steadily increasing, one quarter of children will die 5 years from the time of diagnosis.

*Cancer remains the #1 disease killer of America's children - more than Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Asthma and AIDS combined.

*In the U.S. almost 3,000 children do not survive cancer each year.

*Over the past two decades, only ONE new cancer drug has been approved for pediatric use.

*Currently there are between 30-40,000 children undergoing cancer treatment in the U.S.

*Every 16 hours a day a child with Neuroblastoma dies.

*As a nation, we spend over $14 BILLION per year on the space program, but only $35 MILLION on Childhood Cancer Research each year.

*There are 15 children diagnosed with cancer for every one child diagnosed with pediatric AIDS. Yet, the U.S. invests approximiately $595,000 for research per victim of pediatric AIDS and only $20,000 for each victim of childhood cancer.

*Research funds are scarce as most money is diverted to well-publicized adult forms of cancer, such as breast and prostate.

*In 2005, the American Cancer Society provided only 2.5% of funded grants, or 1.85% of dollars spent on research to pediatric cancer. ~Where the heck is all their money going? If they were to give all the money they received to research we'd have a cure by now!

Pediatric Cancer is more common than you think! It's deadlier than you know and, it doesn't have the research funding to get any better! Right now, this second, somewhere in America, there are 7 children fighting for their lives who won't live through the day. WE CAN DO BETTER!