(Read prior post titled: “Blessed” for this one to make more sense) I just recently came across two more foundations/organizations that I’m passionate about and that really hit home for me in which I would like to donate to. First one is something my mom actually informed me of. This will be her second year riding in the Wish-A-Mile 300 Bicycle Tour taking place at the end of July (visit the website to see more about the history of this specific WAM ride. It’s a three day trek across Michigan where my mom along with the rest of her team will ride 300 miles to grant wishes for the Make A Wish Foundation. All riders must raise a minimum of $900 to compete in the ride, while my mom’s own personal goal is to hit $2,300. In the words of my mother, “I am hoping you will help me – by giving up a few lunches out this week, a few lattes or a new pair of shoes just to help a family in need – so that this wish of their deserving son or daughter’s may be granted.” I know this is something extremely important to her and because of that I find it a wonderful organization to donate to!
Secondly, this coming Sunday morning I’ll be walking beside my best friend, Mandolynn Ostertag at the 18th Annual Cancer Survivors’ Celebration & Walk along Chicago’s beautiful Lakefront. The four-mile walk is said to draw nearly 4,000 participants who will come together to support and donate to a research fund conducted by the actual doctors who saved my best friend’s life. It’s for obvious reasons alone why this donation will be one of the most important ones I can make. I remember it like it was just yesterday, she was texting me while I was on a late serving shift at Bdubs. I knew she had been in and out of doctors for the past 6 months with “mono-like symptoms,” but still had no clear diagnosis. After recently undergoing surgery to remove a swollen lymph node in her neck, I knew the news had the potential to be devastating, but attempted to remain positive. I called her as soon as I was out and that was when she told me that they had found cancer in her lymph gland after the surgery at Northwestern here in Chicago. So that’s when it all started – February 9, 2010 Mandolynn was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. At that point I don’t think either one of us knew exactly what the next few months were going to have in store. I remember her dreading the thought of going through chemo, the thought of losing her hair at 23 is not something any girl in their 20’s should ever have to think about. It was so unfortunate during this hard time in her life I happened to be on my way out to LA for an internship for the summer. So although the summer flew by for me – it seemed to be the exact opposite for Mandolynn and her family back home. By the time I arrived home in August, she had finished her 6th month of chemo and was considered to be in remission shortly after. At the time she chose not to know what stage of cancer she had when they did the initial scans, but come to find out she was actually in Stage 4 (cancerous cells in her lymph nodes, spleen, lungs and bones) with no signs of any symptoms, which is why it took nearly a year to diagnose her with the Hodgkins Lymphoma. Considering there is no Stage 5 with this type of cancer, knowing she fought back from Stage 4 only goes to show the true strength and positive thoughts she had going through the process. I commend this girl immensely, she is one of the strongest woman I know. Not only did she get herself through this “icky” 6 months, but she was the sisterly strength and support that I’ve needed for the past 8 years since I’ve lost my dad. She’s been by my side through thick and thin and because of that I know she’ll continue to be there for me as will I whenever one of us is in need. Love you forever and always Mandolynn! Looking forward to seeing you this weekend! 🙂
Down visiting Northwestern for a check-up. Learning to rock the new dark brown, krimpin’, short hair 😉 You do it well!
Mandolynn visits me at MSU for the first time – why did it take us so long to organize that trip?