as of 2.28.10
With only 47 days left until the relay, Wings of Hope has raised over $3,000.00! Thank you to those of you who have contributed to our success and have ultimately put us one step closer to a world without cancer!

This week is crunch time for our team and we need all the support we can get.

Thursday, March 4 from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

What’s going on…
Wings of Hope is holding a bake sale at Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, 601 N Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD. Angel is furiously baking away in preparation for Thursday.

What we need…
1. We need volunteers to help us run the event any time from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
2. We need more baked good donations.

Please contact Angel at or myself at if you can help.

Also, please update your attendance status by Tuesday at:

Thank you to…
– Kim Thompson who is donating her famously yummy red velvet cupcakes.
– Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center for allowing us to host our bake sale in their facility.

Friday, March 5 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

What’s going on…
RFL JHU Committee is hosting a Birthday Bash to raise money for the American Cancer Society at the Homewood Campus Beach. Wings of Hope will be distributing thyroid cancer awareness materials at the event.

                                         as of 2.28.10
What we need…
Volunteers to help us distribute pamphlets. Please update your attendance here:

Thank you to…
ThyCa for donating our awareness literature.

Saturday, March 6 at 11:30 a.m.

What’s going on…
Wings of Hope is having our first (and only) team meeting prior to the April 16th relay at M&S Grill on Pratt Street in Baltimore, MD.

What we will be discussing…
– Introductions
– Our bake sale
– Fundraising efforts
– Logistics for April 16

What we need…
A final headcount by Thursday, March 4th. Please update your response on facebook:

Important Information For Team Members…
In order to get an official Relay for Life participant shirt, you MUST raise $100 by March 10, 2010!

Again, if you haven’t all ready, I encourage our team members to log in to their participant centers on the ACS website and start updating their personal pages for donations. There is also an application on facebook that will help you with meeting your $100 personal goals. Both of these tools will provide donators with official receipts from the American Cancer Society.

Online Fundraisers Update…

As of 2.28.10
Our first fundraiser for the $25 Macy’s Gift Card ends today. Unfortunately, no one on our team raised $500 in the month of February to win the contest.

Our second fundraiser is going strong thanks to our wonderful ladies at Dear Thyroid. We are encouraging the Dear Thyroid community to form fundraising teams to help us in our goal for the American Cancer Society. The first team to raise $3,000 wins TEN free “Invisible No More” bracelets; the first team to raise $1,500.00 wins FIVE free bracelets; the first team to raise $750.00 wins THREE free bracelets; and the first team to raise $500.00 wins TWO free bracelets. For more information, contact me or visit us at The contest ends March 16th!

April 16th Update…
We at Wings of Hope are very excited to announce that our newest team member, Rona Taylor, will be providing our team with some amazing food the night of the relay. Thank you, Rona!

Thank you to every one for supporting us, our fundraising efforts, and our goal of living in a world free of cancer.

Until next week,

Wings of Hope

*This update was written by our team captain Chris Kidwell

Wings of Hope – Week 10      1/31/10 – 2/6/10

*Written by our Wings of Hope Team Captain Chris Kidwell

There are only 69 days left until the Relay for Life at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland! We are still number one with a total of $2,296.00 raised, but Team SASH is quickly approaching us with a total of $2,229.43 raised. We need to ramp up our fundraising efforts quickly if we’re going to make our goal of $5,000.00
Our beautiful banner created by the very talented Angel.

Again, if you haven’t all ready, I encourage our team members to log in to their participant centers on the ACS website and start updating their personal pages for donations. There is also an application on facebook that will help you with meeting your $100 personal goals. Both of these tools will provide donators with official receipts from the American Cancer Society.
Angel McMellin is still working with Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center to secure a date for our bake sale. If you have an alternative location or want to help out, please email her at
We would like to welcome our newest team member: Samantha Kidwell.

We would like to congratulate Co-Captain Jennifer Bridge on her excellent test results. Jennifer is in remission from thyroid cancer and we couldn’t be prouder of her. She also bought her first home last week, so she has numerous reasons to celebrate her battle against cancer. We’d also like to applaud the very talented Angel McMellin for her beautiful banner that she created for the April1 16th relay.

So get out there, spread the word and help us with our fundraising goals. If you’ve all ready donated, please tell your friends and family about Wings of Hope and pass the word along. Don’t forget to visit our website at: .

Until next week,

Wings of Hope

Week 7 Update         1/10/10 – 1/17/10

*Written by Chris Kidwell Prestano

Seven weeks into our fundraising and we have reached 43% of our goal.Seven weeks into this and we are still the number one team with ten members and $2,166 raised for cancer research. Way to go, team!

We would like to thank the following people for their generous donations to Wings of Hope: Mary Aufiero, Samuel & Bonnie Sislen, Sista Jen, Joey Berry, Barbara Cohen, Brandon Riggs, Avi Cohen, and Andy Vineberg. Thank you. We would not be this successful without your support. As always, we want to give a special shout out to our girls at Dear Thyroid. Thank you for your continued support of our team. You rock ladies.

We’re still in the process of rounding up camping equipment and still working on finding a location to hold our bake sale. If you know of a place, please contact Angel McMellin.

Please keep the following people in your thoughts and prayers this week: Co-Captain Jennifer Bridge who is anxiously waiting for February 2nd to get her test results. But we are all confident that her scan will come back clean and she’ll be cancer free. Jennifer Rudd Monath and her family. Her grandmother is in the hospital and they have found cancer cells in her lung fluid. My aunt, Carol Dotson, who has spent the last month in the hospital battling lymphoma.

This is why we relay. So please help us because the more money we raise, the closer we get to a world without cancer.

Until next week,

Wings of Hope

Wings of Hope Week 4 Update  12/21/09 – 12/26/09

*Written by our Team Coach Chris Kidwell Prestano

Four weeks into our fundraising for Relay for Life and we are STILL number 1! To date, we have raised $1,868 for the American Cancer Society. I could not be prouder of our team. We would like to give a special thanks to the following people:

• Supporters Dr & Mrs. Barry Cohan, Jonathan Meads, Robert E Ballard Jr, Frances Mankiewicz, Marie Drohan and Darren Johnson.

• ThyCa

• The thylicious Katie Schwartz

We would also like to welcome our newest team members: Darren Johnson and Brian Ferrina. Darren has walked a very personal road with cancer as both his mother and grandmother are survivors. We are very proud to have this caretaker on our team.

Angel McMellin is working away at planning our bake sale. So if you know a location in the Baltimore, MD area where we can have this event, please let us know. We are also in the process of creating team signs for the Relay.

We need to start tracking down camping gear for April 16th – tents, chairs, sleeping bags, coolers, etc., so please start asking around to your friends and family if we can borrow these supplies for the event.

Please keep Darren Johnson in your prayers this week. He just lost a friend to cancer (the same day my two aunts died). He needs our support and comfort during these times. And please say a prayer for Marie Drohan. She just lost her grandmother to cancer.

We hope the holiday season is finding you safe and happy and wish all of you a wonderful New Year. And thank you again to all of our generous supporters and our energetic team members.

Until next week… Wings of Hope

Wings of Hope Weeks 2 & 3 Update (12/6/09 – 12/20/09)

The following was written by Chris Prestano

If you thought our first week was exciting, wait until you read about our progress over the last 14 days! Wings of Hope is still the number 1 fundraising team for the Relay on April 16th! In only three weeks we have raised $1,803.00 for cancer research. Way to go team!

We would like to give special thanks to the following people:
• Supporters Damien Lau, Kat Caverly and Linda Santagelo
• Our anonymous supporter who generously donated $50.00 to our team.
• Team Members Rachel Markus, Lynne Bridge and Larry Bridge for their fundraising efforts.

In addition, I would to thank Co-Captain Jennifer Bridge for all of her continued hard work. Not only has she been keeping her blog up to date with our progress, but she has been incredibly busy on our facebook page and she has been recruiting team members with a vengeance!

We would like to welcome our new team members:

• Thyroid Cancer Family Members Lynne & Larry Bridge
• Supporter Christina Colley
• Supporter Mary DiMaggio
• Supporter Rachel Markus

We now have a team logo, which can be seen on both our team facebook page ( and our Relay for Life page. (, our team facebook page.  Also, our t-shirts from Dear Thyroid are on their way. Thank you again ladies!

We would like to welcome our team member Angel McMellin home. She received her radioactive iodine (RAI) 131 treatment seven days ago and it is now safe for her to be home with her family – just in time for the holidays.

We have many exciting things in the works to keep our momentum going. The very talented Angel is planning a bake sale and working on a team banner. If you would like to help with the bake sale, please contact her. I know she can take on the world, but I’m sure she’d appreciate the help.

On another note, I am sad to say that my aunt Thelma Kidwell passed away from cancer on Saturday. She battled stage four lymphoma and was in remission for five years before it returned and took her life. She will be honored with a luminaria at the April 16th event.

Remission should be permanent. And we need all the money we can get to find a cure for cancer. 

We hope the holidays find your safe and happy, but please take a moment to say a prayer for all of those whose lives have been affected by this terrible disease.

Until next week…

Wings of Hope

Some may call it six degrees of separation, the butterfly effect or good timing, but I call it a small world.   Here’s the cool little story.  About a year ago, I started “tweeting” on the international social networking site called Twitter.  At the time I had just been diagnosed with having papillary thyroid cancer and was tweeting all about it.  That’s where I “virtually” met Chris Prestano.  She had also been recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  So we had a common bond.  (Now keep in mind that Twitter has millions of people on the site from all over the world.  What are the odds of Chris and I connecting?)

Chris and I eventually became friends on Facebook as well.  We needed a place that gave us more than 140 characters at a time to message back and forth!  We emailed and IM’d over the course of several months, keeping each other updated on our progress and treatments. 

I soon discovered that Chris was living in NYC and traveling to Johns Hopkins Hospital for her doctor’s appointments, treatments and all the other fun things we get to do when being treated for thyroid cancer.  Well that might not seem like such a big deal to you, but it was to me.  Why? Because I was also was going to Johns Hopkins Hospital for my treatment during that time!  Well that’s just the beginning, so read on…

Chris told me about an organization called ThyCa and how they had monthly thyroid cancer support meetings in Baltimore, MD.  This sounded great to me and it close enough for me to drive there.  I really wanted to connect with other people face to face who had experience to share about thyroid cancer.  I decided to go to my first ThyCa meeting in November.  Chris was going to be in town that same week, so we decided to meet at the meeting.  It was nice to finally meet her in person.  We went to lunch after the meeting and spent a couple hours sharing “our stories” and our ups and downs.  What strong women we are!  During lunch, we were talking about cancer fundraisers and how thyroid cancer is in the shadows of it all.  I mean how often do you see people walking around with a ribbon for thyroid cancer? Exactly!  We wanted to do something.  Chris mentioned the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and it sounded really interesting to me.  So that is when the seed was planted for what has now turned into our “Wings of Hope” team.

I was contacted by the wonderful Katie Schwartz, Founder of the amazing site Dear Thyroid to write a post on my blog in December for their upcoming “Thyoliday Blues and Truths” series. When Katie asked me to pick a date for Dear Thyroid to post it on their site, I went with December 1.  

It seemed like all of these “thybulous” things started to snowball.  Chris got more info about Relay for Life and registered our team. Angel (another thyroid cancer survivor and ThyCa meeting attendee) joined our team and we were super excited!  It was actually coming together.  And it just so happens that Dear Thyroid had been in contact with Chris and offered to provide us with shirts for Relay for Life!  

So December 1 came around and my blog post was on the first page of the Dear Thyroid site!  What a proud moment that was for me. (Here’s where it all comes back together again.)  I scrolled down and the very next post was one titled, “Chris Prestano, Thyroid Cancer Survivor & Fighter Is Racing For A Cure” written about Chris and our Wings of Hope Relay for Life team!!! What? Are you kidding me?  I just happened to pick December 1 for Dear Thyroid to put my blog post on their site and it was the same day that they posted the one Chris wrote about our team.  Oh come on!!!

So that’s the cool little story about how Chris and I were brought together by thyroid cancer and joined forces to kick cancer’s ass.  It’s a small world!

The following update was written by Chris Prestano, Captain of the Wings of Hope Team…

We are very pleased to announce that only after ONE week, Wings of Hope is Number 1 out of 71 teams for the most money raised for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Johns Hopkins University on April 16, 2010. And we couldn’t have done it without you! We would like to give special thanks to the following people:

• Supporters Robert Bruce, Robert Hansen, Shawn Jirik, Kim Spisler, Kim Eisenberg, and Lisa Redmond

• Thyroid Cancer Survivor Carol DiFelice

• Thysister Robyn Davis Hahn

• Thyrella Lori A. Callahan

• Thyroid Cancer Family Member Jeane Kidwell

In our first week, we have grown our relay team to four members: • Co-Captain Chris Prestano • Co-Captain Jennifer Bridge • Thyroid Cancer Survivor Angel McMellin • Supporter Jen Engesser

A very special thanks goes out to Dear Thyroid for joining our cause. The three thyroid cancer survivors on our team will be proudly wearing Dear Thyroid t-shirts stating that we are “Kicking Thyroid Cancer’s Ass” during the relay. In addition to donating our attire, Dear Thyroid has been a tremendous help by promoting our cause on their website: Thank you, ladies! Your support has been tremendous momentum for us.

We would also like to thank ThyCa (Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc.), a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the support, education and communication for thyroid cancer survivors, families and friends. They have donated brochures and other information for us to distribute at the event.

While I was on my latest medical trip to Baltimore, Co-Captain Jennifer Bridge has been a very busy lady. In addition to recruiting team members, getting donations and keeping up with her thyroid cancer survivor’s blog (; she has been working on our team website (, our team facebook page (, and attended her first team captains meeting. This lady seriously rocks!

 This is a really kick ass start in our fight against cancer! Our second week is all ready off to a great start with new team members joining and fundraising plans in the works.

On another note, please keep the following people in your thoughts and prayers this week: Team member Angel McMellin. She is currently prepping for radioactive iodine treatment and living with the joys of the Low Iodine Diet (LID) and being hypothyroid. We pray for to find continued strength and energy in the days ahead. Victoria. An older lady I met this weekend who has a 3 cm tumor on her thyroid. Even though her fine needle aspiration (FNA) came back clean, she will be having a partial thyroidectomy on January 26 – just four days after the birth of her first grandchild.

This is why we fight back. These are the reasons that we relay!

Until next week…

Wings of Hope