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I am all about promoting thyroid cancer awareness month in September.  That is why I was super-excited when I found out that Dear Thyroid had a blog tour to help spread the word.  They posted the following on their site:   “During the month of September, Dear Thyroid is going on a blog tour to promote awareness for thyroid cancer. For this blog tour, we’ll be asking bloggers to write a post on their own blog that addresses some questions provided by Dear Thyroid regarding thyroid cancer and thyroid cancer awareness. On the day we are scheduled to make a “stop” at your blog, Dear Thyroid will post a brief description of your blog along with a link from our website to yours.”
September 2, 2010 is the day the link to this post that you are reading at this very moment will be featured on the Dear Thyroid site.  So pleeeeease continue to show your support by sharing this post with others and making a “virtual” difference.  (Thank you!!)  Below are the questions from Dear Thyroid and my answers.  And away we go…
  • What kind of thyroid cancer were you diagnosed with? How many years have you been a survivor?

I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer in October 2008.  I believe that I became a cancer survivor the moment after I was given the diagnosis.  That is when I started my fight.  Some consider themselves cancer survivors once they become cancer-free, which for me was May 2009.  After going through this battle, I see anyone diagnosed with cancer as an immediate survivor.

  • September is thyroid cancer awareness month. What does that mean to you? Why do you think awareness is important? How do you spread awareness?

To me, thyroid cancer awareness month means joining forces to spread the word about prevention, early detection and the facts about thyroid cancer.  One of the reasons I started my Thyroid Cancer Survivor blog was to spread awareness about thyroid cancer and to share my journey as a cancer survivor with others.  Awareness is important because it gives people a better chance to check their neck and find thyroid cancer earlier.

  • Many thyroid cancer patients have been told, “If you have to get cancer, thyroid cancer is the one to get.”  What do you think of that statement? When you’re told this, how do you respond?

When my doctor told me that I had papillary thyroid cancer, I was shocked.  I remember him telling me that if I had the option to pick which cancer I would want, I would want thyroid cancer.  At the time, it made me feel better.  I didn’t know too much about thyroid cancer back then.  I guess my doctor was trying to make me feel better and take some of the fear away.  Now I know that cancer is cancer.  One is not better or worse.  No type of cancer should be minimized.  I’ve also heard people refer to thyroid cancer as the little “c”.  It’s not worth getting upset about.  That only feeds those cancer cells. I usually smile and let them know cancer does not come in a “lite” version.

  • Dear Thyroid is constantly working to dispel the myth that thyroid cancer is the good cancer or the easy cancer. What other myth would you like to dispel regarding thyroid cancer?

Some of us get to go through the radioactive iodine treatment, people asked me if I glowed in the dark.  It was tempting to say yes, but the truth you don’t glow in the dark.  That is a myth!

Another myth is that once the cancer treatment is over and you get a clean scan, you can put it behind you. Thyroid cancer survivors have to go back every six months the first few YEARS for scans and blood work.  There is a 30% recurrence rate, so it is very important to stay on top of it.  Thyroid cancer is never over.  That is the myth.  It is a lifelong battle because those sneaky thyroid cancer cells are always trying to multiply.

  • What one thing would you tell the world about thyroid cancer?

This cancer journey has given me a new perspective and appreciation for life.  I am so grateful to be a survivor.

  • What advice would you give to a newly diagnosed thyroid cancer patient?

You are not alone.  You will get through it.  Learn all that you can about it (Tips for ThyCa Newbies and ThyCa is a good place to start).  Be an advocate for your health. You are responsible for your health and to speak up.  Never be afraid to ask the doctor a question.  Talk about how you are feeling.  Find people who have gone through it. Use it as an excuse to follow a dream and do something you have always wanted to do!

Dear Thyroid is a thyroid support community and literary brand. Our goal is to connect patients with each other, to create awareness for thyroid diseases and cancers, and to give all thyroid patients a voice. We come together as a united front to invoke change on behalf of thyroid patients worldwide. Thyroid patients are invited to submit letters to their thyroids, thyroid rants and raves, and other literary creations. Help us to create awareness for thyroid diseases and cancers by wearing your disease on your sleeve and by requesting one of our free awareness bands. Visit DearThyroid.org to learn more!

Summer is almost over. (frown) The back to school bug is in the air.  September is just around the corner.  You know what that means? Yep. You got it.  Thyroid Cancer Awareness month is almost here.  So I’m taking a moment to be proactive and get this virtual pep rally going!

Let me start by giving you some of the history behind Thyroid Cancer Awareness month.  According to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association (ThyCa), “Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month is a worldwide observance, sponsored and initiated by ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association. It began in 2000, as a week in September. In 2003, it expanded to the whole month of September…Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month promotes thyroid cancer awareness for early detection, as well as care based on expert standards, and increased research to achieve cures for all thyroid cancer. People and organizations in 55 countries around the world take part.

As a thyroid cancer survivor, I am on a mission to spread awareness and do my part to help others.  This blog gets the word out about thyroid cancer, cancer survivorship and more.   Are you playing a part to spread awareness?  If you need some tips, take a look at ThyCa’s 10 Tips on How to Help.

1/29/10

One of my goals the past few months has been to write a “Dear Thyroid” letter and submit it to the Dear Thyroid site.  I finally wrote the letter!! Yay!! I’m so excited for you to read it.  I found it quite therapeutic to write.

I posted my Dear Thyroid letter called “RIP my Thyroid, August 1973 – January 2009” on my blog this week, but I had to take it down. Why? Well after posting it on my blog,  I found out that Dear Thyroid will only publish original content.  (Ok, I get it. Rules are rules!)  I do admit, I did not read all the requirements set by Dear Thyroid before submitting my letter. So I have learned my lesson 🙂

I will post the link to my letter on the Dear Thyroid site as soon as they post it. Stay tuned for details…

3/10/10 UPDATE :  Dear Thyroid still has not posted my Dear Thyroid post so I might post the letter on my blog after all. Stay tuned!

3/22/10 UPDATE TO UPDATE: Dear Thyroid posted my Dear Thyroid letter today!!! WooHoo!! Please take a looksy at http://dearthyroid.org/rip-my-thyroid/and share your comments.  Thank you in advance 🙂

Thanks!

Wings of Hope Week 15 Update  3/8/10 – 3/15/10

Our progress as of March 15, 2010.
 
With only 32 days left until the relay, the heat is on! Team Baseball & Friends has come out of nowhere and is close to unseating us in first place. We are $1,039 away from our goal of $5,000 and I’m confident that we can exceed this marker if we just keep our momentum going!

As of March 15, 2010
 
We are pleased to welcome a new team member to Wings of Hope: Bob Bruce. He is relaying with us because his mother was an oncology nurse who passed away from cancer in 2004.

We would like to thank the following people for their generous donations to our cause: Irv Hamet, Diane Hamet, Ian Baumel, Ivan Hurwitz and Jody Clelland Richards.

 
Our team members as of March 10, 2010.
With the relay right around the corner, every day counts for our team in preparation for the event and in our fundraising efforts.

I am very pleased to announce that Darren Johnson has volunteered to head up our bake sale the day of the relay and he will be coordinating the donated baked goods. Please note: we are requiring each team member to donate a minimum of one item for the bake sale. So please contact Darren at daj1973@gmail.com.

Next, I would like to thank Jennifer Rudd Monath for volunteering to be in charge of campsite decorations. Her email address is jennimonath@gmail.com.

We still need one person to be in charge of coordinating food and beverages and another person to be in charge of coordinating campsite equipments (tents, sleeping bags, etc). Please contact me a chrisp730@yahoo.com if you want to learn more or volunteer for these opportunities.

And don’t forget to participate in our online discussion board on facebook. We’re currently asking every team member to give us in one sentence why you relay (and “Chris guilted me into it” is not a legitimate answer).

As always, thanks to our supporters and our team members for their tireless fundraising efforts.

Until next week,

Wings of Hope

 
Team Captains Chris & Jenn

 

                                            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 angelmcmellin@live.com or myself at chrisp730@yahoo.com if you can help.

Also, please update your attendance status by Tuesday at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=305306920993&index=1

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: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=298322843386&index=1

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: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=457912620132&index=1

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 http://main.acsevents.org/goto/wings2010. 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 12 Update
2/15/10 – 2/21/10
*This update was written by our team Captain Chris Kidwell

 

The heat is on! There are only 54 days left until the Relay for Life at Johns Hopkins

 
As of February 20, 2010
 
University. We are 60% of the way to our goal with a total of $2,991.00. Who is going to be the person to break the $3,000.00 mark? Will it be you?

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.

We have a lot of exciting things happening the first week of March!

Thursday, March 4th from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., we are holding our own bake sale at Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, 601 N Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD. We need food donations and volunteers to help us run our booth. You do not have to be a team member to help us, our supporters are just as important as our relayers. Please contact Angel (angelmcmellin@live.com) or myself (chrisp730@yahoo.com) if you want to help.

Friday, March 5th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., there is a relay wide fundraiser at Johns Hopkins University. We need volunteers and fundraising ideas. If you are interested or want more information, please contact me at chrisp730@yahoo.com.

Saturday, March 6th at 11:30 a.m. we have a team meeting at M&S Grill, 201 E Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD. This is an open meeting, so if you have joined team Wings of Hope yet please join us.

We are currently holding two online fundraisers: The first contest is all thanks to our wonderful friends and supporters 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 http://main.acsevents.org/goto/wings2010. The contest ends March 16th!

As of February 20, 2010
Our second online fundraiser is to reward one lucky team member. The first team member to raise $500 between February 7th and February 28th wins a $25 Macy’s Gift Card. Will it be Jennifer Bridge, Rachel Markus or Samantha Kidwell? Go to http://main.acsevents.org/goto/wings2010 and donate in honor of your favorite team member today!

We would like to welcome our newest team member: Melissa Lorenzo. Welcome to the team!

As of February 20, 2010
 
As always, we would like to thank the generous souls who donated to Wings of Hope this week: Danielle Collins, Elena Primost, Robyn Goode, Karen Welsh-Mulachy, and Lisa Hensley.
It is crunch time. We need the support of everyone: our team members, our supporters, and our communities to ensure our success. As you can see, there are numerous opportunities to support Wings of Hope, so send us an email today!

Until next week,

Wings of Hope

Wings of Hope Week 9 Update
1/25/10 – 1/31/10

*Written by our Wings of Hope team captain Chris Kidwell 

There are only 76 days left until the Relay for Life at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland! After nine weeks, we are still the number one team with $2,276.00 raised. However, Team SASH is quickly closing in on us with $2,029.43 raised.

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.

We have some exciting news this week: Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center has agreed to give us the space required to host a bake sale for our team and the event! The date is still to be determined, but we are hoping for early March. Angel McMellin has been absolutely amazing in getting this event organized and we couldn’t be prouder of her efforts. She will need help with running the event and also with producing baked goods. So dust off your mixing bowls, break out your recipe books, and email her at angelmcmellin@live.com to volunteer.

Be on the lookout for a special update once we have finalized the date and time for our bake sale.

Please keep Jennifer Bridge in your prayers and thoughts this week. On Tuesday, February 2nd, she will be receiving her latest test results from her endocrinologist. We are confident that she is still in remission and has successfully kicked cancer’s @$$, but waiting for that appointment is still nerve wracking. Good luck, Jennifer!

We shouldn’t have to live like this. When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you live blood test to blood test, ultrasound to ultrasound. And even after the cancer is gone, and you’re told you’re in remission, you still live with the fear of reoccurrence every round of testing. Life is hard and stressful enough without living with constant fear of the cancer reoccurring or forming a secondary cancer.

So please, help us find a cure for cancer and put a stop to our fears.

Until next week,

Wings of Hope