HOW MY CANCER COMMUNITY (AND YOU!) INSPIRES ME TO KEEP FIGHTING

Since I have been chronicling my journey for the past year, I have been in touch with so many people around the country. I have called it my Cancer Community. You have helped me. I hope I have helped some of you. My community consists of other #FutureCancerSurvivors, survivors and/or their spouses, partners or parents. We all connect in different ways but Cancer is the core of this group.

For the Full story please visit Good Housekeeping.

SING Mamarazzi

December 2016 | LA and NYC

The MOMS hosted Bi-Coastal events for the holiday hit movie, SING, starring Matthew McConaughey.

One thing is for sure, you will leave wanting to just SING! Do you sing with your kids? Check out photos from the event below.

GETTING ACCUWEATHER READY THIS WINTER!

Disclosure: AccuWeather sponsored this post. Opinions are mine 100%.
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I grew up in St Louis, Missouri with horrible winters. If you grew up in a home that was cold a lot of the time, due to a damaged roof and needed the assistance of someone like a hail damage roofing company to come and fix this during the winter months, you might not be the biggesst fan of the winter either! Also, I had a mother who had a fear of driving in the snow, so basically her winter worries and fears trickled down to me, since you do hear a lot of car accidents happening a lot in winter weather with many spending their weather with a lawyer and court dates.
Here in the North East and across America the winter season is approaching at a rapid speed. Thankfully AccuWeather, the global leader in weather information and digital media, has extended its continued mission to save lives, protect property and help people prosper with its new severe weather preparedness program, AccuWeather Ready, that focuses on keeping consumers safe and informed.

With a shared goal to help educate and protect people, especially throughout the cold winter season, AccuWeather has partnered with the FDNY Foundation to educate local students on how to be ready for winter weather – with preparedness plans and fire safety.

We were invited to the FDNY Fire Zone, in New York City to get a first hand look at the simulation room, and learn more on how to educate our children on the steps to take in case of an emergency. My children who are 14, 11 and 7 know many of the basics but this experience and new information will have us even more prepared.

The firefighters spoke with the children about knowing their home addresses, and being prepared to provide it when calling 911, which many younger ones shockingly did not know.

The FDNY listed Space Heaters as their main concern as fire starters during the winter months. They encourage everyone to ensure it is safe for use within their home, and also to make sure it is 3 feet clear of furniture, drapes or anything else that can catch fire.

The firefighters also spoke about the importance of fire alarms and how Fire Alarm Installers can fit properties with alarms to help make homes and businesses safer.

Additionally, the children were taken through a simulated smoke room where they demonstrated how to stay low and go in case of an emergency.

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For a list of the top leading causes of fires in the home and ongoing weather preparedness tips and tools including in-app push notifications when bad weather is coming, personalized weather preparedness plans, and tailored emergency kits with detailed shopping lists are all available on the 24/7 AccuWeather Network, AccuWeather.com/Ready and the AccuWeather app.

Advanced Screening of Moana!

The MOMS partnered up with Subway this week for a very special Subway Kids event at Dolby 88 Screening Room for an advanced screening of the new Disney film Moana that hits theaters this Wednesday, November 23rd!

Take a look at some shots from the pre-reception party with Subway where our guests had the chance to indulge in nutritious Fresh Fit for Kids meals and receive island treasures.

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DO YOU LIKE TO BE ALONE?

Alone time is something I rarely desire.  I am a people person.  I always say the more the merrier and you will usually find me with my family or friends.  I don’t like to be alone.

But for the first time in my life, I went to an island out of the country, alone for 24 hours.  I was nervous.  I was excited.  I was apprehensive.  I almost didn’t go.  I think sometimes as moms, we are so used to having our children around and we are so protective of them that we can feel fearful leaving them.  I have left them many times for business trips with my business partner and I have left them for a week to travel with my husband.  Yet, I never left them to be alone.  The thought of being alone scared me more than actually leaving them.

I knew that I was also going to meet up with my husband the following day after being alone, so that added some comfort, and we were going to be together even if it was only for 24 hours too.

When you are married for over 17 years and you have 3 children, you jump at the opportunity to be together minus the kids.  Anyone who is a parent can relate to this.  Any parent also knows the coordination prior to departure is anything but easy too.  I am thankful that my parents were able to fly in and watch our kids, as that adds an extra layer of mental relaxation, knowing that the kids are happy and well taken care of back home.

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I arrived at The Waldorf El Conquistador and settled in.  The minute I arrived on property this exhale happened.  I could feel my breathing shift.  I could feel a sense of peace and relaxation instantaneously kick in.  I had 24 hours to myself   It was solo mom time.  It was completely alone time.  I actually did not know what to do with myself.  I read by the pool and walked around and then it came time for dinner. Should I order room service? Should I dine alone?  The sushi bar seemed to be a comforting idea that evening.   At least I could talk to the Sushi Chef.  I also had my phone so I could work and connect with others.

 

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I took the opportunity to explore this spectacular property.  I had never seen such a majestic setting.  The hotel is situated on top of a mountain and you take a funicular up and down to the waterfront and beach.  It has many pools, the Coqui Water Park that our children would love with water slides and a lazy river. There is the Waldorf Astoria Spa that features the Ki’ Spa for the little ones and then there is the unforgettable Palomino Island.  This is the resorts private 100 acre tropical island paradise.

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I took the ferry from the hotel over to this island, and you feel like you are in some James Bond movie.  It is gorgeous.  It is tropical and it is breathtaking. However, if you want action they have all the jet skis and activities one would desire, however if you want privacy, it is there for you too.  I enjoyed my day on the island, I actually read a book, which we know is a difficult feat now with kids in tow and I started to realize that it is really nice to be alone.  In fact, I think I could have handled a few more days alone, but I was also so excited to see my husband and celebrate our anniversary together.

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The next day, he arrived and I could not wait to take him to Palomino Island.  We felt like we were on the island alone.  It was romantic, just what we needed.  Later that day we had the Nirvana Spa Package, which included scrubs and a couples’ massage.

The hotel has many delicious restaurants too.  Some can be found in the main hotel and others are down at the Marina where you catch the ferry to the island.  There was so much that we didn’t have the chance to do since it was a quick visit, which is why we will have to return as soon as possible.  The El Conquistador has a Championship Golf Course, Camp Coqui for the kids, which allows them some extra playtime and the parents some alone time, shopping, several pools, game rooms, and more!

The simplicity of being alone is something I have taken for granted.  This recent getaway showed me that it is necessary and hopefully something I can do on a more regular basis.  But the best part of going away was with my husband and the most memorable was our day together on Palomino Island.

HOW I’M SURVIVING CANCER — AND LIFE AFTER THE ELECTION

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When people are diagnosed with something that threatens their life, most fight it. Last December, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I immediately called myself a #FutureCancerSurvivor.

I have spent the past year fighting cancer. I have spent the past year writing about my journey in the hopes it would help others. I have connected with other survivors and future cancer survivors all over the country. I have also connected with some who unfortunately were diagnosed too far along and lost their battle. To read the full article please visit Good Housekeeping.

I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD WORRY THE CANCER IS BACK

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“Have you ever had anything removed from your skin? Do you or your family have a history of skin cancer?” The nurse’s questions weren’t what I wanted to hear. She added, “It’s a standard question we ask all new patients.” Issues involving your skin are something that we’d all like to avoid wherever possible. The risk of contracting something like skin cancer is enough to make anybody want to seek confirmation from a medical professional like a dermatologist. These medical professionals, the likes of which you can find at websites like https://premierdermatologyatlanta.com, are experts in skin health and are the right people to turn to if you are ever worried about the health of your skin.

Cancer of any form is a sickening thought, but still not one that many people truly understand the full impact of before it begins to affect them. Therefore, these standard questions can seem normal for most patients who’ve never had to go through cancer treatment. Once again, I’d reaffirm that you should always see your dermatologist at the first sign of any unusual or concerning development regarding the health of your skin.

Last year, that would have been a fine question at a routine appointment. But this wasn’t a routine checkup. It didn’t matter that the question was explained the way it was (which was, I’m sure, perfectly acceptable to most people). This appointment was with an oncology dermatologist at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center where I’m now seeing all of my doctors. I am most comfortable being treated there.

Once you have been diagnosed with some sort of cancer, your reactions change. I heard the question above as “I’m sorry, you have skin cancer.” Read the full article on Good Housekeeping.

SO MY FRIEND HAS CANCER…WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?

By Melissa Musen Gerstein, Co-Founder of media company, The MOMS, and Co-Host of The MOMS on SiriusXM Stars.

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“More Good Days” for me means that the people around me who I love and adore need to be uplifted and happy as they fight. If they are having More Good Days, then we are, too. The three most important women in my life have been diagnosed with breast cancer. First it was my mother when she was 48 years old, then my sister at age 38, and now my #WorkWife Denise Albert at age 41. For them to feel good everyday means that these women are nurtured and loved, and the best advice I can give is that it’s the little things that carry them through the fight. Looking to help a loved one in your life during breast cancer treatment? Here are seven lessons I’ve learned to help lessen the burden and give them more good days.

1. Communicate Constantly. I check in daily with my mom and sister, but when they were fighting for their lives, I had to quadruple the check-ins. It’s important to send supportive and uplifting text messages and emails daily. My sister, mom and Denise always appreciated positive words from me, and I like to send uplifting quotes to help jump-start the day so they know that they are constantly surrounded by love and support. Create a “Gratitude Jar” and your friend can print and save these messages so they always have these kind words near them. You might also be surprised that medically, there are things you can do for your friend too. Visit a website like https://worldhealthsurvey.com/ and Enjoy the Survey! Taking part in health surveys and clinical trials can find cures for all sorts of cancers and illnesses so it’s well worth doing if you can! Your friend will be so touched that you’re going to such an effort to help them.

2. Make Meals that Heal. Help organize monthly or weekly meals and dinners. I remembered how much it meant to my sister to have friends and family organize meals. Mealtrain.com is a wonderful resource that simplifies the organization of meal giving – and through Ford Warriors in Pink, you can take advantage of MealTrain Plus free of charge, allowing coordination of meal deliveries and much, much more. This can be super helpful when so many friends and family want to help, whether with dinners, lunches or nights in with friends (try a Book Club or Netflix night!). For Denise, I also organized a dinner party out where we are showed up in #TeamDA Shirts, and I could tell that it totally lifted her spirits. When that evening ended, I knew we needed to organize the next one as soon as possible. You can also research things like natural supplements they could take to help ease some of their symptoms, such as those mentioned in Candid magazine. You could even get your hands on some for them and take them with you next time you visit, for them to try.

3. Clean and Organize. Take care of the patient’s home – help them stay organized, help them with chores, and even help them just do the dishes. It’s the simple things that make the biggest difference. When Denise would come home after chemo every Tuesday, I would either be with her at chemo or meet her at her home. I knew she had to rest so I would help her with anything, whether that was fixing her a snack, or working side by side. She would wake and work a little and then take a break again, and I knew just being there with her and not asking her to be alone in an empty home was meaningful and important. Also, when my sister got sick, her two young daughters needed to live in a clean space, being able to take care of her home was crucial, even when she didn’t have the strength. Through Cleaning for a Reason, Ford Warriors in Pink is offering free professional home cleanings to women going through treatment.

4. Know that Music is Everything. Music just feeds the soul. It lifts a person’s spirit and energy. When my sister was going through her treatments at the hospital, music was everything. You can easily make a playlist for your loved one, or find one that’s already been created to uplift and heal. At Fordcares.com, under the Tools Section, there is “Healing Music” where you can learn how easy it is by downloading the Spotify App and typing in Ford Warriors in Pink – and there you have it, an already made playlist that is updated all the time with new artists and music! I also remember Denise and I went to Bruce Springsteen one night when she was feeling good, and I could just tell that this helped a lot. She not only had something to look forward to, but to be at a concert was a great distraction from her upcoming treatments.

5. Send Snail Mail. It is such a gift to send a letter or postcard, as it is also something to look forward to. Sending cards or small care packages always puts a smile on someone’s face. You can easily do this through Fordcares.com – Warriors in Pink offers inspirational post cards with beautiful and inspiring messages for free! Just the sight of a post card in a mailbox can put a smile on your friend’s face. If you like, you can even add a little gift – nothing expensive, maybe a bracelet that says Warrior or wristbands for the patient’s supporters to wear. It just shows your love for that friend or family member, and by wearing the wristband, they know you are right by their side with them all the way.

6. Plan Ahead – and Just Plan. More Good Days could include planning a trip at the end of treatment, a spa day to celebrate the end of chemo, or just the end of your weekly treatment. If you can’t get away, then a best friends’ spa day could be the answer – you can find some great tips on how and what to plan in the Tips section at FordCares.com. Spa gift certificates are a great gift, too – I gave one to my sister recently, as something to look forward to after treatment. My sister’s breast cancer treatment kept her tied to her bed many, many days, so I knew that having someone come into her home was better for her then to go to the spa. But now that she is done with her treatment, I know that physically going to a spa and having that relaxation experience will be wonderful!

7. Remember: Breast Cancer is 365. More Good Days are not just for the month of October. We need to remember that even though your friend or family member may be concluding their treatment or could be a few years out of treatment, to have More Good Days now and forever means to always check in on how they are. Breast cancer never really ends the day you leave a hospital or your last doctors appointment. There are medications for some for ten plus years, and body changes and possible early menopause that can still cause not only physical pain but mental pain, too. The physical pain can take its toll on the body, some people will turn to medicines such as medical marijuana to help them get through this pain, visiting sites that can give them a ‘using bong guide‘ so that they know what they are doing and seeing how it can be done correctly for the benefit of their physical and mental wellbeing. You don’t have to go through this pain alone, and discussing your options with your physician will help you in the long run. If you think you have this condition or one similar, you should visit somewhere like Advanced Gynecology of Athens as they can provide expert advice on how to deal with the condition. More Good Days is 365 Days a year and a good reminder to remember to always be there for your survivor, in October and every other month of the year.

HILTON OUR STAGE, YOUR STORY

All too often there is a divide between “dreaming” and “doing,” Hilton has been leveraging the power of visualization to help people turn their travel dreams into reality this year. Hilton has now launched Our Stage. Your Story., a dedicated content hub that features tools and interactive videos to help people visualize their dream vacation and get one step closer to making it a reality.

I made a decision to take my kids to London without putting much thought into it, other than our stay at The Waldorf Hilton. I didn’t think about whether my sports-loving sons would be up for being tourists. I didn’t think about whether my neuropathy-filled feet could handle it (thank you, chemo). When you have been diagnosed with cancer, other fears as well as the divide between dreaming and doing feel silly.

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A recent Hilton Hotels & Resorts study revealed that 86% of travelers set goals for themselves, and among these travelers, visualization is the most common method used to achieve goals. The content hub arms people with the right tools to make their travel goals a reality – to move them from “bucket list” to “booked it.” Get inspired by others and take a look through the library of bucket list worthy images and try your hand at making a digital, shareable vision board, of your next dream vacation. When you return, please share your images of your dream vacation with us!

As a Cancer Patient, Here’s Why I Think Radiation is Almost as Bad as Chemotherapy

I thought being tired and losing my hair was the roughest part of having breast cancer, turns out, radiation is awful in other ways.

Try this: Lay on the floor. Stack a baseball bat and hockey stick below your back but above your butt. Make sure the room temperature is about 50 degrees.

Take off your shirt or pull one arm out of a robe, and put your arms above your head. Have someone place a little box in the middle of your body just below your breasts. If it itches, too bad.

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Don’t move. Your life relies on it.

Wait 5 minutes. Don’t scratch that itch. Don’t move your arms. I know the blood rushing makes them feel numb. And cold.

Don’t move that robe that is lying in a place you didn’t realize would be annoying. Don’t worry about the hair lying across your face; imagine you don’t have any. Keep fighting that urge to move your hands and fingers. If you do, you’ll just have to start over again.

Stay like this for anywhere between 20 minutes and 45 minutes.

Visit Good Housekeeping to read the full article.

Touchdown for Breast Cancer!

Touchdown for Breast Cancer! So honored to ring today’s bell @NYGiants game to raise awareness for BreastCancer as part of NFL A Crucial Catch. To do this my my kids, (Melissa and other survivors) and to include them in this important message is the good that comes from a bad diagnosis by hopefully helping others! Thanks to NYGiants (and Don Sperling) for a day will we always remember.

 

 

What’s for Dinner?

sirius-media-tourJust as we are heading back to school, and back to work we are also struggling with meal time and snack time. We all just want the best for our kids even though we were raised on Kraft Mac n Cheese and how about Spaghettios, remember those!   This Fall we are going for a win-win!  Envirokidz granola bars and crispy rice bars are the first organic, gluten free, peanut free bars for kids.  So they are great snacks for kids with allergies as well as peanut free schools, and are available in four flavors: chocolate crispy, and berry blast crispy rice bars, chocolate chip and strawberry granola bars.  Amazing right!

As full time stay at home working mom we not only have to make the kid’s lunch but our own as well! With Reynold’s new heat & eat containers tonight’s dinner easily becomes tomorrow’s lunch.   We really love them because we simply heat it, and eat it!  Clean all those messes up after with Wet Ones®.   Although we all hate the messes, those messes are making memories our kids will never forget.

A #FutureCancerSurvivor’s Secrets to #MoreGoodDays During Treatment

By Denise Albert, Co-Founder of lifestyle brand and media company TheMOMS.com, Co-host of “The MOMS on SiriusXM Stars with Denise and Melissa,” and Co-host of The MOMS Mamarazzi event series. Denise was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in December, 2015 and is currently in the middle of treatment.

MoreGoodDays I measure my life in good days, and I’m on a mission to keep it that way.

When you are 41 years old and an #independent, #fulltimeworkingstayathomemom – and then you’re diagnosed with early stage breast cancer – it might be hard to find the good during unexpectedly difficult times. But for me, I had to continue living my way despite breast cancer, ensuring that I would continue to have good days – both for my family, for my work, and for myself.

I live out loud. I try to be honest and make a difference in everything I do, whether on the radio, on social media, or with my friends and family. I speak out on social media about my life as a mom, my social life, my divorce, and my work (with lots of fun hashtags!), so it only felt natural for me to continue living publicly as a #FutureCancerSurvivor. My public journey, and my work with Ford Warriors in Pink, has taught me a lot about how to enjoy more good days during breast cancer treatment, and how to extend more good days to others in the fight.

As I continue treatment and move toward embracing my new #Survivor status, here are some lessons I’ve learned on how to enjoy more good days during my breast cancer journey:

1. #LiveLaughLovelive-laugh-loveThat’s always been my motto, so I wanted to continue to live, laugh and love every day. And to embrace that spirit, maintaining some normalcy during treatment is key!

According to Warriors in Pink’s 2016 survey of breast cancer patients, maintaining day-to-day routines during treatment is the primary concern of 83 percent of respondents – second only to life expectancy, at 86 percent. But how do you do that, when it feels like your world has been turned upside down?

Whether through work, running from my kids’ pickups to activities kids’ carpools, scheduling social outings or exercise, I tried to keep my normal routine in place as much as possible so I could feel like myself. Sometimes, on hard days, I simply tried to do one thing more than I did the day before – and there were certainly days when I could really only do one thing! So each day, I’d try to add one more step toward living, laughing, and loving, embracing normalcy in the process.

2. #WorkItOut

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Exercise not only helps you maintain strength and a sense of normalcy, but it can ease the physical and emotional toll of treatment. I’m a spinner, and so I chose to #FlyThruChemo by spinning a few days a week (or on my off-chemo weeks) at Flywheel. I certainly didn’t have my best workouts – and oftentimes didn’t even break a sweat – but moving and being active felt great.

Staying fit also helped me motivate to eat better, giving my body nutrients it needed to recover. I don’t cook, but I changed my eating habits to help my body beat cancer, cutting out most sugar, carbs, red meat and some dairy. Eating well takes energy, research and some resources, but with Warriors in Pink’s new partnership with Green Chef, free organic meal kits are being made available for door-to-door delivery to breast cancer patients nationwide – this is exactly the type of service that me and my boys could use to keep our healthy meal plans on track!

3. #OneTeamOneDream

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The same survey found that 96 percent of Americans believe that small gestures from friends and family can make a big difference in the fight against breast cancer – yet only 28 percent of Americans felt confident that they knew what to do to help someone in treatment. Forming a team of supporters around a patient in treatment is an amazing way to extend little gestures that mean so much, giving the patient something to look forward to. Even if you just spend time looking into something like Icon immunotherapy with a patient, this could make all the difference, as allowing them to speak about what they are going through and find out about potential treatments will hopefully make their diagnosis a little bit easier to deal with.

For me, it was #TeamDA. Melissa planned a surprise party for me before chemo and ordered shirts for everyone with #TeamDA. I was so touched, and it reinforced for me how much fun it was to be with my family and friends and celebrate life! So I planned #TeamDA celebrations throughout – a birthday party amidst chemo, a celebratory dinner with friends at the end of chemo, and even a trip to London for myself, my mom and my two boys (along with Melissa and her kids!) between chemo and radiation. Plans with my dream team of supporters gave me something to look forward to!

4. #AskForHelp

No matter how strong you think you are, ask for help and talk to a professional. Warriors in Pink’s research revealed that 44 percent of patients report needing help to maintain a positive outlook, and I know this was definitely the case for me!

Before treatment, I thought I was so strong and wouldn’t need help, but I’ve learned that cancer diagnoses hit people at different times. I was so strong the first few months after diagnosis, and then it hit me hard a few months into treatment. Luckily, I have a wonderful team of doctors at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center who constantly offered to put me in touch with professional help. Then when I was ready, I wasn’t afraid to take advantage of the support! If you or a patient you know needs emotional support, Ford Warriors in Pink offers health and financial information from its four charity partners at fordcares.com. And with the free access they offer to MealTrain Plus, your supporters can rally around you, creating a schedule to cover childcare, meals and other household chores, helping to keep life on track while you pay attention to what matters most – your health and well-being. Depending on your prognosis, it might also be in your best interests to make plans for your future care such as whether or not you would prefer to be treated in a hospice facility. For more information about hospice facilities in San Diego, click here.

5. #CreateCommunity

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Create your own community of people who know what you’re going through. To get started, reach out to someone also going through breast cancer treatment – you can really learn from those who are ahead of you (and you can really help those behind you).

Because I have been public about my story, I have heard from people all over the country. I’m in touch with over 20 people going through cancer treatment, and others achieved #Survivor status. A 5-year survivor sent me a list of some of her side effects from chemo, which taught me that my nose was running excessively because I lost my nose hairs. That had never occurred to me before, and it’s certainly not what most people talk about! On the flipside, I taught others behind me simple things like how to put on eyelashes, as well as more serious things like potential questions to ask their doctors.

If you’re struggling to get started, look to Warriors in Pink’s community of Models of Courage – over 100 women nationwide who are being recognized for their strength and courage as breast cancer survivors and thrivers. Visit fordcares.com to learn more about these inspiring men and women, and connect with them or their breast cancer networks.

6. #MoreFearlessDays

Do something you wouldn’t have done the day before your diagnosis. You can’t control everything, a fact quickly made clear during cancer treatment, but by taking control of your fears, you live better, fuller days.

People have fear about cancer. But once I didn’t have a choice about fighting that, I decided to tackle another lifelong fear – flying internationally. I flew to London and had the best flight ever on British Airways, and my trip was among the most incredible and rewarding experiences I’ve had yet. Conquering the fear allowed me to embrace new adventures with my sons and my mother, and #TeamDA is now deciding where to go next!

7. #PayItForward

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There will be more #FutureCancerSurvivors after you, especially if more people start using cbd as a potential treatment, and they need your help. Why do I mention cbd? Because it has been said by many that it can help alleviate the symptoms of cancer and some even believe it can cure it. You can read about cbd oil and cancer on veckomagasinet.com. Though Americans are largely aware of the health threats associated with breast cancer, more than 40 percent are unfamiliar with the challenges patients face in maintaining routines and day-to-day life while in treatment. But you do know, and these patients need you to share the resources, perspective, and wealth of experience you’ve gained!

An easy way to get started is to give something away to another patient. I gathered about six or seven hats that I don’t wear and gave them to someone recently diagnosed who was preparing to shave her head. So many people sent me ginger candies, socks, robes, gifts, and books, and I certainly didn’t need it all. I packed these items in boxes each month and sent them to someone newly diagnosed. I included a letter that asked them to enjoy the items if they needed them, but if not, to please pass along the gifts to someone who might.

Through its More Good Days program, Warriors in Pink offers free and easy gifts for breast cancer patients. You can gift a “Jacki Jacket,” or style-minded recovery garment, to a friend or loved who has recently undergone surgery. Or if you don’t know what to send someone going through treatment, send help to their home. Through the More Good Days initiative, breast cancer non-profit Cleaning For a Reason provides free home cleanings to patients undergoing treatment.

I’m honored to work with Ford Warriors in Pink to share more good days tips and resources throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you’re looking for ways to help a breast cancer patient you know and love, please check out fordcares.com where there are free tips, tools and resources for patients, survivors, and their families. You can even WIN a “good day” with a Green Chef meal delivery or the grand prize of an all-new 2017 Ford Fusion!

For daily tips on how to help the #FutureCancerSurvivor, go to TheMOMS.com and follow TheMOMS on Instagram @themomsnetwork and on twitter @themoms.

Make Breakfast Happen So Kids Are Hungry for More

Emmy Award®-winning actress Viola Davis, the Albertsons Companies Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) have come together to produce the new Hunger Is “Hungry for More” campaign which focuses on the importance of daily breakfast for children, seeking to provide five million more breakfasts this year to children in need. Hunger Is, a joint charitable program of the Albertsons Companies Foundation and EIF, designed to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood hunger in America, will feature this PSA campaign in select Albertsons family of stores during the month of September. The print, broadcast, digital and out-of-home PSA campaign will begin running in August.

Shoppers at the Albertsons family of stores — which include Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, Randalls, ACME Markets and others — will have the opportunity to fight childhood hunger in their communities by giving to Hunger Is during an in-store fundraising campaign the month of September at more than 2,300 Albertsons family of stores across the U.S. Funds raised through the in-store campaign will contribute toward reaching the five million breakfasts goal.

The program has seen continued success over the last three years, raising $12.5 million to date, to support local hunger programs. The year-round campaign, which kicks off with the September in-store effort, will encourage individuals and communities to unite with the goal of providing healthy breakfast to kids in their neighborhoods and developing a lasting solution to childhood hunger in America.

“I am so thrilled to see our communities coming together to support eradicating childhood hunger in America,” said Hunger Is Ambassador Viola Davis. “The ‘Hungry for More’ public awareness campaign is integral in educating the public on how severe childhood hunger is – in every community – in America. It also demonstrates the importance of children starting off their day with breakfast. They’re able to learn more, achieve greater success and live healthier. I am honored to continue to stand with my friends at the Albertsons Companies Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation while working to put an end to this significant problem in our country.”

Funds raised will go towards programs focused on eradicating childhood hunger and improving health-related outcomes for hungry children and their families. In the last two years, Hunger Is has awarded 230 grants that have helped local and regional programs provide breakfast and lunch when school is closed and teach families how to most cost–effectively shop and cook healthy food on their limited food budgets.

“When children struggle with food insecurity, they struggle to just enjoy life,” said Christy Duncan Anderson, Executive Director of the Albertsons Companies Foundation.  “We are committed to ensuring that children throughout the country can start their day with a good meal and are ready to learn, play and grow.”

Hunger Is grant recipients were selected with the help of the Hunger Is Advisory Committee (HIAC), comprised of leaders from the most respected hunger advocacy organizations in the U.S. including Center for Hunger-Free Communities, Drexel University, Feeding America, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, and WhyHunger. The HIAC provides guidance in defining and addressing needs and makes funding recommendations for approval by The Safeway Foundation and EIF Boards of Directors.

HUngeris

“We are thrilled to have Viola share her personal story and lend her voice again to this cause that continues to be prevalent in our communities. Her story and passion continues to inspire so many to help put an end to childhood hunger,” said Lisa Paulsen, President & CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. “1 in 5 children in America struggle with hunger every day, and with this new campaign, we’re hoping to change that by providing kids with the breakfast they need in order to grow and succeed all year-long.”

More information about the issue is available at HungerIs.org, along with simple ways for individuals to get involved and donate.

Find Your Park!

I recently had the pleasure of taking my youngest daughter to Brooklyn to celebrate the National Park Foundation and National Park Service, In partnership with Brooklyn Bridge Park and One World Trade Center for the celebration, for the first time ever, New Yorkers worked together on a giant digital circuit board to control the color of the lights of One World Trade Center’s spire. The celebration featured music by Ramblin’ Dan, which kept my little one grooving all afternoon.

Much like Central Park, which is our backyard every weekend, Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the great Parks with views that are astounding. The skyline is picturesque, and the number of fun activities that this city has to offer is endless. Having the opportunity to unplug with my little one and participate in a celebration of the Parks we love and take full advantage of with a few local bloggers was an amazing afternoon.

Our day began with an ice cream social at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory with national park­ themed flavors. Followed by carnival-style sand art necklace making, and trivia questions and prizes. The highlight that really had us all moving our feet was the musical performance by the kid­-friendly band, Ramblin’ Dan.

National parks are kept in the beautiful condition they’re in thanks to the hard work of the National Park Foundation and their Park Rangers. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t gone camping in a national park over a weekend to go out and experience it! If you’re new to camping then you can always look online for more details about the park you’re going to be staying at. For example, campingfunzone.com goes over all the stuff you can do in the Big Bend National Park if you’re based in Texas. I’m new to all this too but I’m looking for my next trip where I can stay in a park for longer, over a weekend!

National Park Foundation and Find Your Park partners also hosted interactive sessions such as American Express ­and its nonprofit partner Games for Change hosted an interactive game experience showcasing the new iOS game, ­Save the Park. Save the Park allows you to play as a park volunteer and experience the conservation activities that support the national parks. We even got to meet some Park Rangers and thank them for their hard work.

Subaru of America was on­site to raise awareness of its National Park Zero­Landfill Initiative, an effort to significantly reduce waste going into landfills from all national parks while educating attendees on how they can help keep the parks remain beautiful for another 100 years. To further divert waste from landfills, Subaru will also be collecting soft drink and water bottle caps that will be recycled into a park bench and donated to an organization or park in need. There are so many things that you can do with recycled materials at the moment. People seem to be speaking more and more about being able to recycle plastic into objects, including benches. We’d been told that recycled plastic benches are manufactured with high-quality sustainable materials that are meant to keep the benches looking better for longer. It’s a great idea and I can’t wait to see what this bench will look like when it’s finished.

The most important message from the day is to remember as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary, we must keep our parks beautiful and clean for our children’s children and their children. Our parks are a treasure and when you breeze in and out for a game of catch or a bike ride, you can forget the beauty behind them and the dedication it takes to keep them running and clean. We can always do more….

Disclosure: This post is sponsored, all opinions expressed are my own.

Chronicles Of A #FutureCancerSurvivor "No Hard Feelings Chemo, But I'm Just Not That Into You"

 

landscape-1468427752-denise-albert-chemoIt’s finally time for me to move on. ~Denise Albert, The MOMS #FutureCancerSurvivor

“Chemo” is like that boyfriend I met and dated on a bad reality show. There was a little getting-to-know-you phase that included some euphoria. I had no choice but to try to fall in love in order to continue to win. It wasn’t so bad, I told myself. I was able to continue to live most of my life the way I wanted. But like butterflies in your stomach in an early relationship, Chemo slowly made me nauseous and changed my appetite and taste completely.

You know those controlling types. Yes, Chemo was that too. Chemo wanted me to look a certain way: Read more

A TRUE DISCOVERY AT DISCOVERY COVE

unnamed-2This past April, my family was invited down to Discovery Cove at SeaWorld to experience the wonders and all the ways in which SeaWorld is protecting wildlife. I had never even heard of The Discovery Cove before our visit. We didn’t know what to expect at all and we were mesmerized from the moment we walked into this all-inclusive tropical day resort. Families can experience breathtaking animal encounters while bonding with your children in an educational and relaxing setting. This can include a Dolphin swim that is not only fun but educational and the snorkeling is beautiful as well as the lazy river, but there is so much more which left me wanting to return as soon as I could, and I did. Read more

"It’s Amazing What Happens When You Ask!"~ Brooke Shields, The MOMS & Kidbox MAMARAZZI® 

We asked Brooke Shields how she came to be a part of her latest film Flower Shop Mystery: Dearly Depotted and she answered and added in some great words of wisdom!

Set your DVR and look out for the fabulous Brooke Shields in Flower Shop Mystery: Dearly Depotted on June 26th on the Hallmark Movie Channel!

Head over to our MAMARAZZI® page for more on Brooke and her latest film!

{Video Credit: Fredy Mfuko/fredy@mission101media.com}

 

Chronicles Of A #FutureCancerSurvivor "A Thank You To My Cancer"

landscape-1465488732-denise-albert

“It’s not all bad, all the time.”~ Denise Albert, The MOMS #FutureCancerSurvivor

By Denise Albert

We all know that cancer sucks. That’s the obvious. You may feel sick. You may look sick. You have to go through treatment, surgery, loss of hair, exhaustion, mood swings, bathroom issues, rashes. Nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, guilt, scary thoughts and possible death.

This is what we know about cancer. Cancer sucks. I even let my kids say, “F–k Cancer.”

I’m in the midst of it, so most of it does suck. I had surgery in January and have been in chemotherapy since March. It continues through the summer and then on to radiation. I won’t be done with treatment until next May. Whilst I have found some 5mg edible cannabis gummies that help with the vomiting and nausea, it is still an understatement to say it’s unpleasant. There will be more medications for the next 10 years, and I’m already over it. Two weeks ago I had surgery to put in a mediport because my veins have had it. As positive as I’ve been, this procedure and the thought of it set me back emotionally. It hit me hard. I now need a device implanted in my chest. If a port sticking out of my chest with a wire you can see running up to my collarbone isn’t enough of a reminder that I have cancer, then my 11-year-old telling me I look weird without makeup is what does.

Many people survive cancer. There must be some good that comes from it. For me, so far it’s the little things: Read more