Finding Hope During Difficult Moments – The Importance of Community

I just turned 45. It’s a milestone I wasn’t sure I would see. Three and a half years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn’t have family, close friends or anyone in my inner circle with cancer. Today, I have an entire cancer community and it is what got me through the worst time of my life.

Community is the basis of everything I do. It is the very essence of our company, The MOMS.

Now that I am a survivor, I often think about how to share my experience in a meaningful way that can help others, no matter what type of cancer they may be facing. I keep coming back to the thought that the community I was able to engage with on social media helped me during some of my toughest moments and connected me with others who were going through similar experiences. I recently realized that my cancer journey is similar to that of an athlete, which is why I’m so proud to be collaborating with seven-time Olympic medalist in gymnastics, a mom and ovarian cancer survivor, Shannon Miller. Shannon is on a mission to educate women facing ovarian cancer through her work with Our Way Forward.

Shannon has partnered with TESARO and Our Way Forward, which is a call to action that encourages women with ovarian cancer to rethink how they talk about it. The program strives to foster a community for those impacted by this disease, who can work together to navigate the physical and emotional challenges that the disease brings. 

Shannon is encouraging women, care partners, loved ones and physicians to join the Our Way Forward team. Have you ever played a sport? Or been on a team? Or coached one of your kid’s teams? Every member of a sports team needs the support of teammates cheering you on.

Our Way Forward is your stadium filled with fans. It is your gold medal performance. It is a place to learn, read and share. It is a place where everyone is rooting for you. 

We all need someone in our corner. At every level!  

When I was diagnosed with cancer I decided to share my story publicly. With The MOMS, I have shared my life, whether it was on television talking about parenting, online writing about my divorce on the Huffington Post, on my SiriusSM radio show or on social media. So how could I not also share this?  

I wrote my first story for People.com and the response was unbelievable. Thousands of people shared my story and then many went on to share theirs.  

It was like being in a stadium filled with fans rooting for me. Fans cheering me on and wanting people living with cancer to win. I had my own team, my own coaches, my managers, my kids, extended family and friends—the support generated felt like I had an entire stadium full of fans!  

I named my team, #FutureCancerSurvivor. I printed bracelets that I still wear today. There hasn’t been a day I have been without it. It’s my logo, my team uniform. I shared it all. Everything from my lumpectomy to shaving my head right before an event I was hosting with Jennifer Garner to my wigs to 6 months of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation daily. A year of immunotherapy injections. I had unique side effects. I kept sharing. Each time I shared, I gained more fans. I learned more. I started speaking to others across the country. Rooting for others. It was fans all around a cancer community…really a mini-league of its own. I always had plans to get my work done in the hours sitting during chemo. I brought my computer. What happened was shocking. I would arrive, post a picture, think about what I wanted to write and then take the next few hours while everything was dripping through my body to then respond to every single person. Every comment, every message, every text or email. Social media passed my time, cheered me up, connected me to thousands around the country. Social media saved my life during treatment.  

Once you go through cancer, it never leaves. Cancer-free for me is like being retired. Still in the game but in another way. We are here to spread messages. To help others. This is the real Pros.

What makes someone like Shannon an athlete? Obviously the practice. The drive. The determination. The passion. The coaching. The team.  

What makes someone a cancer survivor? A lot of the same things. But mostly the team and the fans.

So if you see someone sharing their story. If you think to yourself, ‘Why are they doing this?’ Not every day is a win or medal round. Sometimes you’re tackled, or you strike out or are knocked out.  

Sometimes you just feel awful. Think about it this way. They need you cheering them on. They need you rooting for them. They need that base hit or home run or gold medal. They need your help to win whatever game they are playing.

To learn more about Our Way Forward, visit www.ourwayforward.com or the Facebook page. To learn more about Shannon Miller, visit www.shannonmiller.com

You Will Never Believe What Made My Boys Responsible!!

My boys received complimentary Invisalign® treatment in exchange, we are sharing our real treatment experience with you.

Have you had that moment when you felt like your kids were all grown up? Even though they are still kids, have you had a moment when you felt like they were responsible? Have you had that moment when you realized they understood the value of something and did their best to appreciate and take care of it without having to tell them?

I am living that moment right now. I can’t even believe it. I can’t be the only one who feels like I’m always repeating myself to my kids. “Pick up your clothes.” “Put your dishes away.” “Please go shower.” “Time to brush your teeth.”

But recently something happened. I no longer have to tell them to brush their teeth. Now they tell me! Multiple times a day. The moment occurred precisely nine weeks ago. I remember because that’s when they began their Invisalign® treatment. If you’re interested in Invisalgn then check out https://garycashdds.com/cosmetic-dentistry/invisalign/ for more information. It’s never too late to get it! The boys have been so excited that each time they eat, they take their aligners out, place them in their case and then miraculously after they finish eating, immediately go to the bathroom to brush and put them back in. The process of getting Invisalign is a lot easier than getting braces, which is why many people go for this option instead. If this is the treatment that you feel is best for your child to undergo (and your child agrees), it could be as simple as visiting a Dentist in McAllen (or your local dental clinic) to get started! You can speak to them about the whole process if it’ll make it easier for you to understand. Plus, they aren’t there for no reason! They have your best interests at heart when it comes to your teeth.

You’ll find that many clinics such as Dentist Lancaster offer this treatment. If you or your child is considering getting Invisalign, doing some research into it or speaking to a professional dentist could help you get a better understanding of what this all includes.

Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Before bedtime. It’s as if they are under a spell. I thought it would get old fast. I thought after the first week; they would go back to old habits. NOPE! Nine weeks in and it’s still the same excitement, the same sense of responsibility.

This miracle has even stayed on track when they are in school. They each keep their case in their lunch box. They do not ever take it out. They also keep a case right by the sink at home. There’s never an opportunity to miss or lose it because we established this routine right from the start.

We also decided that every Wednesday is the day they change their aligners and move on to the next week’s set. As a busy mom, I often forget, and I still haven’t remembered to set an alert on my phone. But I don’t even need one. My 9 and 13-year-old boys are my human alerts! They wake up each Wednesday morning and say, “It’s new Invisalign® aligner day!”

Invisalign® clear aligners are custom made for an individual’s teeth and the boys can see how much straighter their teeth are each week.

At our last visit to the orthodontist, we took a look at the 3D plan on the computer and it was fascinating to see the planned movements each week and how their teeth are precisely where the computer said they would be.

Each set of Invisalign® clear aligners shifts their teeth slightly and the boys are enjoying seeing the results from their hard work and responsibility.

My boys are smiling bigger and with more confidence.

Find an Invisalign® provider near you here!

Twitter Party – Refrigerator Giveaway!

Twitter Party Alert Vegas Style!

We are back from CES where Las Vegas was work and a party. Now we are having another party…A Twitter Party this Thursday night with Amy from Resourceful Mom.

It’s time to start 2013 off with something big, cool and new and with the help of Whirlpool and their innovative home appliances we will be giving away a beautiful chic fridge to one lucky winner in our Twitter Party.
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Whirlpool is bringing fun to function, helping families enjoy the time they spend in the family hub – the kitchen!  Introducing Whirlpool® CoolVox™, amazing new technology of the future!

Make sure to follow @themoms and join us….

Twitter Party Tonight

The holiday entertaining season is upon us and it’s time to think of festive new ways to revamp our holiday party menus. I hope you will join us TONIGHT night as we tweet with our friend Amy at Resourcefulmom about holiday entertaining at the…

Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash Twitter Party

Where: #SierraMistHoliday

When: Tuesday, November 27th from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. ET

How: Follow hosts @ResourcefulMom and @TheMoms and tweet with the tag to be eligible to win.

Prizes:

10 (ten) winners will each receive a premium Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash holiday entertaining gift packs (valued at $110).  Each pack includes a cocktail shaker set, two pint glasses, four stainless steel stirrers and a cookbook along with  Sierra Mist cocktail and mocktail recipe cards.

Back To School Tips

The start of the school year can be a stressful time for parents and kids. But it doesn’t have to be!

How can you prepare for a smooth transition for the back-to-school season?

We have teamed up with some fabulous companies to make your back-to-school transition a breeze.

The first step is to get organized. Review school generated checklists then create a budget and stick to it. A recent study conducted by Chase found that 38% of consumers are setting school supply budgets this year versus 26% who said the same in 2011.

Since you’ll be buying so many supplies for school, stick with a card that helps you track spending and save money on interest. The Chase Slate card with Blueprint helps you do just that and lets you pay off back-to-school balances based on a monthly payment or number of months that works best with your schedule and budget making it easy for you to get everything your child needs while sticking to your plan.

When America thinks of school supplies they think of Elmer’s glue so it’s no surprise the brand is the official sponsor of the 1st day of school. This year, Elmer’s introduced this fabulous 1st Day app for your iphone or Android phone making it so easy for parents to capture 1st day of school memories. The photos you take with the app are directly uploaded to www.the1stday.com where you can organize photos by child or grade using colors or tags and you can create slide shows with music and share them with family and friends. The app is totally free and can be downloaded in your app store or off QR codes found on Elmer’s glue bottles. Best of all, for every photo uploaded, up to 200,000, Elmer’s will provide essential school supplies to the Kids In Need Foundation.

We love the Five Star Flex® Hybrid Notebinder not only because it’s your child’s notebook and binder combined into one but because also its super durable. All Five Star products are built strong to last long and the innovative Flex Star Flex, with its patented Tech Lock® rings won’t break so no matter how tough your kid is on it, it will survive. It folds over itself then lays flat so it doesn’t monopolize precious desk space and you can get the Five Star Reinforced Filler Paper so the note paper doesn’t rip and disappear over the school year. It’s available in several different sizes and offers additional features to fit your child’s needs.

Keeping kids healthy lets them get the most from their education. Wipes are always on that back to school checklist so I recommend Scotch-Brite™ Botanical wipes. Unlike most disinfecting wipes, Scotch-Brite’s™ Botanical wipes do not require rinsing before or after use to keep surfaces clean. Best of all, not only do they kill 99.9% of germs but they are made entirely from botanically pure plant extracts.

We also recommend being as involved in your child’s education as possible. Make an effort to know their teachers and their friends. Ask them questions about their day that elicits more than one word answers. According to the American SPCC (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), 6 out of 10 students witness bullying at least once a day. Watch out for warning signs in your child. If they are reluctant to go to school, request you drive them often to avoid the bus or if their grades inexplicably begin to fall, they may be suffering from abuse of a bully. Confront these issues immediately and encourage your child to be open and honest. Remember, you are just as big a part of your child’s education as their school!

Free Haircuts for a Good Cause

Hair is big in my house.

It’s the topic of many conversations with my “hipster” boys.

So I was a star as a mom today when I took my little guy to JC Penney for a free haircut. But what made my son shine was letting him get a “mohawk”. And there was no one better to style my star than JCP Salon Head Stylist, Nick Stenson.

And the best part — it was free and for a good cause! To get kids ready for school, JC Penney is giving kids free haircuts for the month of August and as part of the JCP Cares campaign, $1 was donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Amercia and 4-H for every kids’ haircut given today.

But it’s not too late to take part. And if big hair is not your thing, every child needs a trim, a buzz, or even a new style for the start of school so make sure to do it at JC Penney this month.

JCP Twitter Party — Free for you!!

Join us this Thursday at 8pm

While it feels like summer has just begun, the end of July is nearly here and that means it’s time to think about back to school. To celebrate, JCPenney is offering free haircuts for children at all JCP Salons the entire month of August! To kick the month off, JCPenney will donate $1 to The Boys and Girls Club and 4H for every children’s haircut given on August 1st. We’re hoping to send lots of support in their direction by partying this Thursday with the women from The MOMS. JCPenney has committed to match up to $50,000 to The Boys and Girls Club, so let’s help get people to JCP Salons on August 1st for free children’s haircuts and put money on the hands of these great organizations! I hope to see you at the…

JCP Salons Twitter Party

When: Thursday, July 26th from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. ET

Where: #freehaircuts tag on Twitter

How: Follow hosts @ResourcefulMom and @TheMOMS and tweet with the event tag to participate. Please also follow sponsor @JCPenney

Prizes

Ten (10) winners will each receive a $25 gift card to JCPenney.

Winners will be chosen at random from those using the event tag and participating in the conversation. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents age 18 or older.

Unicef and The MOMS

We love everything we do. But there’s nothing better than doing things to help others. We were so honored when Unicef asked us to host Unicef Unwrapped, their event to showcase UNICEF’s lifesaving programs and how UNICEF’s annual collection of holiday cards and gifts can help make a difference in the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Unicef is something we both remember vividly from our childhoods. Unicef is something we have already started sharing with our kids.

And hosting Unicef Unwrapped is one way to help spread their powerful messages.