Friday, April 13, 2012

Another miraculous journey

Today is Friday the 13th. My first thought this day was "true to form - unlucky".
Ive since found the other side of this perspective.

Its been through much adversity and suffering (or witnessing of) that our family has come to witness so many miracles. Its the miracles that I refer to as the other perspective.
I have shared a few miraculous stories on this blog over the past 2 years, there are more.

Today I dedicate to a special little guy - a close member of our family.
His name is Shooter.
We acquired Shooter 9 years ago, on the day of Kali's 4th birthday (coming up in May).
Kali was in the midst of her 3 year chemo treatments when she presented the most chilling question I wish I could forget "Mommy, IF I live through my treatments, can I have a puppy?"

Our family dog had to live with my mom throughout her treatments, due to her lack of an immune system.
Needless to say, we took our daughter shopping for a suitable type of puppy.
This selection process took over a year, ensuring we would find her a perfect match.
Kali, with the fam chose a Papillion due to the low allergy coat, size and personality.

A world renouned breeder in Calgary was approached by a friend, pups on a waiting list for up too 3 years. There were no pups available however, this breeder felt compelled to fulfill this very important wish.

Weeks prior to Kali's birthday a pup surfaced in the most divine way.

It was the breeders TOP young grande champion puppy, bred to perfection complete with personality and intelligence.
Noted by judges as THE perfect canine, Shooter was making his mark in the circuit.
We watched him clean up at the shows we attended.

Ironically Shooter stopped growing at 7 months old.
His career was over as he no longer made spec for the judges.
Shooter was a very small dog, topping his grown weight at 6 pounds.

The breeder placed the call that we had been waiting so long for.
Our family had faith that IF Kali fought, she would be rewarded and the right companion would find his way to her. She was and he did.
Shooters personality was a perfect match for Kali - both innocent, sweet and charismatic.

Weeks to follow, Shooter had a check up and a neuter at the local vet- it was here that a progressive kidney disease was discovered.
Our puppy was acting unwell, but I could not believe his condition was as severe as presented to us.
How could THAT happen after all that Kali had been through.
His health further declined, rather quickly.
It was recommended by our vet that we return our pup to the breeder and ask for a new one.

She continued with "the breeder should be responsible for putting him down - he's in kidney failure".
This was not an option for us. Shooter was our family, not just a pet.

I sought out a second opinion that matched with the first vet. It was recommended that we put him to rest as the vet bills would put us further into the poor house only to save a few months of non quality life.
Again - no option.
I took our dog home and cracked open my books. I was practicing as a Master herbalist and studying as a Naturopathic Practitioner.
Homeopathics and a diet of raw moose meat infused with a herbs and phytonutrients resulted in success.
Within 12 months, to the vets surprise, Shooter regained full kidney function.

Increased energy lead Shooter to tear around the house with his favourite squeaky "monster" in his mouth, so much that a wipeout down the stairs left the little guy with a broken leg.

A custom made pin and a bright orange cast lead the first series of structural injuries this poor dog endured. Despite his aches and pains, Shooter exemplified the definition of "happy".

By the time Shooter was 6, his knees were shot.
He had a strong, unwavering will, but his constitution was very weak.
With the absence of cartilage between his joints he had shut down and could no longer bear weight.
Again the vet recommended that we choose to let him sleep as it was the most humane option with the pain he had endured.
I sadly agreed this time, but took him home to be with the family for a few more days to say goodbye.
Gord begged me to reconsider as he had a strong feeling that it was not his time - even though he was crippled. Gords intuition, when exercised is not something to be reckoned with. I agreed as I get those same moments.

Back to the remedies - luckily I was able to find success again.
Shooter was walking within 3 days - his pain subsided, tail wagging, eating, begging and in desperate search for his monster.
Shooter learned to compensate, redistributing his weight on elbows now walking like a bulldog. It wasn't ideal but it allowed mobility thus preserving quality of life.
We learned how easily one can break bones, body systems, virtually anything structural. IF you have your will and heart invested, its difficult to break spirit. This little guy taught us that everyday.

Last year, 2 weeks prior to Kali's birthday, Shooter had a massive stroke.
Initially he had lost vitals and slipped away in Mandys arms.
We went through the process of shock then loss as the kids wept over his body.
Then he came back. Our friend Marina who is a vet and lived close by came to his side.
We all united as a family and prayed over our doggie.

Hours later we determined that his fate was inevitable - we said our goodbyes again.
Gord and I took him to the emergency clinic (of course after midnight when most chris's happen).
As I pulled into the parking lot his ears perked.
Gord shared his little gut feeling again - he was feeling hesitant.
I placed him on the road and lo and behold, Shooter starting to walk.
Granted he was very crooked and weak, it was like he needed to prove something.
We proceeded inside to notify them that we had arrived.
Shooter struggled out of Gords arms so he could walk around and check out all the scents of the other critters in the building. Needless to say we took our dog home.
The kids were shocked to welcome him home.

The next 5 days were critical as he stayed at the clinic in the care of our good friend.
We all said our goodbyes a total of 3 times as he roller coastered along confusing the vets and us.
We finally brought him home, in a weakened but stable state.
Within one month, Shooter had made a full recovery. He was back on remedies.

The hoarding of monsters, begging for treats, chasing off big doggies and soliciting extra attention showcased his determination to remain as the charming alpha in our home.

One year later, Shooter fell into poor health again. He had been on a very gradual decline these past months and to be honest I did not expect he would last this long with all considered.

These past 2 days Shooter had reverted to the same symptoms and behaviours since his stroke last year.
I kept him comfortable by the fireplace and last night I sat close and gently stoked his fur, asking for his recovery only if it was in his destiny or allow my little guy to just go peacefully. No more fuss, no more aggressive treatments. Again, the only priority was quality of life.
I took Shooter into the clinic this afternoon.

The attending vet was the one who neutered him 9 years ago, pulled out half his teeth 5 years ago, and assisted with his care with the stroke. She knew how special he was.
I educated her about his connection with Kali.

With tears welling, she explained her findings today.
Gord, Mandy and I held our dog, tears dripping on the table as our Shooter peacefully slipped away. As sad as it was, it was beautiful to witness such a perfect passing.
He was not trembling, he was not in pain - he knew it was time.
In the end it was his heart that had finally tuckered out.

One can say that he was just a dog. He was our family.
He taught us about spirit. He taught us perseverance. He was fiercely loyal, he taught us that dogs DO love their owners. He was highly sensitive, like Kali - easy to please, easy to teach, easy to discipline, easy to love. Yes dogs have feelings. Like a child he coveted, everyday obsessing about who was touching his monsters. He was happy, everyday like a trooper - even on the bad days. He just knew he was special.
Arkeno-Rodeo-Life-of-the-Party (aka Shooter) We will never forget you.
Thank you for loving us.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

long overdue update

Hi folks, this update has been long overdue.

As many of you may know from following our blog from past, post event becomes quite demanding and draining resulting in delayed updates and follow-ups.

Our sincere apologies if we have not yet followed up with you. We are working on it.

To start on a positive note, our 10th year event left us with a whopping 1 million by the day's end on Feb 3, and over 1.1 million on our post drop date (Feb 8). We thank Make-A-Wish for hosting our chaotic pre and post cash events and putting up with our craziness.

We say goodbye and thank you to Kelsey who has done an outstanding job with the tax receipting this past year. Kelsey had a most challenging task of sorting years of unresolved receipting issues
at the Stollery Foundation. We appreciate your dedication and work Kelsey - you will be missed.

We also say farewell to Brandi who moved back to a much less hectic position at the City of Spruce Grove where she one again manages events. Think her nerves have nicely settled since her departure with us. Brandi, we thank you for your administrative and organizational talents and great ideas. Hope you'll stay in touch.

We say "WELCOME" to Leslie Ritchie who's taken taken over Brandi's position. Leslie will be our new mom. :)
Leslie has been recently fitted with a ball and chain so she will not be able to leave us anytime soon. After volunteering on our most hectic days, Leslie has chosen to live Hair Massacure.
Jaime and I interpret that she loves chaos and high paced insanity. Leslie has 10 years of personal history with Jaime, so Jaime knows where she lives in case she tries to run.

Jaime has officially survived 7 events (in some capacity), however this year in particular proved to be THE most challenging in her new role as event manager. She was busy.

If I may touch on this - Jaime's background is management (in a C.R. role with McDonald's - 2200 employees).
She has done a phenomenal job managing HM and maintaining her sanity.
Admittedly I struggled letting go of certain responsibilities, not an easy task for a person who is accustomed to playing a role and overseeing nearly every area.
Eventually I learned to accept that I cannot manage all areas and am currently in the learning phase of adjusting to my new role (which we are still defining as Hair Massacure expands into new areas). We are growing, and this is exciting!

On a personal note:

BOTH Jaime and I have experienced an exorbitant amount of personal struggle and hardship since mid February. Family crisis and personal challenge primarily.
Not sure why we have both been challenged to this level, but I can tell you that neither of us will succumb to pressure - at least not yet.
We have both endured a lifetime of struggle, so I guess it will take heck of a lot to take us out of the game. I will say this: we are most thankful that these events did not find us during the campaign. Now that I look back, I believe there has been a distinct pattern of difficulties the follow each event. One may look at this negatively but the way I see it - the good Lord was looking after us putting off the inevitable until such a time that we could deal with it.

Through all of this, I am proud to share that Jaime has lost a total of 50 pounds and still going strong! While we are on a weight loss note - Congrats Tina MacQueen - 100 lbs!! Yay!!!!!!

Speaking of a lighter note:
Kali and I are adjusting to our new do's.
My hair is growing in - at the awkward stage where hats and hair glue are a staple.
Kali's new do is fabulous! A donated 14 inches of thick hair - my daughter has been growing this out since her last shave in 2007.
Braces off, Kali looks like an official teenager. Its hard to believe she's the bald little girl spinning around in the black and white video clip.

Its been difficult to promptly wrap up our event between the various distractions that have taken us away from task, but rest assured we are plugging away - and with Leslie's help we will be wrapped up by April's end.
Our total will be announced (donations are still coming in, so if you have any please send into Make-A-Wish or contact us via the website).
Ive decided to reveal my secret hope of years past - to beat the Stollery Radiothon (sorry Stollery, nothing personal). Its all for the good of the kids, just friendly competition. :)
Not sure if we will meet or beat the 1.3 yet, but we shall get darn close!
Stay tuned - May 1st will be our announced grand total of 2012.

We will also ensure we deliver our outstanding thank yous and acknowledgments. So sorry for the delays if this applies to you.
We want to express our sincere gratitude for all levels of commitments to Hair Massacure.

With 10 years past us, Jaime and I are looking to implement a wee bit of "new".
Not sure what that looks like yet, but if YOU have ideas, we'd sure love to hear about them.

Stay tuned for more updates.
We hope not to delay our next blog.


Monday, February 20, 2012

History of Hair Massacure part 1 - humble beginnings

Our 10 year journey with Hair Massacure. Year 1 (2003)

Oct 31, 2002 it all began - Humble beginnings of Hair Massacure.

The afternoon of halloween became the catalyst of what would be a movement that would
change our lives forever.
Kali's counts were safe this beautiful fall day for an outing to Walmart - a trip for last minute costume shopping.
it was a good day, no a great day - an outing with a comfortable little girl sporting a smile - this became my new luxury.
I popped Miss Kali into the cart and off we went in search of a witches wig.
Bombing around the store felt free and fun, like a field trip.
Outings were never taken for granted as typically Kali's immune system would not have enough juice to fight outside exposures (a common lifestyle for the cancer patient).
Recalling the previous Halloween with a swollen 3 year old, pumped up on steroids and pain killers, there was little cause to celebrate.
A perfect wig chosen, placed atop my daughter's cute little head, we headed for the till.
Going through, I noticed the wig was blemished as pieces were falling out. A return to the wig isle, i noted that all of the wigs were falling apart, an obvious sign of their price markdown.

Tugging at the last wig, my heart sunk. I felt my chest cave, it was hard to breathe. A panicked realization indicated that the wigs were just fine.
Consumed with shock I tugged at my daughters hair. I froze as though chilled to the bone as the piece stayed in my hand.
I looked down intuitively knowing I'd see more clumps laying at the wheels of my cart. Apparently hair loss is possible sometimes during the last few months of treatment. I didn't understand at the time.

The shock on my face could not be revealed. it was Kali's day today. No pain, decent counts, and energy to spare to properly celebrate Halloween ... it felt like a form of punishment for having this blessing.

It took everything I had to hide the fact that her hair was falling out again.
Despite my efforts, I don't think I could have concealed it very well.
I phoned Gord, struggling for the numbers in the dial pad and proceeded to tell him.
I needed to hear his voice. I could hear him choke behind his words "it will be ok".
It wasn't ok the first time it happened.
Reflecting on our little girl's previous devastation, we had witnessed the long lasting effects of the destruction of a 2 year old's self esteem. Tears with each reflection in the mirror, suspicion with every smile towards her indicated to her, a mockery of her bald head.
Kali's new hair was at now her shoulders, flecks of gold riveting though natural blonde highlights and beautiful curls proudly tousled around as she walked. She was so proud to feel so pretty again.

When Gord returned home from work, he had put some serious thought into how to make the most out of this 3rd bout of hairless.
Being an optimist, his plan would not erase her reaction, but his hopes were that it might offer a productive celebration in her name.
He would host a headshave at his place of work (Canada Post). It would be a fundraiser for Kids With Cancer Society and it would be in honour of our Kali. He was excited.
He coined it the "St. Valentine's Day Hair Massacre". I LOVED it! EVERYONE loved it!
What a brilliantly fun play on words.

The name and concept caught on and lured 48 people from the postal plant and friend from our karate school. Nadine Brokenshire (Gord co-worker, and eventually dear friend) was the first female victim that Gordon strategically coerced to shave. He then cleverly used Nadine's participation to play me.

I was not going to fall for his tricks. I was NOT shaving my head. I would help, but my hair was staying as the mere thought of it scared you know what out of me.
Gordon can sell snow to an eskimo.
His clever statement that this "Nadine person" who had bravely signed up doesn't even have any children - was the noose around my neck.
Colourful language promoted a wide grin of satisfaction. I wanted to punch him but both of us were so well conditioned as blackbelts, it wouldnt have made an impact, so instead I called my best friend Claire to vent.

Claire lost little Meagan the year before at the young age of 14 months. She was still in mourning.
In contrast to her pain, Claire was also high spirited and quite a character, so the idea of shaving heads seemed fun to her.
"I'll do it!!" was her response. Oh excellent..... I was losing my hair.

With God's grace, Kali's hair fell out in the most inconspicuous areas.
To our surprise, all of the hair around her crown area fell out leaving long layers overtop to cover the patches.
From the back and side it was barely visible, from her reflection in the mirror - concealed. With barrettes and hair pins, we were able to keep our Kali completely unaware..

Planning was very energetic, this turn of events was right up Gordon's alley.
Cell glued to his cheek, clipboard in hand Gord was recruiting and inspiring. The post office was very supportive of his new distraction.
Gord had our little printer smokin', reloading after his shifts and throughout the middle of the night.
We incurred all of the expenses that were not donated while living on a deficient income for a family of 6, in bankruptcy.
We had both lost our previous incomes due to Kali's treatment.
Gordon's business crashed as he prioritized precious and uncertain time with our daughter.
Shifts in the rocking chair was necessary as morphine did not seem to touch the pain that consumed our baby. Money was sparse, we were still being supported by the community and family donations but this was fundraiser was important.

My role was minimal in the first years.
I invited my friend and fellow karate student - Stacey Abdella to help us with the shave. Stacey recruited co-worker Shauna Buist from Spasation (Stacey and Shauna are still with us).
My involvement seemed to fall mostly on the marketing side, creating visual materials (posters, etc) to entice folks to support or participate and enticing the papers to write about it.
Headshaves were common, it was a challenge to market this one as special.
It all seemed divine, falling into place. In retrospect I KNOW it was, and continues to be.
All of the pictures I had taken during Kali's treatment came in handy, the controversial ones reflecting her pain in particular.
I did not care whom I offended at the time I pulled out my camera, I captured EVERYTHING.
I was not about to show the world what my daughter went through with rose coloured glasses. This was our reality. This was around us all day, every day - in all 14 rooms at Ped Oncology in the Stollery and Cross Cancer.
I raised a few thousand that year. Insulted by any pledges under 100.00, I would not settle for less.
I was deathly scared to lose my hair and 20 bucks was not going to make me feel better.
Gordon did well with his pledges too. Like I said, it's difficult to say "no" to this man.

Media came to our headshave. Steve Antel hosted from Breakfast television. He was spectacular! I will never forget his infamous line of "Begin the shaving, yes indeed!".
14 rocking chairs were donated to us (thanks to the tireless efforts of a recruited co-worker and crazy newfie -Derrick). The chairs were showcased in an assembly line pulled by a forklift as seen in our 2012 video on our website.

Gordon was after cash. I was after chairs, as we only has 2 to share among 14 rooms in Peds Oncology. We both got our wish.

37,000 was raised that day, Our shave was 2 hours long.
Nadine lead the shave, Steve shaving her on BT. Gordon was in the middle, I was at the end .... won't say what I was doing in my pants.
Kali assisted with both our shaves as her tiny self stood on a stool with clenched hands wrapped around the clippers, Stacey supporting her.
This started a long tradition of inviting cancer kids to participate in the shaves. She LOVED it. A renewed association with a bald head, we could see that it was healing for her.

My turn. I knew I could run faster than those clippers but there was no escaping ... I was doing this.
My daughter behind me, I tilted my head back so she could reach and just let it happen. I was forever changed.
I can't explain the feeling that overtook the fear, but I would best describe it as indescribable satisfaction.
I was glad that Gord worked me, he needed to. I needed to do this and my daughter needed to see me support her.

With energized excitement, it was my turn to shave Claire. She wasn't afraid, Claire was a daredevil.
I loved the feeling of running the clippers though her hair. I found her screams exciting and fun.
Little did I realize I was burning her scalp with scalding clippers. I guess that was kinda fun too.
The "strawberry birthmark" on the back of her head apparently was not natural pigment. This too is captured in our 2012 video as she shouts my name.
37 Proud Victims gathered for the first and only fully captured photo, sporting black embroidered toques donated to us by Elite Sportsware.
The cash was counted with help and proudly turned into Kids With Cancer Society. A new plan for next year already in place.
Who would have known how our lives would change.

Thanks to our founder,Gord the St.Valentine's Day Hair Massacre was a success.
The name, the feeling, the connection in the room. We all felt it.

More history as follows:

St.Valentine's Day Hair Massacre reunited in Canada Post with larger followings.
2004 brought forth 98 Proud Victims, 98,000.00 and a new blanket warmer for Peds Oncology (a necessity for children on chemo enduring bouts of chills). There was no agreement from our chosen charity to purchase this much needed item (valued at 5,000) from our near 100,000 handed in so I proceeded to petition with 100 signatures of Oncology parents.
A blanket warmer was purchased along with an agreement to budget an additional 7,000 for a support group that I would run with close friend and fellow parent Carol Dizak.
This year I sat as a parent liaison with the Kids With Cancer Society.
To be honest, I did not feel as though I belonged with this group however we needed a parent to act on behalf of the needs of the parents, so I "slipped" myself in there for a short spell (long enough to stir the pot and collect some necessary items on the lists of the parents and nursing staff).
It was my first introduction to a board, which ultimately shaped the development of our current committees (which I will add are more personal and casual - not right or wrong, just my personal preference).

Gord, hard at work again recruiting proud victims and sponsorships for t-shirts, toques, and posters.
Our home became very busy in these winter months planning for these little "Massacre's", still supported by family dime, family time.
Again, good friends and co-workers Jill, Nadine and Derik joined forces with Gordon to help plan, solicit goods and count money.
Extended family members gathered in our basement combing over simple pledge forms and counting piles of money laid out on our livingroom floor.
Bridget Ryan became our host this year on Breakfast Television and Stacey returned with Shauna and more stylists from Spasation.
Derik braved the cold February and slept in a tent for a week with a 10,000 goal to release him from the elements. Food was donated to keep him nourished and increased publicity created over his creativity.

2005 was a difficult year as we were also focused on our 2nd oldest daughter's health issues (Mandy). Mandy had developed a growth on her kidney and was scheduled immediately after the event for surgery.
On the day of her admission, Mandy was admitted to Peds Oncology at the Stollery. A last minute Pre-Op exam indicated that her tumor was cancerous and again our world was flipped upside down.
Recovering in the very room Kali was admitted in, Mandy was eventually released as "benign", but not without complications. Her next 6 months involved home care and missed school.

Just prior to, the 2005 event called upon 167 proud victims and generated 167,000.00 to be divided between Kids With Cancer and Make-A-Wish. Our second year to average 1000 per victim.
Again Bridget Ryan returned with a visit from the boys from the Bear (fearless Fred and ).
The RCMP were involved this year, lead by a female Constable who was a fellow parent from the K Division.

This year would have been our biggest turning point and I believe it was this modification that put us on the map:

Days prior to the event on the 14th (our traditional date) Gord came home from work expressing much frustration with his fundraising efforts. He explained with arms flailing that it is far too fashionable for men to be bald.
In an unthought mutter of release, he threatened that men aught to dye their hair pink - that would surely draw some added attention.
A huge light went on - I saw it. "DO IT!"
Its perfect, its brilliant!
Gord was simply venting.
After some heightened encouragement, a bet was made.
I was NOT letting this go.
I challenged Gord to approach the guys at work with this PINK notion and IF they were agreeable, I was gonna make this happen (even if only days before).
IF they were not agreeable, I would totally let the idea go.... (no true, I totally would have reneged on that one).

The next day Gordon returned from work, face telling the story that I was going to be doing some scrambling.
I think he was a starting to like this idea.
I placed a panicked call into our friend Stacey and asked her if she knew of where one could find pink hair colour. She hooked us up.
Next call into Bridget Ryan. My vision was for a "Pinking" on Breakfast television prior to the shave.
If you know Bridget, this was a no-brainer, she LOVED it too!

Gordon collected his willing "pinkiees" at work and I sought out for some of my own.
I needed kids, I knew kids would totally get into it.
Our karate school was the perfect environment to approach folks to support. The school had already demonstrated huge support to our family.

Next- our daughter Kyrsti, she was close to Tims age (roughly 8) She would jump at this as it in her character to see a vision and support it.
Kyrsti had shaved the year before in support of a close young friend Alexis who had relapsed. This year would be simply creative and breaking of new ground - heck it was simply weird and fun.
I selected a young lad (Tim Evans), I knew Tim would be more than agreeable (I hoped his parents felt the same).
The pinking was a success.
In the midst, a camera man put down his camera and announced "Im in".
We had a good mix of pink this year, including a pinking at the RCMP K Division.

WHo would have thought how this particular last minute turn of events would ultimately change the nature and personality of Hair Massacure as we know it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Challenges and Triumphs

It’s hard to believe the 10th Anniversary Hair Massacure is almost over. Now some of you are thinking to yourselves “Brandi is crazy! I was at the Mall, it was almost 2 weeks ago – it IS over”. While it may be true that I am a bit crazy, it’s also true that there are still lots of things going on with HM. If you consider all the mini-events throughout the year, you’ll understand what I mean:

Planning Committee meetings, Santa at Ronald McDonald House, Pink Campaign kickoff, media interviews, school presentations, more group meetings, Captain meetings, volunteer orientation and training, pre-drop, post-drop, Red Deer Massacure, etc. etc. etc… oh, and NEW - the family ski night at Rabbit Hill on March 4. I think you can see how we’ve started to refer to this as “the event that never ends” (to the tune of “this is the song that never ends”)…

This year has brought its share of challenges and triumphs. I’d like to share a few of them with you, because there was a lot going on behind the scenes. (This feels a bit like a December 31st radio “Year in Review” program – lol)

Challenge: Hair Massacure has grown to a point where it needs more support, and some highly-motivated help.
Triumph: Hire Jaime Caza as the Project Manager. Jaime has more energy than I could have imagined, and if anyone can keep up with Hair Massacure, she’s the one.

Challenge: The online registration and donation site is difficult to work with. How can we make it better, and fast?
Triumph: Find a new provider, and switch over Christmas holidays. Check! While this transition was not without its bumps and glitches, overall this has been an amazing transition. The team at Registration Logic is so great to work with and I think that once the dust settles the “wish list” for next year will address the outstanding issues. It’s going to be great!

Challenge: Our website is pretty great, but it’s content heavy and a bit outdated.
Triumph: First, spend the summer combing through every single page to see what we can eliminate, combine, or tweak. Then, meet Purelogic Solutions and hear these words: “We can design a whole new site for you and have it ready before the event, as part of an overall social media strategy”. Wow. We love it. Thanks Carmelle and company :)

Challenge: Maintain the momentum of two years at a million dollars each.
Triumph: Smash through it! Raise over $600,000 online alone, then break the million-dollar mark before the February 3 headshave was even finished. That was an amazing moment. Since the donations are still coming in, it’s really hard to wait to see where the total will end up – but we know it’s going to be well ahead of 2011. That’s a nice feather in an anniversary cap.

Challenge: Pull off an organized, clean event without showing everyone all the challenges behind the scenes.
Triumph: Oooops… I guess I just blew it… sorry…

Well anyway, those are some of my thoughts as this event comes to a close. What an amazing group of people (HM and the three charities, plus all the volunteers) that bring this million-dollar plus fundraiser together. While everyone brought something very valuable to the table, there are a few who stood out above the crowd for me this year. You know who you are… and you are very special people. Thank you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tammy's Updates.

I haven't written a blog for quite sometime. I miss it, but quite frankly there is no more space in Tammy brain for words at the end of the day, nor time to write it. EVERY day there is a blog in my head.
Lets see... from Jan 10 -
Pink Kick off on Breakfast TV went very well - 50 pinkees! Packed the house - over 20 AAA Hockey players in jerseys, Totem managers, teachers / students, our infamous Paul L to name a few. Bridget Ryan hosted her 8th pinking! Prior to the segment, unloaded more than coffee and cream in front of the hockey players unpacking my car (cream spilled everywhere...), tricked Pat (our school rep / registration Goddess) into kissing a mannequin head, bantered with Romy our photographer, and left "pinked" (thanks Megs and Mel).

FRED's pinking at the shop (Krazy Klipz) went well. Mandy and I did not turn him purple like last year. He is looking "normal" to us now when he's pink and he's touring LOTS of places.
3 year old girl at a school presentation politely asks if she can pet my llama ... wanted to a blog about that.
FRED "self soothing" himself during presentations and tv interviews. If it weren't for the sounds, I may not clue in and tug the leash.
Folks are still asking if this is his real natural colour. I say yes.

We have a new website! Its totally sponsored by Pure Logic (WE LOVE you Carmel) and a new on-line registration page. Few glitches from the switch, but WAY better that before.
Kali and I are both participating. Have no time to solicit for pledges. Hope my head is worth something in the end....

LOTS of schools and teams this year! EXCITING! Kids helping kids.....
This is neat....
One of our cheer kids we coach approached me in practice with pictures from 07 (her first shave).
Little did I know she was the same little girl who missed the Massacure at the mall and found her way to Make-A-Wish to get shaved up (while we were unloading that night). Small world. This is her fifth year participating.
That was a blog in my head about repeats (which BLOWS my mind that folks return year after year).
Drove around with Kali last weekend popping into as many Save Ons, Totems, and McD's as we could to say hi and thank you for selling Kali Bears, Kali Pink, hard hats - took note of passing our many busses and billboards with the 3 boys. Speaking of that (and repeats) - the mom emailed us!
I was so curious if we would ever hear of them or their reactions (they will be returning for their 5th year!). Yay!

I KNOW there is more but I can't remember it all....

Brandi and Jaime, Christie and Pat, Darcy and myself all going nuts trying to keep up with HM - ..... another blog.
Brandi has no time to attend events this year (I feel bad for her) as she's swallowed up by tasks / inquiries flooding in. Jaime's shedding serious pounds just chasing, Pat choked me again last week during a pinking, Christie hair looks like she's been electrocuted (wonder why...) and Darcy is all by himself in Red Deer taming the beast.

I am doing ok. Little tired. Threw out another toothbrush confusing Preparation H (for the eyes...) with my Colgate, showed up for Global interview with "pink eye" - clued in and moved my nose drops away from my eye drops on my night stand, using plastic baggies for dental floss (not a good idea to apply lipstick prior to), still driving around with bottles of hair colour in my cup holders, and auto correct in my phone continues to get me in trouble.
Having an inside battle with "letting GO of things (tasks that others can manage), that shall be an upcoming blog.

On the "not so good..."
My little cousin has had 4 comas since mid December. We are worried sick about that. Visited her today at Stollery. She's my special little kid, always with a smile.
A family very dear to us (who participated 2 years ago) are praying hard for their son Auston as he awaits specialized radiation to hopefully shrink a tumour on the brain stem,
my step mom is going for open heart surgery in a couple of weeks (a possible effect from the 25 radiation treatments last spring on her left breast), and tomorrow I shall take my dad for his post heart attack tests which we are booth apprehensive about.
Lots going on....

Hope to be in touch soon!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas updates

Hi folks, Merry belated Christmas!

First update shall be about my little cousin Taylor. I am pleased to say that my Taylor was released to our family just in time for a mid afternoon Christmas meal. Still weak and shaken from her ordeal in ICU, Taylor managed to endure a couple of hours of visiting from the couch (with a smile).
Ironically the first thing she came out with upon entering my moms house was "Kali, what did you do to your wrist?" These kids are like that.
Kali really didn't know what to say. A fracture pales in comparison to a coma.
Despite the fact that Santa greeted Taylor (and all kids) at the Stollery - with his full on sleigh, toy bag and gifts - our family felt that his delivery of her to US was by far the best.
It was a great Christmas. I still don't care about the gifts.
But I aint gonna lie... I care about the food.

Jaime is in BC with her family visiting with her dad who was also just released from ICU. I know she is feeling helpless in regards to his health.

As parents we have the authority and ability to control the situation with our children's health, living conditions, exposures, etc.
Any parent that chooses to opt out of nurturing - I personally feel you should be tarred and feathered at the very least .... (just sayin'... ).

As children of older parents, we do not have that control unless it has progressed to extreme conditions where power of attorney takes effect. Sometimes after all of our support, all of our efforts, advice and resources exhausted - all we can do is pray for them and watch for the outcome.

I speak from experience as my own father and step mom are both recently fighting very serious health issues that have turned our family to prayers.

Jaime is praying too and soaking up precious time with her family in BC.

I am soaking my family at home. <3

Unfortunately winter months (campaign season) are not conducive to connecting with family very much, so this break has been very nice.

Brandi... well we believe she is on a lovely well deserved holiday (at least thats was her story when she left). Smoke and screetch from her tires in the Make-A-Wish parking lot Friday at 5 may have indicated she needed a break.
The GPS we fastened to her ankle when we took off the shackles has lost signal. Jaime and I have our fingers crossed... but then again - she really does love us. :)

A few more day after new years and the campaign will explode.
With HM on Feb 3, we have a very short window to cram our chaos into. I suspect lots of caffeine chocolate and Ritalin (for me) will be on the list.

Here are a few updates for you:

McDonalds Corporate Restaurants (BIG returning sponsor) shall be selling Kali Bears again as well as feeding our 400 volunteers (BTW - these paper kali bears were Jaime's brainchild when she implemented them years back as the C.R.)

Totem - our new BIG sponsor shall be selling Kali Bears and Pink Hard Hats (brain child of Paul Liimatainen years back - implemented by Paul Hobbs GM of Totem AB). Just discovered Kali Bears as far south as Lethbridge and north Grand Prairie!

Save On Foods - (returning BIG sponsor) shall be selling Kali Bears and Kali Pink / bleach and hair extensions in all Northern Alberta locations!

Corus Radio - Along with our returning big media sponsor CISN, they shall have CHED and JOE in tow this year - very excited to work with all of them!

West Edmonton Mall - if you haven't heard yet - they have donated the Ice Palace!

Romy Young Photography - will be working with us on creative design (check out our Xmas photos included in this blog), capturing and organizing photos and a promo video for next year.

We have a new social media sponsor (excited to share more SOON) - Pure Logic Solutions!

We have of course more wonderful sponsors that shall be showcased throughout this blog at a later time, just wanted to update on the new exciting items.

Stay tuned for more - perhaps another sponsor or too shall bless us for this anniversary event.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

When Kailey got her wish!

I would love to share for you my families experience with our daughter being a recipient with Make-A-Wish.

I want to tell you specifically about the day she received the news that she would be getting to make a wish.

My daughter has had to fight for her life, literally since the moment she was born.....12 years ago.

When we first were told of Kailey being selected we were overwhelmed with many emotions. Grateful, Joy but to be honest it was a little sad too. To have your child selected it means they suffer with a "life threatening illness". The reality of this, to be blunt is that if Kailey gets sick or any cold, and it enters her lungs or even if she was to take a sip of a glass of water, we could lose our daughter.

This is something that as a parent of a child in this predicament, you avoid acknowledging. We strive to make Kailey's life as normal as possible and enjoy every healthy breath and once in a while it settles in just how scared you are. For me, her being selected was one of those moments. We knew Kailey was going to be presented with this moment a couple weeks before, so it was a good "processing time". When you have a sick child you are often riddled with guilt, what if's and wish I would of or wish I could just moments. I had time to "process" my crap and decide to take in the joy that this wish was going to mean.

So off to the Make-A-Wish building in the west end of Edmonton with a bunch of the people that could make it that morning and that have been a part and watched Kailey through many battles. Dad, Me, Gramma (my mom), Auntie Christie and Kailey's long time aide Teresa. I knew Marta, (at the time she worked with MAW) and Tammy was our volunteer wish granter. We piled into the office and I am sure Kailey had no clue what was going on. Marta then begins to tell Kailey what MAW is about and delivers the news "Kailey, you have been nominated by your incredible doctor (our beloved angel Dr.McGonigle) to make a wish.

I look at my beautiful daughters face and in that second remember how many times we watched this precious face in sheer pain, held her down for needles and procedures and locked our eyes and hearts on the medical monitors begging God to PLEASE let her stay with me. Instead this time I see absolute JOY. I am thinking about how amazing this child is, thank God for her stubborn nature.

Kailey looks confused, excited and just in awe. We take a minute to clarify, "Kailey, YOU are getting to wish for anything or to meet anyone you want!" She bursts into takes her little time to say "I WISH TO MEET JOE JONAS!!!!" I was not surprised! Marta explains that she has to make 3 wishes just in case they can't facilitate one..she looks astounded..."I WISH TO SWIM WITH DOLPHIN's" and "MEET ZAC EFRON"!! As we all cry and enjoy this the happiness my daughter is feeling I realize that she has already begun to change because of this wish and she has not even known for one hour yet! I see confidence bursting from her smile like I have never seen before.

As we walk to the car, I look at her face deep in thought and I ask this little miracle what she is thinking and this 9 year old child says to me something that I will never forget and she has no idea how profound the statement is. But with this statement it exactly describes the reason wishes for children in her position are so vital as we all know the child with spirt and joy has the energy to continue to fight.

Kailey says to me " This is the first time in my life that I have actually been given something because of my disability and not had something taken away". This is so accurate.

This is why I am so passionate about this organization. I saw my daughter change that day and we now have this wonderful memory to focus on when she is having a bad day or is not well. That's a gift I do not know how to ever say enough thanks for.