Archive for american cancer society

10lbs, drugs, politicians, money, boots and music – it’s probably not what you think.

Posted in cancer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2015 by runmyssierun

What a day! What a week! What a month it has been! Too much awesomeness for me to write about in full detail and you know how I abhor vague, cryptic messages!!!

So here’s the summary:

Lost 10 pounds. 10 more to go to fit and perform best in my wetsuit and run light for Ironman.

Sissy’s anniversary was miracle driven. <—ok, so that’s cryptic. Sorry. Not Sorry.

Because of a new job, traveling back and forth (insert a myriad of flamboyant excuses here including the Pope’s visit to America) I have only been able to train with the TEAM on weekends. I have good days and bad days, decreased my caffeine intake and heart rate levels, increased my distance and endurance times. pace is still pathetic and no longer publicly posting my workout paces because I feel extremely awkward when being compared amongst people I thought were my friends. I am not your competition. You are not my competition. I am MY own competition.

The halls of congress are busy with activists begging legislators to co-sponsor the CANCER DRUG COVERAGE PARITY ACT to ensure that cancer patients can afford to receive treatment. I’ll post a letter at the end so that you can copy, paste, sign and send to your representative in Congress.

The above is a result of this happening in the cancer treatment industry (I was one of the lobbyists that was part of the movement last year talked about in this article):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/09/24/why-big-pharma-hates-martin-shkreli-too/

I had a meeting this week that started out business and ended up being almost three hours long with some of the most phenomenal women in the Valley who have beat cancer and a couple of others who have dedicated much of their lives and talent to help others beat cancer. I should have taken a selfie of the group. There I was, sipping lemonade with Sylvia Fortuin, Fran Prukop, Melissa Smith, Stacy Madden and silly ol’ me. With all that these women at this table have endured and conquered, something as trivial as the enigma of world peace could be strategized, executed and pinned perfectly on pinterest by next Tuesday without a single hair out of place if given the challenge. We talked a bit about cancer but spoke mostly of God with smiles on all our faces. Interesting, huh?

And the grand highlight was being honored at the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball for the promise I made to Momma and Sissy. Every single emotion a human being can have was experienced there in that ball room but I exited with only one… GRATITUDE.

12046576_10156080025295068_1851483702462994452_n 12046728_10156079951105068_7336421181821570752_n 12032128_10156082704215068_1657191437351344747_n 12000883_10156083266985068_7395840216704870703_o 12046967_1000654256621335_6966144666301231412_n

But the really cool thing was that the opening band, COSTELLO, came back after the preview party a few months ago and DONATED themselves as a musical entertainment act for the cause after hearing my story.  Which goes to show that all of us can do something, anything for the cause because we all have value. I may not be super rich and be able to buy a cure and I may not be super smart and be able to invent a cure but I can run, albeit very slowly, and I can swim – or at least float or dog paddle any crazy long distance, and I can ride til the sun sets… and in some cases, til the sun rises. This is what I can do to make a difference. It may not be much but if you put together the little that I can do with the little that you can do and the little that everyone else can do.. together, we can change it all. For good.

So with that… I have to share with you COSTELLO‘s newest single and video that was just premiered a couple of days ago! it’s also available to download for free on their website! Thank them for their kind gesture by giving them a listen, d/l’ing their song, and requesting them on your local country music radio station like KTEX-100 and liking and following them on social media!!! @Costellotxmusic

Momma would have been over the moon! Thank you all for helping me keep my promise to her.

TO BE AN ADVOCATE FOR CANCER PATIENTS CLICK HERE TO EMAIL YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

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“When I grow up, I want to have cancer,” said no one ever.

Posted in cancer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2015 by runmyssierun

“When I grow up, I want to have cancer,” said no one ever.

I walked into Starbucks this morning and was greeted with a hug by an old friend, Dave Martinez. He sat with me for a short while to chit chat about cancer, what I do and what he does and how to reach those who need help.

No one ever thinks this will happen to them. We don’t prepare properly and maybe we do this as part of wishful thinking. Truth is that every person that I’ve ever talked to who is currently battling cancer or has successfully fought cancer has told me the same horror stories as they dealt with medical costs. In fact, I can honestly say that I have never met a single person touched by cancer who has told me that medical bills have never posed a problem and they are doing just fine and dandy.

No one has ever told me that they felt they were prepared enough to handle the financial burden of cancer treatment.

No one has ever told me that their employer or their business was completely ok with taking a few years off to heal.

Do YOU know of anyone who has it all together and ready to beat cancer if and when it comes knocking at their door?

I don’t. Even with as much as I have witnessed, I still don’t feel secure enough to know I have a fighting chance.

So what stops us? Do we feel invincible to cancer? Do we feel like cancer is something that hurts other people and not us? Do we just want to avoid the whole idea of it all? Is ignorance really bliss?

By the time I get the inbox full of questions that looks something like… My sister brother aunt uncle family friend has cancer. what can I do to help?

Every cancer patient’s situation is different. How I chose to help as many as I could is by speaking openly and candidly about cancer to as many as will listen, participate in fundraising activities that help in identifying both the CAUSE and the CURE of cancer world wide and for the treatments, co-pays, colonoscopies for early detection, transportation and housing of current cancer patients. How YOU choose to help may be something completely different but if we all do one thing, something, a little bit… together we can do so much!

I still have a few hundred dollars to raise and ask for your help. This half Ironman that I have scheduled in less than three months is the last big event I’m doing with Team in Training. Please find it in your heart to give just a bit if you haven’t ever before. $10, $20 any amount helps. My mother counted on this very same organization to help our family and I am very very grateful to have had the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society help our family. I was gifted six years after Momma’s diagnosis and almost three years after Sissy’s to live precious, sacred memories with them. A $20 donation can help another family with the opportunity to make one more special memory. Please grant that to them.

Donate online here on this link:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/yourway16/mcardenasb

or here:  DONATION LINK

Invest in Finding Cures

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the largest voluntary cancer research agency specifically focused on finding cures and better treatments for blood cancer patients. With the scope and scale to fund many projects at the same time, LLS supports hundreds of cancer scientists around the world.

Research Depends on You

Unlike commercial enterprises that consider blood cancers as “orphan diseases” with small markets and limited profit potential, LLS funds research based on medical need without regard to commercial return or market size. Every dollar invested comes from charitable support from concerned donors.

Extend Your Reach

LLS funds hundreds of promising researchers at leading cancer centers and universities worldwide. And since LLS has no campus or laboratories to maintain, your investment funds more research and less overhead than a donation made elsewhere.

Why Invest Now?

Many scientists, clinicians and clinical trial participants have developed and improved current standards of care over time. It takes about eight years to develop a successful new drug. The time to invest in new therapies is now.

What Will My Donation Do?

  • Encourage scientists to pursue blood cancer research. Grants to young scientists help grow research talent even as federal research funding becomes increasingly limited.
  • Develop “targeted therapies” that kill cancer cells selectively. By hitting specific molecular targets, these treatments don’t harm patients’ healthy cells, resulting in fewer dangerous side effects.
  • Test immunotherapies. Immunotherapies strengthen a patient’s own immune system so it can better fight infections and attack cancer cells, reducing the need for damaging chemotherapy.
  • Improve the safety of today’s cures. LLS funds research to predict, manage and prevent complications in patients most at risk for long-term and late effects of treatment.
  • Help patients and their families make informed decisions. LLS supplies information and counseling to help guide patients through their cancer journey and access current treatment and clinical trial options.
  • Provide financial aid and co-pay assistance. A cancer diagnosis is hard enough without having to deal with its financial burden. We provide programs to help relieve the economic strain of a blood cancer diagnosis.
  • Offer community services. Among the wide array of programs LLS provides are those that link newly diagnosed patients with trained volunteers and that help young cancer patients return to school after an absence resulting from treatment.
  • Encourage our state and federal legislators to support blood cancer issues. With your help, LLS brings to the attention of lawmakers the urgent need for increased government funding and support of research and patient access to affordable treatment and quality care.

Make a Difference!

Donate online here on this link:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/yourway16/mcardenasb

or here:  DONATION LINK

891 thousand Texas men and women will be told they have cancer this year

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2015 by runmyssierun

In Texas over 504k men and over 387k

Have you or someone you love been hit by cancer? If so, in the comments, would you please let me know what kind of cancer and how long the battle has been?

Want some more cancer statistics for 2015 and other States? Click here to download the PDF for Cancer Facts & Figures for 2015 by the American Cancer Society  

Her last wish: She said “Run for me”. So I did and I never stopped.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2015 by runmyssierun
Some runners measure their success in time, others in distance... mine was in keeping a promise.

Some runners measure their success in time, others in distance… mine was in keeping a promise.

Last night I was asked to tell my story at the “kick-off” party for ACS’s annual Cattle Baron’s Ball. From the moment I walked up the stairs to the event, I felt a gush of sweat trickling down my back. I was a big ball of nerves. I hate crying and I knew that by sharing my story to this group, I would eventually burst out into sobs… and not those Hollywood glamorous slow motion tear drops gracefully gliding down a single cheek… I’m talking full blown Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer blaring red neck with slimy boogers gushing outta my nostrils and the black mascara smudged down my face kind of train wreck. So as I approached the microphone, I apologized in advance. I hope it was sufficient for them… because all the above happened. I told my story… skimmed through some parts… forgot others.. purposely didn’t talk about that…and wrapped it up before I made a complete fool of myself in public… and then walked off stage. Dad was in the audience. Knowing he was there made me nervous and safe at the same time. George, the chairman for the event announced that Mark Chesnutt will be performing live for the Cattle Baron’s Ball with Costello opening up for them.  The band then performed some songs for the group there and closed with “After that speech, we’ve decided to donate the portion that we are being paid to perform back to the cause!” 11391191_10155671548305068_5516012634173941912_n costello cattlebarons 11391747_10155671362385068_2101660274164910459_n 11392989_10155671361745068_5148268348846252956_n I was floored!!! Lack’s Furniture donated $25,000.00 to support transportation services for those who need assistance getting to and from treatment. And so many others also stepped up to do what they could… This evening my cup runneth over. This… this is what Momma prayed for. It’s all coming together.

A Starry Night

Posted in cancer, Mom with tags , , , , , , , on May 15, 2015 by runmyssierun

I got a text on my phone over lunch… “call me at your earliest convenience”

Hmmm…. in the business of my business, this means “Call me NOW” in the most polite way possible. So I called immediately. It was from the American Cancer Society office. Miss Lovely advised me that there were some changes in the event, program and promotion of Cattle Baron’s Ball…

She sent this link to me

https://www.yumpu.com/en/embed/view/6RpGflRqG09WOht5

Wow!

This is really happening. This is REALLY happening!

For two days now, I’ve been getting the most incredible emails, texts and phone calls from people of decades ago that she helped find jobs when the Levi’s plant closed down when she worked at Texas Employment Commission or from those she helped find financing for their first home that they bought when she was a Realtor or from those she prayed for in their time of need with Catholic Daughters. This is it. This is when it all comes together.

The journey so far has been on a winding caliche unpaved road.  I am now at an elevator and all I have to do is push a button. But if I’m not careful, it can also all come crashing down.

I’m so excited and scared at the same time. I hope I get it right for her and for all she hoped for.

   
         

Cattle Baron’s Ball Shocking Honoree

Posted in cancer, Mom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2015 by runmyssierun

A short while ago, I got a message via facebook to meet over coffee from a good friend. While sipping coffee at Starbucks, she ever so gracefully mentioned honoring my mother and I at this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball. I’ll admit, I was stunned and didn’t know what to say or do other than keep the coffee from spurting out of my mouth and onto her impeccably styled self and just nodding my head up and down.

Cattle Baron's Ball Trifold Yep, that's my family in there.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Trifold
Yep, that’s my family in there.

A few years ago, when Momma was first diagnosed with cancer, she was named REALTOR OF THE YEAR by her fellow Realtors and members of the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors.  I remember her hanging her head low shortly after accepting the award and shared a rare moment of doubt with me.

“They feel sorry for me because I have cancer. That’s why they voted for me,” said whispered to me.

“Momma, this wasn’t pity. We all admire you. Not everything is about cancer.”

She forced a smile on her face and gave me a hug. I knew I did an awful job of convincing her that it wasn’t pity. I wish I could go back in time and tell her something else… something eloquent, profound and full of wisdom, poetic and strong enough to have made her believe what I saw and admired in her.

Oh how hindsight is so 20/20!!! How I would do things differently if given the chance.

Momma was an officer for GMAR (Greater McAllen Association of Realtors) for several years and was President elect the year that she was diagnosed with cancer. No one told her to – but she removed herself from the position to tend to her treatments. She was never the type of person to not give %110 and she thought that her treatment away at MD Anderson would diminish her effectiveness as a leader for this organization that she loved so much.

She did an awesome job of teaching me by example to never half-ass something important to you. You do it %110 or don’t do it at all until you’re ready.

What Momma either forgot or didn’t realize at the time was that this group of Realtors, friends and co-workers had all admired and trusted her enough to make her their leader even before cancer was in the picture. And I failed to remind her of that fact.

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

She was Realtor of the year, Rotarian of the year, Woman of the year (and many others)… and in the back of her mind, I think she doubted whether she deserved all these incredible awards by merit or if they were given to her by cancer pity. And I think I did a terrible job of convincing her of her true worth and value to her community. I should have done more when I had the time to do so.

So now here we are in present day and I find myself in a similar situation and guilty of feeling undeserving of this honor.  See, I’ve never HAD cancer. I live a healthy life. I don’t suffer the effects of chemotherapy, radiation and surgical removals of organs and body parts. I don’t have to miss work or family time because I’m away at hospitals being poked and prodded for experimental treatments. I don’t have to schedule Real Estate open houses and viewing appointments around the times I know I’ll be vomiting. I just have to run or swim or ride a bike. That’s all. Why does that make me so special? I’m really the under achiever of the family.

I mean… I’m not even one of those amazing athletes that qualifies for Boston. Or Kona. Or… anything worth qualifying for.

They should have picked someone else for this award. And cancer should have taken me instead.

Yes, this is how I truly feel.

BUT… these last few years really have changed my outlook and I refuse to let myself mope around in my dramatic pity parties. Regardless of how I feel on the inside, these last few years and experiences have taught me that although honors AND criticisms are directed towards me, much of them have little to do with me. I was chosen for this because of the love I have for my mother, the admiration I have for her and all that she went through and all that she did when she could. I made a promise to raise awareness and funds for a disease that I am not stricken with and being noted for it. I made a promise to do my best to take care of the health that I was blessed with and not take it for granted and I don’t do it alone, I am led, pushed and followed by countless others….

So in essence, who is really being honored here is not me but my mother, my family, my friends, my community, my teammates, my supporters, donors, sponsors and especially the victims of cancer, their families and caregivers who know all too well what it is that my Mother saw and desperately wanted to remedy.  Little actually has to do with me and so much has to do with everyone else.

I bow down to you, the deserving – the ones who have loudly and silently confided, cried, comforted and competed with me. I bow down to you, the fighters, the lovers, the haters, the cheerleaders, the sick and the healthy… for YOU are the ones that I’ve always wanted never to endure what we did. It was her wish and it is my promise. And neither of us are quitters.

I will accept this honor on my mother’s behalf and bow to you… because we are all deserving to live in a world without cancer.

For more information about the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball this year on September 19th at the Boggus Ford Event Center in Pharr, TX, would like to attend and/or sponsor it, please call the RGV ACS at (956) 682-8329. Once they update and finalize the website, I’ll post a link here.

Sometimes (1)

Unused cascarones

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2015 by runmyssierun

Finally, I feel like I’m back on course! I’ve returned to some regular trainings and have increased the intensity of my workouts. My swim is increasing in pace and duration. I’ve focused on upper body strength training so that I can build up and utilize my arms and back while saving my legs for the bike and run on my Triathlon. However, I think I may have overdone it on my last swim as my lower back on my left side is extremely tender and feels like it’s on the verge of cramping any second now. Unsure if it’s actually over straining of muscle or if it’s my kidneys again from too much coffee and not enough water. I expect an answer soon after my visit with the Doc this week.

11053058_10155291886875068_1928030618175421475_n alex swim post

Still not pleased with my running. But hey, who am I kidding? I’ll never really be pleased with my running. There’s still something quite elusive about that sport. The better you get, the more you expect from yourself and push harder.

My cycling workouts have been done mostly on my trainer and in spin class but was able to get a few nice brisk miles in on Saturday morning at the Arbor Day Celebration in McAllen.

Bicentennial Blvd was completely barricaded for the safety of all runners and cyclists during the Arbor Day Celebration. A bold and courageous move by the City of McAllen to encourage residents to participate in the event and make strides to live healthier and more fit lives.

Bicentennial Blvd was completely barricaded for the safety of all runners and cyclists during the Arbor Day Celebration. A bold and courageous move by the City of McAllen to encourage residents to participate in the event and make strides to live healthier and more fit lives.

It’s not often when you have the support of a city and a good number of its staff barricade a five lane street with wide shoulders strictly for the use of runners and cyclists – even if it is just for a couple of hours once a year. Although I have only been cycling for just a couple of years, I’ve already had too many of my friends hurt and/or killed while riding. What the City of McAllen, Keep McAllen Beautiful and the even coordinators for the Arbor Day Celebration did that morning allowed me to face the fear of returning to my love of cycling in a safe and monitored fashion. It was a baby step forward. And I appreciate it so much!

McAllen Cable Network camera man, Jose Esqueda, takes a "selfie" with me just before we all took off on our bikes.

McAllen Cable Network camera man, Jose Esqueda, takes a “selfie” with me just before we all took off on our bikes.

For a short moment, colorful wind jackets dotted the streets and the whir of bicycle tires hummed through the City of McAllen.

For a short moment, colorful wind jackets dotted the streets and the whir of bicycle tires hummed through the City of McAllen.

I had an interesting discussion with someone on Wednesday. She was trying to crucify me for my efforts saying that all these crazy events that I compete in and raise money for don’t really help any of “our” people.

I sat there and listened to her passionately berate all that I have done, the promise I have kept and the sacrifices I have made. And then calmly, I responded with:

I make it a point to do all that I can for as many local, regional and national organizations for different reasons. I help with RGV CAP to help provide local people from the Rio Grande Valley assistance in both financial and informational resources for colonoscopies so that they have the chance to identify colon cancer in it’s early stages, giving us a better chance at removing the cancer completely. I also help with ACS and LLS because quite frankly we don’t have any scientists with great big labs creating treatments and searching for causes and cures for cancer in this four county region. I can’t help people from just my own zip code. That’s being prejudice. If I’m going to do this… I’m going 110% so that we ALL have access to affordable treatments and ultimately a cure. Helping just the people from the Valley is good if that’s all you can do. But I know I can do more. You have to find what’s causing all this pain and that just can’t realistically be done here in the Valley. I want to help that doctor who can.

It’s the most incredible feeling to witness the light bulb turn on in someone’s head when I’m able to make my point clear.

I love that feeling.

I still have dozens of cascarones from Easter three years ago. I don’t have the heart to throw them away and I don’t feel comfortable using them. I still struggle with these silly emotionally based decisions. Weird huh? I think I’ll be struggling with what to do on Easter for a few more years.

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