Friday, September 12, 2014

One More Year, and 39.3 More Miles!!

And we are OFF!

Oh So much to say in one blog post!!!
My last post was from 2013!!! We were walking Philly. Well let me do a quick update from there… In 2013 my team “The Second Base Coaches” decided to walk the Avon walk instead of the Komen walk. And you would think that the reasoning behind that would be that the walk is shorter 39.3 miles not 60 mile, but that is actually a draw back for us! The first day walking Avon (26.2 miles) is PURE HELL!!! And it is the last 6 miles that kills you. Also, Avon is only two days instead of three which shortens our camping time to one night. This is also something my team and I see as a con, because our favorite time at the walk is “tent time”. So why do we walk Avon? Because two years ago it was getting harder and harder to raise money for the Komen foundation. I would have people want to donate to me “as long as it doesn’t go to Komen”. So we thought raising the $1800 for Avon would be easier. What we found out is that is just as hard.  We did find things about Avon we loved… We LOVE that at the end of the walk, Avon hands out checks right then and there!!! That was pretty dang cool. 

So as I said, my team decided to walk Avon New York last year, and then this year we just finished walking Avon Santa Barbara. It was a whirlwind trip….  We (my team that this year consisted of Kate, Karin, Jess and myself) left the east coast at about 6 in the morning and all met up at LAX at 10:30 am – 12:00. Then in the car to the Fess Parker Double Tree in for registration and pre-event stuff. From there I gave leave to my compatriots and drove down to my sister’s home in Lompoc to do a Pure Romance party for a friend of mine (tax write off anyone?)  Plus, let’s be honest… I needed to make a few bucks for our Disney trip AFTER the walk. 
Getting ready for opening ceremonies

The walk was very cool. This year seemed special to me because my team mate Kate, who had the official nickname “Benchwarmer” because she had to sit out the last three walks due to health issues was cleared to walk this year. So I was able to see the walk in her eyes (thank goodness not her feet, mine hurt enough). AND this is my 5th year cancer free!!! Yup in August of this year, my radiation was finished and I have been cancer-free since!
So the walk started along the Santa Barbara beach. It was really beautiful and the weather was being really great. Jess (who I met on my first DC walk, the one with the tunes) was with us and she is 6 months pregnant, so at least I was able to keep up, normally she laps me. We all walked as a team and it was great. I headed to lunch after 8 miles, my legs were hurting terribly and met Jess there after she finished nine. Kate and Karen followed up the rear walking all 13.1 miles to lunch. After lunch, Jess and I decided it would be better to head to Wellness Village (where we camped) to get everything ready for the other ladies when they got back.
Lunch time!! 13.1 miles in!

What is so funny about this is that Jess has NEVER swept (take the bus) in all the SEVEN or EIGHT years since she started walking, so when we got to Wellness Village, we had our feet massaged, a facial and a back massage before we even had to touch our bags or tents… THEN the tent angels helped us with the tents and we didn’t even have to put them up!!! This is a far cry than when you are walking the entire route (all 26.2 miles) and you get to Wellness Village and there is a line for all the amenities. So Jess thought this was a pretty sweet deal!!! No wonder why I sweep! Hahaha.

Jess resting at lunch so her little "Nugget" could relax
"Working Hard" as the Tent Angels put up our tents

Jess and I met the Kate and Karin at the end of the first days walk, we were cheering them on and I was so proud of them!! We let them get the lay of the land and then ate!! We all showered (in tractor trailer trucks) and then head to bed… but first, let me take a selfie!
But first... let me take a sselfie!

Day two we decided that we were all going to walk the entire walk (okay, I didn’t vote on this decision, but I thought if the prego and the virgin could do it, so could I) And I don’t think Kate would have LET me stopped even if I wanted.  So we all crossed the finish lines with arms linked.  It was an amazing walk and an amazing day. 
Right before we crossed the finish line.

We watched Avon give away 4.6 million dollars to research breast cancer. That was pretty cool. Once we got to back to the hotel where the care was we were able to start are trip to Disneyland!!!

Kate! You just walked 40 miles, what are you doing to do now??

Yes, you heard that right, after walking close to 40 miles we made our way to the Happiest Place on Earth!!

I just wanted to thank everyone that supported us, that attended our fundraisers, donated to us, allowed us to get up early or go to bed late so we could train. To the little “nugget” inside Jess that stayed in place so we didn’t have a birthing during the walk. And to my ladies that I walked with. You all mean so much to me. I love doing the walks with you, I get so much closer to you all every year. And congrats to Kate who finished her walk!! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Philly or Bust

This was my second 60mile/3day event. Last year I participated in the walk in Washington D.C. I was amazed by the magnitude of the event last year and I had trained every weekend for 24 weeks. This year I expected it to be different because I was no longer a “newbie” and I was curious on how I would feel during this event. We got to opening ceremonies as they were starting. I was not as excited as last year, but I was very excited to be with my team. I have spent the entire year with this team fundraising, training and becoming very close friends. What is so wonderful about this event is that no one ever feels uncomfortable because everyone is family. Everyone has been touched in some way shape or form by breast cancer. I think that is one of the best things about this walk, everyone loves at this walk and there is a respect for everyone there.
Last year I was able to finish the entire 60 miles. I was so proud of myself. This year, after the first day, my plantar fasciitis was too much to bear and I ended up in the medical tent the morning of the second day. I was able to walk a few miles more that day and I felt quite let down with myself when I had to ride the van to the next pit stop, or “sweep”. I walked as much as I could day two and day three. On day three, I veered off course a little bit to sight see. I was able to see the Liberty Bell, go to Betsy Ross’ house, and eat a traditional Philly Cheese steak! I was able to walk the last couple of miles into the Navy Yard with the rest of the walkers. At this point I met up with the rest of my team in “holding”. Holding is a place where everyone is kept until closing ceremonies start, so we can all walk in together. I found out that only 3 were able to complete the entire walk I was separated from my team once again when we walked in because I am a survivor and we walk in separately.
Closing Ceremonies are very hard to explain because it is so overwhelming, so emotional, but I will try. First, the crew, medical and safety monitors walk in. Of course as they walk in, we hoot and hollered for them. They kept us safe; they tended to our every need and for some of us (me), kept us walking for a few miles more. Then the walkers walk in. They are all in white shirts. There are about 1600 of them. Then the survivors (in our pink shirts) walk in. This year, for me the walk wasn’t as exciting, wasn’t as emotional. I’m not sure if it was because it was my second walk or whether it was because I had grown hard about whole cause. But then, it was the survivors turn to walked in….

When introducing the survivors and welcoming them home, the commentator said, “For some, this walk didn’t start when you registered, this walk started with a diagnosis. “This is when my walk started for me. December 30th, 2008, was the day I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (breast cancer). As I was standing there, with the group of survivors, holding their hands, bonded by our diagnosis, embraced in our sisterhood, I started to cry. I cried for me, for the friends that are still fighting, for my friends I had lost. As we walked in, the walkers all raised their right shoes in the air as a tribute. As I stood there with my survivor sisters, they raised the flag that said, “NEVER GIVE UP”. The speaker said to look around to the supporters that got you here, the ones that you trained with. At that point I looked around for my team, for the group of women that got me there and I left the survivors to find them. As I maneuvered through the crowd to my team they saw me and we all started to cry as we held onto each other. In end, the only way I can explain my experience is “Excruciatingly Beautiful”.

Philly Or bust!
The Maryland Second base Coaches
My Saviors on Day one!! The SUPER SWEEPERS!
20 miles done!!!

Home Sweet Home
Me and Arlene

Mail!!! I love opening my mail!!! Thank you!!

I did make it to the Rocky Statue!!
This group met us everyday!!!
Not walkers, just cheerers.
Time for a Cheesesteak Stop!!
Lunch time!!!
Sight seeing.

At the Finish Line!!! 

This year it is AVON PEOPLE!!

As all of you know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. During my treatment and recovery, I came to realize that I am blessed with an amazing circle of family and friends. I am also extremely fortunate to have a good healthcare plan, and to live in a city where great doctors and quality care is readily available.

This year, I will proudly walk in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer as a survivor. I walk for those who are not as fortunate, for those who can’t afford proper medical care, for those who are seeking a cure for this disease.

I will walk a marathon and a half (that’s nearly 40 miles!) and I plan to raise next few months training and fundraising. I’m one of thousands of people all over the country who will be doing this to raise funds for the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade and support their mission to advance access to care and find a cure.

I’m honored to help others get the same chance at survival that I had. And I’m looking forward to a special Avon Walk weekend of celebrating my own survivorship among a community of people who are just as passionate about this cause as I am.

Please help me—and all who are impacted by breast cancer—by making a tax-deductible contribution. To donate online, simply click on the link at the bottom of this message If you prefer to write a check, please make it payable to “Avon Walk for Breast Cancer” and send it to me.

As I cross that finish line as a Survivor, I will carry with me the hopes of each and every person who has helped me to thrive since that life-changing day when I first heard that diagnosis. And that includes you!

On behalf of the tens of thousands of people whose lives may be saved by your actions, thank you.

Click Here to donate to me and my Team, the Second base coaches.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Honor Just To Be Nominated... But VOTE!! :-)

Hi everyone! Wow 2 posts in one month, that must be a record for me for the past 2 years. Can you believe it has been over 2 years? Over three since we started this journey together!

I received an email for one of my team mates that will be walking with me this year at the Susan G Komen 3day walk and it seems that my entire team has nominated me to be this years Honorary Bat Girl at the National's Mother Day game.

I asked her to email me the write up she did (I had not read it yet). And she warned me that originally they had used 7,000 characters and were only allowed 1500. I was stunned!! I read the excerpt she wrote (with help from the team) and my heart exploded with love for these wonderful women that thought this much for me to do this... I asked her to send me the entire 7,000 character write up that they did so I could post it here.

So... how do I win the honor you ask? (At least I'm assuming that you are asking). You need to click on the link at the bottom of this blog and vote for me!! 25% of the decision is on the votes. So VOTE!! And please email/Facebook/Twitter it our to all your family and friends so they too can vote! SO COOL!!!

Kara is the HUGE baseball fan, so I know she found it and had to think about it, but it makes me happy to find out that all my team (the 2nd Base Coaches), Nancy, Stephanie, Karin, Kate and Arlene had a hand in helping write it. Thank you ladies!!!

So here is the original write up. click on the link after to go to the website to vote. And thank you so much in advance!!!

We are writing to nominate our very dear friend Laurie Jo Neary for honorary bat girl. Laurie Jo was diagnosed on December 30, 2008 with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) on the eve of her youngest daughter’s first birthday. After several surgical procedures and many rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, Laurie Jo is a survivor, and has dedicated her life or better said is consistently going to bat against cancer.

As the mother of three young daughters, it is imperative to Laurie Jo that a cure for breast cancer is found. In her own words, “I am doing everything in my power against breast cancer, to ensure that my daughters never have to say mom I have breast cancer or to hear another friend, family or loved one tell me that have breast cancer.” Ergo, Laurie Jo has taken the challenge to end breast cancer personally. Currently, she is our team captain for “Second Base Coaches,” a local team preparing to walk in the Susan G. Komen 3 day, 60 mile walk. This will be Laurie Jo’s second 3-day challenge, but she has also participated in numerous local breast cancer walks in her home town to help raise funds for breast cancer. In 2011, she was the key speaker after participating and finishing a local 5k she helped organize called, “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.”

This year Laurie Jo intends to raise funds for SGK while at the same time raising funds for her own community to start a foundation for women who need additional funds for treatments – to pay rent while undergoing treatment – or just a taxi ride to chemo.

In addition to her active involvement with her team, Laurie Jo is also a Pampered Chef consultant. Anyone who knows LJ knows that she uses this as an additional platform to spread the word against breast cancer and urge all women to get regular mammograms and early detection. She especially pushes the sales of her “Help Whip Cancer” products during the month of May. Through its “Help Whip Cancer” campaign, The Pampered Chef joins forces with the American Cancer Society and Canadian Cancer Society to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer education and early detection programs. Also, in October, Consultants' friends and family can join The Pampered Chef's National Team with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and hold Help Whip Cancer Fundraiser Shows.

Laurie Jo also has kept a blog throughout her entire journey with breast cancer. The blog can be found at She recently has been contacted by authors of cancer related articles thanking her for her help to the cancer community for sharing her journey with the public. One author is researching the importance and value of social networks and writes, “Cancer can be a frightening experience whether you have been diagnosed, you are close to someone who has it, or you are in remission. The exasperating and stressful experience can leave its mark on anyone. For that reason it's important that you have a healthy network of people who you can turn to and talk with about how you're feeling. And what you are going through. It will be especially helpful for you to have a network of people who have the same cancer and can relate to how your body is feeling, how they are feeling, and ways that the both of you can cope and overcome. Even programs on the Internet can prove beneficial to cancer patients, although it might not seem like it at first. Search for chat rooms and discussion boards to introduce yourself and what you are experiencing with cancer. Also, don't just read posts you must engage. Even if it doesn't seem like it, your experience with cancer is unlike that of anyone else's. The simple act of connecting with someone and talking with him or her about what's going through your mind can be a truly cathartic experience. As long as patients experience some type of release or relief than it was worth it.” Laurie Jo’s blog has been very helpful to fellow cancer patients, as she shares her journey, both the good and the bad, through stories, pictures, etc. Not many women are daring enough to share their scars, swelling (as LJ calls her left breast “Frankenboob”), etc, but Laurie Jo has done so to show that it is okay, nothing to be ashamed of, and also does it to prepare those who may have similar surgeries in the future.

She is also a member of the Army of Women, whose goals are to recruit one million healthy women of every age and ethnicity, including breast cancer survivors and women at high-risk for the disease, to partner with breast cancer researchers and directly participate in the research that will eradicate breast cancer once and for all, and finally, to challenge the scientific community to expand its current focus to include breast cancer prevention research conducted on healthy women. October 1st has been declared the official Army of Women Day, and to this also kicks of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you EVER see Laurie Jo without a pink breast cancer shirt on in the month of October, it is because she is in the shower. In her own words, during the month of October, “I will be sporting my pink everyday and honoring those have survived, who are fighting and those we have lost. My love to all the families struggling with this disease and who have struggled.”

Laurie Jo is the most fun loving, kind hearted, and outgoing person we have ever come across. We feel there is no one else better deserving of being honored for her continuous battle, not only for her own life, but for everyone else that is fighting, has fought, or will fight breast cancer in the future.

You can search the whole metro area, but you will not find another highly dedicated woman who GOES TO BAT AGAINST CANCER ON A DAILY BASIS. Laurie Jo will not be happy until we STRIKE OUT breast cancer!

Blog entry from our very own Laurie Jo on August 18, 2010 that embraces the strength of this wonderful woman, but also gives hope to everyone out there:

One year ago today, I didn't know how long I would have with my children. One year ago today, I was exhausted. One year ago today, my skin was burnt and bloody that I thought scarring was imminent. One year ago today, I had my last radiation treatment. It feels like it was just yesterday, but at the same time it also feels like years ago. It was a very hard ride last year and I just wanted to say thank you.So many of you helped me through my fight (if you knew it or not), whether it be through love, support, comments, commiseration, humor, a smile, or just a plain reality check.Today I am cancer free. Today I feel better than I have in at least 10 years. Today, I am a survivor, a warrior. But I could not have done it without the support of all of you. So from the bottom of my heart...Thank you, LJ

Here is the link to vote...

Me and Kara after day 2 at the 2011 walk in DC

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Slice of Heaven

Yeah, Yeah, I know I haven't been a good blogger and I still need to blog about my 3day walk experience but when something hits me like this has, I have to take time out of my busy day to make sure everyone knows about it...

It all started in about July of 2011. I am a huge fan of Groupon and when they had a deal for a VIP package for "A Pole New You" Dance studio, I couldn't resist! Now if any of you know me, or at least know a little of my past, you would know that I have been dancing (ballet, tap, jazz and pointe) since I was 4 (of course not the pointe part, that came later). But I LOVE to dance! After I had finished my treatments, I had started at another dance studio an adult ballet and jazz class, but when I saw this??!! Pole Dancing??!! OMG I had to try!! I finally started my classes in October 2011 (thank goodness for LONG expiration dates).

My first class was Conceptions I with my teacher Georgie. I was awestruck (and maybe a little girl-crushing) when George demonstrated our first true spin on the pole (the closed fireman) and she came to a dead-stop on the pole, in the air with her legs holding onto the pole to show us where our bodies should be... From that first spin (or it could have been from the squat spin) I was HOOKED!!! I walked out of that first class feeling... You would think "sexy", "beautiful", and yes I felt those, but I walked out with a feeling of POWER!!! I have never felt so POWERFUL in my whole life!!! I felt STRONG!! I felt FEMININE!!! It was one of the most exhilarating feelings I have ever had! As my class went on, I learned more spins and was able to graduate to Conceptions II. It felt like every dance class had culminated for me to be on the poll!

In my second class, Conceptions II, I had a new teacher. Sarah is awesome too!! She taught me how to climb the pole!! She gave me the WORST foot bruises! But by god I earned every bruise and I like to think of them as "war wounds".

I also got my first taste of being upside down on the pole, it was a head stand and I did it!! I also was able to spin backwards on the pole. It was so great and I felt so good. I love my classes!!

Now I am in Shedding the Skin I... Okay so I've been in this class for 4 months. More than what I expected, but my teacher, Angela is the most patient person! She has watched me struggle with more of the strength moves and has been my biggest cheerleader when I have finally gotten a move down. Shedding is more technical skill than just spins. But this month is a good month for me. I was able to do my crucifix (for the VERY first time last week)
Yes, I am off the ground!! And for the first time I have connected foot to pole when I was inverting (going up side down) on the pole. Once I got there, I forgot what I was doing and had to use my "emergency exit" aka sliding down the pole, but I got there!!!

I also joined the PNY dance troupe too! We are doing a chair dance to "Express" from the Burlesque sound track!! I have my first performance on April 14th then again April 21st. I have also taken so awesome fitness classes there too. A Fit for pole Class and bootcamp classes w/ Donna, Zumba w/ Tammy (who is also the choreographer for the dance troupe) and it was truly the best Zumba class I have ever taken!!

All in all, I am completely enamored by my new dance studio (in Urbana) and cannot wait until you see me hanging upside down from the pole (hopefully sooner than later) in my inverted crucifix. My teachers are some of the nicest, caring, sexy, beautiful, and amazing women I have ever met. I swear when I go to class, I am walking into a cirque do soliel training camp!!

So I have decided, that A Pole New You is my little slice of heaven, and one day when my time is done... God will have poles waiting for me!!! :-)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wow, I feel honored....

Hello everyone,

I received a really neat email the other day and wanted to share it with you...

"Hi LJ,

I stumbled across your blog and niticed the great content on your site. I am wondering if you allow guest posts because I recently have been researching and writing about how beneficial cancer support networks and also staying physically fit is to people going through treatments, in remission and even family memebers of cancer patients. I believe an article on one of thise two topics would mesh with your blog very well and also benefit your readers tremendously. this is an important message to gt out there so please lket me know if you woul dbe interested in seeing it and sharing it with you readers.

Thank you for all you do in making a difference.


Well David, first I want to thank you for taking the time to read my blog! I read your article and cannot agree more. I had my support staff with me before, during and now after cancer. I know that I would have fought and struggled through my fight with or without my friends, but because of the family and friends I KNEW I had on my side (being in person, on the phone or online) I was able to stay connected with my body and soul through this journey and think everyone needs their angels.

So here is David's article...

Networks of People To Fight Cancer

Cancer can be a frightening experience whether you have been diagnosed, you are close to someone who has it, or you are in remission. The exasperating and stressful experience can leave its mark on anyone. For that reason it's important that you have a
healthy network of people who you can turn to and talk with about how you're feeling. And what you are going through. It doesn't matter if you have a common cancer like breast cancer, a rare aggressive disease like mesothelioma, skin cancer or prostate cancer, you should have some kind of outreach program to help you cope. It will be especially helpful for you to have a network of people who have the same cancer and can relate to how your body is feeling, how they are feeling, and ways that the both of you can cope and overcome. Even programs on the Internet can prove beneficial to cancer patients, although it might not seem like it at first. Search for chat rooms and discussion boards to introduce yourself and what you are experiencing with cancer. Also, don't just read posts you must engage. Even if it doesn't seem like it, your experience with cancer is unlike that of anyone else's. The simple act of connecting with someone and talking with him or her about what's going through your mind can be a truly cathartic experience. As long as patients experience some type of release or relief than it was worth it.Other outreach programs include rides to treatments. This can prove to be especially helpful for cancer patients who are unable to drive themselves to the treatment center, or if their families and friends are not able to help them out. This gives you the opportunity to make new friends and for volunteers to reach out to people. Sometimes in order for cancer patients to receive the best care they have to travel away from home, away from friends, family, familiarity and their routines. This can make an already challenging experience even more so with new emotional and financial strains. There are lodging centers for cancer patients where they can stay in comfort with other patients and medical experts whom they can talk with. Below are a few great online programs, which can help cancer patients immensely and immediately:
Caring Bridge

By: David Haas

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Did you know??

Hey everyone!

I am so excited that the walk is only a few weeks away (6 weeks) and I am working on fundraising for my team (which is now Hope for Hooters), doing my training walks (my last one was 6 miles in the POURING rain), and getting my feet toughend up for the walk (please forgive my bare feet EVERYWHERE).

So what can you do for me? How bout send me some mail while I am at the walk!
Pretty awesome huh?

But you will have to mail it soon, cause it is stored and delivered to me in my pink tent during the walk!

Send letters to:
3-Day for the Cure
ATTN: Laurie Jo Neary
P.O. Box 417
Gore, VA 22637

My love for all of you that supported me whether it be through your words, prayers, or your donations, I could not have done it without you all behind me!