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!!! :-)