Monday, October 29, 2012

Bigger Than a Breadbox

After we came home from the hospital on January 4, 2010, one of the first things we did was buy this breadbox. Georgia had eight prescriptions, a pill cutter, a pill organizer, and various other "accessories," none of which we wanted to leave out all the time like a constant reminder of treatment. Not good for our Peachy Keen attitude! So we found this breadbox, filled it with her meds, and parked it on the kitchen counter, where it was opened and closed hundreds of times over the last 34 months. The scheduling was so intricate (this one everyday, this one three days a week, this one once a week, this one once a month, not these together, those always together, with food, before food, after food ...), it's truly amazing that researchers ever figured out what worked among the ever-rotating combinations. Each time we got a new schedule, we stuck a post-it on the inside lid with a detailed AM/PM menu, plus dosages, even though we all knew it by heart after the first day. And after the first year or so, little by little, the contents of the breadbox started to gradually disappear, especially since APRIL 29TH, 2012. And once her port was gone, all Georgia had left to complete was a six-month run of antibiotics ...

Which she did. Today. So, as per usual, we will celebrate another milestone tonight - truly, truly the END of treatment! We'll carve pumpkins, smash pill bottles on the driveway (like Mighty Tater!), and put buckets on our heads and dance. And as for the breadbox, Ivy had a great idea: We could put bread in it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Moving Right Along

Georgia had a clinic appointment today, and although her counts were a little low, everything still looks really good! We'll just be keeping an eye on her and shoo away any viruses that want to come calling - especially once she finishes up her antibiotic next week. Yes, next Monday is the last day of her last medicine and marks six months off treatment! She has done so well so far, and before we know it, another six months will have passed, and she'll be one year off treatment. Amazing!

Also amazing is the support that Votre Vu has shown the 46 Mommas and the St. Baldrick's Foundation in the fight against childhood cancer. I had the honor of speaking at their local event this week, and they announced another $5,000 donation to the 46 Mommas, bringing their total to over $20,000 since July. And they have no plans to stop! One dollar from the purchase of every French Accents item goes to childhood cancer research, so please stop by their website soon!

Georgia and Ivy both had busy weeks at school last week, culminating in the Homecoming tailgate and volleyball games at Ann Richards and the Fall Festival at Parkside. We've got lots of spirit around here and are looking forward to Halloween next week!

Go Stars!

Ivy "trying" to not get wet at the balloon toss.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Fifteen years ago, the Lance Armstrong Foundation was created to provide people facing cancer a support team to help them face the disease head on. In honor of this special anniversary, here are the 15 Defining Moments from LIVESTRONG's First 15 Years, our personal favorite being No. 2: Making Survivorship a Priority.

In other news, Georgia was voted NJHS Member of the Month. She was inducted a month ago. I tell ya ... 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

More Girl Power

Our budding writer received another honor this week when she was asked to read her essay on Title IX at a statue dedication ceremony for former Lady Longhorn Coach Jody Conradt. It was a lovely, very crowded, event, but all of the Ann Richards girls did an excellent job, and Georgia got an enthusiastic response to the story of her great aunt, Ruthie. There were over 600 folks in attendance, so the best picture I could get was of the giant video screen!

 Even with 900 career wins, the most important number to Coach Conradt is 99:
the percentage of her players who graduated from college.

 Out of 683 essays, one girl from each grade was asked to read hers.
Several people at the ceremony were friends with Ann Richards, 
and it is always extra special to hear, "Governor Richards would be so proud of you."
Georgia's essay:
What Title IX Means to Me

         Title IX is important to me because it promotes fairness. It requires that boys and girls be provided with equal opportunities to participate in sports and other school activities. It also requires that female athletes receive athletic scholarships, equipment, and coaching that are equivalent to what male athletes receive. Because it promotes equality, I think of Title IX as civil rights legislation, and I am grateful for the opportunities it has given me, especially since I know that other women in my family never got those same opportunities. 
        My great aunt grew up playing baseball, and when she was in high school during World War II, she was asked to play in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Many male professional baseball players had joined the military, so the female players were brought in to keep baseball going while the men were away. At first, the crowds made fun of the women, but once people saw that they could really play, the league became very popular, and my great aunt was a crowd favorite and All-Star player. But after the war was over, the men returned, and the AAGPBL eventually closed down.
         Title IX wasn’t enacted until 1972, so my great aunt didn’t have the opportunity to play sports for her school because there weren’t any girls’ teams. She only played with friends in vacant lots, and they used old equipment. Her family didn’t have much money, and without an athletic scholarship, she couldn’t afford to go to college. She worked for the government her whole adult life, but she was able to coach several girls’ softball teams and helped many girls in her town win championships and get college scholarships. Her athletic skills were finally recognized in 1988 when the AAGPBL was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I’m sure if Title IX had been enacted for her generation, her life would have been much different, and baseball would have been an even bigger part of it.
         Even though I don’t play sports, I know that I have been affected by Title IX. When I was little, I played on soccer and basketball teams that sometimes included boys. It was a great experience for me because I felt like I was being treated fairly, and I had a uniform and a good coach – all thanks to Title IX. I also think Title IX has helped girls get other equal opportunities and created schools like Ann Richards that empower girls to “attend and graduate from college” and “lead with courage and compassion.” As I get older, it will help keep me focused and keep my eye on the prize – a college education!

 Thanks for everything, Coach Conradt - Hook 'em!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The State of The Fight

This is a wonderful article by Dr. Robert Arceci, M.D., Ph.D., and chair of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee. It's full of important information (including a great graphic too big to post here), with this being the highlight, I think:

Research makes all the difference. However, with the National Cancer Institute committing approximately 4 percent of their budget in 2011 to childhood cancer research funding and recent reports from the National Institute of Health showing research funding has reached its lowest point in history, there is a crucial need for alternative means to provide grants to researchers that will enable them to continue projects that show promise. Without this, research that could lead to improved cancer survival rates and treatment advances will be delayed or never reach their full potential. Added to this challenge is the fact that pharmaceutical companies often shy away from developing childhood cancer drugs because of low profit levels (only 2 drugs have been approved by the FDA in the last 20 years to treat children with cancer).
This is why we do what we do. Join us, and let's CONQUER childhood cancer!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ivy!


I just took that picture yesterday, and somehow, 
that angel cake turns 9 years old today.

Happy Birthday to our sweet Ivy Francis.
You make us so happy, and so proud, every day!