Sunday, September 29, 2013

17 Months OT!

What better way to close out Childhood Cancer Awareness Month than by celebrating Georgia's 17th month off treatment?! She continues to grow stronger - and taller! - each day, and she greets every one of her increasingly busy days with a smile. In the last week alone, she represented the NJHS at the annual school fundraiser, had her first play rehearsal, and was selected as a student ambassador for tours and community events involving the Ann Richards School. Oh, and she and Ivy both read their creative writing pieces for a crowd of 500 people at the Austin Teen Book Festival! It was such a wonderful event - Georgia made us laugh, Ivy made us cry, and they both made us very proud!

Georgia, classmate Mireya, and their writing teacher, Taya

The incredible Mrs. Mauser, aka Magical Ninja Librarian from ARS

 Sharing her piece, "Man vs. Zombie: A Polite and Dignified Conversation."

The house was packed, and as it happens, there was a family sitting right in front of us who had lost their little boy to neuroblastoma. His sister shared a beautiful poem about his journey, and I had the privilege of visiting with his parents afterwards. We talked about their son, about Georgia, and about the clear impact of childhood cancer on siblings. We also talked about the critical need for research, especially for cancers like neuroblastoma, which very often goes undiagnosed until it's quite advanced and extremely difficult to fight. One of the excuses - I mean, "reasons" - Big Pharma gives for its lack of attention to childhood cancer as a whole is because "it's so rare." Really? I know of at least two families in that room yesterday who would disagree.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but any month, every month, you can do SOMETHING to help kids and families in the fight. Thanks, y'all, and have a great week.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Loving Libbie

Saturday, we had the great pleasure of representing the 46 Mommas and the St. Baldrick's Foundation at one the best parties of the year: the Loving Libbie Memorial Foundation's 3rd Annual Birthday Bash! We celebrated precious Libbie and helped raise money for the amazing Becky and her crew at A Trip to Bountiful bakery and cafe to continue their good work of feeding the children in treatment at our clinic, Dell Children's Hospital, and the Ronald McDonald House. There were games and activities galore, all sponsored by a variety of organizations from the childhood cancer community, but the stars of the show are always the macaroni and cheese and the birthday cake!

This year's cake was inspired by ColorCancer's use of the colors associated with different types of cancer to raise awareness and funds to fight those cancers. It was just as colorful on the inside, as you can see! The cake also featured the sign for "I Love You," which holds special meaning for Becky and her daughter, Libbie.  

 One of my helpers making macaroni necklaces.

At the end of the party, Georgia presented Becky with her painting, "Still Life with Macaroni and Cheese," to thank her for all of the delicious food and cakes from Bountiful that our family has enjoyed over the past three years. Becky sent me a message today that said, "I am so touched and honored to have this painting from Georgia. I took it to work today and showed it off to everyone. You know how shy I am...not many people saw it...wink. Come in soon and I think you might find it hanging quite proudly with a fabulous frame in an important spot at the bakery."

It was a very sweet day.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


My Momma friend, Audra, is probably the hardest working person I know in the childhood cancer community. Through MaxLove Project, a non-profit organization inspired by her amazing son, Max, her team aims to provide families fighting childhood cancers and life-threatening conditions with accessible, practical, and kid-friendly whole-body wellness. To that end, MaxLove has an anti-cancer nutrition program (Fierce Foods), a Love + Light Initiative (Cloud b Twilight Turtles), and the MaxLove Brand of headware - all dedicated to helping SuperKids THRIVE against cancer. The whole family is involved in every aspect of these programs, and they are all amazing! We so appreciate all they are doing to raise awareness of childhood cancer as well as the critical need for research funds and integrative care.

For the month of September, each order from MaxLove Brand will include a free Gold Hope Beanie, in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Stock up on a variety of knit hats for winter, or check out the Special Edition Momma Fedoras (here and here), $5 from which will benefit the 46 Mommas campaign in support of the St. Baldrick's Foundation.

And as if that isn't enough, Audra also had time to write a beautiful post for the St. Baldrick's blog about Max's first day of school and how he is thriving against cancer. He is a SUPER boy, and we wish him and his SUPER family much, much love. MaxLove!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


We're halfway through September - have you done SOMETHING for kids fighting cancer? Here's why we need your help:

St. Baldrick's Foundation – About Childhood Cancer

Friday, September 13, 2013


Well, even though the calendar says Friday the 13th, we've had a lucky day around Peachy Keen HQ! For starters, Georgia recently auditioned for her first school play, and she found out today that she made the cast! The parts will be decided after Monday's first read-through, but her theatre teacher thought Georgia did very well in the audition, especially for her first one ever, and she was very glad that she tried out. Another thespian in our midst? We'll see ...

Meanwhile, in my classroom, Ivy and the other kiddos surprised me with a belated celebration of my summer birthday. The whole idea was so far off my radar, I didn't even notice Ivy making the card and getting all the children to sign it! They brought me lunch, beautiful flowers, and chocolate - not too shabby!

And then, the best present of all, we got home to find a box from Votre Vu on the porch:

The back of the card says: "Brave, bright, and beautiful. 
My daughter is a warrior. My daughter is my hero."

If you order a special edition gold lipstick this month, you will receive one of six cards featuring a childhood cancer fighter, and $1 from each lipstick or other product purchased from the French Accents line will go to the St. Baldrick's Foundation for childhood cancer research. The 46 Mommas so appreciate this effort from Votre Vu, and we're grateful for yet another way to get the word out that kids get cancer, too, and they need our support. These lipsticks are a special release for September, hence the GOLD packaging for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so order yours today! And have a great weekend, y'all!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Grandparents Day

I've said it before, but this grandfather's post from the St. Baldrick's blog perfectly illustrates how childhood cancer affects the whole family. I'll never forget calling my dad right after being sent from the pediatrician's office to the hospital for an official diagnosis, and before I could say more than a few words, he just calmly said, over and over, "I'm coming." And he did come, and so did my mom. And so did Trevor's parents, who, quite fortuitously, had just moved to Austin two months before and were then living within earshot of the hospital. We all came together for Georgia and Ivy, for one of the most important, most difficult moments in our lives - and we made it through together.

So to Lolly, Poppa, Romy, and Ratty, we say thank you for your continued love and support. We love you and are so blessed and grateful to be able to call you "ours."

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bright, Brave, and Beautiful

That's how I described Georgia on the photo card we were invited to create for these special edition lipsticks from Votre Vu. And whaddaya know? They used her card in the promotional flyer:

With this multi-year campaign, Votre Vu is really taking action and doing SOMETHING for childhood cancer. Their continued support of the 46 Mommas and the St. Baldrick's Foundation is making a difference and helping us raise awareness, funds, and hope. It's a beautiful thing! See for yourself:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Action Items plus HOPE!

September is also Blood Cancer Awareness Month, so here's a way for you to take ACTION for leukemia, lymphoma, and Hodgkin's Disease fighters of all ages: Sign this petition from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and help us put an end to dangerous "specialty tier" pricing for anti-cancer medications. HR 460, the Patients' Access to Treatments Act of 2013 would eliminate harmful pricing structures that allow health insurers to charge so much for certain drugs that cancer patients are forced to skip doses – or go without crucial treatments altogether. These patients are already in a fight for their lives, and they shouldn't have to fight for their medicines as well. Please let your voice be heard!

Also, if you are in the Austin/Central Texas area, the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas is currently in urgent need of O+ blood. You can schedule a donation appointment by phone or online or just walk in as soon as possible. And if you have a different blood type, or live outside of Central Texas, please donate when you can, and help ensure that a safe, steady blood supply is available for those who need it.

And finally, a HUGE congratulations goes out to Dell Children's Blood & Cancer Center and specifically to our hero, Dr. Neff, for being awarded a $250K Hyundai Hope Grant for childhood cancer research! Dr. Neff and his team will investigate the molecular changes in cancer cell metabolism in response to medications, with the goal of predicting outcomes and allowing for optimized care and personalized chemotherapy treatments. Dr. Neff says that "using the patients' blood and actual cancer cells to create a metabolic profile will greatly improve the understanding of the drugs and how they are used in therapy. This could result in higher survival rates in children with leukemia with less chance of relapse and with fewer side effects." That sounds like HOPE in ACTION to us!

Thumbs up!

Monday, September 2, 2013

We Can Do It!

Rosie the Riveter, 2007

It's Labor Day, and most of us are enjoying a nice day off. But since childhood cancer doesn't take a holiday, we wanted to encourage you to take action for kids in the fight. Raise awareness, donate blood, or register as a bone marrow donor. And if you'd like to help fund research (yes, please!), here are some ideas from the St. Baldrick's Foundation - no head-shaving required!

Today - and every day - we just ask that you do SOMETHING to help end childhood cancer.
We can do it!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Welcoming September

Well, maybe "welcoming" isn't the right word, but we're certainly acknowledging that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. That said, we know that all cancers are bad. There is no "good kind" of cancer to have, and all cancers need to be cured. But the reality is that funding for childhood cancer research is at critically low levels, with the National Cancer Institute devoting less than 4% of its annual budget to all 12 major types of childhood cancer - combined. So a myriad of non-profit groups and organizations step in to help fill the gaps, but many of those still only funnel pennies on the dollar to actual research - sometimes less than ONE penny. And in the meantime, 46 kids are diagnosed every weekday, and 1 in 5 of those kids will be lost. Unacceptable.

So what to do? Take ACTION. Learn the facts about the state of childhood cancer funding, and spread the word. Research the organizations you want to support, and be confident that your generous donation is going to the latest and best research available. Of all the things children in treatment need, The Science is the most important, and getting that science requires The Dollars. That is our focus here at Peachy Keen HQ, and we thank you for your continued support this month and the 44 months since we heard the words, "It's cancer, but it's curable."

As it happens, we spent the first day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month looking at antiques, eating shaved ice, and wearing silly hats. How lucky we are. Now it's back to the business of funding cures - please join us!