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Cancer is personal. MasterCard is in the fight with us. #MC #DoGood

Posted Nov 22 2013 5:51am

I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric community.  I have been compensated to share my experience with you by Collective Bias and their client, Mastercard.

Cortney and Jenny text #MC #DoGood

Cortney is one of my BFFs. We met in 5th grade. She and her husband are both cancer survivors!

Monday night I went out with some girlfriends for a much-needed break. It had been months since we’d been together. Our time together was priceless, and as a bonus? It was more than just reconnecting with friends. As a proud MasterCard holder, I got to help while laughing it up with some girlfriends and devouring some delicious dessert. Because from now until December 31st of this year when you dine out with MasterCard and spend $10 or more, they donate to Stand Up to Cancer through their Dig In & Do Good program. It’s time to get your eat on, because  to Stand Up to Cancer. No, I did NOT add an extra couple of zeroes there. That’s four million bucks!! And that? Is something I’m more than happy to be a part of. Because like all of you, I’ve been affected by cancer. And I want it to GO AWAY. Here are some of the stories I wish I didn’t have to tell…about cancer and those I love.

My daddy and the trouble with prostates

Dad Jenny newborn #MC #DoGood

 Unless you’ve been reading this blog for over five years, you might not know that my dad had prostate cancer. In March of 2008, we had a huge snowstorm. And on a snowy day when there was no point in even getting out of my pajamas, my mom called and said, “I have something to tell you about your daddy’s prostate.” Typically not the words you want to hear from your mom at anytime, period, but especially when the word “cancer” is in the next sentence.

Brads Family text 1981 #MC #DoGood

Since this month is “Movember”, it’s fitting that I’m re-living our family’s experience with prostate cancer now. Fortunately, it went about as well as an episode of cancer can go. My dad got his prostate removed in May of 2008, and it was effectively a cure as it was found very early and there was just a small amount. Prostates! WHO NEEDS ‘EM? Not this guy:

Dad Jenny sled #MC #DoGood

I am very, very thankful for the surgeons and technology that enabled my dad to beat his cancer and still live a happy, healthy life. And I’m thankful for programs like MasterCard’s that make cancer research and developments in treatment possible with funding! Here are some memories we wouldn’t have made without those people and tools:

Dad text with Sophie in VA #MC #DoGood

It has been a great joy of mine to see my father dote on my children.

Dad with Joshua text #MC #DoGood

FYI, I pretty much hit the jackpot in the dad department!

Jenny and Dad Fathers Day  Text 2013 #MC #DoGood

I get overly-cheesy about the Best Dad Ever. Whaddya do? It’s been five-and-a-half years since we waved bye-bye to my dad’s prostate (c’mon, not literally) and his cancer. Five years of endless thanks! (I do have *one* memory thanks to prostate cancer that I wish I could forget and I pray my dad doesn’t remember…it was an, um interesting conversation we had when he was still loopy on pain meds! And that is all I will disclose! Sorry, Dad!)

Unfortunately, not all cancer stories end this way. And for our family, cancer has also brought heartbreak that is difficult to put into words. But I’ll try – for awareness, for love, for the importance of remembering someone I wish everyone in the world had been lucky enough to know.

My Aunt Kathy

Kathy Jenny #MC #DoGood

This is my Aunt Kathy. She more famously holds the title of Emily’s mom and Anna’s mom. Here we are together at my Grandma’s house on my 2nd Christmas. Concealed beneath her blouse and empty gift box is her pregnancy – she was about four months along with Emily here. So you could say this is the first pic Emily and I took together!

What I remember most about my Aunt Kathy is her warmth. She was a physically and emotionally warm person. I still get a physical sensation of warmth when I recall her smile, which was so beautiful. I see it in her daughter’s faces often.

Emily Dan Kathy text #MC #DoGood

Kathy was 34 and the mother of two young daughters when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. You’ve seen Emily and I write passionately about ovarian cancer awareness many times before. And this is why.

kathy Emily beach text #MC #DoGood

Kathy had surgery. She had treatments. All was thought to be well, for awhile.

kathy dan anna text #MC #DoGood

But it wasn’t. She had more cancer to fight. And it already had the upper hand.

The last time I saw my aunt was my 9th birthday in September 1986. She gave me a Minnie Mouse nightgown for that birthday and my mother saved it for years. My mom then gave it back to me when I was an adult and I gave it to Emily for Kate so she could have something her Grandma Kathy picked out.

We lost her a few weeks later on October 27, 1986. TODAY, my friends, would have been her 64th birthday. (The date this post was to be published was not chosen by me. Coincidence?)

Twenty-seven years later and I do not talk, think, or write about her without crying. She was beloved by me but it doesn’t compare to what her girls lost. Most of the tears I shed are not for myself, though I do miss her. They are for what her husband, daughters and grandchildren do not have because of cancer. I can’t really communicate the loss. Although as she would have wanted them to, her daughters have grown up to be smart, kind, talented women and wonderful mothers they still miss her every day, and no amount of time can make her loss less tragic.

Hang in there with me, friends, I know this is getting real. But cancer is real. And we’ve got to talk about it. It’s vital to spread the word about campaigns like and and get behind companies like MasterCard that are using their corporate citizenship to fund cancer research. And I believe this next example will show you why.

Amazed by E

E and Jenny #MC #DoGood

Twenty-five years after losing my Aunt Kathy to ovarian cancer, I was shocked and frightened when one of my good friends, Elizabeth (aka E) was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was 38 and had three young kids and this cancer thing seemed to come out of nowhere. E was one of the most healthy, exercise-loving people I knew. But one minute she was feeling really bloated and the next – wham! – stage 3 ovarian cancer. In the blink of an eye, her life changed. She underwent a big surgery including a complete hysterectomy and the doctors were able to get all of her cancer. She then had several months of chemotherapy – a special, research-y kind which she was so happy to be able to get. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll recall that Emily and I led a group of E’s friends who blog into a fundraising effort called “ GimmE Five !” and YOU and all our readers helped us raise over $2,000 for her family in one day, and ultimately over $5,000! These funds paid for some cancer-related expenses and for E and her husband Steve to be able to hire a nanny for their three young kids while E had chemo.

Six months after her cancer journey began, E was officially cancer-free, and had a par-tay to celebrate!

Elizabeth Cancer Free  text #MC #DoGood

Over two years later, she is still doing great. All of her checkups have been excellent. This September, coincidentally Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month (seriously ladies, KNOW THE SYMPTOMS . Soapbox: your ovaries can kill you a lot faster than your boobs can.), E had the chemo port that had been inside of her for the better part of three years removed. We all thank God for healing E, and for the special researchy-chemo that knocked out her cancer. And for all the new technologies that are available for E and for all of us women that weren’t available in the 1980′s.

A couple of months after her cancer-free party, E guest blogged for us during Ovarian Cancer Awareness month about her journey up to that point. If you didn’t read it then, read it now .

Now E spends a large amount of her time volunteering at her kids’ school, and taking them on adventures near and far with her husband, Steve (they are traveling FOOLS!).

Es Fam #MC #DoGood

Elizabeth and Steve text #MC #DoGood

E’s primary identity is not “cancer survivor” – but she is one!! She is a reminder to me of lots of things: be aware of your ovaries, no one is immune to cancer, God is good in all things, and cancer research is vitally important.

We all have cancer stories. Thanks for listening to mine, and please feel free to share your own in the comments. And remember during the crazy busy-ness of this holiday season, that until December 31, 2013, fighting cancer is something you can raise your fork and your glass in honor of. Because you can Dig In & Do Good and be a big part of contributing up to  to Stand Up To Cancer when you eat out and spend $10 or more on your MasterCard.

Do it, my friends! Do it so that one day we won’t have any more cancer stories to tell.

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