Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Beauty for a Cause

Since the age of 7, the word Cancer has always stood so close to my heart. "Although the disease can dwindle a life away it can never erase a memory or a spirit to defeat." This author unknown quote is apart of my reasoning on how one day WE will over come cancer. Looking through the pictures above it is clear that I helped with a local pageant but what you do not see is the amazing young woman this pageant was for. Ashley is a 17 year old from Smyrna, who was tragically diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer. Thinking back on your life, I am sure one of the most important moments you remember is "ruling" the school as a senior in high school, there was nothing Ashley was looking forward more than that. A straight A student, with softball scouts looking at her at almost every game her junior year, never saw the curve ball that was coming her way. Missing out on most of her senior year thanks to chemotherapy and other treatments to slow the cancer down was not the focus of this young woman, it was to get better, encourage others, and find a cure.

Ashley enjoyed pageants so much and was actually a contestant last year in the Miss Music City Outstanding Teen pageant, that is why there was no question what type a fundraiser we would have for this young lady. At this pageant each girl from age 2 to 19 was able to enter the pageant knowing that there fee was going to such a good cause. Silent auction items lined the stage so that even more donations could come in to such a deserving young lady. As the pageant came to a close Ashley and her mom were brave enough to speak about the year they faced head on. I was so impressed how honest and true they were about each detail the disease took on her and their family, not many people can tell the details they did and having such a positive outlook.

It is such a blessing to see young women taking a stand and helping other young ladies better their life, their courage and their spirit and that is exactly what this day ment to all of us. Ashley's mother said it best, "when there wasn't a door to be opened, we built one and painted it what color we wanted it to be." I have no doubt one day we will find a cure for cancer, but until then I will build as many pink, purple, and yellow doors as I can; one for each person I have lost in my life.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Moped To Memphis

I feel so blessed to have grown up around such a wonderful man as Mr. Frank Falls: a teacher, mentor, friend and role model for all who are near. In 2009 Mr. Falls, an economic teacher at Clover High School started a program called Moped to Memphis, this program focuses on raising money at Clover High for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. In March of every year, Mr. Falls brings the money that his students as well as the Clover community has so generously raised all the way to Memphis on a moped from Clover, South Carolina. Traveling over 600 miles Mr. Falls has made it a personal goal to raise 1 million dollars in his life time, and although that sounds like a lot of money, if there is anyone that can do it he can. I was so happy to get the call from him earlier in the year to ask me to join him along with his "moped" team in Memphis, I was so excited. This year Clover was able to collect $25,000 to donate, making their goal for next year at $30,000.

St. Jude has always had a special place in my heart considering that was where my friend Noelle had all of her treatment when she was going through her cancer treatment. It was an amazing thing to see how much each Doctor, Nurse, and care giver cared for every patient there at the hospital. Touring the hospital, I had so much fun seeing each child smile and point and the shiny crown that I am so blessed to wear. It still amazes me what an impact this "hat" that all 36 of us are able to put on and reach out to those who need it. Every smile, laugh, hug, or picture I get to share with a child, parent or caregiver is a moment I will remember for a lifetime. There are not many times in a persons life when you can say, "I know a difference was made," and it was not because of anything I said or did but just because I was there.

My hope is that YOU find a way to "be there" and make the difference that you want to see in the world. With just one smile you can change one persons day and even there life. Everything we receive in life or don't receive is a blessing, take each one as a sign for your future!