Monday, July 28, 2008

Light The Night........

Those of you who have been reading this blog know that first, I am a pediatric critical care nurse and second, I have a passion for children of all ages who are fighting the brave fight against cancer.

Light the Night Walk is a fundraising opportunity for communities to raise funds for leukemia and lymphoma research. Not only does the money go to research, a portion goes directly to helping children and families who are dealing with leukemia or lymphoma and other blood cancers.

  • Anyone can start a group and participate. Visit for details on local walks in your area or on how to start a walk. These types of fundraisers are very successful because both the patients and families can contribute.

  • Also, check out for information on how students at other high schools have participated in fundraisers specifically for high school students. The newsletter gives examples of what others have accomplished. You can also read stories on current research, success stories of children and how they are winning their fight against blood cancers, and new clinical trials.

Let's all reach outside of our comfort zone and find ways to help to fight these common blood cancers. These children need our support and research takes funding. Great strides have been made in treating leukemia and the success rate is remarkable. Check out the websites for ideas and inspiration.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Readers mourn the death of Randy Pausch

It is with great sadness that I mourn the death today of author Randy Pausch. You may remember that I did a book review a few posts back regarding his book, The Last Lecture. The book was the result of things he wanted his children to know because he was dying of pancreatic cancer, and knew he would not be around to share with them later.
I don't know if he realized the impact his lecture and book has had on the reader, but I can tell you he lived life to the fullest. And he encouraged others to do the same, not just by his words, but by his actions and the way he chose to live, while in the process of dying.
He is a wonderful example of loving, living, giving, and dying with dignity. We should all strive to be just a tiny bit more like him, especially with the loving part.
If you have not read the book, please treat yourself to the lessons Randy taught us about life, and read it. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will be better for it. His book is his legacy and he will not be forgotten.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Book Review... The Next Place

The Next Place

author: Warren Hanson


Publisher: Waldman House Press

This book is beautiful.

This book is for anyone who has lost a loved one and wondered where they went or longed to know about heaven. It describes a Divine journey.

This book is for writers or want to be writers who love how words paint the pictures for the reader. This book does a wonderful job of painting a glorious picture of what it is to be in Heaven, and is a great example of how a few words tell a heartwarming story.

This book offers a comforting and inspirational journey of hope and light, leaving behind the hurts and the pains. The book speaks of love, family, memories, and peace.

This book is a feel good type story, regardless of what you believe. It clearly describes a place of comfort and calm and overwhelming joy.

And I think you would agree, it describes a special place for those whom we love and have lost. Read it and see if you feel the same way. It is one of those books that just makes you feel good after you have finished the last page.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Puppies....and summertime ..and waiting.....

I don't know about you but the summer is flying by. Parents who are dealing with a child who is ill might not feel the same way. For them, depending on the circumstances, the summer might be dragging by.

I think about those parents as my husband and I are trying to train our new puppy and we want that to happen NOW, before winter. But the puppy doesn't want to wait to play, he wants to play NOW, and being housebroken isn't that important to him. Just like puppies, small children also want what they want NOW, not later. And parents of sick kids are no different.

Parents waiting to see if the chemo is working want to know NOW. Parents who are waiting for the cat scan results, want those results NOW. Parents who want the treatments to be over and to see their happy healthy child return, want that to happen NOW, not September, not October, not after the winter holiday season, but NOW, RIGHT NOW.

Waiting can be a form of torture, or you can view it as a time of preparation and rest. A time to regroup, enjoy the moment, and gain the strength for the next move.

So, you parents who are in the season of waiting. Take a deep breath, and live in the moment. Find something to be grateful for. Find something to enjoy. Find something to do for someone else. Learn to take it one step at a time. And know that these answers will come tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. But what really matters is what you do with the moment right NOW.

As for me, I am trying not to rush the summer, to enjoy the moment, and to not wish the summer away by thinking about next week, or next month, or even Christmas. I am trying to enjoy right now. I try to do what I love everyday, and this very moment I am saying a silent prayer for parents everywhere who have burdens on their hearts regarding what comes next.

And my next action involves taking a very impatient puppy outside to play and pee right NOW.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Find resources on grief support here......

Beyond Indigo is a grief website for all ages. It is for anyone experiencing grief or loss of a loved one or even a loved pet. It is not for grief therapy but resources for grief support. There are articles by others who have dealt with grief. There are newsletters to sign up for. There is a buddy list you can join. There are even resources for funeral directors who need help dealing with the grieving clients.
Visit for information. Visit to get information and specifics for the grieving child.
I appreciate finding resources on this tough subject because as I research, I realize they are not always easy to find. Keep reading this blog for the newest information I can find to help you or someone you know deal with issues of death and dying especially as it relates to children.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A great resource site for grief....on the web and in the UK

Grief is a universal emotion. It runs deep and wide. And it affects children and families in all countries in all parts of the world.

I have another website for you and your children to check out. It has information and activities for children who have experienced that deep raw emotion of grief. Visit

It is endorsed by Your Majesty The Queen of England and the charities funded in the name of Princess Diana.

The site also has a link to another site just for teens at

Here kids can read poems or do activities created by kids.

Visit these sites for more resources, book reviews, clinical information about grieving, and a free download called After Someone Dies. It is a leaflet about death and grief for young people which readers will find helpful.

No matter where you live, when death occurs, the feelings of loss and pain are universal. Sometimes it is helpful to look at how others deal with the issues to help you heal as well.

Monday, July 14, 2008

More blogs on sibling grief......

I have 4 siblings. I love them deeply. I have not experienced sibling loss but I know others who have. It is a heart wrenching pain that just doesn't let go.

I watch as my grandchildren grow and develop that sibling bond... one so strong that each would die for the other. It makes me think about that heart wrenching pain when I contemplate what would happen if they lost each other.

And so I offer another blog site to visit if you have lost a sibling. This site is written by Elizabeth DeVita Raeburn. She has lost her sibling... her brother....and after many years she is still sad. She still wants to remember.... and she doesn't want others to forget. She knows how you feel, much more than I. She understands. And she writes about it.

Visit her blog to see how she has come to heal... to remember... and to still love the brother she lost. and

And feel free to visit my website and comment on the page for readers about how you have come to remember....and still love.

Educate you son about testicular self exam......

Ladies, today I want to stress that it is important to teach your son and your husband to do regular self testicular exams. Swimmer Eric Shanteau is a 24 year old man who has qualified for the summer Olympics in China. He is the picture of health and has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Cancer does not discriminate and can occur to anyone at anytime and EARLY detection is the best defense. So please talk to your son and your husband about self testicular exams. My husband was diagnosed at the age of 36 even though statistics tell you that it is most common in the ages of 15 to 35. My father in law was also diagnosed at the age of 62. Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in young men, so a monthly self exam should be part of good health practices. It is also very treatable.

The testicular exam is similar to the self breast exam. Using your finger tips and thumb, palpate the entire testicle feeling for abnormalities or pain. It can also be done in the shower and with the aid of water and soap as a lubricant to easily slide your fingers over the scrotum to feel the testicle easily. These are the symptoms to report and get checked out by a physician.

1. painless lump on the testicle

2. change in the size of the testicle

3. pain in the testicle

4. hardening of the testicle

5. any difference from the right and left testicle ( a small difference in size is normal)

Here are a few websites for more information. Again, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I think it is important to seek the advice of your physician first before doing research. The information on the web is intended to educate and not diagnose. The information may also be somewhat frightening because they list the best and the worst kind of scenario. Fear should never keep you from seeking the opinion of your physician. A cancer center that does clinical trials Another cancer center treating all cancers with clinical trials Very good factual information Another very good and factual site

My best wishes for a great outcome go to our American swimmer, Eric Shanteau. Now, go check your boys.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Organizations with information on neurological disorders

  • The kids have worked hard to raise funds and now maybe they need some good organizations to send their donations to. I have a list of websites and organizations to get you started. These listed today specialize in neurological disorders. One of those diseases is Muscular dystrophy. Other diseases are Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and Myotonic Dystrophy.
These diseases all affect the muscles and the child becomes weaker as time goes on. Expensive medical equipment is sometimes needed like wheel chairs, braces, and even breathing machines called ventilators. Donations to these organizations can help provide equipment, further research about the diseases, and educate the public. Visit the websites for more information.
Visit the sites with your children to gain information, education, and the mission of each of these groups. It will make you feel more comfortable with where you send your donation and it will make you aware of the needs of others. Remember, if it is important enough for famous people like Jerry Lewis to spend their time and energy on, it might just be important enough for you. The kids you help will appreciate your generosity, believe me.
Blessings, and let me know what your kids have done.

Bracelets, journals, notecards, and more......

I have more crafty ideas for kids to make and to sell to raise money for their favorite cause.

Bracelets, especially the elastic beaded ones, are easy to assemble and can be made for a reasonable amount of cash. Older kids will be able to create these gems without parental help, but younger kids may need assistance tying the knot in the elastic cords.

Needed: beads, elastic cording- available at any craft or discount store
Steps- * measure cording about 8 inches long to allow for tying the knot

* string beads onto cord

* tie the two ends together several times when you have made the length long enough.

It takes about 36 small beads to make a length long enough for the average wrist. You can find the colors of an organization at their websites.

For instance, breast cancer is represented by pink, ovarian cancer is aqua, the leukemia and lymphoma logo is red, white , and gray. Or pick your favorite colors to use to represent the organization you are donating to.

Another idea is to make homemade journals. I buy notebooks or journals in the one dollar section of my local stores and decorate them with scrap-booking papers and ribbon to give as gifts. You could do the same and sell them for 5.00 each. Make each one unique and you have a great and original item to use for fundraising.

The same can be done by decorating plain note cards. You have endless ways to spruce up note cards from gluing layers of colored paper to adding ribbons to buttons or fabric iron- ons. Sell 4 cards tied together with a note explaining where your donation will go or why you have a passion for a certain charity. If the funds are going to a person you know with a medical problem, make a tag to add to the tie on supporting your friend.

Keep these tips in mind:

1. Items can be simple

2. One person can make a difference, so these ideas can be done alone

3. Keep your costs down, so more of the funding can go to your cause.

4. Spread the word so others know you have a good reason for raising the funds.

Have fun. Giving of yourself reaps great rewards. You will feel good about what you are doing and you can honestly say you are not bored.

Have a great summer. Leave me a comment or visit my website and write about what you have done. I will spread the word about your cause. Together we can make a difference.

Visit to click on kids words and more to leave a notice about your cause and what you have done this summer. I look forward to hear about all of your creative endeavors this summer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Carnival, Kids Style......

Yesterdays blog started the process of assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating a project that could raise money for charities of your choice.

What about a can put their heads together and come up with all kinds of ideas for a neighborhood carnival to raise money for whatever organization they have chosen.

Make it simple. Prizes can be food items, good used books or stuffed toys, or trinkets from the discount store. Parents may choose to donate to the prize collection or the kids may choose to figure it out for themselves. Ideas are endless.

As for the carnival games... try using 2 litter bottles of pop and old embroidery hoops for a ring toss game. Or line up 5 sand pails and use a ping-pong ball for an old fashion Bozo buckets type game, each pail being further and further to toss the ball into. Add a water balloon toss, a fortune teller, a couple of kids dressed like clowns, face painting, and a cake walk and you have the makings of a great time.

Kids can make tickets and decorations out of construction paper or stuff around the house. They can even have a refreshment stand. Price tickets low or according to the age groups planning and attending your carnival. A nickle to play each game, a dime for a drink, or whatever seems appropriate for the group. The older the kids planning and attending, the more complex the festivities can be.

Remember a couple of important things. Have fun with the process. Be safe. And whatever money is collected is more than your organization had before you had your carnival. You have done something important for someone else. You can be proud.

Next blog... more ideas for fundraising. Maybe we will do crafts.

One organization to consider: Muscular Dystrophy Association

Monday, July 7, 2008

Beat Summer Bordem... Ideas to Teach Kids Compassion and Have Fun too.

It is now well into the heat of the summer. The kids may be getting bored and need some good ideas for something fun to do. What about something fun as well as something that will benefit someone else. Check the blog this week for ideas to keep the kids entertained and to also teach them how to help others.

First, do your kids know a friend or student at school or church who has a chronic disease. It could be diabetes, muscular dystrophy, kidney disease, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, leukemia, or have they suffered a brain injury? Do they know an adult at church or the neighbor hood who has an illness or disease? Is there a national society or association that does research for that particular disease and could they use a donation? How about the family? Could they benefit from a little extra cash for medical expenses or piece of equipment? Help your kids with the steps below and help them to understand how good it will feel to do something for someone else. In the process, watch the boredom disappear.

First assess the situation
  • Let the kids research and find a cause they would like to help. Use the Internet or library.
  • Make a list of ways they could raise a small amount of money to help their cause.

Then begin to plan.

  • Decide who will help with the project
  • Find out what materials you need for your project and estimate if there is a cost.
  • Set a time line for your project.

Next, implement or start your project

  • Make the items needed or write the play you will perform. Maybe you will plan games or have a bake sale. The ideas are endless.
  • Get the word out.
  • Ask adults for help when needed
  • Time for your project

Evaluate the success of the project.

  • How can you make it better?
  • Do you want to do the same thing again next summer?
  • Have you learned anything from your experience?
  • Who did you help?
Watch the blog the rest of the week for both ideas on projects to raise funds for a friend or research group in need, and for sources that could benefit from your generosity. If you have an idea but don't know where to send the funds you raise, email me and I will find a legitimate organization that will accept your donation. Just remember, boredom is not an option.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Let Freedom Ring.... diary of a pediatric nurse

I thank God for our freedom and I wish every reader a Happy Fourth of July.....but from a pediatric critical care nurse's perspective this is not my favorite holiday.

We are a free society so we celebrate by letting our children play with fireworks....every July we see severe burns and hand and eye injuries from children playing with fireworks unsupervised.

We are a free society and our children can easily get their hands on guns and belong to gangs.....because we have the freedom to bear arms. I took care of a 4 year old last week now paralyzed by cross fire by a drive by shooting. Last night we admitted a 12 year old shot in the eye, now blinded, and a fifteen year old shot in the chest by a rival gang member. Last Monday, the nine year old shot over his bicycle, passed away quietly on Tuesday morning with a grieving mother at his bedside. And these kids are from all walks of life.

We are a free society and yet we sometimes fail to protect our children from preventable harm. Just today in the news were two toddlers locked in a cage in the back seat of a pickup truck so dad could work. I see infants every week who suffer brain trauma from the adults who should be protecting them but that same adult looses his or her cool and abuses the child as a form of discipline.

Accidents happen, even when great care is taken. But the abuse of our freedom by allowing children to shoot children, adults to abuse children, and children to participate in dangerous activities just because they are free to do so is not only irresponsible but a tragedy. As a society we should be outraged. Instead of complaining that our freedom and our rights are being infringed upon with laws and regulations regarding things like guns, fireworks, and parenting, we should embrace just a bit of this infringement as a way to protect the freedom of our children to keep safe.

I believe in freedom, in God, and I love my country and the people who live here. It just makes me sad when children are the victims of some of those freedoms. I thank God for the skills and compassion he has given me to care for these kids who so deserve to be free.

Celebrate this holiday in a safe manner and let Freedom ring. And remember the childen.....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another great charity site.....think baseball player

The Chicago White Sox are an American League baseball team who happen to be doing pretty well this season. I am a fan, I admit. But it is not just baseball, or the game that I love. I love it when a team or player does good with what they are blessed with. I love to see them do well as a player. I love to see them play as a team. And I love when they do things to help others yet stay humble about it. That is the case with most of the players on the White Sox and especially Nick Swisher. He has a passion for children who suffer from cancer and other childhood illnesses and so do I. He has a charity called Swish's Wishes which helps ill kids and their families with all kinds of things like medicines, granting wishes, and education. He also contributes to other charities with the funds donated to his charity, things like helping our troops and their families who serve in Iraq. Visit for more information. Also check out to see what is being done for our troops and their families.
We all can do more for others, so check these sites to see what fans are doing. You may just find something that touches your heart.
PS. Just don't tell Nick that I really like Bobby Jenks too!

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Parents who deal with the tough diagnosis of cancer or other childhood disease often become overwhelmed and depressed during the long treatments. I am here to remind you that not all diagnosed diseases are fatal and there is a light at the end of the tunnel many times.
Adam Bender, an 8 year old survivor of cancer, is a great example of this kind of hope and light. Maybe you saw him catch the first pitch at the Chicago White Sox baseball game on Tuesday night. He would be the little guy catching on one leg. He fought his cancer battle at the age of one and lost his left leg. But that has not stopped him. He plays little league and can hop to first base. From first base to home plate, he uses his crutch.... what a guy. You can read the article by Scott Merkin at or at to learn more about Adam. My point of this blog is for parents to realize that hope is alive and well. Research is remarkable and cures for certain cancers and other diseases are available or just around the corner.
So, when things look the darkest, search for the slightest bit of hope or light. It will get you through the moment and give you the strength for what ever comes next. And when you experience that little bit of hope or light, grab onto it and enjoy, for none of us really knows what the next moment might bring.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blogs, Blogs, and more,food,family....

My favorite words are family, food, and fun. If you are a parent of a child who is ill, those words may not be the first to come to mind, and I understand that everyday can not be a Disney day. However, I have a few fellow authors who have blogs who can put family, food, and fun back into your vocabulary. Check out these new blogs for stress free ideas for feeding your family, enjoying budget entertainment, and having a good old fashion fun time no matter what your situation is. Some of the blog entries may provide just that few moments of stress free down time for those parents whose lives center around chemo, blood counts, pain, and the not so fun part of having kids with illnesses. Remind yourselves that it is OK to smile, laugh, and enjoy the little things in life that make you happy and encourage your child to do the same. Having a good laugh or spending a little time playing a game or reading a book or (blog) can lower stress levels, provide distraction, and improve your overall mental outlook. So, pull up to the keyboard and cruise on over to the sites listed for a wide variety of topics by very talented authors. Enjoy! a great site for children's book reviews and writing tips an excellent source for children's books by UK authors a site for good old fashion family fun and information check this out for recipes, ideas, and a good time another good food and cooking resource information on gardens, growing your food, recipes a great resource for new teachers but parents who home school or have to tutor an ill child can pick up on great teaching tips too

Check these out and feel free to leave a comment. These great authors will appreciate your feedback and will answer questions too.