The times are tough now
Just getting tougher
This whole world is rough now
It’s just getting rougher
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
In February of 2009, times were tough. And as I sat in bed isolated from the rest of the world, it seemed as if the times were “just getting tougher.” I felt alone. Actually, I was alone and forced to stay away from everyone. Doctor’s orders. Plus anything I touched had to get trashed, washed, or completely sanitized. I had to use different sheets, towels, trash bags, and utensils. Why? I was radioactive. Glowing as a matter of fact. It was all part of my radioactive iodine treatment following my thyroid cancer surgery.
Radioactive Iodine radiation is common and used as a form of therapy following thyroid cancer surgery. It kills any microscopic cancer cells that were left behind.
While lying in bed watching numerous movies and flipping through tons of magazines, I noticed an ad. At first I thought the treatment was having a delusional effect on me. I wasn’t quite sure if the ad I was reading was real. Could it be? Am I reading this or imagining this? Check your neck! Are you kidding me? Wow! Turns out I wasn’t delusional. I was looking at a full-page ad in a national magazine. The ad was calling attention to and raising awareness of Thyroid Cancer.
Suddenly, my mind started spinning out of control. I felt the ad was sending me a personal message. So I put my journalist hat on and decided I needed to do something. I wanted to tell everyone that I ever met to “check your neck.” I needed to reach out to the Light of Life Foundation. Their ad and mission really touched me.
If I hadn’t gone for a routine check-up just a few months earlier, I may not be posting this story. I’m sending a HUGE shout out to my incredible physician, Dr. Humulock. Thanks again for checking my neck! You saved my life.
Finally, after a week of glowing and isolation, I immediately contacted my friend, mentor, and News Director Betty-Jo. She loved the idea of reaching out to the foundation. I knew I could never launch an awareness campaign or host a fundraiser without Betty-Jo’s insight and clout. She definitely knew how to “cover me.”
With Betty-Jo as my co-pilot, I was motivated and called the foundation. I spoke with Joan Shey who created the Light of Life Foundation back in 1997. We instantly connected. Not only were we both thyroid cancer survivors, but also we shared a Jersey connection. Joan lives in Jersey and I’m forever the Jersey Girl since I was raised there. (Just if by chance you didn’t know that!)
Joan loved the idea of an awareness fundraiser so we made plans to meet each other in person at a mall in Jersey. So stereotypical but certainly apropos! Where else would you schedule an important meeting? When Joan and I met for the first time, we knew it was the beginning of a very special bond.
Plans immediately got underway for an event in Rhode Island. The next step required gaining the support of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Cancer Society. Once again, following Betty-Jo’s lead, I met with key members of the organization.
Paula served as Vice President of Development for the American Cancer Society in Southern New England. She understood my goals and my mission. Since we both had a background in television production, we both recognized the importance of informing the public…especially when the information can save lives! It’s thanks to Paula that my event had the backing of the American Cancer Society.
This whole world is rough
It’s just getting rougher
There’s no doubt that organizing a fundraiser is a stressful and overwhelming task. Too many check lists and too many puzzle pieces to put together. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I needed a group of amazing friends to help me. When planning details or logistics felt rough and seemed as if they were just getting rougher, I had the BEST committee to Cover me.
When I think back of just how incredible this special group of friends pulled together and made things happen, it still brings tears to my eyes. I’m very lucky and so honored to call each of them a friend. Betty-Jo, Paula, and…
Joanne (a thyroid cancer survivor) made sure invites, a venue, and a lunch menu was in place.
Sue (a thyroid disease patient) made sure invite lists kept growing and always knew how to calm my nerves. She even agreed to walk the catwalk during the event’s fashion show.
Pamela (a thyroid cancer survivor) made sure the room looked spectacular. From flowers to napkins, she didn’t miss a detail. She even convinced a photographer and DJ to work the event as a donation.
Martha (the fundraising guru) suggested the idea of a fashion show and recruited a Doctor to the committee.
Kathy (the MD) offered her medical expertise and made sure we crossed every T and dotted every I.
Mona (the jewelry connection) convinced a division of Swarovski to sell crystal jewelry at the event and donate a huge portion of the sales to the Foundation.
I must also thank my friends Monica and Marylou for orchestrating a wonderful fashion show as part of the luncheon. Funny isn’t it…that a Springsteen tune was playing when it was my turn to strut on the catwalk?!?! What can I tell you? Once a producer, always a producer!
My former colleague Patrice kept things moving along with her fantastic job as MC. I’m so grateful she supported my event. Having a local celebrity/anchorwoman added such a nice touch.
I still can’t believe that my physician, surgeon, and endocrinologist took time out of their busy schedules to attend my luncheon. It was quite an honor to have them and their spouses in attendance!
In the end, my “Knowledge is Power- Raising Awareness of Thyroid Cancer” Luncheon raised nearly 30 thousand dollars. All proceeds benefited the Light of Life Foundation’s Fellowship Program for Thyroid Cancer Research.
There just aren’t enough words to express how thankful I am to my friends and doctors who helped make the event an enormous success. I’m forever in their debt for the “Cover Me.”