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Life & Lyrics- “Cover Me”

Published on February 11, 2013, by in LeeLee Blogs.

The times are tough now

Just getting tougher

This whole world is rough now

It’s just getting rougher

Cover Me

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.

Check Your Neck

Check Your Neck

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.

My physician  Dr. Kimberly Humulock & her husband Chris

My physician
Dr. Kimberly Humulock & her husband Chris

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 and Betty-Jo

Paula and Betty-Jo

Enter Paula…

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 

Cover Me

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…

The "Cover Me" Committee

The “Cover Me” Committee

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.

LeeLee on the Catwalk

LeeLee on the Catwalk

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!

With my Surgeon  Dr. Monchik

Tom & LeeLee with Surgeon Dr. Jack Monchik & his wife Susan & his assistant Sue 

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.

My endocrinologist Dr. Roberto Ortiz

My Endocrinologist
Dr. Roberto Ortiz & his wife Mini


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.”






6 Responses

  1. Julia

    Simply beautiful – the post, the fundraiser…and you!

  2. Paula

    Lisa, we were the ones who were blessed to work on the event as you are an amazing woman! Thank you for letting me share in part of your incredible journey and for your friendship!

    Love ya, Paula

  3. Joan Shey

    Lisa what a wonderful story! I felt so lucky the day you first called me . I am so thankful for your friendship and all the support you have given to me and the Light of Life Foundation.

    The event you and your loving family and friends held in honor of the LOL will always be etched in my heart.

    Thank you!

  4. Monica Anderson

    A beautiful article. You have many friends who love you and would do anything for you. We got you “Covered” XOXO

  5. Sue

    Your story has brought tears to my eyes! You are an amazing woman and a very dear friend! Love you, Lisa!

  6. Joanne Carlino

    What a beautiful story! Love you so much Lisa!!! You are truly an inspiration!!!!!