Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kicking kancer's ass one shirt at a time

The Juggernauts (from left): Wynter Trace, Chrissy Watson,
me (in team shirt), and Kirstin Ellis. Photo © Image Maker

You may have heard my Bust a Move team is selling t-shirts with a saucy illustration by Bret Taylor as a fundraiser.

It's the perfect opportunity to support a great cause and local art all in one fell swoop. Just head to Red Bubble and buy your shirt, pronto!

Now that you've made your purchase and have come back, here's a bit about how it all happened.

About the artist

If you're on Twitter and into art, cars, or rock 'n roll, you know Bret Taylor as @BretInVancouver. I've known Bret since George and I visited Vancouver in May 1999.

It's been mighty inspiring to see him develop his style, and watch his following grow. We've road-tripped, we've seen many a rock show, and we've eaten a lot of nachos. As a member of our core circle of friends, Bret is also one of the people who has helped us out in a pinch or two during my treatment, not to mention he was a member of the cheering squad the day I had my head shaved.

So when I thought a team t-shirt would be nice, there was no question about who I wanted to do the illustration.

About the design

Bret has my complete confidence when it comes to design, so I threw a couple of concepts at him. He liked the can-can dancer idea, and we agreed a message about kicking kancer's ass would be a good fit. I opted to misspell kancer for consistency with the #kancerkronicles. And Bret pretty much took it from there.

When he sent me the completed illustration, I was thrilled. From the tiny red hats to the Louboutin red soles, I was sold.

I won't knock anyone for donning the pink at these breast cancer fundraisers. I've done it myself. But nowadays, red speaks to me more. It symbolizes passion and anger. Hence my choosing the red shirt for myself.

Another shameless plug

So now that you know a little more about it, if you haven't already, head over to Red Bubble and order yourself a shirt.

Or if you prefer to have the tax deduction, go directly to my Bust a Move page to make a donation.

And don't forget to head to Bret's website to see more of his work. Oh, and one place I will be wearing pink? Bret's upcoming art show with Alex Stewart, Hot Pink. Drop by and say hi if you're in the Vancouver area.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Coordinating help for a loved one

I've sung praises of our network of friends many, many times in this blog. They were our lifeline during my treatment last year.

However, one of the huge challenges we faced was keeping everyone organized. Did I need to book a volunteer driver for chemo, or did someone offer to drive me? Had someone already said they would pick Malcolm up at daycare? And who was making dinner?

Remembering it all, even in the iPhones age was tough, particularly once chemo brain set in.

Eventually, George took on the vast majority of the organizing, along with being my caregiver. Frankly, it's too much work for one person to be expected to do. He did it without complaint, but it worried me that he felt he had to shoulder so much.


Today, I received a message from a friend, who knows a woman who is just beginning the whole cancer treatment gong show. She thought I might be able to offer her support. She sent me a link to her friend's story on CaringBridge.

I clicked, and holy crap, do I ever wish I'd known about CaringBridge last spring!

You can set up a site, where you can connect with family and friends, keep them updated on your health (it's open to people with medical issues of all sorts). It's all in a protected space, with privacy settings, no ads.

Clearly, I don't have issues sharing information in a public format. But here's what really interested me: they also have a calendar you can set up (or a loved one can on your behalf).

Fill in what's needed and when, and your friends and family can pick the tasks they're able to take on - cooking, getting you around, providing childcare, feeding the cat, etc.

How did I not hear about this until now?

What you can do

So, if you know someone who needs this sort of support, tell them about CaringBridge, or better yet, set up a site and calendar for them.

And if you're feeling philanthropic, head to the CaringBridge donations page.