Thursday, March 29, 2007

Buzz for Bags!

Phew! What a day! The handbags, the shoes, the clothing--it was an incredible event! Numbers aren't ready, but we're working hard to get them completed.

Some buzz started from Park Cities People Blog.....

Just left the Heroes & Handbags event with lots of fun, new things! The amazing silent auction featured all sorts of bags from Balenciaga to Tory Burch. I personally scored two bags (a Burberrys and a St. John) in the silent auction but what is really exciting is what I didn’t have to pay for . . . the goody bags were great! A tote from Wisteria, cute t-shirt, party cups from Bank of Texas (Allan Rayson is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Heroes for Children and is a Bank of Texas big wig), candle holders and, best of all, Jamie O skincare. This was a first-class event for a first-class cause.

Many Overheardians do the luncheon circuit just like I do. Some of the events are better than others but this event, while sophisticated, had a real family feel to it. Two moms whose children had cancer and received help from Heroes for Children were in the audience. It was moving to see them supporting the organization that gave them so much help.
Kudos to Lucinda Buford who chaired this year’s event and her entire committee who did an amazing job.

I’m off to buy some new shoes to match my new bags . . . .
posted by
Kersten Rettig March 29th, 2007 1:14pm filed under Local News

I know lots of you are just getting back to your homes or offices because most of Park Cities was at the Brook Hollow Golf Club for the Heroes and Handbags luncheon. I’m not going to say too much about it here (a girl’s got to save something for her column), but it was a fantastic and well-attended event (especially for something that started at 8:45 a.m.).
I sat next to the lovely Jamie O’Banion and was thrilled to see more of her beauty products as part of the guests’ goodies. I’m definitely glad I wore waterproof mascara; a video about the children and families struggling with cancer was extremely touching.
Did anyone have the winning bid on a handbag?
posted by
Kristiana Heap March 29th, 2007 12:52pm filed under Local News, Society


Monday, March 26, 2007

Heroes and Handbags

This is such a big and exciting week for Heroes for Children!! Thursday, March 29th is our Heroes and Handbags event! It is our premier society event that includes a live and silent auction of designer handbags! In our live auction this year we have some really great items. A Tiger Woods autographed golf bag, a weeks stay at an amazing home in Cabo San Lucas, a beautiful purse and diamond brooch, just to name a few! Check out all the items on our website.
We have an amazing selection of new designer handbags that have been generously donated by stores and vendors across town. We also have a vintage handbag section and a “Ladies of Dallas” section, featuring handbags that were carried by Dallas’s best dressed ladies!
The event begins at 8:30 a.m. with a sneak peak coffee with handbag designer Elaine Turner, followed by the silent and live auction, and brunch. An amazing new video about HFC will also be shown.
We are so grateful to all of our sponsors of this event. Thanks to our underwriters, this event has already generated over $200,000, and we still have the auctions to go! A special thanks to our presenting sponsor, NEXBANK.
This money will have a tremendous impact on the families that we help, and enable us to reach out and help even more.
We have an AMAZING chair, Lucinda Buford. She and her committee have done an outstanding job putting this event together. Many thanks to you all. We are sold out, and expecting over 600 in attendance! It will be a fantastic day for Heroes for Children!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Heroes in Houston

Heroes for Children has recently expanded both our fundraising and most importantly financial giving to families to Houston. Families at MD Anderson and Texas Children's Hospital receive assistance from Heroes for Children (through referrals on our website completed by the hospital social workers). We have been asked a few times "Why Houston?" Why expand?

The answer is simple--

Here is an application received last Friday for a patient in Houston (all information on the patient is deleted for privacy reasons):

Age: 14
Diagnosis: Osteosarcoma
Diagnosis date: April 2004
Information (written by hospital social worker):
Patient is a 14-year-old female who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 3 years ago. She had extensive treatment at that time and was managing well until her recent relapse. Dad is disabled and mom is a breast cancer survivor, so their finances are very limited.
They are behind on numerous bills due to the care that is needed for patient and their inability to work. They are at risk of losing their home and possessions.
Needs: House taxes and furniture loan
Gifts Received: Make-A-Wish - trip to Disney World about 2 years ago.

Heroes for Children mailed the check today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Volunteer Voyage, Part II

Nine months pregnant with my third child (in 4 years no less) seems like an unlikely point in my life to contemplate volunteering for the first time, but that's where I found myself in May, 2004. Because my two sons came early, the second one prematurely so, I was advised to take it extremely easy and rest as much as possible the last several weeks of my pregnancy. So I found myself, having decided to leave work in anticipation of my daughter's early arrival, waiting at home. And waiting. And waiting. And as her due date came and went, waiting some more.

As a result, I spent an inordinate amount of time on the computer, often at the Babycenter site, commiserating with other moms who were impatiently waiting for their bundles of joy. It was there that I first learned of baby Allie and her fight against acute myeloid leukemia. Like hundreds (thousands?) of other women, and often their husbands, I was sucked in to Allie's fight by her big blue eyes, sunny smile and Jenny's eloquent description of the cancer battle. Once my daughter was born, I continued to check the Scott website daily, often reading about Allie's latest levels or treatment protocol as I nursed my own gorgeous, healthy daughter. Like so many others, I was moved by Jenny because I could relate to her. It wasn't that I didn't know that babies and children could get cancer before May 2004, rather I realized then that my babies and children could get cancer. If it could happen to Jenny Scott, a good mother and wife, an educator like myself, a person who seemed so real and relatable, well, wasn't it just a crapshoot, a roll of the dice, for any of us?

I lost my own Dad in July 1999 at the age of 44 to pancreatic cancer, but was still able to retain a philosophical, spiritual outlook on his untimely passing. Due to my own personal beliefs about the way the universe works, I was able to find peace with the whole process. But reading about Allie's battle, watching Jenny and Andrew stand helplessly by as their daughter lost the fight - that made me hate cancer to the core of my being. My mother (after watching what my Dad went through) describes cancer in almost human terms, a disease so wily that it can outsmart medicine, "hide" in areas of the body to avoid chemotheraphy, and hibernate until the body loses its vigilance. I never fully understood how she could personalize a disease, a medical entity, until I entered the world of pediatric cancer.

And there is a world, a whole world, of children fighting for their lives, a world that I remained blissfully ignorant of before Allie Scott. Suddenly, with my eyes and heart wide open, I discovered many other families going through the same process. Like a blind woman suddenly given the gift of sight, I was overwhelmed with the sensory and emotional overload of learning just what a heartbreaking epidemic pediatric cancer is.

I've always considered myself a responsible citizen of the world. I was a vegetarian for 16 years. I recycled before there were blue bins on every street corner. I voted conscientiously. But suddenly, I had a passion, a reason to break out of my comfort zone. Although I'm not particularly religious, the phrase "There but for the grace of God go I" entered my head on a daily basis in those months after learning of the Scott family. Joining the fight against pediatric cancer was something I never saw coming in my busy life as a full time mother, wife, and school counselor, but I felt compelled to do something, anything, to help those children and parents who were not as lucky (and yes, I believe it is mere luck) as my own three children.

to be continued

Monday, March 12, 2007

Babies get cancer??

Can I just say a quick "thank you?" How much do you LOVE the new header to the Everyday Wishes blog? Well, it is all thanks to Jennifer Weintraub of Sugar Photography. How great it is to have talent like Jennifer's on our side!

And that beautiful baby boy? Surely he doesn't have cancer, right? Wrong. That is our very own sweet Brandon Heather whose mother is going to be a feature writer on this blogspot. I won't tell his complete story, as I will leave that to his mommy Melissa. Brandon has stage III Hepatoblastoma, a liver cancer. He has already undergone three rounds of chemotherapy (fourth round is set to begin this Friday) and is now on the donor list to receive a brand new cancer-free liver.

But, he's a baby?? Babies aren't supposed to have cancer!

Sadly, children of all ages are diagnosed with cancer. While babies are not quite as common, it happens. As you know, Heroes for Children was founded in memory of two girls, one of course a baby with leukemia. This week, Heroes for Children received an application for a six month old baby girl battling a brain tumor. Why? There are absolutely no explanations. I have no answers and no understanding.

What I do know is that so long as any child (any age) in Texas is being diagnosed with a form of cancer, Heroes for Children will be here to help!

Before I end--let me say another "thank you." Thanks to all of you who have chosen to subscribe to this blog and continue to support Heroes for Children. I hope the first three entries have gotten your attention and made you want to read more. Look for Tracey's Volunteer Voyage to continue soon!

Help us spread the word! If you have your own MySpace, Blogspot, or whatever other site there is out there, please help us spread the word about Everyday Wishes by posting a link to this site. We appreciate your help in making this blog a success!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Volunteer Voyage, Part I

Like so many of us, my twenties were largely spent just trying to survive the day to day grind of being an adult after leaving the ivory tower oasis of undergraduate studies. I graduated from college, went to graduate school, started my career, got married, had a baby, went back for more graduate school, bought my first house, and had my second baby - all before the age of 29. I was busy, sleep deprived and stressed, with bills to pay, colicky and premature babies to comfort and papers to correct (I spent the first five years of my career in education teaching high school English). In short, I didn't have the time to keep up with my highlights, nevermind contemplate volunteering . I was self-absorbed and self-obssessed, too exhausted with creating and making my own agenda to worry about anyone else's.

And then, as I approached 30 and became pregnant with my third child, a funny thing happened. Call it an early midlife crisis, existential awakening or just good old fashioned pregnancy hormones, but I started wondering and quietly asking myself "Is this it?" That might seem like a profoundly ungrateful and greedy question, given that I was blessed with a wonderful marriage, gorgeous and (now) healthy children, a solid career and loving friends and family. But it wasn't that I wanted a bigger house or fatter paycheck or hipper car (we were a dual minivan family by this point) - although certainly that would have been nice! To be honest, I wasn't sure what I wanted - I couldn't put my finger on it. The best way that I can describe it is that I wasn't living my life to its fullest potential; I had achieved all the benchmarks of a successful life, and even chosen a career in part based on my values of helping others and making the world a better place.

But I felt unfulfilled and vaguely useless, which was bizarre given that I spent most of my waking (and what should have been sleeping!) hours taking care of others - whether my own children at home or other people's children at school. Still, I wanted more meaning, more connection, more spiritual gratification in my life. I wasn't doing enough, wasn't making enough of an impact. I've never had a desire for fame or fortune, but I do want to matter, want to leave a positive imprint during my short time on this planet. I believe most of us want that - to feel like we are contributing to a cause or meaning or movement larger than ourselves.

In the spring of 2004, in my third trimester of pregnancy with my third child, I had no idea where to go with this feeling. It was a vague dissatisfaction and restlessness, with no real outlet or solution. In the hindsight that is always 20/20, I realize now that it was perfect timing that I was about to "meet" Jenny Scott and her daughter Allie.

to be continued...