Sunday, 26 February 2012

Defining Success!

Success without fulfilment is failure.  Tony Robbins

I have been blessed.  We have gone over this before.  Sometimes success seems very elusive.  I also don't know that I feel successful.   I'm not sure who defines success.  I feel that if I walked around telling people that I'm successful that it might put people off, sound cocky and rude.  And success itself is an unsure term.  On months when we have no money, success is keeping the lights on.  On other months, its having enough money left over to go out for supper. 

However that is in my real life.  My Forever Friends life is much easier to measure.  When I stand on the stage at our auction each year, I look out at all the women that have come to help us.  I see all the women that have trusted us with their hard earned money.  Trusted us to pass it on and contribute, make a difference.  I see them laughing, having fun.  Each year it takes my breath away.  I grip my composure and try to convey in a few words what all those women mean to me, to all of us on the board.  When I see that, I see success. 

When my phone rings and I hear a woman's story.  Hear her voice cracks as she tries not to cry.  Or when I return a message left on my phone and I ask to speak to her and a child's voice say "Mommy the phone is for you" And then I listen to her story.  I can say "We can help you."  That is fulfilment.  And with that fulfilment comes huge amounts of success.   

So in my real life, I'm not sure where I stand.  But with Forever Friends we are hugely fulfilled and therefore successful. 

Thanks again for the reads!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Bronze Sponsor!

We have our first sponsor!!!  Indian Head Agencies (1980) LTD is on board to help us out with a bronze sponsorship!  Darren and Virginia Horsman are great people.  I know because I am lucky enough to work for them.  And I didn't even have to bully them into it. 

Our sponsors never cease to amaze me.  We have so much support from almost everyone we approach.

This is what we use the money for. 
I would love to say that we have one set type of applicant.  But we don't.  Our applicants have ranged in income from 11,000.00 dollars per year to 70,000.00 per year.  Because Forever Friends has always believed that there should be no set income cap, we help people no matter what they earned because we spend based on what we earn.  No one should have to lose their house because they get cancer.  Obviously the people that earn more, need less.  Two income families have an easier time.  We don't see very many two income families unless there are small children.  When there are kids that need child care the need goes up significantly.  We gave away 27,900.00 dollars in the last 12 months. 

We spent 2863.00 on expenses to run the organization.  Things like our accountant(451.00), stamps(198.32), brochures(405.68), and mileage(392.90).  We also bought T-shirts and bags(903) that we sell at events.  We also bought a sign(154) this year for events.  As we have expanded we have had to travel more.  This is the first year we have paid mileage(440).  At these events we hand out brochures, talk to people and sell some merchandise.  We don't have much merchandise but we try to have some on hand.  We also supply brochures to Breast Cancer Action Saskatchewan.  We understand that these are given to women with breast cancer in their newly diagnosed kits. 

We have no costs associated with staff or office space.  As I may have mentioned before we are a completely volunteer organization.  We are going to be approaching more people in the upcoming weeks.  Please help us if you can.  Feel free to approach us.  If you would like to help us out, email us.  We would love help.  If you would like to be on the waiting list for tickets let us know that as well. Our email address is We would love to hear from you. 

Thanks for everything.  I appreciate the fact that you all continue to read.  Have a great week!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Next up...

So Janelle is our secretary. 

Nothing can be accomplished if someone doesn't write it down.  And I guarantee that nothing will be remembered if it isn't recorded.  I used to have a fantastic memory but as I age, I'm now 37, I have already begun to notice a difference.  Not huge just not what it used to be.  Like that Toby Keith song "I'm not as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was." 

But I digress.  Janelle has known of Forever Friends for many years.  She is a lender in the financial institution that holds our accounts.  She decided to come to our annual general meeting last year and join FFOH.  Then at the meeting she decided to take on the roll of secretary.  This is a fair sized job and one that she is handling very well. 

Honest to God she is one of the smartest people I have ever met.  She is also quite shy.  Now that I think of it, maybe I  just scared her off for many years until she just got used to me.  But either way she is one of us now!  (Insert evil laughter and tented fingers here.) 

She has three girls and is active in the Girl Guides program.  She is married but we have never met her husband.  As shy as Janelle is, apparently in her marriage, she is the out going one.  She brings a wealth of financial experience to FFOH that we are grateful to have. 

On a side note, we have our first donated silent auction prize for the fall  event at the casino.  Saskatchewan's Got Talent is proud to be supported by Payless Furniture in Fort Qu'Appelle.  Rick and Chrisena Sthamann own Payless and have been long term sponsors and supporters of Forever Friends and more importantly, our friends. 

So I will keep everyone posted as our sponsors continue to roll in.  Finding Corporate sponsors is hard to do.  Asking people for large amounts of money is tough.  So I will pass on any successes we have so you can all help celebrate!    And by celebrate, I mean go to the businesses of our sponsors and buy something and then tell them why!  Trust me, they want to hear it. 

So if you live in a province lucky enough to be celebrating Family Day, enjoy it.  If not, be jealous.  An extra day off is great! 

Thanks to you all!

Monday, 13 February 2012

My Board

So back to the introductions.  Alison is the treasurer for Forever Friends.  She is an absolute force to be reckoned with.  She is amazing at collecting donations.  She never takes no for an answer.  We don't have to call on her talents often but when we do she never lets us down.   She has three boys that I think are under the age of six. 

She has been our treasurer for about three years now.  Because we have no employees we have to do all of this on our own.  Because Alison is an esthetician it was a learning curve.   She has done a fantastic job.   It is a big job and if money isn't your thing initially then it is tough to get your head around it.  Especially when you throw in the fact that as a registered charity (federally) and non profit (provincially) there is a lot of paperwork.  She has done a great job. 

She keeps the bills paid and hardly ever misses a meeting.  She does a lot with the pay outs for our applicants.  This sounds easy if you say it quick but it is a big job.  We don't give any applicant actual cash money directly.  We pay bills.  Some of our major applicants will require a lot of research and follow up.  A lot of mortgage companies require post dated cheques.  A lot of banks require a lot of sweet talking to make sure that our applicants are not charged more in penalties.  We have to pay off all over due bills and a lot of the time the folks we are helping aren't well enough to make twenty phone calls.  This is part of the job Alison does.  I am grateful to have her on my side.

Alison never met Therea's either, but she has her own reasons for being on Forever Friends.  Breast cancer has touched her family as it does so often.  It changes your focus a bit.  Alison is now one of our lifetime alumni on Forever Friends.

I thank her for her time and you for yours.  Have an amazing day!

Thursday, 9 February 2012


In my life I feel that goals are important.  Without goals how would you ever know when you are done, when you have achieved anything, and most importantly, when to reward yourself. 

Forever Friends has tried to set goals for itself.  Each year when we have our annual general meeting we try to set a goal for ourselves that gives us something to shoot for and helps to focus our efforts. 

Our goal in the last year was to get people who are in contact with cancer patients to know who we are so we can reach out to people through them. We have accomplished that goal. Now because we were successful, we have lots more applicants. So our goal for next year is having some other groups do some fund raising in our name. We have already heard of one group that is planning to do this so it's looking like we might achieve this as well.

With more applicant's we need more money.  It costs us between 800 to 900 dollars for prosthesis and bras.  Wigs are around 300 dollars.  Some of the women we have helped needed 800 dollars per month just to make it through.  I have in the past called myself a fund raising whore.  I will do almost anything to help FFOH raise  money.  ALMOST anything. 

So I now have focused on the goal to get other groups to do some fund raising for us.  Ultimately it would be great if we could get satellite groups to join in.  That might be next years goal.  Although if someone sees this and wants to get involved we are all for it.  Feel free to contact me, I read all my comments.  I would love to have more.  We welcome all donations for the auction and Saskatchewans Got Talent.  (This is our fall fundraiser.  AKA Scariest Night of Danah's life.)

I really appreciate all the shares and reads.  Thanks to you all for the time you have shared with me. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Auction News!

I am going to take a break from introductions and let everyone know how the auction is coming along. 

Our donations are rolling in.  Each year it is amazing to see all of the great stuff people donate.  The support from the businesses in this province is fantastic. 

We have the Lions Hall in Qu'Appelle booked.  Tickets have been printed. (Thanks to Scot's Printing in Qu'Appelle.  They have been with us for many years and that long term support that we can always count on is great.)  Our Caterer -Crystal Cook- is booked.  (She offered to look after our event at cost.  I can't wait to see what yummy morsels await us.)

So far we have donations from Skilnick Miller -Accountants, SC Equipment, Qu'Appelle Lioness', Kerrie Hysuick, Rick Mercer, Pink Tree, Saskatchwan Roughriders, Co-op Refineries, CKRM, Donna Betteridge, Blue Cross, Casino Regina, and Double JJ Grooming in Qu'Appelle. 

Andrew Scheer and the Geis family are on board for advertising.  This is a growing list.  I am sure more names will be added all the time. 

But there is one donation that I am very excited about.  Although it is marked with a bit of sadness.  There was a group out of Indian Head called Friends for Life.  They started similar to Forever Friends, they lost someone they knew.  They began fund raising for the CIBC Run for the Cure and became a force to be reckoned with.  They won the team category for several years for most funds raised.  They raised tens of thousands of dollars in the last few years for research.  Friends for Life was also nominated for the YWCA Women of Distinction award.  Very similar to Forever Friends just with a different direction. 

When we form these groups we are at one stage in our lives.  As time passes we enter other phases and things change.  "Life happens while you are making other plans" John Lennon said.  Friends for Life has decided to disband.  It is still a fantastic group of ladies that I feel privileged to know. 

And here is where it gets good for Forever Friends.  They have donated all of their remaining items to us!  It took me two trips to fit it all in my vehicle.  Friends for Life suffered a real blow earlier this year.  They had planned their golf tournament and it rained.  Not a little rain that you could work around, but poured.  They tournament had to be cancelled at the last minute.  Some of the things purchased for this event could not be returned.  There is always lots of little things left over after an event, a few glasses, some spoons from an open case,  things like that.  But in this case much more.  This is what Friends for Life has donated to us.  We won't have to buy glasses, silverware or plates this year for the auction.   There were also decorations and prizes!  Awesome!

We have always supported each other.  We are in separate communities so it was easy to support what the other group was doing.  In a spirit of cooperation that I love to see!  For this I say
Thanks to Friends For Life!

And thanks to you all for the reads, shares and follows!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Important Connections

I am in an unusual position with my place in Forever Friends.  Part of me sees the problems that exist in the world but the other part of me is very grateful for what we do have.  As a registered charity we can not advocate in the traditional way.  I have no time or energy to go pounding on politicians doors.  Nor do I have the real desire. 

I also feel like politics is like football.  Everybody sitting on their couch yelling at the TV is the expert.  Only a chosen few actually do what it takes to get there.  But on Sunday afternoon, everyone is a champion.  I don't have what it takes to be a politician.  Believe it or not, I am too nice.  I don't have a thick enough skin. 

I do respect politicians.  It is a thankless job.  One I am very grateful they do.  We live in a democracy.  We get to vote.  If we don't like what we see, we get to complain about it.  And the best part is that we don't live in fear of repercussions of our complaints.  There are countries in the world that would send authorities to my home tonight to drag me to jail for this blog post.  In Canada, I don't worry about that. 

The reason I don't worry is because politicians that have come before us have laid a groundwork down for our society and culture to evolve to where it is now.  There is always a debate, a chicken or the egg, type of argument.  Does the government form policies because of public pressure or does the public form opinions because of the direction of the government?  I'm not sure about that. 

Forever Friends was asked a few weekends ago to attend a meeting of Breast Cancer Rehab Advocacy Working group.  Forever Friends is now considered one of the stakeholders in woman's cancer's.  This amazes me.  We have all worked really hard for this and I love watching it unfold. 

It was a meeting to identify some of the short comings in the cancer system now.  There are some, I won't lie.  But like everything else including my life, we are all limited by money.  Change happens from the inside up sometimes.  There was no shortage of care and concern in the room I was in.  There were some folks from the business world, some charity groups and some health workers.  Each member there believes in a better way for people in treatment.  I think we all came away with more knowledge of the other organizations. 

The hardest part is developing the connections of the organizations.  Forever Friends has been doing this for years and it wasn't until two years ago when I started into my spiel at a trade show "We're Forever Friends of Hope, a registered charity that provides financial support to women with cancer."  that someone stopped me an said "I've heard of you guys".  That was a great moment. 

The connections are the hardest to make.  That is why I am so grateful for the "shares" and "likes" on facebook.  The reads on linkin and Twitter.  We never know who is going to read this and who is going to need us next. 

Feel free to talk about us.  Mention us if you think someone might need us.  These connections pay off.  We talk everyday to people, hairdressers, waitresses, nurses with three kids.  Any one of these people could need us at any time.  And we would love to help. 

Thanks for the read today!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


My Vice President now is Eileen.  Eileen never met Theresa.  She joined Forever Friends of Hope because she thought it was a good cause.  She has been my right hand man for about eight years.  We are friends and FFOH is one of our common bonds. 

She has three kids and a good husband.  She is a writer.  She says its a hobby but she is really good at it.  She's not an excitable person so we are a good match.  She has a good life.  One of those people that seems to have it all and makes it look effortless.  She is also an EA. 

I'm not sure how long she has actually been the vice president but its been a while.  When she first met me she didn't like me much.  Thought I was brash and loud.  Which I totally am but it grows on you. 

She taught me to be a better mother.  Things like putting my kids to bed an hour earlier so I could spend an hour with either myself or my husband.   Taught me to slow down a little.  Although you might not have been able to tell. 

So she does the writing for FFOH and a lot of planning for us.   She continues to be my right hand man.  I am grateful I met her.  Its just another example of what FFOH has given me.