Sunday, 1 December 2013

It really can be you!

My speech from Thursday November 28, 2013 at the “Saskatchewan’s Got Talent”. 

I would like to start as a woman I admire ends. “Be kind to one another!”  Ellen DeGeneres makes a habit to help people that need it.  It always warms my heart.

Last night I was lucky enough to be at a football banquet for my son’s team.  He is 17 and this year they won the 9man 3A provincial championship.  At the supper last night, they collected food for the food bank.  As I sat and looked at the team, many were on the honor roll, many play different sports, and they are all just good kids. 

I got an email from a lady that was a board member.  It was regarding an unexpected donation.  An eight year old girl named Ashlynn had decided for her birthday all she wanted from her friends was two toonies.  One she kept and the other she collected and gave to us after overhearing from her mom talk about what we do.  She must have a lot of friends because she donated $118 in a Ziploc bag!

So here is my point.  There are amazing kids in this world because we made them that way in the same way that our parents taught us to be kind to one another.  I really do believe that if we got out of bed every day and decided to be kind to one another, the world would be a better place. 

This year has been amazing for me.  It has also been a tough year for my family and I.  I was able to complete my CAIB designation which was great.  (For all you non insurance people this is a big deal!)  I was also honored to be nominated and then win a Woman of Distinction award for my work with Forever Friends.  Some pretty amazing stuff!  And then everything changed.

Two days before our spring auction, two days before I wrote my final CAIB exam, I had a pain in my right hip.  

That pain progressed to more joints and more pain.  Balance problems, hospital stays and unknown trips to the doctors followed.  They actually still don’t know what I have.  So I am rocking my new accessory, my cane, and having a lot of naps. 

So in one day my world changed.  By the end of August I could no longer work.  I have to take a scooter when I shop because I can no longer walk through the stores.  I was unable to attend my son’s football games.  I missed my first Forever Friends meeting in eleven years. 

Everything changed in one day.  I have said over and over that we are all one diagnosis, one decision away from being in a place in your life from requiring help. 

My husband put my socks on for the month of September because I was  so sick that I couldn’t do it myself.  I went from working all the time, boot camp a couple of nights a week, being the first one in and the last one out in everything I did, to my husband putting my socks and shoes on for me.  It still seems surreal to say it. 

My message is simple.  Do not take your health for granted.  While you are healthy get disability insurance, make a will, have accessible savings.  Know what your insurance covers.  Does your mortgage insurance have a half pay meaning that only half of your mortgage is covered?  What are you waiting periods?  Ask questions.  Talk to an advisor. Make sure you are set up.  Your family counts on you.  Small business, look into benefits for your employees.  Providing for our families-no matter what is the goal. 

Forever Friends helps women financially after a cancer diagnoses.  We step in and fill in the blanks for women who have exhausted their 15 weeks of disability and are left to social services.  Because if you are not terminal, there is no long term disability in this country.  Our government prefers to pay 25 year old people not to work and not to help people that can’t.  But I digress, that is for a different speech.  This year alone we have stopped 2 evictions and paid for dental visits.  Imagine needing 150 dollars to pull a tooth that is causing great pain and having no way to get this money.  We have paid for lymphedema support, ostomy supplies, and food. 

The one that really hits home now is a family with 2 kids, a mother that is terminal, and a father that worked a job for years at $14 dollars an hour and just got laid off.  With not even enough food in the house, there would definitely be no Christmas.  We gave them money for food, and sponsored them for a Salvation Army Adopt a Family.  Santa will still come to their house this year. 

Anyone who has ever heard me speak knows how I feel about this.  I have been saying it for years.  But even I have learned this year that it could happen to me. 

I am not telling you all of this for sympathy.  As I walk off the stage tonight, picture yourself in my shoes.  Imagine your own life.  And remember, there but by the grace of God, go I. 

Thank you all!

Monday, 11 November 2013


As the time clicks closer to the Big Day, we all start to get a little bit more high strung.  And yes, it is possible. 

We have received donations from South Country Haven donated the first and Sirius Taxidermy supplies donated the other.  We are looking forward to both auctions.  Our meeting is on the 17th in order to get everything organized.  We will have more pictures then. 

It always seems to happen.  As we are preparing for an event, we get an applicant.  This always helps us to keep us grounded.  A woman with no income, living with her son.  Not old enough for pension and no social services coverage.  In need of colonoscopy supplies. 

And so it continues.  Call Danah 306-699-7788 for tickets to our Saskatchewan's Got Talent.  Thank you all for helping us, help others!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

It's been a while but now the count down is on!

I know that it has been a while since I have been able to write at all.  Being sick is no hell at all.  If anyone reads Ranting and Ravine Saskatchewan Style, you will know what I am talking about.  If not I have something, but no one knows what, so we have been testing for the last 6 months.

As everyone hopefully knows, we are having a big event in November.  Planning has been going very well!
As you can see we have a lot going on.  Just this morning we found out that The Honorable Speaker of the House, Andrew Scheer has agreed to allow us to auction off a meal with him.  This is very exciting for us!  We are exploring the idea for some other famous folks!  Keep an eye on the Face Book page for updates!
Thanks for reading!  We also helped two women this month.  There are a lot of supplies that are not covered by the government that we would usually assume are paid for.  For example colostomy bags.  These can be quite expensive, especially if the patients stomach does not react well to chemo.  The government does have some programs that pay for half but they only reimburse about a month after, not up front.  We have helped in the past by paying for the first month upfront, and the other half in advance.  It is sometimes the hard to talk about effects of cancer that we should be talking about more. 
Stay tuned!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

We are all one diagnoses away

I have been absent for a while.  I know it but I have really been struggling with this one.  Mostly because I am sharing once again with the world.  I have shared a lot of what FFOH does, a lot of what I do.  Just a lot of my life.  Some of you that follow this blog know that I have had migraine's for years.  I finally after 20 years go them under control.  I was relatively pain free for 6 1/2 months. 

I was in Humbolt for the last of my CAIB courses.  I sat on the bed in a hotel room with my knees up studying for 8 days. On Thursday my hip was stiff and kind of sore, but not that it would slow you down.   I wrote my test on Saturday morning and got home just in time for the auction.  I was dressed in my '80's garb and high heeled boots.  I lasted until about 10 in my heels and my feet hurt so I swapped for my flats.  After the auction I stood bent over a table for about an hour and a half.  And then we went to the bar and stood for another hour.  By the time I got home, my hip ached.  Really hurt.  We cleaned up the next day and I was limping.  Chalked it up to sitting in the room reading for  and then being bent over for so long. 

And then it continued to hurt.  It hurt for 4 weeks so I made a doctors appointment.  They sent me for X-Rays and blood tests.  Then they called me to come back.  That is never a good feeling.  It was a long week to wait. 

Then they told me I have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  I have marked degeneration in my right hip.  Since then it has also affected both hips, my knees and ankles. 
And a diagnosis changed my life. 

I have worked with women with cancer for 11 years.  I have never had it.  I'm not a survivor. I never really understood the emotional side of a diagnoses.   I don't do well with the emotional side of anything actually.  But I finally understand.  Well a bit anyways.  RA isn't life threatening.  So it still isn't exactly the same.  But it is life changing.  

I have always worked hard.  I try to always be the first one in and the last one out on anything I do.  Being told that you have to slow down was not something I could get my head around.  I have been incredibly tired lately but wrote it off as a side effect of the migraine pills.  But now I had a reason. 

They have prescribed me increasing doses of pain killers.  Anti inflammatory drugs designed to reduce the inflammation in my joints which can also cause stomach ulcers but right now that is the least of my worries.  They initially told me that the wait to see a rheumatologist was 5-6 months. 
However, the physiotherapist and my doctor built a case for me and got me an appointment next week.  For that I am grateful.

RA is an auto immune systematic disease.  It is not "my knees get a little stiff in the morning" kind of arthritis.  This is how it works.  My body has decided that my joints need protection from an imaginary threat.  My body is trying to immobilize my joints in order to stabilize them.  Then it sends inflammatory cells to my joints.  The more I do, the more my body send these cells.  These cells if you are hurt help heal you.  When you are not hurt, they act like acid on your bones.  My body is fighting itself.  In order to try to minimize the swelling in my joints, I am to do pretty much as little as possible because I am in what they call a flare up.  A three month long no end in sight flare up. 

I sit on a lot of ice in the evenings.  I am pretty good in the morning but at night it's not good.  I have found that I need a ton of sleep.  And if I nap in the afternoon, I can work a bit later.  And it hurts, all the time.  Even with the pain killers, it still hurts.  Sometimes I can barely walk.  Sometimes not to bad but there is no rhyme or reason to it. 

After the doctor told me what it was, I will admit, I was terrified.  Your mobility is something that we all take for granted.  Like any bit of our good health I suppose.  It took me a couple of weeks to get my head around it.  I shed some tears, freaked out a little and then came back to reality. 

I am grateful for it where it is.  It is not in my hands.  I can still write. I can still work although I am slower but I am still able to work.  And I have decided that it just hurts.  I am still going to be able to do all of the things I want to, just maybe in a scooter. 

I am not asking for sympathy.  no one needs to send notes of encouragement.  I don't write to make people to feel sorry for me.  I am just letting everyone know at once.  It is easier this way. 

I am writing to remind everyone that we are one diagnoses away from a huge change in your life, your beliefs, and your priorities. 

One diagnosis. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Fundraising can be kind of difficult at times.  Sometimes I feel like the person everyone wants to hide from.  Like people cross the street to avoid me, to avoid buying another ticket, being asked to volunteer or attend an event. 

I hosted a Lia Sofia fundraiser on Friday.  It was super fun.  We raised over 560 dollars for FFOH and we got over a thousand dollars worth of free jewelry that we are going to use for our different events.  It was probably the easiest fundraiser I have ever done.  

We have had a group of women raise money for us with a purse swap.  We have had people donate money from a golf tournament.  We have had people organize steak nights.  Believe me, every bit of the money people donate to us is a huge help.  Every dollar someone else raises is a dollar we don't have to raise but desperately need. 

We appreciate what others have done for us.  Because it sometimes takes so little to really help someone every little bit helps. 

The moral of the story is, if anyone out in cyber space would be interested on hosting a fundraiser for us we would be very grateful. 

Thanks for the reads everyone!  We appreciate it! 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Time passing

Some days I miss my friend more than others.  Friday I missed her a lot.  I wished she was here to share this with me.  I know that she is the reason that I have these opportunities.  I also know that my eyes would not have been opened to the need of Forever Friends unless we lost her. 

Our latest applicant was in dire circumstances.  Although not in the same way as some of our applicants. The chemo had done damage to her teeth and gums.  She needed a tooth pulled desperately.  The social workers called and told me she was in a lot of pain.  We were able to get her approved in one hour from receiving the application.  She was to the dentist the next day.  The work ended up being half of what the estimate was.  Her family called me back to thank me for what we did for her.

Here is the amazing part.  She is palliative.  For 149 dollars we were able to stop her pain.  What if FFOH wasn't here?  Then what?   Would she have just suffered until she died?  Is this okay in our world today?  In Canada?  I want to believe there would have been somewhere she could have turned too.  I just don't know that there is.  This is what makes me so proud of what we do. 

Now for an update on some of the other things going on with FFOH.  I was invited to Saskatoon to the Hope Cancer Clinic to talk about some of the things that works for FFOH.  They asked for some input into their program.  It was very flattering to be invited.  And when people let me talk about FFOH for as long as I want without them getting bored, I get very happy.  Really its a win-win situation. 

And one more thing.  As I have mentioned in the past, some of the partners that FFOH has worked with, Lisa B Originals to be exact, nominated me as a YWCA Woman of Distinction.  As amazing as it is, I was actually given the award in the Community Leadership and Enhancement category on Thursday night.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to write a letter of support.  I want to thank Garry and Pam Frigon for taking the time to start the nomination process.  I doubt that in my whole life I will top that feeling.  It is easily one of the best moments of my life.  Garry, Shirley, Geri, Mom, Virginia, and Derek-Thank You for being there to share that moment with me.  It really has been a very amazing week. 

Thank you all for the reads and shares.  We have had over 5300 readers.  Amazing!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Responsible Consumerism

I have decided to write a post about something that is becoming more and more important to me as I get older and more appreciative of life. 

I asked my girl what the words "responsible consumerism" meant to her.  She said "I don't know what that means."  So I told her.  At least I told her what it means to me. 

To me this means we are responsible for what we consume.  I have touched on my beliefs before with responsible donating, and this is one step further. 

I saw a post on Facebook and I have no idea if it was true or not but it is what got me thinking about this.  The post was a picture of a rancher carrying a calf through a snow storm.  The caption was something about PETA, that when the snow storm hit North Dakota the ranchers put out a plea to PETA to ask for help saving their cattle from the storm and no one from PETA showed up. 
Again I will emphasize that I have no idea if this is true but it got me thinking. 

I wonder if the girls who stand naked on the street corners promoting PETA, trying to guilt people into not eating meat or any animal product, would come out to a ranch and chase cattle. 

I eat beef.  I eat pork.  Actually judging from the size of my butt, there isn't much food I don't like. 
I grew up on a ranch.  I understand how the process works.  I don't believe that my parents are not ethical people because they raise beef.  I was raised to be honest, faithful and hard working.  I was raised around animals.  My family farmed pigs at first.  When I was a little (and I mean little) girl, my dad would go out to the barn first.  He would clean the first piglet pen.  My mom and I would go out a few minutes after.  They would put me in the clean pen with the piglets and mom and dad would do chores.  There are pictures of me curled up with a piglet sleeping in the clean straw.

We processed our own pork in those days.  My dad ground the pork by hand.  We kids would feed the grinder and wrap the meat.  We ate well.  We worked as a family. 

My mom and dad decided to go into cattle in the '80's.  I grew up feeding, treating and chasing cattle.  We helped with every step of the process. That's where developed my crush on CKRM that I still haven't grown out of.  I learned that Mother Nature has an amazing ability to feed, clothe and nurture us all. 

So here is my point.  Eating farm raised meat from a responsible farmer is not a bad thing. 

If you as a consumer, are responsible for your choices, choose wisely.  You vote with your dollars.  If you want your beef to be raised by a good farmer, buy it from a good farmer.  If you want organic eggs, look for a person that sells organic farm eggs.  Buy local.  If you research your product and choose to be a consumer of a product that you support, that is responsible consumerism. 

Buying local and supporting local are different things.  If you want your local grocery store to be there on a Sunday when you need milk, don't complain about the price of milk.  They charge what they have to to make money.  They aren't Costco with a thousand people walking through the door everyday.  They also aren't a charity.  They go to work everyday to make a living.  I have lived in a small town all my life.  I have owned a business in a small town.  I scraped out a living for my family.  I didn't get rich.  I went to work everyday and appreciated the local support I got from my community everyday. 

Ethical people grow food to feed the world.  It is a noble profession that I am honored to say I was part of once.  I choose to eat locally grown beef and eggs.  I am grateful for the milk I can by in the town where I live, even if it is a dollar more a carton.  I shop in local stores when I can and support the people I know whenever I can.  I try to practice what I preach.  I stand for responsible consumerism today. 

"You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."  Aaron Tippen. 

Have a great week everyone!  Thanks for the reads!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Action for Change!

"Its a great life if you don't weaken"

I don't know who said it, feel free to let me know if you do.  I know my Grandma White said it all the time. 

"If wishes were horses beggars would ride"

That's another one my Grandma would say over the years.  It wasn't until I was a grown up that I truly understood what she meant.  Now I see.  It is a great life if you can make it through each day at least mostly intact.  And then if you can get up the next day and do it again, it's a great life.  It truly is great.

Sometimes just before the FFOH auction we get tired.  We get tired and over whelmed.  We love getting the auction ready.  We love hosting the auction.  We clean up.  We don't love that but we do it.  In the early years this morning after was the best part of the auction.  When it was still at the bar, we would have coffee and eat some left over fruit and go over the best parts of the night.  Then we would clean up.  Now we bring coffee and visit for a bit but really, its not quite the same.  That's just me being nostalgic.

And right after that weekend we are weaker than at any point in the year.  We are tired and weak.  And then we get a couple of good nights sleep and then it comes back.  Our resolve, our determination, our strength.  And its a great life. 

We make wishes everyday.  We wish cancer didn't happen.  We wish families were not struck by the devastation that follows.  We wish we had millions of dollars and didn't have to pound the pavement and fund raise constantly.  We wish we didn't have to do what we do.  Quite frankly, I wish there was no need for FFOH.  But there is.  We will not ride.  We will not stand by and make idle wishes.  We will do what we can to help the situation. 

Don't let anyone tell you not to try and change any situation that you are in if you are not happy with it.  You can.  You can change your world.  Maybe not the whole world but your world.  Once upon a time, women couldn't vote.  We couldn't work.  We were not allowed to divorce our abusive spouses.  Someone set about to change their world and ended up changing it all. 

Whatever change that you would like to see in the world, do all you can to achieve it.  If you would like to help people with cancer, do it.  If you want to help with cancer research, do it.  If you want to support stopping climate change, do it.  But please do something. 

Don't be a beggar riding through a mediocre life on hollow wishes.  Join the fight.  Join the people that are making a difference.  Do not pay lip service.  Put your time, your muscle and your thought behind it and act with purpose.  We do not have to live in a world we are not happy with.  We can change it. 

If you would like to help with Forever Friends, let me know.  We would love to have you.  If not us then call someone.  Join a movement for a better world.  We really can do it together. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Our Men

One of the very important groups we sometimes forget to thank are our men.  I understand that not every man wants to spend a Friday and Saturday night and a Sunday morning in a room full of yelling and screaming women.  (And that is just the set up!) 

But they do.  Year after year our men help with set up, take down, and everything in between.  Some stay home with the kids so the wives can be there.  Everyone pulls together and plays a role in putting together this great night. 

And then we have our volunteers.  Thirty men this year wanting to help.  We auctioned off 12 of them for 2570 dollars I might add, one sold liquor tickets, four worked the bar, six carried items around, three auctioneers, and four that filled in whenever they were needed, whenever they could.  We could not put on this event without the support of the volunteers. 

And the long term volunteers especially.  Bob Schaeffer and Mike Fries who have been at the auction every year.  Troy Douglas who has auctioned for us for ten years.  Alyen Arther who has been at most of the auctions, even giving it the old college try to auction for us the very first year.  Rick Slaferek who supports us with amazing sponsorship, volunteering and ideas (like auctioning off next years table at the front.)  The list simply goes on and on.

A couple of volunteers that happen not to be men, Sue Fricker and Crystal Cook, have also been involved in one way or another for many years.  And if I recall correctly, the original auction idea came from Sue. 

So you see, we could do none of this on our own.  We appreciate each and every volunteer.  Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us with blood, sweat and tears this year.  We would not want to do any of this without you. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 25 March 2013

The days after

So it is the days following the auction.  I slept like a baby last night.  Like a hung over stuffed with left over cheesecake and spinach dip baby. 
We raised a record, 25,000 dollars on Saturday night.  We are still amazed at how much we raised on our man auction.  $2570, just from auctioning off 12 men.  Our liquor sales were through the roof. We had a great auction and silent auction. 
We are incredibly amazed at the support we have received. 
Congratulations to our Diamond Balloon Pop winner! Wanda DeJong won a  $500 gift certificate to Fire & Ice in Regina!
Our theme for the night was 1980's we dressed up, tried to remember how to back comb our hair and had a great time.  Thanks to the town of Qu'Appelle for hosting the best party of the year once again.  Here are some fantastic pictures of our evening. 
Some of our items during set up on Friday night.

Before shaving Ryan's head.  He raised almost 1500 dollars for us! 

After Ryan's head shaving.  An amazing example of what our fantastic supporters will do for us! 
Our guys got right into the action!

Male waiters and a free massage.

Monday, 18 March 2013

More Blessed!

Words to live by!
If you have ever wondered how to improve your life, try this. 
Dr. Phil says "If you don't have what you want, then you better start wanting what you have."
Simply put, enjoy the life you have and quit wanting more. 
Forever Friends deals with people every day that would love to have a simple moment of their health back.  Young women that will never see their kids next report card let alone walk down the isle. 
This doesn't mean you can't have a bad day.  Sometimes things happen that really suck. 
No softening of the words required, just suck. 
Please just try to remember at the end of everyday to be grateful for the first world frustrations that fill our lives.  Caught in traffic in your 40,000 dollar car, burned one of the steaks for supper, your healthy kid brought home a B in Math, ask yourself "Really, Seriously..."  and be grateful. 
The auction is in just a few days.  I can't wait.  See you all soon!

Friday, 15 March 2013


So here I am, in Humbolt.  Not that Humbolt is bad.  It seems like a great little town.  A&W, IGA, Timmies and more.  Everything we need right?  I just feel very far away. 

It took about 3 1/2 hours to get here because the roads are pretty poor.  Luckily though I don't have to move until March 23 now.  I don't mind that much, looking at the weather outside.  When I am done I will write a test on Saturday and come home right after and then head to the auction.  After this week I should be done my learnin' for a while. 

The ladies of FFOH are in full swing.  Donation items have to be in tomorrow and will be sorted out on Monday night.  Items are being dropped off in rapid fire succession.  A really cool plant stand from Indian Head Agencies, a purse from Tru-Fit Denture, Inverness Consulting, some awesome pottery, Blairs, Saskmade Market Place, a cool gift basket from The Pink Tree, Thee Lingere Shoppee, Co-op Refineries, Rider jersey, Matt Inglis, the Geis family, and the list goes on and on.  As usual, an astounding display from our community.  There will be a whirlwind of activity for the whole group this week. 

Strange things happen as our group reaches further out.  Things like Richie Brothers reaching out to help auctioneer.  Our long time auctioneer, Troy Douglas, graciously stepped up and agreed to share the huge job of auctioning off our items.  This is the amazing thing.  People are coming out to offer to help us.  This is truly when our long time supporters shine through.  The people who truly care about FFOH are the ones that put themselves aside and recognize the outside help and work with it. You really see the true side of great people in situations like this.  So Troy, my hat is off to you yet again.  Ten years of amazing support and the graciousness and help extends even further.  We cannot thank you enough. 

We have great guys to auction off this year.  We can't wait to see how the man servents will go this year, or as Troy calls them the man-whores.  Again we have had people contacting us to volunteer.

It's all very cool.

And because I am very blessed through my work with FFOH, awesome things happen to me.  Recently, this became very apparent.  I was very humbled to find out that friends of FFOH, folks that we met through an applicant, Garry and Pam Frigon from Lisa B Originals, have nominated me for a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Community Leadership & Enhancement category.
I am very grateful for this nomination.  I won't lie, winning would be super cool, but just that fact that people thought enough of me to nominate me, write and collect the letters of support, and stand behind me, takes my breath away.  

You all know I am not a real emotional sort but reading all of the letters from people that I thought would hardly even remember me, let alone care enough to write a letter, put a huge lump in my throat.  Not to mention the people that I know well that sent in a letter without me knowing a thing. 

I will keep you posted on how it works out but for now, know that I can not keep count of my blessings.  Thank you all. 



Sunday, 3 March 2013

Coming together

Well the auction seems to be coming together in the traditional awesome way. 

We tried a new system for ticket sales that went over very well.  We had a line up outside the 50+ Club starting at 9:30.  That was amazing to see.  Our first sale was for 20 tickets.  The Pay Pal account worked very well.  I was very nervous about how that would all work together.  But it went very smoothly.  We found a new system that really worked for us. 

We sold 131 tickets in the first 15 minutes.  At the end of the four hours we only had 29 tickets left.  We are down a few more tickets now.  I think we only have 19 left.  I am very happy that we are almost completely done.  It was very easy to get the tickets sold, letters addressed and mailed out in the same few hours.  So much simpler. 

Items are rolling in.  We have some amazing things coming in.  We are grateful for the generosity of people every day.  And as if a reminder of what we do, we have an application waiting for a woman who had exhausted her EI disability and is still taking chemo and radiation.  She will need thousands to keep food on the table until she can return to work in the summer time.  IF she can return to work. 

And there but by the grace of God, go I.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

MIA Control issues

So here's the deal.  I am a bit of a control freak.  This is probably not a big surprise to those people close to me.  There is probably a lot of eye rolling going on in the Internet world right now.  The auction is coming up and there has been a development.  

Everyone in FFOH has real jobs.  We all have real world commitments.  I am a real estate agent and an insurance broker.  There are several levels to both my jobs but my insurance is the one that requires my attention now.  I will be away from home from the 15th to the late afternoon of the 23 taking a course.  I have a test in the morning of the 23 so I won't be back until after I write the test and drive the three hours home.  This means that for the first time in eleven years I won't be there to help set up the auction. 

Don't get me wrong, I have complete faith in my board.  I know they will do great.  I can't say that I will be okay but I know that the auction is in good hands. 

The Indian Head Bakery is on board to do the cheesecake buffet for us this year, yum!  And the Domo in Qu'Appelle is going to be our liquor provider again.  Scot's Printing is on board to help by printing tickets and getting our decorations ordered in. 

My control issues are running full blast right now.  It's really amazing to me.  FFOH still after all this time challenges me to face different parts of me personality.  I knew I had issues but now I am forced to face them.  It's good really.  Because it forces me to remember to have faith.  Keep calm and carry on.

As a reminder, our tickets go on sale March 1 at 10 AM.  Call 699-7788 to buy yours. Or you can go to our site and pay online using paypal or a credit card.  Mark it on your calender and don't forget! 

Thanks for the reads!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Back to the land of planning

We are on the countdown to our spring auction.  Our letters have gone out, donations are already coming in.  Co-op Refineries, Dusyk and Barlow, Thee Lingeree Shoppee, Sherwood Co-op and Indian Head Technologies are on board already.  The response is always amazing. 

We are set for the 23 of March.  I am looking forward to it.  The lovely April Nichol is on board to be our MC for the evening.  We have a great evening shaping up again.  The caterer for the evenings appy's is Crystal Cook who was our caterer last year as well.  We are very lucky to have the support of these great folks.  

We are going to start selling tickets at 10 AM on March 1 at the 50+ club in Qu'Appelle.  We will be manning the phones and watching the Internet for donations and then we will be mailing out the tickets that match the donations that morning.  If there are any tickets left after 2 PM they will be available at Qu'Appelle Agencies of by calling me.  306-699-7788

Please support the people that support us.  We can't thank them enough.  Need a new car, the Capital Auto Mall was a gold sponsor.  Need new underwear, The Pink Tree or Thee Lingerie Shoppee are huge supporters of what we do.  Let our sponsors know that you are choosing to support them because they support us. 

So mark the date on your calender.  Both the first for tickets and the 23 for the Ladies Night Out Auction.  Our theme is the 80's this year so get your spandex and crimpers out.  Call me if you would like to donate something, we would love to have the help.  I look forward to hearing from you all!

Thanks for the reads!

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Hello all!
It feels like forever since I have had time to write.  And even now I am cooking supper and writing at the same time.  You know, busy like every other woman on the planet.  How does a stove top crust frittata sound?  Hopefully yummy.  But at the very least it's a meal. 

Some cool stuff has been happening with FFOH recently.  We are lucky enough to be on the list of stakeholders on breast cancer in Saskatchewan.  This means that we get invited to meetings that a few years ago I could only dream of. 

Don't get me wrong, I didn't sit at home and pine away about not getting to extra meetings, but I did always see a disconnect in the system that I knew wasn't right.  We knew in dealing with our applicants that there were huge gaps in the system.  For example, here is a story. 

A woman and her daughter applied for a trip to Calgary for a very specific test that is only done there.  The husband and wife lived on just over 1200 dollars a month.  The health region only pays for the cost of the test, no other costs'  When she applied for travel expenses from one of the other cancer organizations, she was given enough for a bus ticket to Calgary.  This woman was about 70 years old, and very sick.  She was already going for chemo as it was.  She was from a small town in Saskatchewan so getting off a bus in the middle of Calgary and finding her way to a hotel, the hospital, back to the bus station and home again was no easy task.  Obviously her daughter wanted to accompany her.  The daughter paid for her own ticket, took time off work and was ready to go.  Now here is where the gap in the system emerged.  The husband in this situation had later stages dementia. He could not be left alone.  There was no other family that could help.  He couldn't go with them obviously, and home care is not free.  The respite for this gentle man was 750 dollars for 47 hours.  There was no organization that could help in this situation, nothing they could do.  Luckily FFOH could help and did but this is a huge gap in the system. 

Years ago, all we could do is complain amongst ourselves about short falls in the system, but now we have a voice.  An organization has been formed called the Saskatchewan Breast Cancer Connect  or SBCC.  This organization is trying to close the gap with knowledge.  This isn't a fund raising group. This group recognizes all of the efforts going on in the province and is attempting to tie them all together with meetings focused on getting the right people in the same room.  This includes social workers, hospital heads, physiotherapists,  large cancer research and education organizations and grass roots charities.   The reason this is important is that we can come together and basically teach each other about great programs that exist in parts of the province that we may not know about.  Basically it gives our applicants a voice for their specific circumstance.  I can voice my concerns over problems they have encountered (not specifically of course) and bring them into the light of day.
This link will take you to a Leader Post story on the meeting. 

So this is why I am so excited that I have been asked to more meetings.  Thanks to the organizers!  Getting 45 people from such diverse backgrounds and fields of specialty cannot be easy but it was done!  This meeting did not cost FFOH anything but we got so much out!

Thanks for the reads today.  No organization in Saskatchewan helps in the way that FFOH does.  The Hope Center in Saskatoon is similar but not on the scale that FFOH is.  And they have paid employees.  (Not bragging, just stating a fact.  LOL)  The more I see in the world the more proud I am of Forever Friends.  

The auction is drawing near.  You will be hearing much more of me!  Thanks again!