Thursday, October 22, 2009

And how was your morning?

I have been travelling a lot these past few weeks for work and keeping up with what's happening at home and checking in is often done via email. I got this blog-worthy email response from Karen when I checked in with her this morning from Austin, Texas:

Woke up at 4 AM after three hours of sleep.

Found stink bug under covers with me. Freaked out.

Got up. Changed sheets. Did laundry.

Unloaded dishwasher.

Scanned Internet for news clips on my client. Sent client emails at 5:30 am.

Showered and dressed. Woke exhausted Phillies fan. Fed him healthy breakfast. Made myself eggs and English muffin. Did dishes.

Walked dog. Kissed child goodbye.

Got on 45 min conf call with client at 7:30 am. Left to catch train to Philadelphia for chemo appointment at 8:20 AM.

Bought coffee and Tastykake donuts. Sat squishy fat ass down on train at 9:00 AM.

Enjoying foliage of Lancaster County as I decompress and regret eating all six donuts. How's your morning? xo


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Walking on Sunshine

There are heroes, and then there are superheroes. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

People like the six women from the Neiman Group -- Amy, Cate, Whitney, Alex, Kelly and Karen -- who joined thousands of others this weekend in the Susan Komen 3-Day, 60 mile Walk for the Cure in Philadelphia.

Despite a Nor'easter that swirled around them and prompted the organizers to cancel Friday and Saturday's walk segments, the Neiman Team -- "For Our Girls" -- kept their promise. They stuck to their plan and their commitment to a greater cause. With the official walking course closed, they took to the shelter of the King of Prussia Mall and walked 20 miles around the mall. On Saturday, with the official walk still postponed, they braved the unseasonably cold temperatures and steady rain and walked another 20 miles. The weather would not stop this team.

Karen joined the team on Sunday, originally hoping to participate in the opening ceremony and walk just a few miles to show her support. But those of us who know Karen also know that she never does anything part way. When she's in, she's all in. And so just three days after her chemo treatment, and without the juice of her wonder drug, Decadron (more on that later), she walked today's entire 15 mile course.

Was it lunacy for Karen to undertake such an ambitious effort with no training and weakened by 11 chemo treatments? Maybe. Her doctor gave her a green light to participate -- but that was when Karen planned to only walk a few miles. Yet she walked -- energized by the honor of participating in a emotional tribute and celebration of cancer survivors -- a group to which she now belonged. She walked -- lifted by the support of her friends and propelled by an inner strength that only she could understand. Though the weather was gloomy, as they walked across the finish line, Karen and the Neiman Team were walking on sunshine.

Many tears flowed as the walkers raised their sneakers to honor the cancer surviors. I can't adequately capture the emotions these women felt as they walked the course or participated in the emotional closing ceremonies. For Karen, the event, was incredibly moving. It was a moment she had not yet experienced in her "journey" and may very well prove to be a transformative one.

To Amy, Cate, Alex, Kelly, Whitney and Karen -- and to all those who participated in the 3-Day Walk or made a donation (the Neiman Team raised over $15,000; the Philadelphia walk raised over $8 million), congratulations on this extraordinary achievement!

And to those who read the blog, please take a moment to congratulate Karen and the Neiman Team by leaving a comment on this blog posting. I am sure that they would appreciate your support and encouragement.

For more photos of the walk and the event, go to:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This One's For the Girls!

The invitation read: Beef, Beer and Boobs! -- an invite sure to get the attention of any guy. But this wasn't about the guys (it never is). This one's for the girls!

Once again, Karen's friends and her colleagues at work have turned out in force to show their support for her and the fight against breast cancer. Last week, her colleagues (including the guys, of course) from the Neiman Group held a benefit to raise money for five women in the office who will participate in this weekend's Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure in Philadelphia.

The well-attended event brought together many of Karen's friends, co-workers, clients, fellow breast cancer survivors and even a guest celebrity, Dr. Andy Baldwin, the star of the 2007 television series, Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman. Baldwin is raising awareness for his own cause -- childhood obesity -- with a 420-mile bike ride across Pennsylvania.

Thanks to the generosity of so many wonderful people, the team raised over $15,000 on Wednesday evening. The team from Neiman Group -- Alex Wagner, Amy Muntz, Cate Olyer, Kelly LaMark and Whitney Shaeffer -- head into this weekend's 60-mile walk energized by the success of the fundraiser and eager to honor and celebrate the courage and determination of the thousands of women battling breast cancer, including many like Karen who they know personally. They walk for those who face cancer today, but also "for our girls" in the future, so they might not face this ugly disease.