Southeast Book Tour gratitude moments

I am back home and after two days of rest, laundry, mail sorting and catch up with my family – I am quietly reflecting on my recent 10-day book tour.  The tour began in Montgomery AL, attending the Walk of Life event sponsored by the Joy to Life Foundation.  The crowd’s enthusiasm at this event showed the passion to make a difference – shining in over 3000 faces! Thanks to Joy Blondheim, who thru her own journey with breast cancer is giving back – providing events like this and mammograms in 28 counties for women who wouldn’t otherwise be afforded these vital screenings for breast cancer.  Thank you to my husband, Chuck & Derek, Samantha, and Dorothy for assisting at this event!!

Followed by a 2-day respite with friends in Hampton GA – thank you John & Carol for your open door to Dorothy and I. (My friend traveling with me during this tour of blessing – an added blessing for me too!)  Attended their church service – what a significant message of giving to others while maintaining your own emotional health.  I was introduced to a woman at the end of the service — after hearing about the reason for my visit, she became teary-eyed.  She shared that she had given my book When Your Teacher Has Cancer to a sister going thru liver cancer.  She told me how it had helped her sister explain cancer to her children and provided them with understanding & peace.  As you can imagine, I became teary-eyed with her.

My next stop in Atlanta Georgia — Emory Winship Cancer Center and Piedmont Cancer Wellness Center. Each center embraces individuals fighting cancer in different ways.  From conventional cancer treatments and support groups to nutritional counsel. (Including cooking demos for healthy eating by a pro chef at Piedmont!)  Piedmont also includes PINK: A Cancer Well-Fit Program for Women Completing Treatment for Breast Cancer — 12-week program offering exercise, nutrition consultation & education , stress reduction through guided imagery and yoga.

This was my 2nd visit to Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University, but my first visit with the breast cancer counselor for the women under their care.  This Little Pink Book series will now be included as a resource for the women enveloped in Pink hope in the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Support Group.  Looking ahead at available dates for a return visit so that I can personally share this series with the breast cancer groups & facilitating social workers — at both Cancer Centers.  These cancer centers have a comprehensive resource center for patients; this visit included Little Pink Book donations to those libraries.

Then onto Columbia and Murfreesboro TN.  Murfressboro TN YMCA – a generous team who opens their door whenever I pass thru – giving me pool access to lap swim during my breast cancer awareness/Pink hope book tours.  Thank you, thank you!! 

Melanie Cavender, Middle TN YMCA spirited provider of care for the ABC (After Breast Cancer) program is a recent endorser of this series.  She has linked the Little Pink Books to their program, sharing Pink hope provided thru stick-characters & these stories thru innocent children’s eyes.   The ABC Program coordinator (Melanie) is directly trained through the Pink Ribbon Program (post operative workout enhancing recovery) – another organization that will be supporting the message of this Little Pink Book series.

During my stay in Murfreesboro with two of my favorite people – Vicki and Tony – I was once again surrounded by their love and 25-year friendship! (Also mutual friend to Dorothy – my southeast traveling cheerleader/helper.)  I visited one of the absolute best places for lunch – “Great Harvest Bread Company!”  While talking with the employee there, I found out that her daughter had brought one of my books home from the elementary school library just the week before! I didn’t even know that school had a copy – wow!

Mammography conference in Columbia TN – what an honor this event was for me! Presenting to 70+ mammographers – sharing the application of this series to the professionals, dealing with patients daily — encountering breast cancer diagnoses at the forefront.  They embraced my visit and my message, humored my request to transform to patients by slipping into hospital gowns & wrapping themselves in pink ribbons – exemplifying the need to wrap patients with positive words and deeds.  Together we can impact the emotional journey of breast cancer, one act of kindness at a time – changing lives by sharing hope and faith.  LeeAnn Barsic – the organizer of this Middle TN Mammography Conference surprised me with a gift:  a heart-keyed lock Pink journal, inscribed with “The Little Pink Book.”  We cried together during my presentation, and she gave me one more reason for tears of joy – what a heart-felt, personal gift.  Thank you!! 

Also thank you to Trish and Adriana who helped me with set up, coordination and seemingly something at every turn during this conference!  During conversations with Trish I found out that she had moved to TN from my hometown area in NY, lived near my sister’s home, attended my other sister’s church and knew the pastor who married my sister and husband.  Is it a small world or what?!!!!!!!

Hastings Bookstore Murfreesboro – another book signing & manager’s offer to stock this Little Pink Book series for their community.  Meeting with these people face to face again was an added blessing to this Southeast Book Tour!

Last stop was back in Alabama — at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  Met with Lauren, oncology social worker at the Palliative Care Unit of UAB Cancer Center.  Her enthusiasm and embrace during my visit left filled with overflowing gratitude.  We agreed to future 2-3 day visit in late June or mid-July to share this Little Pink Book series with several departments, oncology stafff, and others – as well as organizing a presentation of the series professional & patient application.  She also shared contacts for the Rick & Bubba radio program so that I can present this series over the airwaves – covering several states at once!

I remain in awe after each book tour, upon each reflection of lives I’ve encountered along the way.  I thank God for placing this work in my lap – I am unworthy by myself for that task.  I am grateful to share the gifts He has placed in me, and I am grateful for each person who helps me along this path.  Thank you especially to my family and friends – including my illustrator (at 2030north Studios) who brings color and radiance to my words.

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