It’s officially May. That means a few things for me. First, it’s festival season here in Philly (yay!!!). Second, it’s birthday season in my family so I’ll be quite poor by the 31st (I’m counting at least 6!). Third, Mother’s Day is just around the corner on May 11th. And fourth, it’s Brain Tumor Awareness Month! The last two tie together for me in a big way.
I know I’ve mentioned things here and there about my mom. About how if she were still around she’d love this or that. About her recipes that she used to make. Holidays that are hard to handle without her. I know there are other instances, too. I also know I haven’t gone in depth about the loss of my mom. Still, I don’t want to send anyone in tears, so I’m not going to do that today, either! I’ll keep it as light as I can (though the topic is far from light!) Here is the most simple explanation I can provide: I lost my mom to brain cancer.
Want to know more? Here’s a brief summary of the two and a half years I watched my mom fight.
In June 2010, my mom visited the doctor about the terrible migraines she’d been having lately, assuming it was allergy related since there was a high pollen count that summer. Within a few hours she was admitted to the ER for a brain tumor. She had her first of what would be three brain surgeries two days later.
About a week later, it was diagnosed as malignant: a Glioblastoma Multiforme tumor- the worst of the worst. She spent the next two and a half years of her life in hospitals, in clinical trials, in rehab. From the chemo, the drugs, her compromised immune system, she suffered a plethora of other illnesses. Her quality of life was terrible, but she did nothing but smile through the whole process- even when all we wanted to do was scream. She was always the rock, and remained that way until she passed in September 2012 of a secondary tumor that had grown in an inoperable spot behind her eyes. Ironically, the latest risky clinical trial (of which she was only the third person in the country to receive) was working- the original tumor was shrinking. It just couldn’t help the new tumor.
After she was initially diagnosed, our family went through an array of emotions- anger and extreme anxiety being the most prevalent. But because mom was the strongest person EVER, SHE is the one who got us through. We tried to cope by spreading awareness where we could. The (now) Husband and I participated in the yearly Race For Hope Philadelphia in her honor (we still do this, but now in her memory); we donated to every cancer awareness program we could find; I got “Choose Hope” tattooed on my wrist to always remember; we began a website and Facebook page (Give Kathy Hope) to keep friends and family informed; we were even lucky enough to have a fundraiser held in her honor- the proceeds of which went to cover some costs of the ever-piling-up medical bills.
At the fundraiser, I had a Katie Crafts vendor table. I sold “Bracelets For Brain Cancer” among other jewelry and art (all of which my mom thought was just ‘the best ever!’, and many of which she asked if she could have after the fundraiser was over!) I kept for myself only what money would cover my costs, and gave any profit to my mom. I began a “Bracelets For Brain Cancer” section in my Etsy shop, as well, which still exists today (though I have some major beading to do to fill in the inventory!) For each bracelet purchased, I send a donation to the American Brain Tumor Association in my mom’s name. If you’d like to make a direct donation to the ABTA, you can do so at any time by visiting their site!
This is where I tie in Mother’s Day with Brain Tumor Awareness Month! For the entire month of May, ALL purchased jewelry items in my shop (not just the bracelets!) will send a $1 donation to the ABTA in my mom’s name. This means you can get your mom a bracelet for Mother’s Day, or some earrings, or maybe a ring. Maybe you’ll want to get her all three- it is Mother’s Day, after all! You treat your mom, and I’ll honor mine at the same time with a donation of $1 per item from your purchase. I can’t be with my mom on Mother’s Day, but I can still celebrate her life, and you can help!
Here are some photos of jewelry that is currently available in my shop! To check them out, please follow this link to Etsy.
To make sure you receive your items before Mother’s Day, be sure to select the upgrade to “Priority 2-Day Shipping” at check-out! And of course, thank you for looking at my shop and Happy Early Mother’s Day!