Since I work a full-time job, have two very attention-hungry kids, try to ride to and from work daily, there are not enough hours in the day for my LIVESTRONG planning and meetings. I squeeze it in here and there - in between approvals on projects, doodling and jotting notes down here and there. But, let's face it, not the most efficient way of planning. And certainly not for holding meetings.
So, I'm taking a new approach, which started today. I work in Downtown Stamford - the heart of Fairfield County business, IMHO (sorry, Norwalk... too spread out and not as established). I realize that there are a lot of important connections here that I can easily meet with during my lunch hour. Especially since Stamford is a very convenient place for both Fairfield and Westchester County events.
Today, I met with a wonderful lady at the Bennett Cancer Center. I haven't stepped foot in the Stamford Hospital facilities for cancer since 1980, when my grandmother died of cancer. To say that times have changed is an understatement.
We had a wonderful meeting. I think neither of us had an idea of what we could offer one another, aside from the fact that I'm growing a group of people that want to help, and she works with a staff and for a group of fighters and survivors that could use whatever we could conjure up together.
Out of the meeting, I learned that they had been trying to find a local LIVESTRONG connection, and didn't have one. And they were baffled as to how our very well-populated area could have been missed and fallen victim to the old adage, "Well, it's within an hour of Manhattan, so... " Alas, another victim to the "If it's not in NYC, it doesn't exist". I had to smile, though, because, as I explained, that's exactly why I wanted to start a Fairfield County/Westchester County LIVESTRONG Army. While it seems to many that live afar, and within Manhattan itself, that NYC is certainly easily accessible, you couldn't be more wrong. And there is a need. I could tell from a very distant place that it was needed. But to hear from a "pro", that, indeed my instincts were right, and our area had fallen off the support radar, made me feel a little more secure in my concept to start a local LIVESTRONG Army.
The good news is that we're here, now.
We're going to be able to network with cancer survivors that would like to join us in providing support for cancer fighters. We're going to be able to participate and co-sponsor events. We may be able to provide the Bennett Center with an avenue for online social networking with younger cancer patients that are timid and reluctant for direct, face-to-face interractions until the "time is right" for a "Tweet-up". And, hopefully, that will lead to a comfortable community of young cancer fighters that can support one another in a venue that suits their lifestyles.
I'm pleased to say that we have some awareness and fundraising events that piqued interest, and I have a call into another level of support providers at the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital. I learned of a couple of WONDERFUL ways that LIVESTRONG can get involved with post-recovery fitness and transitional programs that the Stamford Health System provides. And there was quite a bit of eagerness in getting involved with our January gala to raise awareness for Cervical Cancer and the "unsexy" and more difficult cancers to promote. We talked frankly about how some cancers, specifically those that seem to have connections to behavior automatically seem to paint the fighter with a stigma. "What, you have cervical cancer? Oh, well, you brought it on yourself with what was obviously a promiscuous, irresponsible lifestyle. And you have HPV, too, I assume?" "Oh, you have lung cancer? Well, all that smoking and pollution in your neighborhood is to blame." Where as "Feel your boobies" and "I'm a uni-baller, too" can raise an uncomfortable giggle and provide an inside joke to fighters and survivors and put those on the "outside" at ease, other cancers aren't quite as "fun" or allow themselves to have quippy little catch phrases that alleviate the brevity.
So, we are moving forward in the right direction.
And, I found that in one lunch hour, a lot can be accomplished.
Interested in any of these projects or ideas? Drop me a line, leave a comment, feed your advice.