January 30, 2016
Mission accomplished. I made the decision to donate all the money from the sales of my book and special packages from 2014-2015 to Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto. Not quite the mind boggling amount that some people on this planet are worth but a cumulative effort from a wonderful community in the amount of $500. Initially, I had promised to donate $1 from each book sold, however, I am in a much better place financially and didn’t really need to keep the additional money from these sales for myself.
Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto has been a wonderful environment for me to be with others who “get it”. The space allows me to be by myself but to not feel alone. I can be in whatever mood I want and need to be in, at whatever stage of my treatment and in whatever clothes I had around to throw on. Although I can’t make it as often as I would sometimes like, I know the space is there and that I am welcome just as I am, at any time.
I have met others going through cancer, people in their 20s and 30s like me who are juggling early careers, and even career transitions, relationships, ambiguity, parenthood and choices about how and whether they can be parents. It’s tough stuff and overwhelming even without others who also understand the fears and the difficult choices we have to make. I am so grateful for Gilda’s Club and honestly believe that we need spaces where the whole person is welcome, and not just the patient part of ourselves.
Dancing in the Rain started as a personal project and became a wonderful opportunity to share my stories and my voice with others – children, youth and adults. It also provided me with the opportunity to give back to my community. The book will still be available for purchase through this website and online and is also available at Parentbooks if you live in Toronto. I will continue to donate at least a dollar from each book sold (organization to be determined). However, I feel like it is time for me to move forward and direct my energy and time towards other creative efforts.
Writing this blog series, Cancer and Me, has been insightful. Putting my thoughts down has provided me with a necessary outlet while going through cancer, and allowed me to connect with others around the world. In a recent conversation with a friend, I floated the idea of turning this series into a book. I have other posts that I have not had the courage (so far) to post publicly but a book would allow me to contextualize them properly. It’s an idea that may take quite some years to come to fruition but let’s see what happens. If you have any ideas or leads, please get in touch!
I am continuing to learn to take care of myself, navigate daily challenges and live in the present. When I reflect back on my whole experience with this book, I think about some of the incredible feedback I have received and I am often reminded of a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. If this quote is anything to measure my success by, then I feel that I have truly succeeded.
“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”