Sunday, September 26, 2010

Change of seasons

We woke this morning to the sound of raindrops against the window.  I haven't heard a better sound in WEEKS.  Here in Richmond, we have gone almost a month without any significant rainfall and with the regional water restrictions, we have had to water CJ's Butterfly Bush sparingly.  This has been a great year for the butterfly garden.  Our yard was visited by many butterflies and bumblebees.  I have seen butterflies everywhere this summer.  I know some of that is just the power of suggestion.  It's like when you buy a new car and all of a sudden you see how many people on the road drive the same, exact car.  They were always there.  You just didn't notice. 

Now I cherish those butterfly visits.  A few weeks ago, I was working the front desk at Romp n' Roll and a small monarch flew right up to the front door, perched on the glass for a few minutes, and gently opened and closed her wings.  She stayed there for what seemed like a long time and then flew away again.  It's moments like those that are gentle reminders of CJ's presence in our lives.

How many butterflies have you seen this summer?

Now that fall is upon us, we are preparing for the change that is to come.  Roger and I both spent some time in the yard yesterday, chopping wood for the winter wood pile and clearing out the window boxes and pots on the back deck. You can definitely feel the change that is coming in the air.

On that note, let me share some news and announcements to bring you up to speed on all the CJSTUF...stuff. 

This week is your last opportunity to get a copy of childrens book Richmond Rocks at Romp n' Roll-Mechanicsville.  The autographed hardback books are $15.70 (tax included) and 30% of the proceeds will go back to CJSTUF.  We can accept cash, check, or credit cards for the books at Romp n' Roll. 

With October right around the corner, we have another Business of the Month to feature:

Madison Fairburn of M. Chase Photography is hosting family photo sessions on October 16th at Pole Green Park to benefit CJSTUF.  This is a perfect opportunity to schedule your family portraits for upcoming holiday pictures.  If that date doesn't work for you or you want a different setting for your portraits, contact her and schedule CJ's Storybook Package any time between October and March.  25% of the proceeds will benefit our organization. 

Doris Hassell of Arbonne skin care will also be a featured business for October.  We will give you more details about opportunities to give back to CJSTUF through Arbonne soon.

The Double Marathon Challenge continues!  Roger has been running quite a bit lately.  His weekly totals are around 35-40 miles at this point.  Two weeks from today, he will be running the Chicago Marathon.  Six weeks from yesterday, he will be running the Richmond Marathon.  For anyone curious about our pledge totals, you can visit our Double Marathon page.  If anyone has been collecting pledges for the UM or VT teams, please begin to turn them in to us.  The University of Miami fans (or non-Hokie fans?) have been leading the charge almost 2:1.  We have received a little over $5000 in pledges and Roger's goal is $10,000 by the November 13th Richmond Marathon. 

Coming Soon in November: 
First, we will be holding an online auction for about 20 unique jewelry pieces that have been created exclusively for CJSTUF by Crystal Paintbrush artist Sarah Blankenship.  The collection will include necklaces, earrings, pins, and bracelets that have been designed with pink, purple, and white semiprecious stones and beads. The butterfly is a prominent theme in many of the pieces.  We are planning for the online auction to take place on eBay during the first two weeks in November.  On that note, we are now registered through eBay Giving Works.  If you are selling items on eBay and want to give a portion of your proceeds to our organization, it's easy through this program.  Simply follow the links to set up your sale.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale (whatever you decide) will automatically be donated to us and you will receive a listing credit for your item. 

Mark your calendars for Saturday November 20th.  From 9 AM-12 PM, the Henry Clay Elementary school parking lot in Ashland will be the site of Citations for CJ.  This will be a fun, easy way to give back to our organization and we are hoping to attract some publicity for the Foundation with this unique event.  More information to come soon. 

There always seems to be more news to report.  Thanks for continuing to follow our blog and website as well as our many musings on Facebook. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I don't feel old...or do I?

It's been a busy week. I celebrated my 35th birthday yesterday.  I'm not sure if I feel my age.  I mean, what does 35 feel like?  I guess it depends on the day.  Most days I don't feel like that is an old number.  Then I look at everything that's happened to me in the last year...5 years...10 years.  Wow! 

We just hired a few a new staff member at Romp n' Roll.  She was born the year I went to college!  It's only when I hear things along those lines that I feel old.  Anyway, it was a good birthday.  As low key as I would like with well-wishes from many friends and family.  As with any holiday this year, though, something was missing.  A pretty big something.  I suppose that is the most difficult thing about life these days.  No matter how good things get, you remember that something (or someone) isn't there to share the experience. 

Earlier this week, Roger went down to the James Center where ASK launched the Kourageous Kids exhibit, showing all the courageous cancer warriors who are being served through the clinic this year. The theme this year was "Hats Off for Kourageous Kids" and we donated one of CJ's hats to the cause.  Another reminder that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Also, it's not too late to register for the ReeseStrong 5K this Saturday, 9/18, in Mechanicsville.  Roger will be running in his Team CJ pink and purple.  Feel free to join him!

Richmond Rocks books are selling at Romp n' Roll-Mechanicsville all month to benefit CJSTUF.  Books are $14.95+ tax and 30% of the proceeds will benefit our organization.  This is an adorable children's book written and illustrated by local Richmonders.  Not only does it support CJSTUF but it also supports local small businesses!  You can pay for the books with checks, cash, or credit card so get your autographed copy today!

We received some more donations this week towards Roger's Double Marathon challenge.  So far, the vast majority of the donations are going towards the University of Miami Hurricanes side of things.  Are there any Hokies out there that want to see Roger run in a turkey suit?  If they are, they've been vewy vewy quiet!  The challenge continues till November 13th so let's see if we can meet the 10K fundraising goal!

Busy week ahead with Board meetings for the foundation.  By the way, if you haven't noticed yet, you can now access this blog directly through our website.  We've added a tab at the top of the page and the blog will feed there every time we update it.  Thanks to all our supporters who continue to follow us on Facebook and through this blog. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

September is Childhood Cancer Month...and we're busy!

If you didn't know already, September is Childhood Cancer Month. A few facts: 
  • Childhood cancers are the #1 disease killer of children.
  • The National Cancer Institute’s federal budget=$4.6 billion. Pediatric cancers received less than 3% of it.  
  • Overall, one out of every five children diagnosed with cancer dies. In some forms of cancer, as few as one out of every five children will live.. 
  • The cause of most childhood cancers are unknown and at present, cannot be prevented.  In contrast, adult cancers result from lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, occupation, and other exposure to cancer-causing agents.
  • Nationally, childhood cancer is 20 times more prevalent than pediatric AIDS yet pediatric AIDS receives four times the funding that childhood cancer receives.
  • On the average, 12,500 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year.
  • In the U.S., about 46 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every single school day.
What can you do to help?
  • Wear a gold ribbon to support childhood cancer.  Let's make Gold the new Pink!
  • Attend fundraising and awareness events in your area.  There is a Cookies for Kids Cancer fundraiser in Carytown and one in Short Pump next Saturday (September 11th). 
  • Contact your Senator or Congressperson and advocate in support of more research funding for pediatric cancer.  Visit the Advocacy section of our website for more information. 
  • Support our friends at ReeseStrong by registering for their 5K race (and one mile kids run) on September 18th.  Proceeds will benefit Aileen Jones, a local girl fighting cancer. 
CJSTUF is gearing up for its second distribution of Financial Assistance Grants. Our next deadline is November 1st.  If you know of a family that has a child with a life-threatening, chronic illness that requires frequent hospitalizations, direct them to the application on our website.  The application process is short and simple.  We will give away another $5000 to 10 deserving families on December 1st.  Help spread the word.

As usual, the calendar is full of CJSTUF events and opportunities so LISTEN UP!  We don't want you to miss out on anything

Business of the Month: As many of you head back to school, our September business of the month is Kate Hall and her children's book Richmond Rocks.  This fun book designed for kids ages 4-8 years of age is full of photos and illustrations of some of the fabulous landmarks in the Richmond, VA area.  Kate is donating 30% of sales to CJSTUF during the month of September and we will have autographed copies of the book at Romp n' Roll-Mechanicsville.  The books sell for $15.70 (tax included). 

For more information about our Business of the Month or to get a sneak peek at our October businesses, go to our website for more details. 

Word on the street is that the Hokies are playing some football today. 
Word on the street is that the 'Canes fans are TROUNCING the Hokies fans in the Double Marathon Challenge

Roger is almost halfway to his $10K goal and the 'Canes fans (or non-Hokies fans) are leading the Hokies almost 2:1.  How can you help?  Download a PLEDGE FORM and take it to your next Game Watch party.  Make sure your pledges indicate VT or UM and submit pledges back to us as soon as possible so we can keep a running tally of the results.  

Speaking of which: does anybody have access to a turkey costume?  It would need to be something Roger could run in (we're thinking a headdress, fantail feathers for the "tail" and maybe something for the arms?).  Roger certainly doesn't want to run in VT colors but we want to be prepared all the same!

Finally: This may be last minute notice for some but we are having a small work party at our house tomorrow (Tuesday, 9/6) at 7 PM.  We will be assembling CJSTUF Swag Bags and making cards for families staying at the Houston Ronald McDonald House.  Bring your crafty creativity, come one, come all.  Email Rachel or Roger if you have questions or need directions.