Saturday, December 19, 2009

Letters To God-The Film

As I reflect on the many things I'm grateful for as we bring 2009 to a close, what really comes to mind is the wonderful movie I worked on this summer as a casting associate. Words can't convey how proud and honored I am to have worked on this amazing story, inspired by the life and legacy of Tyler Doughtie. Tyler battled brain cancer and his story will come to the big screen in "Letters To God", a tribute to Tyler and to all of the children who are battling and winning the war against cancer.

I try really hard not to ask "why me?", because as you will often hear people say, "why not me?" And it's true, why not me? I'm incredibly blessed to have lived my childhood years happy and healthy. There are children in this world who have never had a moment without pain. To that I say, why them? Tyler's story is sad yet inspiring. It gives you hope. Hope that even in your darkest hour, you are never alone and even after we're gone we have the power to inspire and lift up so many people.

There was a cast and crew screening last Sunday and I'm proud to say I almost made it through without crying. I pushed my tears back every time I felt them surface(I hate crying in public mainly because I'm such an ugly crier) What pushed me over the edge were the final moments just before the credits rolled...there's a tribute to cancer survivors everywhere and I am one of them, I am a SURVIVOR!! I'm honored to have been in such great company, yet it's moments like that, that bring it home. Cancer waged a war against me and I will never forget that. I live with it everyday as do many people. Seeing a side by side picture of me during treatment and me in the present day was a journey in itself. I instantly went back in time and remembered that just two years ago my world had been rocked to its core. Two years ago, I joined a group of people with whom I will never forget, my new family.

For me working on this film is another sign that there is a plan for all of us. When I left my job at Nickelodeon three years ago, I would have never guessed that I would have been given the opportunity to work on such an amazing film. A film to which I could relate to on so many levels. A film that will make sure that one little boy's battle and legacy will on.

"Letters To God" In theaters April 9th 2010

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Are age requirements killing us?

Are all of the guidelines and restrictions when it comes to what age we should be screened for a particular disease really in our best interest? Yes, I believe everything should come with parameters, but to what expense? Do health officials know when to ignore the guidelines as much as they know when to follow them?

I just read about David Cohen the 40 year old veteran who is suing the VA Hospital because they denied his request for a colonoscopy. A request that was made because he has a family history of colon cancer, including his grandmother who died from the disease and other family members who have exhibited symptoms. He has proof that just last year he was denied just a few minutes after his request was made. How is a few minutes enough time to make a sound decision on something as important as a screening test that could possibly save your life?

So now Mr. Cohen is in for the fight of his life. He was diagnosed with stage 4 Colon Cancer and was given 26 months to live. From what I've seen and read about him, I believe he has the will to beat what he's been told, but is this something that could have been prevented? Sure, he may have gotten cancer no matter what, but to what degree? With early detection, we're talking about stage 1 or 2, when the chances of survival are far greater.

We need health-care reform in the worst way and on so many levels. A CNN anchor asked Mr. Cohen today why he didn't turn away from the VA when they repeatedly turned him down and just pay for the test himself. He, like so many other American's couldn't afford it and I suspect in some way he probably believed just a little bit that the people who turned him down and denied his request knew what they were talking about. Navigating the system is challenging at best when you have insurance and doctor's on your side, what happens when you don't.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just enjoy the ride...

My cup runneth over with random thoughts and emotions. So much so I don't know where to start.

Yesterday was the Ovarian Cancer Of Florida's annual Holiday Party...a small group of the finest people I know. I am so inspired by the women I walk beside and truly grateful that I am along for the journey. Whenever I am around them, I am reminded of my purpose. I am here and still alive because I have a message. A message to young women all of over the world. A message to minority women. A voice for those who are undeserved and often left behind or left for dead. So much has transpired over the last few years and sometimes I just want to sit and be still. If I make no moves, there's a good chance I can avoid all disappointments.

I was talking to my mom the other day and she told me an interesting story about my dad. My dad just finished treatment for Prostate Cancer and it seems his passion for giving has quadrupled. She ran across quite a few envelopes with donations in them...all ready to be mailed to various organizations and people in need. The surprising part for my mom was the number of envelopes he had ready to go. They like most of us have their list of go-to charity's, but it seems that this years list had exploded. As I listened, I realized that my dad's eagerness to take care of the world is a side effect from being a survivor. I equate it to being so thankful and grateful that you are here, you want to do whatever you can to help others. As survivor of anything you realize up close and personal what the alternative to surviving is and for a lot of people that thought remains a figment of their imagination for a really long time. It's something you wish you could bottle up and distribute to the world in a lovely glass bottle, a feeling you wish people could experience and execute without having to go through a life threatening illness.

Another side effect for me is that not only do i want to help the world, I want to do everything if I don't I will run out of time. I want to fast forward to a successful business, fantastic trips and voyages with Dan, family, & friends. Advocacy work that MAKES a difference in the lives of women all over the world. And last but never least, maybe just maybe a family of our own, be it conventional or unconventional, I know that we can make a difference in the life of a child.

I'm praying that God gives me the strength and courage to tackle all that I want to achieve and even if I stay a bit along the way, I will remember to enjoy the ride!!

Wishing you all many blessings this holiday season!!!