Monthly Archives: March 2013

I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags…


If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why would Brooke go the entire way to Russia to get rid of her MS?”, today would be a glaring example of why I think absolutely nothing of flying 10 hours, enduring 6 weeks of agony and up to 2+ years of recovery to make that happen.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no one that I know who likes to shop more than I do.  Well, maybe one person, and I just so happened to give birth to her (love you, Carson).    Today, I go to JCPenney for a pair of twill pants.  First off, have you been in there lately?  It’s like they put off a bomb and everything landed in a different spot than it has been the prior 10 years.  I walked the entire way around the downstairs and could not find these pants.  I asked the sales person where they were.  Surprise!  On the opposite side of the store…The store with carpet, tile, carpet, tile, carpet, tile.  Uneven surfaces are no friend to me (my track record includes 3 falls at the mall).  I find them, go to the dressing room and begin the process of trying them on.  Have you ever tried on clothes when you’re completely intoxicated? (PM me if you don’t want to reveal publicly) ha ha.  That’s what it’s like with MS.   And, of course, I have to lift and place my “bad” leg into the pants (like you would a child).  I stand up, try to button the pants with one hand, while holding onto the wall.  They fit!  I begin redressing, which includes putting my foot brace back on, adjusting the tightness of the shoe, and the two straps of the brace.  I finally get to the checkout and I’m sweating from head to toe, oh, but not my right side because, thanks to MS, it doesn’t sweat anymore.  You’d think that was a blessing until you notice the people at physical therapy staring at the freaky chick who’s only sweating out of one armpit.  They ring me up and I find that the super cute grape-colored windbreaker that was on clearance for $10, was actually down to $4.  Score!!  So, if you’re like me, you get all excited about your deal of the century.  Well, for someone with MS, at least for me, when you get excited, either for something happy or something stressful  (MS can’t tell the difference), I start to shake, especially my legs.  When my legs shake (it’s called clonus), it’s more difficult to walk, which makes it more exhausting, and by the time I make it back to the car, I collapse into it, with my glow from the thought of the fabulous grape-colored windbreaker completely erased.   MS is such a FUNBUSTER!

So, if you ever find yourself tempted to question my motives for going to Russia…IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SHOPPING, PEOPLE!  IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SHOPPING!

If you’ll excuse me,  I’m “gonna pop some tags” off of the new shoes that the Fedex man just delivered to my front door.  How you like me now, MS???!!!

Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition…

Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition…

Yep!  I said ammunition, and firearms, and baked goods, and baskets, and adirondack chairs, and hope chests, and paintings, and antiques, and t-shirts.  What am I talking about?!  I’m talking about fundraising!  We’ll get back to the guns and ammo in just a bit.

For those of you following along, because you are in the process of making the decision to have HSCT for your MS, one of the first items that you need to check off your list is “How the heck am I going to pay for this?”.   Well, let me give you some advice.  First you need to ask yourself  “If one of my friends/family members were in need of assistance, either monetarily, emotionally or physically, to the extent that it could greatly affect their future health, and you were in a position to help them, in any capacity, would you?”.  Hopefully, the answer is “yes” because half of the battle for the person who is in need, is getting past the fact that you may need to ask for help.   Once you get over that hump and realize that it is just as rewarding for those who are helping you as it is humbling for you to accept it, you can effectively move forward with a solid plan to come up with the funds required to pay for your transplant.  In my experience (who am I kidding…it’s only been 3 months), you must announce your intentions.  Start small with family, close friends, and, in my case, my hairdresser.  ha ha  Simultaneously, create a blog that tells your entire MS story, including what your life used to be and what it has become thanks to MS.  Also, explain, in as much detail as possible, but without losing your reader with lengthy medical terms, exactly what the transplant is and what results you could see after the treatment.  Some people are going to support you just because they care about you and they don’t need to know all of the details.  Others will support you because they believe in your cause or a friend/relative of theirs has MS and they want to tell them about what you’re doing.  Others may be interested because this transplant is not just for MS, but for people with lupus, scleroderma and other autoimmune diseases.  Some will want to know everything.  Give it to them.  Don’t be shy.  Short of your bank account numbers and yearly income, let them know the entire story through your blog.  It will save you from telling the story over and over again and will help the media (newspapers, television, etc.) get a jump on what you’re all about before they interview you.  And, don’t forget, you will be helping others who may be in a similar position who had no idea that this treatment was available (HUGE!).

So, you’ve got your blog, now.  Do you have a Facebook and Twitter account?  If you don’t, do!  When you make a post on your blog, your blog can be set to simultaneously post to your Facebook and Twitter (3 birds, 1 stone), which enables you to reach different audiences based on age, geography, subject matter, and so on.  Make certain that you update your thermometer as funds come in.  Some followers will check into your blog just to see how your fundraising is coming along.  At times, I have slacked on that task, as the funds come in so briskly sometimes, that I can’t keep up.  I wish the same “good” problem for all of you.

Now, back to the guns and ammo…A benefit auction/dinner was recently held on my behalf, that included dinner, a silent auction and a live auction (see pics below).  Some people will donate money to you, and some people will donate things that they are able to handcraft or create for you that can be sold for generous sums of cash.  Position yourself for success by contacting the people, who know people, who know people.  Word of mouth is priceless.  You need people, and not just for money, but for support now and while you are going through your treatment.  Even if you’re used to doing everything on your own with no assistance (me), it’s time to suck it up, because everybody needs somebody, sometime, so the song goes.  So, the benefit they held for me made a WHOPPING $39,500!!    The venue held 200 people, the majority of the food was donated as well as all of those delightful, delectable, auction items.  The guns brought in the biggest haul at almost $5,000 for five (5) guns.  And, one infamous gob cake (gob means whoopie pie for those of you in other parts of the U.S./World) sold for $975.  One room, one night, 200 people, $39,500.  It can be done!  For me, that all but pays for the treatment itself, and, in addition to that, I’ve received additional donations from cornhole/Baggo tournaments (Google it), partnering with businesses, through my blog and family/friends, that will almost pay for my remaining expenses (hotel, airfare, food/necessities for my mom during our stay).  I live in a rural community that loves their guns and gob cakes.  Figure out what the niche is in your community, and capitalize on it.

I know that all of you have unique situations in your life that may exclude you from being able to raise funds in a short amount of time, but, it can be done.  My efforts are just the tip of the iceberg, and I have been blessed to live in a community of caring, resourceful individuals who would give you the shirt off of their backs, as well as  lifelong friends from all over the country, who jumped in feet first.  You have nothing to lose, and only to gain by ridding yourself of MS.  Don’t wait!!!

My best, warm wishes and gratitude to those of you following, and it’s my hope that “when it’s my turn to march up to old glory, I’m gonna have one hell of a story” (sung as only the Dixie Chicks can).  Uh huh.  Yes I am.  🙂

Painting on tap and guns on standby at my benefit auction.

Painting on tap and guns on standby at my benefit auction.

My daughter and mother wearing my Stay Calm and Halt MS t-shirts.  It was a running theme.

My daughter and mother wearing my Keep Calm and Halt MS t-shirts.  BTW…I’ve made about $1,000 selling those shirts as well as spreading the word.

It's Sissy, Me and Tiff (my trekking pole) hanging out at the benefit!

It’s Sissy, Me and Tiff (my trekking pole) hanging out at the benefit!

This is what happens when the community raises $39,500 for you in one night…you shed a few tears!