Sunday, November 17, 2013

Relay For Life Power Wheels Raffle idea... the perfect Christmas Fundraiser!


My oh my- have I got an awesome idea to share with you today! Brenda Holloway shared the most amazing fundraising idea with me for Christmas, and it is too good not to share.  Christmas is a great time for gearing up and fundraising for your next years Relay.  Not only are people in the giving spirit, but there are a lot of great ways to incorporate the upcoming holiday into your plans.  This one, my friends, does my favorite thing- thinking outside of the box!

Introducing.... The Power Wheel Raffle!

Best idea ever, right!?!?   Here's how it works.
Contact local businesses, and ask them if they would like to sponsor your car. Or, ask people if they would like to honor a person (families supporting work as well!).  It is up to you how much to charge to be a sponsor, I went with $25 so it would be affordable and easy for people to do.  My friend Sarah just told people "a minimum of $20" for hers, so people would feel free to offer more if they wanted to!  I was able to get all of my sponsors in just a few hours by emailing people on Facebook.  You will use the sponsorship money to buy your car- I got ours on Amazon.  Then, display the names of your sponsors proudly on your car!  I have a Silhouette Cameo, so I made mine at home, but you could also ask your businesses to give you stickers, or get an in kind sponsor who would be willing to print them for you.


Next, get your team together, and sell some tickets!  We are offering ours for $1 each, but most people buy more than one.  Before you start doing this part, you will want to be sure to check with your state gaming regulations to make sure you are staying legal while selling them :)  I made each team member an envelope with 200 tickets inside, and the above flier attached, and challenged them to each sell 200.  Brenda sold 1,000 her first week with hers, and we sold 100 for ours this weekend! 

So, if you have this awesome car, there is no reason to leave it sitting in your house, right!?  Find a local business who would be willing to display it for you, and take ticket sales as well.  Brenda put hers in town square, Sarah will have hers at The Tag Agency in her town, and ours is up in a display window at a trendy little shop on Main Street called Simplistic Style (the owner is a survivor!)


I picked a red car so I could get parents with boys to buy tickets to- but Brenda did pink- check this bad boy out!




And, for another spin- Sarah is getting a yellow hummer, and a John Deere Tractor!  Cute, right!?  The options are endless, so just go with what works best for your group!

Now, my little salesman, Wes (aka.. Cancer Man ) came up with a great sales pitch to anyone who says- well, I don't have kids.  He tells them if they win, we will donate the car on thier behalf to the charity of their choice!  I would love to see it go to a child going through treatment, or The Children's hospital if that happens- but there are many other organizations that would be great to- like Angel Tree, or Toys for Tots!

Don't forget to use all avenues for selling raffle tickets... you know what I am talking about... SOCIAL MEDIA BABY! Here is the post I made to give you a jumping point- note how I tell them how to buy the tickets online (hint hint.. you should totally buy some!)
Help me finish the fight against cancer! We are raffling off a brand new RED Power Wheels Mustang proceeds go to Relay For Life of Custer County! Tickets are $1 each! If you are in Weatherford, feel free to contact me and I will come to you, or purchase them at Simplistic Style on Main Street. To purchase raffle tickets online-

-Donate to Cancer Man Wes here ($1 per ticket)
http://main.acsevents.org/goto/CancerMan

-Email your name, address and phone number to
cassiselby@live.com so I can fill out your tickets for you!
Subject line: RAFFLE

-Stay tuned to http://www.facebook.com/CancerManWes December 15th to see who wins! (Don't worry, Cancer Man will call the winner to!)

-We will deliver the car anywhere in Oklahoma!

***If you are NOT IN Oklahoma***, but still want to help- you can buy tickets, and if you win the car will be donated on your behalf to the charity or person of your choice in the state of Oklahoma.
Happy holiday fundraising everyone!  I am always here for you if you have questions! If you do this fundraiser, send pictures to cassiselby@live.com, and I will add them to the blog- we want to know how it goes! 

Let's finish the fight!
<3 Cassi

Tips for the awesome idea? Yes please! Donate to my personal Relay For Life fundraising page here!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Relay For Life Movie Theme Team Name Ideas

It's no secret that I am super excited about our Relay theme this year - Lights, Camera, Cure!  Life on the purple carpet.  I've been pinning on Pinterest like some kind of mad woman.  But there are so many good ideas that I can't help myself!  So, naturally, like any good OCD list maker- I have been jotting down team name/theme ideas as I think of them or come across a really good one.  I thought I would post them here in case any other teams need some inspiration (that's right, steal away!).  But, I also want you to comment below with your ideas to help me grow the list!

Here are a few of my favorites so far-

-Pirates of the CUREibbean

-Toon out Cancer

-Let’s make cancer Gone with the Wind

-Go on and cure the girl- The Little Mermaid

-Rocky – Knock out cancer

-Survivor – Voting Cancer Off The Island

-Oz- There’s no place like hope

-Finish The Fight Club

-Mean Girls-
   -Cancer can’t sit with us
   -A cure would be so fetch
   -On Wednesdays we wear pink (pink ribbon theme)
   -Cancer doesn’t even go here!

-Blind side cancer

-Peter Pan- sending cancer to Neverland

-Relay Wars or Bra Wars(Star Wars Theme)

-Willy Wonka- A cure would be sweet, Wishing and Working for a cure

-Indiana Jones and the Temple of Hope

-A Relay Story (A Christmas Story)

-Help us create more un-birthdays (Alice in Wonderland)

-Toy Story - Let's kick cancer to infinity and beyond!

-Roaring away cancer (Lion King, or Jurassic Park theme!)

-Jurassic Park - Making cancer extinct!

-Beauty and The Beast - The beauty of life is beating the beast called cancer.

- Big Brother - We vote to evict cancer!

- Despicable Me- Despicable Cancer, Incredible Me!

-Finding Nemo- Finding a Cure

-Frozen - Making Cancer Frozen

-

Of course, being Cancer Man's mom, we are going with a hero theme - "Hero Headquarters-Super Heroes Unite to Finish The Fight!

Help me add to the list by commenting below!  That way, when other Relayer's across the world see this, they can benefit from our brainstorm!

As always, with hope-
Cassi

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Music Sheet Paper Cone Wreath Tutorial

Ok kids!  You know I love to blog about Relay stuff, and craft stuff- so this post is a combo of my favorite two stuffs ;)  Relay For Life of Custer County puts on a silent wreath auction each year before Christmas- and I was feeling crafty this weekend, so I wanted to get moving on one of my wreaths for this year.  Now, I will give you a fair warning that this wreath is probably the cheapest one I have ever made as far as supply costs go- but the most expensive in time.  If you are going to take on this project- set aside at least 6 hours.

Supplies you'll need:
-Awesome paper (About 100 sheets should do the trick!)
-hot glue/hot glue gun
-foam board
-ribbon
-a stapler
-clear sealer (I like Krylon's 3 coat glaze)

Yup- that's it!  If you are like me, you probably have everything you need sitting around the house except for the foam board, which was about $2 at my local Walmart (don't judge me- we don't have a Hobby Lobby in town.)

One last thing before you start looking at these pictures.  I make tie dye for a living, so my fingers and nails are stained weird colors 99.5% of the time.  The other .5% of the time is when I am doing a photo shoot.  So yeah, I don't have beautifully manicured nails like other bloggers.

Ok- on with the show.

I wanted to use Christmas hymns for my project, but something about tearing pages out of a hymnal or book seems super wrong to me, so I scanned the pages and printed them out on both sides of card stock paper.  I won't judge you if you are cool with that though- it makes the project eve cheaper if you can pick up an old book at your local thrift store.



 Take your foam board, and trace two circles (one large, and a smaller one on the inside) on it.  This will help you make sure you keep your paper lined up right.
Then start rolling your paper into cones.  I seriously recommend you pick a good movie for this part!  I started out by using glue dots to hold them together thinking I would save myself some burns, but after about 10 cones I realized the card stock was so sturdy that the dots weren't going to hold.  Go with the hot glue. You'll want to glue the cone where your paper ends.

Then staple the bottom of your cone to create a flat surface to glue, and make extra sure your cones stay together.
Once you get your cones made up, you will want to start placing them on your foam board.  I am slightly OCD, so I like to lay them out first before I start hot gluing them down to make sure I have them all where I want them.
Once the first layer is glued down, place a second layer down in between the gaps that the first layer made.

Then do the same with the third! 


Next, I printed out a Bible verse on the same card stock, and cut it into a circle (I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 13:6).  I glued ribbon and flowers to the edge to create a more finished look (bonus- this covers up any imperfect cutting edges on the circle).  I took that, and glued it into the center of the wreath.

At this point, you will want to take your creation and seal it with your spray sealer.  This will help strengthen your paper so that your wreath will last a long time, and protect it from moisture.

Once the front side is sealed and dry, flip the wreath upside down.  Hot glue a ribbon to the back to hang it by.  Then cover the back of your foam board with any extra paper you have so it looks pretty on both sides!  This was an important step for me, since people will probably be able to see the front and back during display.  You will also notice I added an additional strip of ribbon, in case the auction winner wants to hang it up without the ribbon hanger.

Then seal the back!

And voila!  You're done!  Enjoy! 


Want more crafty Relay ideas?  Check out my other posts and subscribe! http://www.cassiselby.blogspot.com :)













Friday, September 20, 2013

Relay For Life team captains- the business of Relay



Ahhh- September is here and that means dedicated Relay For Life team captains are registering online, hitting up Pinterest, dreaming up fundraisers, and making sure everything is in order to make 2014 the best year yet!  As we start jumping into meetings and kick offs, I want to share my “business approach” to Relay For Life.

Now, if this is your first time viewing my blog, let me give you a little background.  I am a successful small business owner, run a small team that raised a little over $7,000 last year, and most importantly, I am Cancer Man’s mom.   If you don’t know who Cancer Man is, you are in for a treat- just check out my little guy here. 

I know what you are thinking- Relay is not a business!  And you are right.  But, like anything worthwhile, you put in a lot of hours, you manage people, you advertise, and you are in charge of large projects.  Sure, you don’t get paid- but to tell you the truth, helping people through Relay is worth more to me than any job could pay me.  If you approach this year’s Relay like a small business owner approaches business, you are going to have a more profitable, successful and organized team this year.  And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that!?

Recruiting your team
When looking for new team members (or captains for you committee members); think of the hiring process a small business owner would use to look for staff.  Would you want someone unreliable?  Would you want someone you had to beg to come to work?  Or would you want someone self-motivated, passionate, and willing to contribute?  If my bread and butter were on the line, I would pick the latter!  We all know that there is nothing worse than having to beg team members to participate.  You want someone on your team that feels the same fire YOU feel about making a difference, and ending cancer!  I personally prefer a team on 10 people who are going to work hard over a team of 20 where I have to pull all of the weight.

Profits and Profitability
To run a successful business, you have to be aware of your profits at all times.  Is your product or service worth the amount of time you are putting in?  The same thing goes with Relay.  The more profit you make during a fundraiser, the more you have going towards your goal!  There is nothing better than a fundraiser that makes 100% profit.  So, write letters, post on Facebook, and get as many businesses to donate to you as you can.  If you are running a fundraiser that is not 100% profit, make sure you are getting the best possible deal on the item you are selling.  For example, if you are getting T-shirts printed, check around to make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.  If Relay was your business, saving a dollar shirt would mean an extra $100 in your pocket if you sold 100 shirts in your store.   An extra $100 towards you Relay goal is a HUGE deal, so be sure you are price conscious.  Don’t be afraid to ask for a better price.  Explain that you are fundraising for Relay for Life, and WHY Relay is so important to you.  After all, it is likely that the person you are dealing with has known or knows someone with cancer, and will support your cause.  This works online as well.  I was pleasantly surprised last year to save $40 on a pop up tent for my team to use just by emailing the company and explaining that I was purchasing it for a Relay For Life event. 

Social Media
Any small business owner will tell you that social media is a life saver.  Why?  You can connect to thousands of people instantly for FREE.  So, whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram- take advantage of those platforms, and encourage your team to use them as well.  You never know where your next donation will come from.  Be sure any time you post to one of these sites about Relay that you link to your fundraising page.  Working on a Relay project?  Snap a picture and put it on Instagram!  Have an awesome fundraising idea?  Post it on Pinterest!  Do you have a team member performing in a Relay talent show?  Take a video, and post it on YouTube (side note- YouTube is one of Wes’ favorite platforms- his Honey Boo Boo Relay impersonation has over 8,000 hits!) Did you hit a fundraising milestone?   Celebrate with a Facebook post!  

Connect with others that have a common goal.
Speaking of social media- take the opportunity to connect and like Facebook pages for your event, and division.  Small business owners frequently support each other, and help each other with ideas.  The same thing goes with Relay!  Some of the best ideas I have seen (and used!) have come from reading Facebook posts from other Relayers.  It is also wonderful to be able to reach out to others that can relate to you for advice and support when you hit a rough patch (hey, we have all been there.)  When I hit a road block with my business, or need a fresh idea, the first thing I do is Facebook one of my friends who also owns a small business (you know who you are!).   Sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective. 

Another new and exciting way to connect with other Relayers is Relay Nation!  If you haven’t used it yet, you are missing out.  Relay Nation is essentially an online chat board that connects Relay For Lifers from all over the US.  Relay Nation is my go to place when I need input on a new fundraising idea, or a new idea all together!   Want to throw an adult prom, but worry about the kinks?  Relay Nation, my friends.  More than likely, you will be able to connect with someone who has done one before, and can offer advice. 

Learn from your mistakes, and use them to grow.
Mistakes happen.  Successful business owners know that mistakes are inevitable, and use them as a learning tool.  One time, I had this GENIUS idea to make up a ton of baby shower gift baskets to sell.  I rushed out and ordered a ton of supplies, made them all up, and eagerly posted them online.  Six months later I had sold ZERO.  What I learned from that process was that people wanted to custom choose sizes, colors, and products instead of buying a prepackaged deal.  Sure, my pride was hurt.  But learning that lesson was a valuable asset to me!  The same thing goes with fundraisers.  They are not all going to be smash hits.   Take what you learn from those mishaps, and apply those lessons to future fundraisers or events. 

Schedule and Organize
Have you ever been at a fundraising event that is a hot mess?  No one knows what they are supposed to be doing, what time they are needed, what to bring, or how to help.  A small business owner would never schedule the biggest sale of the year without some careful planning and scheduling!  So, delegate tasks (I know this is a hard one!  But, you can’t do it all on your own!), and let people know when they are needed.   It seems like a no brainer, but just asking everyone to show up and winging it is like asking for a disaster.   Remember, your team members want to enjoy the experience of making a difference.  They are more likely to volunteer to come help at fundraisers when they know they can count on you to make everything to run smoothly.

Treat each donor like a valued customer
Have you ever noticed the difference between the customer service you get at a small business vs. a big box store?  The difference is small business owners KNOW, without a doubt, that their customers are their bread and butter.  If you get treated like crap at a store, are you going to go back there and shop again?  Heck no!  Donors who don’t feel appreciated or acknowledge won’t donate to again when the time comes around.  Spend the time it takes to send thank you notes to donors, and let them know how much you appreciate them.   After all, if you are reading this, you are probably what my son and I call a Relay for Lifer (someone who makes Relay a part of their life year after year).  Those yearly donations and connections can make a huge difference in your success. 

I hope this post has helped you look at your team in a new way!  Remember- entrepreneurs and successful team captains also have another very important thing in common.  They FEEL passion about what they are doing deep in their hearts.    I am so glad you are in this fight with me- together, we can do more than any of us can do alone!

For the cause! <3
Cassi

What are your top Relay tips?  Share them in a comment below!  If this post helped you, be sure to subscribe.  Or hey, you can always show your appreciation with a donation at my Relay page


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chad's Story



This blog post is a very special, and personal one.  My husband sat down and worked on his Relay For Life page tonight, and to my surprise, he shared his story on WHY Relay for Life is important to him.  It was so inspiring to me, that I had to share it with you here. 
As always- for the cure!
Cassi

Hello Everyone,

I have decided after two years to join another Relay for Life Team.  I have been active in Relay helping my wife and son’s teams, but I haven’t joined.   Honestly, the memories are still very hard for me deal with. What I have enjoyed over the years is sitting back, and watching everyone fight to end cancer.  Everyone always had a common goal.  Last year at Relay they had a fight back activity where you made a pledge for the year of how you were going to fight for the cause. This took me back, because I have always been hiding while my family fights.  So, my pledge for the year was that I would share my story of my family’s battle with cancer, and be more involved.  I would hopefully let people who are out there that feel the same way know that is ok to hurt for the ones they have lost.  Also, hopefully it will show them that it is right to fight for the cause, and stand with all the people that are willing to do it.


At age 7 I had my first experience with cancer.  My mother had stage 4 ovarian cancer. This was a time when Chemo wasn’t really around. Through my mother’s strong will and stubbornness, she became one of a very few that survived this disease.  She didn’t make it out of the fight without scars, to this day she has a wide list of health problems that she has been fighting with for the past 25 years of her life.  At seven, I was very unsure of what would happen.  I can remember walking down a lot of hospital hall ways, and being in the hospital room with a lot of families in them. Still having my mother here to this day is amazing.


 My mom today.

The next experience with cancer was with my father five years ago.  My father was the rock for my family. He was the one that we all turned to whenever there was a problem.  One day, while working In Oklahoma City, I received a phone call from my mother saying that my father was in the hospital.  My heart dropped to floor.  I got to Arkansas as soon as I could.  Once there I found that many test had been ran on my father, and they had found that he had stomach cancer that had grown to a 90% blockage of his esophagus.

This struck me very hard.  I was torn, because my father was in pain, and my life was in a completely different state over five hours away.   Once we got the plan from the same doctor that had treated my mother seventeen years before, I returned home. Over the course of a month I spoke to my family every day for updates, and tried to return to my life. One day, I called and talked to my father.  He was very down, and told me his one fear was that if it did come time for his fight to be over, he would be in a strange place that he didn’t call home.  This caused me to hurt for my father, so I made a decision that was difficult for me to make, even though I knew that I had go and be with him.  My wife and I had just really started dating, and it is amazing that she stuck with me during this time, because I was so distant from everything in my life.  I had to have a conversation with Cassi, and tell her I had to leave Oklahoma and return home.  She was so supportive, and said that she understood. So a week later I left Oklahoma to help my mother take care of my father. 


 Cassi and I when we first started dating.

Once returning home we began our battle.  By then chemo had completely broke my once strong father.  He had gone from 195ibs to 90 lbs, and I think he lost weight every day after that. He was on a feeding tube because he couldn’t swallow any food.  Just thinking about that is enough to kill me.  My father didn’t taste food for the last year of his life. We tried a wide variety of treatments, he had chemo while hospitalized, chemo from home, radiation, and surgeries. None of these were successful. The time I knew that the outlook wasn’t going to be good we were at the doctor’s office getting him a chemo treatment , and he got up to go to the bathroom.  After five steps,  he went straight down into my arms. It was a downward spiral after that. 

 The family after dad started chemo.

My hope was gone, and I was a beaten man.  The only thing that kept me going was that Cassi had decided that I shouldn’t go through this alone.  She decided to make a huge leap in her and her two year old son’s life.  She left her job, and moved to Arkansas.  She helped give me strength, and became another care giver for my father during his last year.  My mother, Cassi , and I worked in shifts taking care of my father .  

                           Wes and I in a rare moment of play time after moving to Arkansas.


 He didn’t do a lot of walking the final three months of his life. I remember him falling, and my mother calling me at work, and me coming home to check on him. Once I got there I knew he was really bad, and close to the end. I told him that I was going to call an ambulance and I remember him being so mad at me- like I had betrayed him, because his wish was to pass away at home. I was crying when I told him these words, “I am not willing to give up on you yet , dad,  and I am not willing to let you give up either.  I give you my word, once they tell us it’s over; I will break you out of the hospital if I have to, and bring you home.  I am just not willing stop fighting.” His response to this was, “Well fine at least shave me,  I am not going to go anywhere looking like a mountain man that can’t even take care of himself.” He was always worried about being proper, and how he didn’t want people to see him as weak.  So, I shaved his face, combed his hair, and we took him to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, the doctors didn’t want us to lose hope, so they kept up with the treatments and the other things for quality of life that they could do. We were in the hospital for almost a month until they finally said he would be lucky to survive a couple more days.  I was the one that had to lean over while he was in the hospital bed, and inform him of what we had been told.  In the edited words of my father he said “Stuff happens.” Than he looked me dead in my eyes, and said, “Son, I know I said I never wanted you to put life on hold for me, but I am glad you are here.”  At that moment,  I knew what we had to do, which was grant his wish and take him home.

Getting him home was not an easy task. We had hospice (which is a life saver please don’t miss read what I am writing- they help so many families, and I can’t thank them enough) but, hospice can only be there so much.  There are so many people that need them throughout the city they work in, they came in for around an hour a day, and the rest of the time it is up to caregiver’s.   I will spare you the details of all of the health care that my mother, Cassi and I had to do, but I would like to say that as a father myself,  I will do anything that I can never to have my son do the things for me that I had to do for my father.  Every day I close my eyes, and I can only remember the bad times while my father was sick.  I struggle to remember all of the great things he had done. Every once in a while when I get ready for work,  I hear my father’s voice saying “Make sure your shirt lines up with your zipper boy.” Or, “Slow down while you are shaving your missing to many spots.” and I smile.


My father survived for three weeks which was a lot longer than the two days they thought while he was in the hospital. During that time Cassi did a lot of reading for me about how to cope and deal with losing a loved one.   She also researched things we could do to help make things easier for my father.  The main thing she found was you always needed to make sure you said goodbyes, and let them know you loved them. This was hard for me and my father, because we were both non affectionate type people.  But, two days before he passed I took the opportunity to tell him how much I loved him and that I promised I would watch over the family. He looked at me and said “I love you to, now stop this.  I am having enough trouble right now without all this boo hooing.” I know this sounds harsh, but no sweeter of words could have been said by Jack Selby.

The last night was horrible.  We had to hold my father down, and it was like watching World War Three was going on in his body.  The only thing I really remember was telling Cassi to take Wes out of the house, because he shouldn’t see this.  Then, I remember sitting next to the bed and feeling peace go through the house.   I looked up, and my father, after a year of fighting, had passed.



My father passing away was not a total loss to me.  First, it gave me my wife, Cassi.  We got married on October 10th, 2010 (or 10-10-10, so I can always remember it.) She took the experience, and channeled her love for my father to Relay for Life.  And, if I do say for myself, she is one of the biggest fighters for the cause I have ever met in my life.  Her passion in turn, has rubbed off on our now seven year old son. His name is Wes, but you might know him as “Cancer Man.”  Last year my son decided he didn’t want to just tag along with Cassi, and do Relay stuff.   He wanted to do things to make money for himself.  He came out of the end of the year as the top fundraiser in our area- at the age of seven.  I will tell you, he could be a high school quarter back and throw the winning touchdown in the championship game, and I wouldn’t be as proud of him as I am for his fight against cancer.


 I hope this encourages you all to donate to the great cause, and stand with us.  Whether it to me, or someone you know, a dollar can help save someone’s life.
A balloon release at our wedding reception to honor my dad.  Cassi and Wes wanted to send him a message to heaven.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Turning Why into THANK YOU

Have you ever had one of those days where the stars align, and things just happen in a way that you just can't deny that it was meant to be?  Today has been one of those days - a life changing day.

Wes and I started our day by making plans to go to our favorite spot in town to meet some friends.  The Sweetness Factory is an amazing bakery that specializes in cupcakes, but also has inspirational gifts, and gourmet candy.  Basically, it's heaven on Earth.  What makes The Sweetness Factory even more special, is the owner.  She donates her profits to the regional Food for Kids program.  Deb is also a cancer survivor, and just an all around inspirational person.  If you need to be uplifted- she is the person you need to go see.  Now you know, the combination of those wonderful things is just not something I can't resist.  Amazing treats, giving- inspiration... yeah, we spend a lot of time there.

We walk in the doors and see our friends who are there to meet us, but get a bonus treat, because Wesley's Relay sugar momma, Cheryl, happens to be there to!  Cheryl is a former big boss (as Wes tells it) for The American Cancer Society, and was the person who orchestrated Wesley's birthday surprise at the offices in Oklahoma City.  She is like the big sister I always wished I had, because she and I are right on the same page when it comes to giving, parenting, and general craziness.

Cheryl gives us some AMAZING news.  Since I was a slacker this morning and slept in, I had not checked my email before leaving for Sweetness.  An article that Heidi Mercer (The Director of Youth Engagement in the High Plains Div of ACS) wrote about Wes has been chosen to be featured in 100 stories, 100 days - a special project that The American Cancer Society is doing to celebrate it's 100th birthday!  This is such a big honor, that I almost can't wrap my head around it.  Wes, of course, thinks it is just another day in the life of Cancer Man  :) You will be able to see the story LIVE here on Monday! 100 Stories - Wes Washburn

                                          (Wes and Cheryl holding hands during RFL 2013)

We take a seat with our friends (by the way- my poor friends- I am so all over the place all of the time that it is a miracle they ever want to hang out with me in public) and Deb comes by our table.  She asks Wes to tell her what is going on with the 100 Stories, and he tells her all about it.

She says, "Well, I just want to tell you thank you, and tell you how much it means to me, because I just found out that I have cancer again.  Come give me a hug."

My eyes immediately burn with tears.  Not just from seeing the hope that Wes gives people, but in ANGER.  HOW is it possible that this amazing woman, a survivor- who does so much for others, gives selflessly, and inspires us all, has to face this again?  HOW?

Deb is smiling, and I am a mess.  I tearfully say, "You are such a good person, it kills me that you have to go through this again."  And then, we had a conversation that I will never forget.

She said, I always turn my whys into thank yous.  Instead of complaining in traffic- WHY am I behind this person going so slow, making me late?  Thank you, God, I have a car, I have a job, and I have a place to be going.  WHY do I have to go through this again?  Thank you, God- I survived, I created this place, I can help others, and I can inspire.

Thank you.

I stood up and hugged her, thanked her and told her how much she inspired me.  Wes told her he was going to fight for her- fight in her honor this year. 

I took what she said to heart.  So often, I get caught up in the rush of things, that I get frustrated and ask WHY.  WHY can't I have that bigger house I want?  WHY is business slow?  WHY isn't my husband getting promoted as fast as we want?  

The truth is, if I turn those into thank you's, and realize how fortunate I REALLY am, my whole perspective changes.  This weekend I challenge you all to try it- just once, for me.  When you are upset or frustrated, think about what you do have- think about your thank yous.  It's so easy to go through life and forget.  We are truly blessed, and life feels better when we realize it.

 Wes and Deb

For the CURE-
Cassi


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Relay For Life campsite ideas!

We just finished Relaying BIG at RFL Custer County this weekend, and I wanted to take some time to share some of the awesome campsite ideas I saw, including my own, and a few others that I have seen online!

 This year our theme was Colors For The Cause, and each campsite represented a different type of cancer.  Our color was pink, for breast cancer, because Wesley's principal is a cancer survivor! I wanted to do something that had never been seen before- so rolled up my sleeves and put my artist thinking cap on :)  I wanted to show support for breast cancer without using some of the puns that are usually associated with it like "save the hooters".  I wanted this for two reasons- the first was because our team is an elementary school, and I don't think it is a good idea to teach kids to call breasts hooters.  And second, I read a blog that a survivor wrote saying how offensive those things felt to her, and how she thought it minimized the seriousness of the disease.  Here is what I came up with!

 I started by hand painting the top of our canopy with acrylic paints.  I am not sure how well this would translate into an outdoor event (if it rained) but our event is inside, so it worked great!  The canopy was set up in the middle of our living room for about two weeks while I did this (working on it for about an hour every evening when I had free time) so I have to give major props to my son and hubby for putting up with that!  Under each word I out a quote that pertained to the word that was painted above it. 
 We decorated the top and the supporting poles with deco mesh.  It was really easy to put on, and we just attached it with pipe cleaners!  The best part about this part of the project is we now have tons of deco mesh to turn into wreaths to sell for next years fundraising!  We also tied big ribbons onto the poles, and added pink monarch butterfly wings (which are a symbol for breast cancer).  I bought the wings on Ebay for about $6 each, and they actually started as the kind little girls wear for a costume.  I just cut off the elastic!

I love making balloon sculptures, because it is an inexpensive project that makes a HUGE impact.  When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I knew we had to do it at our campsite!  You can find great instructions for a basic balloon arch here .  The only difference is I use clusters of three instead of four.  To create the ribbon effect, simply bend your arch into a ribbon shape!  People were stopping here to take pictures all night!  
 
I also wanted to do something besides just fund raise at our site.  So, I decided it would be a great way to "fight back" by signing people up for a free mammogram reminder.  I found a free reminder service on the American Cancer Society's website, and created a form for people to fill out based on that.  Then we simply entered the information they filled out into the site! Feel free to use my form!

 Here is another amazing idea we saw that night from my friends over at The Etc Shop!  This is a great idea for those of you who have tents that are already decorated, or a different color than you want them to be (I am totally stealing this idea next year!)

They took those cheap $1 table cloths, and attached them to a piece of round cardboard (just a box they cut with a box knife into a donut shape!)with clear packing tape, and used it to cover their canopy- the result was an awesome big top look that amazing!
The thing I love most about this, is it could be changed to virtually any color based on your theme!  It will definitely make your site stand out of the crowd!  Way to go Team Etc! 

Here are a few more awesome site ideas!

This Naples RFL team's tent depicts 32 actors and actresses who had cancer during the 15th annual Relay for Life of Naples.  What a great idea for a Hollywood theme!  You could even include a walk of stars with survivors names!
Relaying outside at night?  Glow sticks make great decorations with a big impact!  Check out amazon- they are a great place to buy in bulk!

Lidy went wild with the Fishing For A Cure theme, and I love it!  You can check out her blog post on how she did it here.


Last, but not least- Put Cancer on Ice!  How cool (hehe no pun intended) is this one?  They used recycled milk gallon bottles to make the ice cubes! 

What does your site look like?  Do you have any fun ideas for next year?  Share below, and subscribe!

For the cause!
Cassi

PS- Like what you see?  Follow my Relay board on Pinterest!