Thursday, September 17, 2015

"Raise Your Glass: Cocktails Curing Cancer" Guest Post By Renee Dall

I am very excited to have a guest post this week. With Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October I wanted Renee to share her story on how Cocktails Curing Cancer was born. As a woman, a mother and someone who is a supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness I have admired Renee and the hard work, passion, dedication, and commitment she has put into being the voice she is for Breast Cancer Awareness. Thank you Renee for this post and all you do! 

There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.
~Bette Davis
In 2007 I became a mother to a little girl.  In 2008 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I remember sitting on my parents deck having a drink, realizing that my mom was mortal, and that someday, my sweet little 10 month old could be sitting there with the same realization about me.   Feeling called to action to “fix” this situation, I was unsure of how to proceed.  It seemed unlikely that I could become a highly trained surgeon in the next 48 hours, nor could I find a cure for cancer given my non-existent science background.  I’m also not really great with finding the right words to say in delicate situations.  The best I could come up with, as I was pouring us all another glass of wine was “if alcohol can kill germs, why not cancer”?  Deep thoughts by Renee right there.
Fast forward a couple of days – I’m still trying to figure out how to control this situation, my mom is preparing for surgery, and fate intervenes.  While driving to work, I hear an ad for the first Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Vermont.  The skies opened up, and the angels sang “Control Freak – here is something you can do!” in melodic tones.  I pretty much stalked Amy, the American Cancer Society employee, who was planning the walk.  And then I cried during their committee meeting.  Once you cry in front of strangers – you are pretty much fully committed.  I promised that I would raise $2000 for this walk.  I had NO idea how to raise that much money.  NONE.  I emailed everyone I knew, talked the local pizza joint into hosting a fundraising night, and was still about $1000 away.  So I decided to have a party.  In all honesty – I suspected it was going to be my friends and I sitting at a bar, tossing change into a bucket and calling it a fundraiser.  I reached out to my favorite bar at the time, Drink, and asked if we could hang out there.  And this is where bliss began.  Melissa’s mother was a cancer patient as well – and she donated the use of their event room.  Then I found a caterer – who MADE me call a woman she knew…who knew a million other women. Before you knew it – Cocktails Curing Cancer was a REAL EVENT!  We had food, prizes and sold all 60 tickets!  We raised the $1000 dollars, had fun, and decided to do it again. And again…and again…you see where this is going, right?

Each of our 8 years we’ve grown.  From that 60 person party consisting of my family and friends, to this year’s upcoming event with over 300 guests and a goal of $20,000 – I’m always blown away.  Mostly, I’m blown away by the people who help.  That first year, women who didn’t know me – who had never met me – stepped up and said “Yes, I’ll help”.  And then got others involved. The third year of Cocktails I came down with a severe case of viral meningitis, was hospitalized, and unable to function.  Women from across my life – work, community, kids activities, many of whom didn’t know me well and certainly didn’t know each other – stepped up and ran the event.  They’ve since all become dear friends and board members – but they started as life-savers. Sponsors bring other sponsors, guests become sponsors and prize donors, companies now ASK to be involved!
Women can be tough on each other.  But we can, and do, raise each other up when the sh*t hits the fan.  While I’ll never say that I’m glad breast cancer has entered my world, I will say it has brought blessings I never expected.  
And with that – I encourage you to find your calling, and raise up other women (and a glass of bubbly) to help them find theirs.  (And of course – feel free to join us October 1, 2015 – there are a couple VIP tickets left! www.cocktailscuringcancer.com)
Cheers!

2 comments:

  1. What a great cause! Wish I lived close enough to join. Both of my Aunts are breast cancer survivors and I participate in a walk with them every year, so important to do all that you can to raise awareness! <3

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    1. I wish you could join too! It's a lot of fun. I am taking my mom with me, her mother was a breast cancer survivor. There can never be enough awareness. We need to beat cancer!

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