My name is Beth Calabotta.
You may remember me from previous posts that Rebecca has featured about my story and the annual swim challenge held in my honor in Quincy IL – which we have turned into a Cancer Couch Fundraiser.
I am writing today, in pretty rough shape, from a hospital bed in Quincy with a very specific message that I would like to get out to as many people as possible: Giving is full of unintended blessings that are often repaid many times over.
The past several months have been incredibly challenging for me as I have been in extreme pain, have suffered neurological and physical difficulties due to metastatic disease, treatment side effects, and recently had two seizures. However, one of the main things that helps me keep going and energizes me through these difficult times is my role in the mbc community as an advocate and educator. More recently I have become involved with fundraising as well and have chosen to direct these funds to The Cancer Couch Foundation (TCCF). This is a foundation I believe will continue to do great things for the mbc community so that no one else will have to endure the pain and suffering associated with a terminal diagnosis.
I knew that getting involved with TCCF would be empowering to direct money to a place that will make a difference and this takes away some of the feelings of helplessness with cancer. However, my involvement in helping raise funds for TCCF has paid unintended dividends. The other night in the hospital, I was telling the phlebotomist about the swim challenge. I was telling her about the money we raised for research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (who are both matching every dollar donated from TCCF!), and even better – the community donation that TCCF gave to the Blessing foundation in my name to help those mbc patients in my community who are in financial need. I was talking to her about the impact one person can have on changing the future. Rebecca with TCCF, me with trying to help TCCF by raising money, and both of us focused upon helping to change the future so that no one else will have to endure what I have been going through, when I felt myself starting to slur words. I hit my nurse call light which normally produces a response within 5-20 minutes. The phlebotomist then realized I was in trouble and hit the all hands on deck call light and within 30 seconds my room was filled with people to help. A doctor appeared and staff was calling for things to stabilize me, for people to call my family, and in general the nurses were doing whatever they could to help and to reassure me I was in good hands. I had started to panic and was having difficulty breathing, but was able to regain composure because I knew I was in good hands.
Moreover, I had witnesses to the entire event, a huge positive to understanding the complete scope of events.
The most ironic thing that came out of this was that I was making the point that when you give you often receive more back than you anticipate, and my involvement with the metastatic community has been exactly that.
Giving is full of unintended blessings that are often repaid many times over.
You do not have to start a foundation or become an advocate to make a difference. There are so many ways to make a huge impact with even small gestures. If you can donate, and have been inspired to do so, please consider doing this in my honor here or on the donate page above (hit the donate pillow). Or, if you are a breast cancer patient yourself – especially a mom or a dad – TCCF is launching a nationwide campaign to get a “Last Day of School Scoops Challenge” to take place in each of the 50 states! The instructions to host one of these can be found here or by hitting the “Fundraise” pillow, and it is so easy. We are specifically looking for people who have been or are breast cancer patients themselves to get this started in your areas as we want you to know this amazing feeling of taking some control over this disease by giving back. The scoops challenge is a fun way to get your kids involved and to help them feel some control over this disease that has impacted them as well. As TCCF did for me, they will donate 10% of all proceeds raised in your community to a fund in your honor. This fund will help mbc patients in financial need at your cancer center. It is an amazing way to give back, contribute to the mbc community, and pay it forward. Please contact Rebecca for more info if you are interested in doing this! Click here to see Susan Rahn’s son Adam’s school in action doing this!