We’re helping our dear friend, Sara

Hello Friends!

If there’s one thing we know about the people of Wisconsin, it’s that they have some of the biggest hearts of anyone anywhere. This is especially true of Milwaukee.Milwaukeeans have hearts the size of Texas (and, let’s be honest, better beer).

You know her. You love her.

We know you want to help. And she could use a little right now.

After several months with increasing epileptic episodes and the continued weakness, incapacitating pain, and mobility challenges due to her related neurological conditions, our dear friend, @sarasantiago, was encouraged to apply to a service dog training and placement organization. After completing the application process, Sara and her extended family participated in an interview with the organization, and she was accepted into the program.

A Seizure and Mobility Assistance Dog will keep Sara safe both during and after a seizure. It will be trained to alert someone nearby or to use a specialized “phone” to dial a pre-programmed number if she is alone, and bring her its special vest that may hold a prepaid cell phone, medication and anything else Sara might need. The dog will also be trained to keep Sara from physically putting herself in an unsafe situation. (It is possible for Sara to continue walking during certain types of seizures, albeit in an altered state of consciousness.) It will be able to assist her in getting up from a lying down or seated position, help to stabilize her when she is having a bad balance day, and will be trained to retrieve things for her, should she be too weak to do it on her own.

For her safety, we want Sara to receive this incredible dog as soon as possible.

This is where you come in.

Seizure and Mobility Assistance Dogs are highly trained and expensive. They go through up to two years of specialized training before they are able to be placed with someone in need.

It is the goal of the organization providing Sara’s service dog is that all dogs are placed at no cost to the disabled handler. “We understand the importance of adding a service dog to your life. We would never want finances to be the deciding factor. Each dog’s training, medical, and boarding comes to an average of $10,000.00, which is covered through fundraising efforts for the organization.”

Your contribution will help cover the cost of training, boarding and medical care for Sara’s service dog while it is going through its rigorous preparation to assist Sara, as well as airfare and a hotel room for the family while they work with the professional handlers for two weeks to transfer the service dog into Sara’s care as its new handler.

Please consider opening your hearts (and your wallets, duh).

We can’t do this without you.

In the words of Sara, We’ll eat you up, we love you so.

We know Sara has touched the lives of so many people in this community. It’s time for this community to do whatever it can to support her.

If you have a few (or a lot) of dollars to spare, please consider contributing to this campaign. Every little bit will get Sara one step closer to receiving the incredible gift of this service dog.  Visit http://www.bit.ly/sarassidekick to contribute.

Any and all questions regarding Sara’s Sidekick should go directly through Kate Barrie (kdbarrie@gmail.com) and Amy Kant (amykant@gmail.com).

Now, what are you waiting for? Let’s bring Sara’s Sidekick to Milwaukee!

– Kate Barrie & Amy Kant

Donate $25 to CCFA, get an AWESOME painting!

Want to take these paintings home with you?

Make an online donation of $25 or more at http://bit.ly/kantvegas before 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 16 and one of these paintings is yours.

Make sure you specify in the “Would you like to post a comment to this person’s webpage? If so, please enter your comment here:” section which painting you would like.

Thank you for helping me fight Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis!

Patty’s Story

When people ask me why I raise money for CCFA, I tell them it’s for my family – my late grandmother, my godmother and my uncle. But I also do it for everyone I have met through the CCFA and Team Challenge. One of these people is my friend Patty. Here is her story, which she shared with us last year. She is also one of Team Wisconsin’s honored heroes this season.

In high school, I struggled with weight loss, feeling lethargic, and the plethora of other problems that come with undiagnosed ulcerative colitis. I was subjected to some treatments that rendered me less likely to continue looking for what might have actually been wrong with me.

When I started college, at age 18, I couldn’t take the pain any longer. I found a doctor to help me. Unfortunately, I didn’t take my own disease seriously. I often skipped years between colonoscopies and only took my medication when I had an outbreak. For 22 years, when I fell out of remission, I fell hard. Each colonoscopy showed severe, active colitis. Last year, I struggled to function like a healthy woman should. I knew I had another outbreak of colitis and this one really scared me because the effects caused me to miss days from work, miss holidays with family, and miss out on moments with my daughter.

I went to the doctor, and he very seriously told me the facts. Because of my years with active, severe ulcerative colitis, the likelihood of colon cancer went up significantly. We could not get the colitis under control this time, and his recommendation was to have my large intestine removed completely. I was devastated and depressed. I know people CAN exist without a colon, but I didn’t want to. I know people CAN survive colon cancer, but the thought petrified me. I immediately changed my diet and my habits. I finally got serious about my disease, but was I too late?

Spring of last year, I met with a surgeon and discussed the procedure. I met with a nurse to discuss how I was going to live without a colon. I met with my boss to discuss the post-surgical ramifications. I met with my family to discuss how our lives were going to change.

Then came the colonoscopy. I went in feeling sure that he was going to come out telling me that my colon was a goner. I was hoping it would not result in a cancer diagnosis, but all of the literature and website facts seemed against me. I received a phone call. My doctor wanted to see me as soon as I could get in. I went immediately. My face was so long and sullen. My doctor’s face was not! Not only had my colonoscopy showed improvement, but my body reversed itself to mild colitis-no cancer!

Everything changed that day. My doctor consulted other doctors and the recommendation changed. The surgery was cancelled, my diet changed, my medications changed, and right now I am in remission. I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. Because of research done, I was able to change my regiment and therefore, change the ulcerative colitis. I also have to add, because I really do admire him, that my doctor was willing to listen to my needs and willing to admit that he needed to consult with other medical professionals before my colon was removed.

Mary, Me and Patty during the Napa to Sonoma half marathon.

Donate now to help me help people like Patty and all others who suffer from Colitis and Crohn’s.

Green Bay Packers Family Fun Night

Are you a fan of the World Champion Green Bay Packers? Now that the lockout is over, your first chance to see the Green and Gold at Lambeau field since they won the Super Bowl is THIS SATURDAY for Packers Family Fun Night (@Lambeau Field, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, August 6th).

Guess what? I have a pair of tickets to the event. You see where this is going.

For every $25 donation between 1:30 p.m.Thursday Aug. 4 and 5 p.m. Friday Aug. 5 you will be entered to win this pair of tickets plus cash for parking ($5).

The seats are on the 40 yard line, in Section 121, Row 16, Seats 3-4. So, they’re pretty good seats. And you’ll get to see Aaron Rodgers. And Clay Matthews. And Donald Driver. Do I need to go on?

All you have to do is donate online. Or, if you’re in the Shorewood area tonight, I’ll be selling tickets at Performance Running Outfitters on Oakland.

I will close this raffle at a total of 50 tickets sold, and will update this page as donations/raffle ticket purchases come in. So you have a 1 in 50 chance of winning this awesome pair of tickets! You must be in the Milwaukee area. When I pick the winner (drawn at random), we will arrange a drop off for the tickets.

Race Report: Laura’s Smile 5k – Girls on the Run

Girls On the Run plus their buddies - Bay View team

What a beautiful, hot and muggy day. LOL. Today was the big 5k run for the GOTR kids.

Pre-race cheer!
Me and Juliana pre-race

They looked a bit nervous before the race but we took off running at the start. Then the heat REALLY hit us. Juliana (Tracey G.‘s daughter) was hilarious, per always.

“Are we almost done?”

“No, Juli, we’ve only gone half a mile.”

“Ughhhhh. This isn’t fair. It’s so hot. I wish it was pouring or there was a big gust of wind.”

We did a lot of run/walking (emphasis on the walking) because of the heat and the fact there was only one water stop on the course. In this heat, with that many youngins, geeze, one more stop would have been nice.

We kept leap-frogging with Angela and her buddy, Nadia.

Nadia, Juli and Angela, Mile 1
Nadia, Me and Juliana - Mile 1

I’d give Juli little goals, like, “When we get to that big tree, we’re gonna run til the turn…” Basically, fartleks, which is my favorite word, evar.

When she saw the water stop, Juli took off running. Like, we’re talking a 10:15 pace. Which is hilarious, because we had been going at anywhere from a 15-17 pace. I could barely catch up with her. She dumped a cup of water on her head and we kept on trucking. Saw her parents Tracey G.Jason G. shortly after the water stop and kept on going.

Nadia and Juliana - Mile 2 "We're dying"
"Are we done?"

We made little goals and I started forcing her to run, reminding her that there was cake at the finish line (she’s a girl after my own heart).

By about mile 2 I realized my fingers had swelled up to the size of sausages. It was gross. I could hardly bend my fingers.

fat fingers

Mile 3!

As we walked during the last mile, I told Juli about a trick I like to use at races. When you see the finish line close, start running as fast as you can past everyone cheering, so they think you’ve been running that fast the whole time.

Sprinting to the finish!

We blasted through the last tenth of a mile at a 9:30 pace. Then Juliana got her medal (so cute!) and we found water, cake and fruit.

Yay! We did it!

GOTR is such a great program. Had a blast with Jane S. Chelsey F. Rochelle and all the girls.

3.1 miles in 52:08 – 16:55 pace

BTW, this time includes the water stop and stops to take photos at each mile marker. If we wouldn’t have done that, I think we could have shaved about 3 minutes off the time, giving us a 16 pace, which is exactly what we’ve been having at practices.

It’s official – Rock n Roll Las Vegas BABY

It’s official! I’m going to be a mentor for Team Challenge Wisconsin and raise money to kick Crohn’s and Colitis to the curb – again!

I’m sure you’ll get annoyed by my tweets, Facebook posts, emails and blog posts, but you can get me to shut up by donating today!

And, if you’ve ever considered running a half marathon, please let me know! We’re looking for you to run with Team Challenge! Watch this video below and try to tell me you DON’T want to run this race. You know it’s not possible, right?

Bondi Band for Charity!

Slow, it's the new fast! Pink ink on yellow, black, white, green, purple, grey OR white ink on navy, blue, yellow, maroon, orange, black, green

I’m now selling Bondi Bands to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Yes, that’s right, I’ve joined Team Challenge – again!

If you would like to support a great cause AND get a killer addition to your workout wardrobe, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m selling the Bondi Bands for $8 each or two for $15. Shipping in the U.S. is $3 for regular, $4.95 for flat rate shipping (your choice). I have a few payment options available – Paypal, personal check or cash.

Head on over to my Bondi Band page for more info!

 

Something’s different…

So, this happened:

What a fun Saturday! I got to hang out with my AWESOME stylist, Dawn, and get a killer hair do. I mean, really… look at that! I freaking love it. I was nervous about the colors being super annoying, but I think I can totally pull this look off!

Here’s the “Before”:

Here’s how the process went.

Step #1: remove color – aka BLEACH

Step #2: Wash and Dry – and look like a trashy hooker

Step #3: Prepare dyes (blue, orange and brownish red for all-over color)

Step #4: Process color (aka – get high as hell off the fumes)

Step #5: Wash and lightly shampoo out color

Step #6: Cut, blow dry and style

Then freakin’ rock your new ‘do!

Postscript:

Pardon my language:

But to the woman who actually STOPPED and started pointing and staring with a puzzled look on her face through the salon window on Mason St around 2pm today, please kindly fuck off.

Your behavior was rude, offensive and quite honestly, juvenile for someone your age. YES I have blue and orange streaks in my hair. I’m not a circus freak show. I did it for charity. If you wouldn’t have been so rude, maybe I could have told you how my wonderful stylist Dawn Albrecht donated her time, talents and dye to make my hair look pretty kick-ass… oh and the charity thing? I’ve raised almost $6500 this year for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I’ve trained to run a half marathon – twice. I’m not some punk kid trying to rebel. So, the next time you see someone with “different” hair through the window at a salon, think twice before you stop, point, stare and look like an intolerant idiot.

Sincerely,
Amy

Today’s the day – my hair is going blue and orange for CCFA!

I can’t believe the day is finally here! In just over an hour, I’ll be sitting in my stylist’s chair, getting blue and orange highlights put in my hair to show my support and commitment to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I’ll be honest, I’m super excited but also a bit nervous. Like, what happens when I go to work on Monday? What about church? Will people stare? Will people ask me why I have these colors in my hair? How long will it last? Will people think I’m – GASP – a Chicago Bears fan?

I really do hope people ask me why my hair is blue and orange. I will tell them the reason why – that I’m doing it to bring awareness to the diseases that have affected my loved ones. The friends I’ve made through my work with the CCFA. To find a cure.

I’m doing this because you all were so generous in your donations – together we raised $2520 for CCFA! Since I have already reached my goal, if you are interested in making a donation, I am asking you to consider donating instead to one of the fabulous members of my team:

It’s the final countdown…

Ok folks, I need to raise $280 in 4 days. That’s about $70 a day. Can you help me out? If I don’t raise the money, I have to pay the balance myself… and Monday’s my birthday. Please don’t make me use my rent money to pay the balance.

All donations of $20+ made through November 16 will win a gift certificate to The Establishment Salon in Shorewood!

  • Donate $20 or more, get a $10 gift certificate*
  • Donate $40 or more, get a $20 gift certificate*
  • Donate $75 or more, get a $20 gift certificate & you are entered to win a $300 Aveda Shopping Spree @ The Establishment Salon

*limit of 1 gift certificate per donor, can not be combined with other offers

Blue & Orange Challenge

Ever wonder what I’d look like with streaks of orange and blue in my hair? Well here’s your chance. If we reach my goal fundraising amount – $2520by by 28th birthday on November 15 – I will have permanent orange and blue streaks dyed in my hair. My hairdresser, Dawn, has graciously agreed to donate her time and money to do the streaks.

And don’t forget, we’re Bowlin’ for the Colon tonight! Stop by and join the fun!