The Day We All Were Waiting For (but mostly me!)

Sunday was the day. I am not someone who likes to get up early, but I will to swim awfully long distances with people who keep kicking me. And even though it really scares me, makes me extremely nervous, I will totally do it, and at a ridiculous hour that should only be experienced by people waiting for school buses,  inflexible bosses, or people with very small children who don’t know how to read a clock or work a toaster. My children can read clocks and use the toaster, so I sleep in either Saturday or Sunday. But sometimes I get the family up and drive to a cold body of water and jump in. Then they clap for me when I come in, and then we go to breakfast. Perfect morning for me. And that is (sort of) what we did this weekend, no different.

Well, it actually was different.  This time it was for Team In Training, it was the Hudson River, where I have never swum before, and I had dragged my family 10 hours north to do it. So if I wasn’t ready, it surely was too late for that. I had said all along, if I have to stop, if my shoulder messes up, if I get too tired or get stuck in a current, run out of time, or cramp or whatever makes it impossible, I would not push myself too far. With swimming,  pushing too hard becomes a safety issue, so I feel like it adds a different level of difficulty, danger, and endurance to the sport. So you have to tell yourself how far you are willing to push yourself. So armed with my inhaler, Gu, and a great new suit, I was ready to go. I decided to go wetsuit free, as the water was a around 74 degrees.  I worry so much, it makes it hard to get to sleep, so a fairly moderate amount of activity on Saturday helped me feel more ready for bed that night, but I also am a “Sleep Denier” and so I put off going to bed a lot of the time, but I was fairly tired and went to bed at around eleven. So nutrition check, positive attitude check, sleep check, gear check, and cheering squad check. And when I showed up with my cheering squad, and told the NY Team I was Carrie Rogers, I got hugs!! And cheers and celebrity treatment; people showing me around like a prize poodle! It turns out I was the Top Fundraiser for the WHOLE TNT team! Wow! I was on Cloud Nine! We– BECAUSE, BROTHERS– had raised $8600 for Team in Training. Wow again!!

I secretly hoped all along we would be able to do that, and I checked the website last year to see what people were bringing in, and I set my goal with that in mind. But there have been times we haven’t made the goal. We have done this several years in a row in a down economy, and a lot of our regular donors are doctors or retirees, who are having to live on less because their stocks are down or their earnings are down, and that sounds like they are hoarding money in a big safe like Scrooge McDuck, but realistically, these are people who have given so much to us in the past, and they don’t have a big Scrooge McDuck pile, just like all of us. People are strapped these days, whether you have PhDs or MDs or JDs, and everyone is having to scrape a little more to live of off. So just like the old woman in the temple in the parable, when you have little to give, your contribution is even more meaningful. We are blessed to have these people who give and give year after year, or the child at the lemonade stand, or the teacher who has taken a pay cut again, or the high-level executive who donates a percentage to his church, charity, and civic group and then responds to my letter after seeing what we are trying to accomplish, helping me reach our goal. What it all comes down to it, all that matters is that we all do *something,* don’t just do NOTHING. I think the amount we were able to raise with a short letter raising everyone’s awareness, and some emails and social media posts, and a rainy lemonade sale, goes to show that people in general just want to help. And they did. They helped patients get to treatment appointments, paid for cancer therapies, provided support for families dealing with a child or brother or wife or parent’s diagnosis, and they helped push for medical research dollars and advocacy for the mission. Every one of you did that, with every dollar. Granddaddy told me, when we were on the Outer Banks when I was little, that I was supposed to leave a place better than when I found it. I have always remembered this, and as a kid, I thought it just meant picking up a plastic wrapper on the beach or not pulling sea grass out of the dunes. But now I understand more what he meant, and I am trying to do that. I was thirteen when Granddaddy died of lymphoma. It surprises me how much that little statement affected my life.

I digress! So back to last weekend. It was a beautiful day. Awe-inspiring.  Dennis Chillemi, NY’s Executive Director, called me out at the beginning pep talk and congratulated me for coming so far and raising the top amount, and everyone clapped. I don’t think I’ve ever had everyone clapping for me. I don’t often do stuff where I’m getting awards and kudos. I fly under the radar, always around the middle. Then I was worried about the cold, but the water was warm(ish). Carol (I’m sorry but I didn’t get her last name!) watched me at the starting line– I was stuck way in the back and the TNTers were all going first but I wasn’t with them, so she called for me, and made sure I got in with their wave. When I was having trouble starting, she reminded me, “Put your face in the water!!” and I did, for which I’m grateful because it’s easy to get freaked out about the cold but if you just get your face cold then you adjust to the temperature faster and you can get moving. Then when we lost sight of the buoys, we had the awesome kayakers to point us in the right direction. And so when I was following the 2 mile buoy and it was floating away, I had gotten discouraged because I couldn’t get closer to it (Maybe we were both floating at the same speed!?), the kayakers kept me from getting worked up and pointed me in the real right direction. And then when we were too close to the riverbank and I got stuck on the rocks, the people behind me got me moving again, because I was cramping and I knew staying by the rocks, I was accidentally leading other swimmers in too close. And so I yelled to them not to get on the rocks, pushed and pulled and yelled some more! (to get through the cramp!!) and I did it. And when I got to the finish line, after sprinting the last 50 or 75 yards, I saw an angel with blond hair and an LLS shirt pull me in, put a medal on me, and get me to the first aid tent, where they covered me with blankets and gave me a massage, until I could move again, and it was wonderful. Every person at the event that day was doing it out of care, a desire to help, and need to do good in the world around them. (Well, some of them were there because I drug them up from Raleigh, and there was a playground there so they didn’t just up and run away.) But  Team in Training evokes that kind of atmosphere. And it warms your heart and invigorates you to be another one to do good for others. It’s priceless.

Team in Training Hotties!!

Team in Training Hotties!!

So Because Brothers family, WHO’S NEXT for Team in Training???

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I am not an Endurance Athlete

Confession, Folks. I am not an endurance athlete. I’m not. If you ask me to run all the way to my mailbox, I will give you A LOOK. If you want me to ride a bike, I will turn around and go home after 3 miles. I cough and get winded, and when I have a cold I have to use an inhaler, and sometimes I just do so I have the energy to get through a long workout. I go to the gym and sweat it out on the elliptical like every other girly-girl there (except I’m a dozen years older than those girls because I work at a university and it’s cheaper than joining the Y)… but you will never catch me on the treadmill, or in an aerobics class or tennis court. Golf makes me mad, hiking hurts my knees, swimming, even, my favorite sport of all, was off of my “to do” list for fifteen years. I used to hide in the fog coming off the top of the pool when we opened it for practice at 4:30 a.m. But the fog would dissipate by the time everyone was done with their warm-up and I would swim to the end, always one of the last ones. They put me in the pity events– 50 free and 100 or 150 backstroke. I sometimes tell people when they ask if I did endurance on the swim team then, and I say, “No, I was a sprinter.” That’s kind of a lie. I did the short events, but I wasn’t sprinting. I was in awe of the girls who could swim the distance events.

Team in Training understands this. They work you like a rented mule, push you to your limits, and they remind you that some things are not worth slacking off about. If I don’t feel like going to practice because I didn’t get enough sleep last night, I am reminded when I get on Facebook that Jessica spent her day with 3 kids, the twins are 1 1/2 year old, and she didn’t get to slack off. She doesn’t get to tell cancer to “Take it easy, Cancer. I need a day off from you.” I see Harriet there too, and she is helping organize a walk in Atlanta for breast cancer research, after losing her mother (Duke’s Aunt Franny) to multiple myeloma, and then going through breast cancer herself. And Kristie, who spent almost every day this summer at the hospital with her dad. Some days he was well enough to come home. Some days she just sat by his bed and prayed. These ladies have ENDURANCE.

I like to say it’s not really endurance for me– more… persistence. I was badly out of shape. And so when I finally decided to do something about it, it became an obsession. Luckily, I found a way to turn my persistence into passion. I give up on things all the time. I have uncompleted projects all over the house (Sorry, Duke!), but I am passionate about helping get rid of blood cancers. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through losing a loved one. I’ve been working with LLS for 5 years now. And here we are, nearly $110,000 later, and I am still persistent about this: I will do things I want to give up on, all in the name of beating cancer. I was tired yesterday. I didn’t want to go to practice. I have swam about 80 miles since I started training!! Eighty! That number KILLS me, because I really want to slack off, sit at home and read a book, watch a movie and play with my kids; see my husband. I fall asleep doing those things now, sometimes, because I am nonstop busy these days– training, working, sending out letters and thank you notes and cleaning (or not cleaning, but looking at the mess and trying to figure out where to start)… but I can’t give up. I have 2 little girls; I am a ROLE MODEL now. They are going to copy every. little. thing. I. DO. If I don’t set a good example, how will they learn that it is our DUTY to serve? I am not extremely religious, but I have faith, and I know a lot of people don’t, or they believe something different. But you cannot deny the truth in St. Francis of Assisi’s words: “For it is in giving that we receive.” 

And that is what I want my children to understand. This is not endurance. This is living.

 

 

As a sidenote; I wrote this on Sept. 10th, but was planning to post that afternoon, but my computer was dead. My friend, Jessica, who I have mentioned in this blog several times (and in this post), met with her doctor yesterday at Johns Hopkins. After chemo, radiation, and a year and a half of fighting lymphoma, she is CANCER FREE!! Jess, I will be thinking of your victory on Sunday. So happy for you and your family.

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I have had a very tiring week. I think it’s either everything catching up to me, or having the short week and starting PT and working out and trying (REALLY, I am! It’s just slow so please be patient!), but the idea hit me hard this week that it was 13, 12, 10… now 7 days left before the swim. I go to work, swim or go to PT and then eat dinner and put the girls in bed. And then I pass out. I had to order my groceries only the other night, so it was terrible. I got the most ridiculous items multiple times… they must have thought I was drunk. Luckily my mom had cooked dinner the night before and there were leftovers, and then we had fast food the next night. Yuck. But I’m eating a lot and trying to stay healthy but the food I really crave when I’m tired is sweets. And so a chocolate bar here, a muffin there…it’s hard to lose weight doing Team in Training because the workout regiment makes you want to eat like an Olympic Athlete. For comparison to what you might eat in a day, here is the Michael Phelps diet:

At least I'm not eating THIS.

At least I’m not eating THIS.

Breakfast: Three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. Two cups of coffee. One five-egg omelet. One bowl of grits. Three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar. Three chocolate-chip pancakes.

Lunch: One pound of enriched pasta. Two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo on white bread. Energy drinks packing 1,000 calories.

Dinner:  One pound of pasta. An entire pizza. More energy drinks.
Could you imagine?? I don’t have the energy to PREPARE that much food. I wonder if he cooks. (Notice the mom in me– “Who’s in charge of all that feeding?”)

But anyway, I have learned that is it hard to feed an endurance athlete. I am bad at eating high-protein, since I am such a carb lover. But if we have a lot of fruit around, that sometimes helps me not eat too many sweets, and when I am going to swim it weighs me down much less than say, a Zone bar or bowl of oatmeal. An apple a day keeps the doctor away! But today I am off to do my 3 mile workout. And so since I am leaving later in the day, I’ve had oatmeal and a banana and 2 cups of coffee. I’m going to get some Gatorade and I have some “goo” energy stuff.

And so we’ll see how this workout goes. It’s going to be my last big workout before the race– I have practice Monday night, put that’s usually 2000 yards or so. And I’ll try not to push it because I need to keep my shoulder in good shape.

I will try to post one more time before Sunday. We are leaving on Wednesday to go see Taylor Swift in Greensboro and then we start our drive to NY Friday morning. Please keep up with us on Facebook to hear about our trip, the race and the WINNER for the RAFFLE!! That will be announced this weekend. More details soon.

Thank you all for your support!! I love to get the letters cheering me on, the Facebook comments and the comments on the donation page. It just makes me want to cry that we have made it this far! I am greatly appreciative. Please keep an eye on the donation box on the right-hand side of the page to see if we get to our goal! We are so close and I really really am proud of all the kind, generous donations. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Things I Think About in the Water…

Always on my mind...

Always on my mind…

We are — as I write this post– over SEVENTY PERCENT of the way to our goal!! Woooohoooo! THANK YOU to all our supporters who have come together to make Because Brothers a raving success again this year. I am really happy to be spearheading such a wonderful effort for a cause that means so much to my family and friends. Also, I want to mention our TEAM HEROES Chip Rogers,  my brother-in-law, is still in remission and was given a clean bill of health last week. We will get official word soon on the last of the tests soon, and we are optimistic. And Jessica Machuga, my friend in Maryland who is battling a second bout with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is finishing up testing after her radiation treatment earlier in the summer. We are keeping her in our prayers.

So this week I wanted to do a post that was a “The lighter side of miles and miles of laps.” I have an mp3 player that Duke got for me that I can listen to in the pool, but I don’t use it at swim practice or in the lake. But whether we’re in fresh water, pool water or salt water, swimmers are alone in their thoughts for hours, and that makes it an activity that is kind of exercise AND meditation. I know some people feel like this about yoga or running or whatever, but I feel like swimming is the most meditative sport for me. For someone who talks a lot and lives in a noisy house, I get a lot of benefit from this. But sometimes it’s kind of funny.

So here’s my list of random thoughts!

  • I wonder if anyone has peed in the pool.
  • I hope I can make it through this set without having to pee.
  • What lap am I on?
  • What can I make for dinner in 10 minutes?
  • “Wichaad, der ah no holes in da pool!!” (My dad and my siblings are probably the only ones who will understand this.)
  • What is there was a hole in the pool?
  • Why don’t they use salt pools here instead of chlorine!?!?
  • Is someone in my lane?? Oh, no, that’s just a lane rope.
  • Is someone in my lane?? Oh, no, that’s just the lane marker.
  • Does my swim cap hurt my brain? Am I having delusions?
  • I can’t see through these goggles. Is that someone in my lane? Nope, just a scratch in my goggle.
  • That person next to me is going too fast/stroking sloppy. He’s making wakes and that annoys me.
  • That person next to me is going so slow.  My wakes and are probably annoying them. Speed up, dude!
  • No one should wear a speedo as small as that dude on the deck. That is shameful.
  • No one should wear an American flag speedo. That is ridiculous. Unless you’re in the Olympics, I guess. That’s patriotic.
  • How many more laps do I have to do?
  • Math. ***This is the only time in my day, REALLY, that I choose to add, multiply and subtract. And I am doing it when my body is low on oxygen and tired. I have really done some bad equations when the brain goes to that. Another reason I should not do math (and that includes 2nd grade homework).
  • People I have met through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, how they have impacted my life.
  • I’m glad I am not using my wetsuit.
  • I wish I were in my wetsuit!
  • How is this going to compare to the Hudson?
  • Pretend this is an open-water. Visualize: you are in a lake. Now you are in the ocean. Now a river. Now the English Channel. Next, you are swimming from Cuba to Florida– SHARK!
  • What if there ARE sharks in the river? It HAS happened before.
  • Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Kick. Kick. Kick. Don’t forget to kick.
  • Fasterfasterfasterfasterfasterfaster
  • PaceyourselfPaceyourselfPaceyourselfPaceyourselfPaceyourselfPaceyourselfPaceyourselfPaceyourself
  • Am I going to die? How do I do this for 2 miles? Three miles? In an open river?
  • I can’t wait. I can’t wait.
  • Ew. A band aid.
  • A nickel!
  • Ew. Hair. (I have spent literally DAYS looking at the bottoms of pools now!)
  • How many miles have I done..?

I looked up that last one. Sixty-seven miles, since April. Wow. Thanks for all the words of encouragement, and the donations to our cause!

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mel holt

This message above meant so much to me. I mean, all the encouragement does, of course. I am not, by nature, an endurance athlete. But I am a social person, and I respond well to positive attention. So in order to take on a massive effort like this, I need a LOT of prodding. Which is strange, because I don’t like to do little things. I am a big picture kind of person. I sent out over 500 letters in the last two weeks. I have organized Light the Night Teams and events and been in charge of some aspects of all sorts of things in my work, my home life, and volunteer activities. But getting off the couch is hard for me. These two aspects of my personality clash on a regular basis, but what can I say. I am a complicated person. Aren’t we all.

Now– as far as endurance. I need the encouragement because, like I said, I am not an endurance athlete. In high school I swam the 50 free. That is the race they put you in when you are nice enough to show up, but not really good enough for things like the relays and the 500. I was a slacker. Really! But there was one friend of mine, 15 years later, who said to just show up.

Just show up.

That can’t really hurt, can it? So I did.

A couple friends from the neighborhood had started to meet at the pool after they dropped their kids off at school, and they asked me to just show up. I started by swimming maybe 600-800 yards with them. I didn’t even know how many laps were in a mile (1800, approximately, so 72 laps is generally considered a mile in the pool). I didn’t start swimming a mile then. I had my gallbladder out that year, and I was able to use that as a valid excuse not to swim the Jordan Lake swim with them in May. But gallbladders are not nice when they mess up, and you feel rotten. I was barely over 30, and the friends I was swimming with were in their mid-late 30s, and they were in good shape.  I decided I wanted to feel like that, not a fat, slobby, slow person who had bad knees and a bad back and looked like she was much older that she really was. I didn’t feel like I belonged in the group sitting on the couch eating cheetos. I knew I did, but I didn’t want to look like I did.

So I signed up for the next swim, and instead of training hard, I just showed up. And I did fine. I was slow, but I was there. And so I kept working at the pace of just showing up, whenever I could. It was harder than sitting on the couch, but my cholesterol was down, my energy was better, and I was happier. Now I also have a positive outlet for my need for *do-gooding* with swimming. I also swim now when my mood is down, when I am tired, or when I need a pick me up.

And when a cause like LLS needs me. And so that is where I needed to go beyond “just showing up.” If everyone with LLS is working so hard to support the mission, if I do a minimum and put just a little effort into fundraising, I am doing them a disservice. I need to do more than showing up for something like this. People’s live are saved through the efforts of LLS.

Today my sister-in-law, the one who did the first campaign for Because Brothers back when Chip was diagnosed, wrote on my fundraising page that she was proud of what I was doing. Now, if I were going to just show up that would be a lie– that would be nothing to be proud of. So I will push myself off the couch, for her. She set an example for us that year– go above and beyond, and big things can happen. We have now raised over $100,000 for an organization that helped save our brother. It’ll be nearly $110K if we meet our goal in the next month. And I believe we will make it.

But in exchange for the support of our friends and family coming out to give to our cause, I have to do my part and keep moving forward, even though, honestly, the training is getting pretty hard. So the second message posted above is a reminder of the pledge I made to swim those three wet, rough miles. The friend who gently urged me to just come along, and do what I can, donated in her uncle’s name. He has CML, and I will be thinking of him, of Mel, and all our friends and family who supported me, as I push from one bank to the next. I’ll have plenty of time to reflect on the kindness that got me there, and all the people who are rooting for me and for a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and all cancers. Mile after mile, your encouragement is getting me through this last month of training. Thank you all!

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Chip’s Post

I am once again honored and humbled at the love, support, and generosity from all the contributors to the Because Brothers fundraising efforts—I am also amazed at the straight up athleticism of the female members of this generation of the Rogers family.

It’s hard to believe that this week five years ago, I was gearing up for my fourth round of chemo—and that come October, I will be five years into remission. Five freakin’ years and counting, man! In two weeks I’ll be going back to the Emory Clinic for what may be my last scheduled visit with them for some time—once I get five years out from treatment, they’ll turn me over to my local doctor for routine monitoring at home in Macon. I’m stronger and in better health than at any time probably since my teenage years. I just got tenure at Middle Georgia State College, the Braves are comfortably in first place, and things are going well for me, really, on all fronts of my life.

Duke called me a few weeks ago to verify that Leukemia and Lymphoma Society dollars did reach me personally back in 2008 and 2009 when I was making frequent trips to Emory in Atlanta for treatment and maintenance. They sure did, those dollars, and in chunks large enough to make a genuine difference. Some of the money that Team In Training raises for LLS does indeed make its way directly to patients to help defray the staggering costs of cancer treatment (even with good insurance). More importantly, though, the money that Team In Training raises for the LLS goes to research. In fact, one of the key components of my treatment regimen—maybe the key ingredient, Rituximab—was developed through LLS-funded research. I might not be alive, literally, if it were not for the selfless generosity of all the many people like you, who dig into your pockets even in lean times to join this fight against blood cancers.

I’m a huge fan of Rituximab, LLS, Team In Training, BecauseBrothers, and each and every one of you who contribute or who visit this website to follow our progress! Together we are doing amazing things.

I thank you for your good wishes and support and love you all,

Chip

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This week has been very encouraging, in some ways, but very tiring and very busy. I worked out on Sunday with the Triangle Team in Training triathletes at Jordan Lake. It was a breezy day, and sunny, so the boats had been out on the lake. It was very choppy and rough. Not good conditions for a first-timer, but the team did well– our coach sent this message out today:
We had our first open water swim last Sunday, and the wind at Jordan Lake was kicking up some sizeable swells. I’ve only swum in conditions like that one other time at Jordan Lake, in a race many years ago. The swim course we used for training is out & back along the shoreline, about 500 yards each way, and the turn-around point is marked by a dead tree trunk, 20-30 feet tall, jutting out of the water about 10 yards from the shore. From where we start, the dead tree is easy to see against the horizon, but as swimmer’s approach it, the viewing angle changes, and so does the background, and the dead tree becomes more difficult to pick out among the other trees on the shore.

When we started swimming, I swam at the back so I could keep an eye on everyone. The swells were challenging, our group spread out, and the lead swimmers arrived at the turn-around spot well before I did. When they got there, they didn’t see the tree marking the turn-around, but they did see another tree 500-600 yards farther away that was positioned in the water very similarly to the one they were supposed to swim to, and they continued swimming to the more distant tree.

When I got to the turn-around point, I tried to wave them back, but they were focused on the more distant tree and on navigating their way through the rough water, and they didn’t see me until they stopped.

The way back was easier, swimming with the swells instead of against them, but the entire swim was over 2000 yards, and considerably more challenging than a pool-swim of that distance. I know our team has been progressing nicely in the pool, but they impressed the h*ll out of me in the lake last weekend. For those who swam, if you can do that, you can easily do your swim on race-day, no problem!!

That was very encouraging to hear– our coach is a very fit older guy, and he knows a lot about endurance sports. He has done a good job adjusting to a new teammate with a very different training schedule, and he helped me with my shoulder injury in one practice. So I have a lot of faith in his assessment of our readiness. And more so than ever, I feel like I could be ready by September.

But I did have a problem this week that I surely did not expect until the Hudson– after swimming in Jordan Lake since I was eight, I had some sort of awful reaction and could not stop itching for two days! It was agony. I’ve always heard the Hudson was a good place to get sick, because of all the stuff in the water, but I think they’ve cleaned it up quite a bit, and we’ll be swimming in a spot cleared for swimmers, and now I know what to expect a little more so if it’s not clean! Nothing a little prednisone can’t clear up, and it’s for a great cause!!

Now that our fundraising letters have gone out, we’ve been getting DAILY words of encouragement from friends and family members. And when the itching was just wretched and I was absolutely miserable, I had to say to myself, we’ll, Carrie, you can’t give in because of a little rash. People are counting on you! (Not that I would have– but the idea of jumping back in the water was daunting). So keep those notes coming! Maybe I’ll post some on Facebook!

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Time with loved ones and R&R

I am very thankful for July. This whole month, it has been a month I will always remember. And once the years fade away and the memories become dimmer, there are slices of time that persist. This past month, I am sure, will be one of them. I got to spend two weeks at the beach with my family, and even when they annoy me and tire me out, they are my favorite people to be around. They have been the foundation that keeps me focused on why we do this day-to-day runaround. They give me peace.

Memories I will cherish:

- sitting in the late afternoon sun, listening to my mom tell stories about her relatives; cousins and aunts and grandparents that I have never heard about, or had just a few stories about. My mother is an amazing story-teller, and she knows about so many people way back in our family tree, from growing up with her grandmother. When she is in story mode, she is a link to the past and gives me a sense of where we came from, which is touching.

- taking the girls to see the USS Yorktown and the Angel Oak Tree in Charleston. I remember going to see things like this when I was a kid, and I didn’t understand why it was important to do all this sightseeing, but I see now how important it is to experience the sights and sounds and smells of what people have done for our country, whether it is fighting in the military or preserving a part of nature that is beautiful and unique.

- Relaxing with my husband, reading, scratching his back, and watching The Pacific (a documentary from HBO from a couple years back). This is always something we like to do together– read and watch TV. We love to talk in the car, and we love to sit quietly together. It’s funny, but sometimes at the end of a long day, just watching something we can really get into together is as much as we can process that day. But I am an addictive scratcher– you can not put someone near me and I won’t touch them. It’s how I soothe. And it’s peaceful to me, so it’s nice my husband is such a fan of being scratched.

- Everyone coming together to eat, feed each other, and talk about everything! The Rogers are all big talkers, and have strong opinions. A discussion always got going and whenever we were together, and sometimes it would go on for hours. I learned so much from my in-laws, and my mom, just sitting and discussing life, and since they are all pretty deep thinkers, I was never bored just listening to what each one had to say.

- Watching Drake & Alex interact with the younger kids. Looking at Chip’s girlfriend’s kids lets me see my girls really looking up to their “big cousins,” sort of how I expect Francie and Jane will be to my twin sister’s little boys. And I was really proud to have these two there to set good examples for my girls. And to be fun for them.

- Meeting my stepsister-in-law’s newest baby Charlie. Another Charlie!! I think that brings us to 17 in 3 generations if you count both sides (and the feminine forms of Charles).  He is so fun and lovable. Can’t wait to see this little guy grow up, along with ALL the other cousins.

When Wade passed away, Francie was a year and a half, and I was still pregnant with Jane. She was the only baby there at the time, really. Seeing my families get together, in a way they haven’t since Wade’s service, and seeing all the young faces, puts things in a different perspective. I can look forward more clearly, and also look back and see how we have made it through the grief. Rose Kennedy said: “It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”  She is on the mark with that one. We miss Wade, and Because Brothers has helped us cover that hole with scar tissue, and go on to enjoy every last minute we have together. Hopefully, there are hours and hours and years and years to heal, love, and be together.

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Where has the month gone!?

Today is– believe it or not– the first of July. Look down at the bottom right corner of your screen, check after me. Or if you’re reading this in the future, it is after the first, and no way it’s still June. It’s July, and then August will come, and then next September, and the swim. I hope I am working towards a successful swim, but I think I have it under control. Kate, from the NY LLS Chapter, told me if I could compete in the 2.4 mile swims I’ll be okay, so I’m not as nervous, but the idea of crossing the currents has me a little nervous, but I’ll be swimming in the ocean for the next two weeks, so I hope that will give me a better idea of what it feels like.

So the next step is reaching my goal. July has to be a big month for us, so I thought I would give you all a rundown of the ways you can help Because Brothers hit this massive fundraising goal. I think we can do it, but we have to do it together. The key to hitting this goal is for our friends and family want to participate. We have some awesome fundraisers in the work. And you ALL can be involved. So here’s the run-down of what we are working on:

We’re offering this fundraiser for all donations sent in. We’ll keep track, so unlike a traditional raffle where you get tickets, we will email you the number of entries you get after we receive the donation. We are offering one entry per $10 donated, and the winner will receive the following: 1) a 4-pack of tickets for golf at NCSU’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course, 2) A cooler of NC Beer and 3) dinner for 4 from Green Planet Catering. Lonnie Poole offers drinks from the Clubhouse, and you can opt for this instead of the second part of the prize, or save the beer for dinner, and pack some Gatorades for the golf outing. If you want to have your meal as a a picnic at the Raleigh City Farm, Green Planet can arrange this, or you can have it served at your home! And depending on construction at their new project, you might be able to transfer your dinner deal to a new restaurant in the works from the people at Green Planet (keep an eye out on our Facebook for details about the Green Planet arrangements). All donations placed before August 31st will be eligible!

We are currently looking for a theater that will rent us a night to screen this movie, opening in select cities on July 19th. We will hold a one-night engagement in the Raleigh area on a weeknight in August. Stay tuned for more info, and email me at carrie@becausebrothers.com if you want to help reach out to your theater management to arrange a screening. Tickets prices will depend on the arrangements made with the theater.

  • Casual Fridays

Louise Roger’s office is offering Casual Fridays for a donation to the fundraiser. Sound like a fun idea?? Just let me know if you want to offer the same deal, and post a flier (according to your human resources office’s rules).  I will send you a flier to advertise the event!

  • Other fundraisers?

If you want to hold a fundraiser, please let me know. Lots of different organizations have good ideas– so if you have one you’d like to try, LET US KNOW! Thanks for your support!

Happy Fundraising!!

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Keep moving… faster!

So far, I’ve only had a chance to work out once or twice a week because of work, kids, childcare needs (and Duke has been very helpful in this regard– on Saturdays I disappear for 2+ hours to go swim or swim & bike, and he’s parenting alone & trying to finish up his projects around the house), and so– like a good mom– I feel guilty going in and doing that extra workout. But swim team started this week for Francie, so I’ll try to do laps one night of the week also and a bike in the morning when I can. But the amazing this to me, is that I’m moving faster. Last week my coach timed me and I had a 1:53 (100) pace– which seems slow but when you do that for 1000, 3000, 5000 meters, like in an open-water swim (where my pace is usually faster because there are no walls), that seems pretty good. I am proudest, though, that the triathletes are impressed with me. They think I’m fast. So with all this encouragement, Monday practices are turning into a joy. It feels GOOD to take an hour out of my night to jump in, swim my laps, cheer each other on, and have the camaraderie of a team. It might just be the focused training, but I feel like without a coach telling me, good job, and teammates pushing me a little to keep up, or swim faster, then I am improving. And I am feeling less nervous about the swim. It’s almost July! Before we know it, SEPTEMBER!

Just two short fundraising notes today– My sister-in-law’s work is running this awesome fundraiser where if you want to wear jeans to work on Fridays you pay $2 and it goes toward the fundraiser. She made a little flier and emailed everyone, and so they’re going to see how much they can raise. If you want to do a fundraiser like this, let me know and I’ll send you a flier and a letter for your company. They might even match how much is raised, so check with your HR about that. THANK you!!

Also, if you click on the following link, there is a flier for another fundraiser–Golf, Beer, Eats. For every $10 you donate, you get one raffle entry, and I will put all the names into a random name-picker website, and the winner gets golf for 4 at NC State’s Lonnie Poole golf course, a cooler of beer and dinner for 4 from Green Planet Catering! So if you want to pass the word along about that, please print our flier and let me know, and we can talk about the details.

Thanks to everyone for their support! This is going to be a fun summer of fundraising!!

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