I swear, this time the post will be about the Breast Cancer Resource Center. But I'm sure you want to know what happened with my jury duty first, right?
I had to go back for a second day (hey, there's $15 I didn't have before...now just deduct my $12 in parking fees and what do you know, I earned $3 in only about 9 hours!). The second day went much like the first minus the ignorant, selfish cops' wives. Eventually they had their panel of 12 jurors (I was not one of them) and it was 10 minutes to noon. But wait, there were no alternates left. So the judge told all 30 of us still remaining that we'd have to come back after lunch so they could pick 2 of us as alternates. Not even real jurors! Really your honor? All 30 of us? As my luck would have it I was the 3rd potential alternate called up and the first two were dismissed (one by defense counsel and one by the DA). I answered the 5 questions on the card we were all handed and with only one follow-up question from the judge (which I answered quite honestly), he smiled and said, "Thank you, and goodbye." The attorneys didn't even get to question me. I returned to my office at about 2:30 and worked until 8:30 in an effort to at least have Friday off. Sort of. I worked from home in the morning and then went in to the office from 1 to 3:30. Ah, well. Three and 1/2 days off will have to do.
Okay, okay--the Breast Cancer Resource Center! So, I volunteered to put together an Advisory Committee to help get a resource center going in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Basically, this will be a place where folks (men and women) can go when they've been diagnosed with breast cancer to get whatever non-medical help they need. And believe me, that's a lot--books, contacts, support groups, wigs, scarves, meditation sessions, a connection with someone who's been there/ done that (I'm thinking those are "Breast Friends" or maybe "Bosom Buddies"), a chance to hear from and ask questions of the professionals who treat this disease (yep, that's the doctors and nurses), you know, a Resource Center! (The Inland Agency does do screenings and raises money for mammograms as well; the resource center will supplement that work). I'm pleased to say I found many people willing and able to help, and then they found even more, and we have a committee of at least 15 people.
At our first meeting we sketched out the things we'd like to see happen at the resource center and ideas for making it happen. I love a committee that adds the practical "who and how" part to the "Ooh, we should do x and y." Our next meeting is September 11th at 4pm at the office location where the center will be located (and wine will be served; I just love this committee!) and we'll be getting a calendar of goals together so we can start organizing events, volunteers and fundraisers. I will continue to post details here and ask for help (not just donations--ideas!).
To start with, we need to come up with a name for the center. It's a program of the Inland Agency (a name which says zippo about what they do, so click on the link to find out more), not a stand alone agency, so we can be a little flexible about the name. I'm liking "The Pink Ribbon Place" because everyone knows what the pink ribbon means and it keeps it informal and welcoming. Plus, the only resource center currently in either county is called "Michelle's Place" so it's a bit of a tip of the hat to them (they're helping us set this up and before our first meeting many of us toured their really outstanding center and we're inspired greatly by their executive director). Other name suggestions were "Breast Resource Alliance" or Advocates (either of which gives us the BRA acronym). We'll finalize this on the 11th.
We already have a fundraiser scheduled as well. On October 11th Restaurant Omakase will be doing a "Brunch for Breasts"!! They only do brunches for special occasions so this will really be...well, special. Half of the proceeds will go to the resource center. And, they'll be serving pink "Cure Royales" (get it?? not a Kir Royale but a Cure Royale!! Guess who came up with that? No, really...guess!!).
And we are already beginning to collect items for the Shop to Stop Breast Cancer. More details are available through that link, but in essence all during the year we collect new items (the specialty appears to be "re-gifting"--way to make that socially acceptable!) and then folks buy "Agency Bucks" (and really, why aren't these Bosom Bucks??) at discounted rates (e.g. $100 real money gets you $125 Agency bucks). Then at the March event, the shopping begins! The items (and there's a lot!) are displayed beautifully and priced at bargains. Plus, there's wine and hors d'ouevres! All proceeds benefit the Inland Agency and The Resource Center. Did I mention I'm the honorary chair? I know, I know...shopping, breast cancer, me...who would've guessed?
See that quilt up in the photo (that's program director Rosa Olaiz and Exec Director Becky Foreman holding it)? My mother made that and she's named it "Teresa's Garden." She donated it to the Shop to Stop Breast Cancer event! So that will be one of the many beautiful items for sale. See, I told you she was a talented quilter in her own right (and if you don't believe me, or even if you do, check out her blog with more of her works: Vivian Terbeek).
We're also putting together a library of books of interest to breast cancer patients. I have quite a collection myself and I'll be donating those (because I don't plan on ever being a patient again). Although, I can't part with my Cancer Vixen book! If anyone reading this has books they'd like to donate, please let me know.
Expect continuing updates over the next several months.
In other news...we're having dinner with the good and great Dr. Karam this evening (at a restaurant called Palate that I'm really looking forward to trying). Guess who'll be helping us with the resource center?