Author, Publisher, Cancer Survivor, Cancer Awareness and Nuclear Power Advocate.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tickles Tabitha, along with the Chick-Fil-A Cow, and Ebony Angels made an appearance at the Susan G. Komen Fundraiser held at Bobby Murray Chevrolet in Raleigh, North Carolina, during October/Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
We’re cracking open Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-tankerous Mommy; trying on wigs, playing doctor, learning about good manners, and character traits such as kindness, and courage, while discussing the issues that affect children when a parent is diagnosed with cancer.
I know many of you will be surprised to read it’s the first time cancer education has been offered to elementary students, but Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-tankerous Mommy has not always been welcomed amongst the mainstream, and certainly not in elementary school.
In 1994, when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. talking about cancer to my own children was considered a radical idea, and talking about it to an elementary classroom was un-imaginable.
Now, Tickles Tabitha is going to school and taking her book with her.
CRACK OPEN A BOOK and the Tickles Tabitha character will also be available to health care centers, cancer awareness organization, or anyone wishing to promote cancer awareness.
I know from personal experience that creating a dialogue to talk about cancer or any issue helps alleviate anxiety and contributes to emotional and physical good health and that's what CRACK OPEN A BOOK is designed to do.
When I published Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy in October 2001, I was advised, cancer was a niche topic, young women with children didn't usually get cancer, and no parent wanted to read their children a book like that. Despite that it caught the attention of the media immediately and went on to be recognized across the country as recommended reading for families coping with cancer.
While I received invitations to talk to students about reading, writing, or the publishing process, I was never asked to talk to students about cancer.
It's only within the last few years that public perception has shifted regarding some of the often whispered issues pertaining to cancer. Public figures like “Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts, White House press secretary, Tony Snow, and Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential contender John Edwards, have drawn attention to this change of attitude.
When I approached parents in my community this year and asked if their children could participate in my focus group, and told them the topic was cancer, they didn't blink.
After having walked a step ahead of the beat for more than a decade, I'm somewhat relieved to discover the mainstream appears willing to quit whispering, stop tiptoeing and start educating our children about issues surrounding cancer.
Yesterday was Mother's Day and I awoke to find a handmade card from my daughter on the breakfast table. On the outside it said, "Happy Mother's Day" and on the inside it said, "from the child who cares! Love, Tabitha."
I laughed, I knew she'd tried to get her brother, Jordan to help her with the card and he wouldn't do it.
Jordan usually comes up with a verse then Tabitha does the artwork. My husband and I have some wonderful cards they've created. But Jordan refused to participate this Mother's Day and his sister wasn't happy about it.
She's going to make a perfect wife and mother one day- I can tell by the guilt she helped me heap on her brother! So instead of a greeting card, Jordan was guilted into giving me a foot massage. I love being a mother!
Every time I blog I vow not to wait so long to blog the next time, but like most mothers my life is busy. I'm grateful for the hectic, busy lifestyle of a woman with children. All to quickly mine have grown up.
I miss having young children and it's one reason Nutcracker Publishing Company hosts, "Hunt for a Cure" a community Easter Egg Hunt where proceeds are donated to our local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure team. http://www.komennctriangle.org
This year when the Easter Bunny hopped down our lane, he was joined by Tickles Tabitha.
Both my children were born in the spring and at our house Easter kicks off the social season. We've been celebrating and my waistline reflects it. I've enjoyed my children's birthdays, my brother-in-law Andy's retirement ceremony from the Navy, Tabitha's and Jordan's Confirmation, our neighbor's First Holy Communion and Tabitha's Prom and of course, Jordan's getting his driver's permit.
To be honest, the last two were what I'd call stress eating events, rather than celebratory suppers, at least for me.
Did I mention my husband is on a job located in Texas and he flies in only ever 2-3 weeks?
Luckily there's a Harris Teeter down the road and when life gets tough I get chocolate.
Time goes by so quickly. It’s busy at our house. I’ve been writing – just not Blogging. I had a group of neighbor kids over and they were my Focus Group for some of the activities I’ve incorporated into my school program curriculum. My teenagers videotaped the event and the kids were so wonderful and well behaved that I couldn’t help but think anyone watching would think it was staged. But…then one child announced that her entire family was crazy and another agreed and told us that her friend’s Daddy put crayons up his nose.
My little focus group ranged from pre-K to 4th Grade. We read my children’s book, played games, discussed cancer, and talked about how it affected families. I didn’t have to define cancer to a single child because they knew what it was and several had experienced it first hand because a family member had been diagnosed with cancer.
Yesterday, in the midst of planning Nutcracker Publishing’s 2nd Annual Easter Egg, Hunt for a Cure, I stopped to watch Democratic presidential contender, John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth’s press conference regarding her recurrence of breast cancer.
It’s been 13 years since I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I still feel queasy when I step into any doctor’s office for a routine breast exam or blood work.
Elizabeth Edwards was candid, gracious, and handling her recurrence of breast cancer with what I know to be a Cancer-tankerous Mommy’s attitude. She’s not going to be waiting to die, but instead is hitting the rode for her husband, and campaigning with cancer.
She’s not wallowing in pity either and I know cancer survivors everywhere sighed with relief when she announced her plans to continue to campaign.
Her honesty and candor about her breast cancer has helped so many families. Like the families of the children in my focus group.
A couple of years ago, it would have been unimaginable for me to invite the neighbor kids over for a school program party with a focus on cancer, much less enter a public school and talk to elementary students about cancer. Back when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, talking about it to my own young children was not exactly encouraged, and most well meaning adults tiptoed around the issue.
I wish Rosie O Donnell would pick on me; I could use the publicity.
Many of you know that in October of 2001, I won what for any writer, much less an unknown, one-woman independent self-publisher, was the equivalent of winning the lottery- an appearance to promote my book, Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-tankerous Mommy on the Rosie O Donnell Show.
Suddenly I went from being the town idiot, who’d invested hard-earned money to start a business she knew absolutely nothing about, so she could publish a children’s book-- God forbid-- about a mean ole Mommy with CANCER, to a nationally recognized Expert.
I was still teetering to obtain balance on the publicity pedestal when I got knocked off and onto my butt by the Anthrax virus. Anthrax had been found in NBC studios at Rockefeller Plaza where the O Donnell show aired and my appearance was cancelled.
It was devastating, humiliating, and a crushing blow to my mother, mother-in-law, and other significant others who’d bragged to their friends about my upcoming appearance.
It was an even bigger disappointment for all those pretend friends, snooty relatives, and colleagues (you know who you are) who were hoping to see me make a fool of my self on national television.
As for me my non-appearance on the Rosie O Donnell Show was the best publicity my book and publishing company has ever received.
A press release about my non appearance was picked up by the wire and I got calls from across the country. I didn’t make it to NYC but my book did and O Donnell recommended it on her show and gave copies to her studio audience.
Today I realize an endorsement from Rosie is just too old school. I've concluded the best thing Rosie O Donnell could do for an author is insult them publicly.
I'm no longer aspiring to guest on The View instead all I ask is that Rosie say she hates Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy and the witch who wrote it.
Come on Rosie, feud with me.
I’ve got several thousand copies of Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-tankerous Mommy I’d like to sell. Not to mention, the "real" Tickles Tabitha is all grown up and with a few nasty remarks from you, I might could afford to send her to college.