Dear friends, I have something wonderful to share with you this morning. I have been sitting on a rather large surprise for the last couple of months, but now that February 6th has arrived, I am finally able to share it with you.
As many of you know, Joanna Pierotti was diagnosed with breast cancer in the late fall. It's the kind of diagnosis every woman hopes she will never get and when it does happen, it changes your life forever. As soon as I heard, I knew that Joanna would need all the love and support she could get. There's nothing worse than facing a crisis and feeling like you are all alone and I knew there were lots of people who would want to do something, anything to let her know they cared. To that end, I decided to take on hosting a collaborative book project to create a book of hope and inspiration for Joanna. Shari Schneider later suggested we all make charms to be included, which was a brilliant idea. (Thanks Shari!)
The response for the Breast Friends project was overwhelming. I received art for Joanna from:
Amy Huff, Angie Platten, Claudia Roulier, Danielle Muller, Heather Simpson Bluhm, Joan Craft, Joan Ellis, Joan Locicero, Judy Keefe, Judy Scott, Kelly Snelling, Kristen Robinson, LaRinda Chapin, Lia Kent, Liz SMith, Marie Ostreich, Peggi Graminski, Penelope Harris, Shari Beaubien, Shari Schneider, Stacie Rife, Suz Longley, Tanya Peacock, Teresa Atkinson, Tina Shoaga and Zorana Stanjkovic.
In December, I scanned each page in the book, as well as each charm (a huge job, but one I was so happy to do!) before putting them together. I also thought it would be a good idea to create a smaller book featuring a picture of each charm with the creator's name underneath so Joanna would know who made each one hanging on her bracelet. You can see the entire book and all the charms by clicking here. (Best viewed as a slideshow to get the full effect.)
I could have just sent the package off and she would have opened it when it arrived, but I decided to do something different. I emailed Joanna a couple weeks ago and told her the package was coming her way. I asked her to save it until she went to her first day of chemo and once she was settled and having her treatment, she could open it. Joanna had said several times she was feeling anxious and fearful about having chemo and I thought it would be wonderful if this gift could soften the blow by giving her something happy and beautiful to look foreward to. Joanna emailed back and said how excited she was and that she and another friend who is undergoing chemo were going to have a "Chemo Party" today. So...right now, Joanna is at her appointment, opening her gift from everyone and probably crying lots of happy tears. I am sure she feels our love and friendship surrounding her and lifting her up. Doesn't that just make you feel *so* good?!
There's a quote I love that says: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." To all of you who did just that, who were so generous with your time and talents, for caring about Joanna and wanting to make a difference, THANK YOU! You have made a difference in someone's life today. Thank you for being Joanna's Breast Friends!
*All artwork appearing in the Breast Friends Collaborative remains copyrighted to the individual artists.