Live On. Give On. (+Giveaway!) | Seersucker Sass

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Live On. Give On. (+Giveaway!)

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that community involvement is very important to me, but I'm not sure if I ever told you why.  Today I'm partnering with Medtronic and the Bakken Invitation to share my story.


My mother is a strong woman who came from generations of strong women.  My father grew up poor.  A lesson that I took from both of them was "If you don't like something, change it."  My dad wanted something better for his life; he became a first generation college graduate.  My mom wanted a job that allowed her to spend more time with me; she left corporate America and started a preschool.  My parents never tried to make the world seem like a perfect place, and I'm appreciative of that.  I knew from a young age that there were lots of injustices in the world, and it fueled my passion for helping others.

Live on Give on

It started with Girl Scouts, then Locks of Love, then Junior Beta Club.  In high school, I got involved with the local food bank.  And in college, I joined Kappa Delta Sorority.  The philanthropy focus was instilling confidence in young girls.  As someone that was heavily bullied in middle school, and later bullied as an adult for losing a lot of my hair due to chemo pills that I took as treatment for a chronic illness, I found that being involved with a cause that had actually affected me was really therapeutic.


The biggest game changer for me was when I started to get involved with Relay for Life, less than a year after my cancer diagnosis.  I was secretive about what I went through, yet somehow someone knew and recommended me for the committee.  I was only supposed to handle survivor and caregiver activities, but the survivor speaker had a last minute conflict, and I was asked to speak with about 72 hours of notice.

Live on Give on


The night of the event was an out of body experience for me.  (I cry every time that I think about it, including right now.)  When I took the stage to speak, my family was standing front and center in the crowd, surrounded by my sorority sisters.  I talked about the things they didn't tell me when I was diagnosed with cancer.  The negative things - like how visible my scar would be, how much my self esteem would be effected, how moody I would be, that I wouldn't be able to wear normal deodorant, that I would feel wracked with guilt for being a survivor.  And the positive things - my mom and brother would be the best caregivers in the world, I would have the opportunity to speak candidly with my peers and remind them that none of us are exempt from cancer, my sisters would line the front of the stage while I share my secret with the world, and that my scar would become something I'm proud of.  Y'all, I don't think that I've ever felt so at peace.  That one experience helped me cope more than any counseling session ever could.



I really appreciate y'all letting me share something so personal with you.  I hope that you will take the time to check out some people that really inspire me - the 2015 Bakken Invitation Award Honorees.   The Bakken Invitation is a global program, launched by Medtronic Foundation in 2013, that connects and celebrates people who, with the help of medical technology, have overcome health challenges and are now selflessly giving back to their communities.



Medtronic and I want to hear your story, so we're offering a $100 Visa gift card giveaway!  (Please note that you must be 18 years or older and US based to win.)


Entering is simple:

1. Visit the Bakken Community page for inspiration.

2. Leave a comment on this blog post telling us how and/or why you give back in your community or if you live with medical technology, share your story with us!

3. In the comment, be sure to leave either your email address or your twitter handle so that I can reach out to you if you're the winner.  A winner will be announced March 20 :)

I can't wait to hear from y'all!  Good luck & happy Tuesday!



43 comments:

  1. You're such a rockstar!
    I can't imagine speaking in front of that many people so you are pretty much amazing in my book just for that alone.
    I am so proud of you for overcoming the hardships and turning the negative into such a positive thing.

    xoxo, Jenny

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  2. Adore this my friend! wow and good for you for speaking out! i give back by packaging meals for the homeless, donating old books/toys and just volunteering time if i have it! -@CaitsCozyCorner ( Twitter Handler )

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  3. I think it is so amazing that you are passionate about community involvement. There are so many injustices in the world and I think living with so much privilege it is our responsibility to do what we can to help others. You have been through so much and I can tell you are stronger because of it. I applaud you for speaking on such short notice, I would probably have a panic attack. I honestly don't know if I could push myself to do it!

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  4. Love this! You are so amazing and such a great individual. You seriously wow me all of the time and are such a great role model. My dad grew up poor, too, and it has helped shape me as a woman!
    xo
    Lauren
    The Fashionista's Diary

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  5. You are such a strong woman and an inspiration. I love your fighting and giving spirit!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

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  6. How amazing for you to be such a great role model and inspiration for people!
    www.kayleighskloset.com

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  7. You're amazing! I give back because I have been so blessed with every opportunity that has come my way and I want others to know how much they are loved and cared for even if they don't always feel that way.

    www.mollyonthemoveblog.com

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  8. What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

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  9. Volunteering is my favorite thing to do! This is such a moving and beautiful story! You're surely making the world a much better place.
    xoxo

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  10. What an amazing story. You are such an inspiration, sweet girl!!

    xo Ashley

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  11. You are so inspirational! I have been volunteering weekly for several years. In fact, I am taking the program I am in at college because of my volunteer experience.

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  12. This is such an incredible story! Thank you so much for sharing! Volunteering and community outreach are so close to my heart. It all started in Girl Scouts with me too. I take pride in my community and like to take time to make sure the local parks and sports fields are safe and clean for kids and families in our area. That also plays into my strong connection with the American Heart Association. I've lost several female family members to heart disease (the number one killer of women) so taking time to stay active and ensuring others have the opportunity to be heart healthy is important to me. xx Merisa | Monogrammed Magnolias | @angelmerisa23

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  13. Aw how inspiring. You are such an amazing person.I love giving by speaking to business professionals about raising money for cancer. I share my story with them and encourage them to join the fight. Thank you for sharing!

    xo,
    Sara Kate Styling
    (Sarakatestyling@yahoo.com)

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  14. I buy food for our local food bank, feed the homeless, and donate to our local hospices. I do not live with medical technology. Thanks for the chance :) jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

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  15. I give back by donating food to our local food pantry

    elena150980 at yahoo dot com

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  16. Snaps to you for being so candid! Relay For Life is something near and dear to my heart for a number of reasons!

    XOXO
    mQs
    www.shorelifeofm.blogspot.com

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  17. I give back to our community by donating to shelters and food banks. tcarolinep at gmail dot com

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  18. ANDREA VOLFOVA's story was very touching to read. I teach children and it was upsetting to see that she had a tough childhood but I'm so glad that she was able to turn everything around :) One of my close friends was competing in a softball match and collapsed on the field. She completely stopped breathing and after our coach performed CPR on her, they brought her back. They don't know why it happened but her heart just stopped and they ended up putting a pacemaker in her. She was given an extra life and I’m so happy that I still have her in my life.

    showstopper474 at gmail dot com

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  19. You know I absolutely love hearing more and more about your story. I swear you are such a role model - thanks for sharing more about your volunteer service.

    Pick Your Beau

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  20. Various members of my family would not be alive if it were not for medical technology.
    I donate supplies and toys to our local Ronald McDonald House because I love how they work to help families of sick kids be together.

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  21. Your story so inspired me as I am also a cancer survivor. I give back to my community by donating to the American Cancer Society who helped me through my journey with cancer. I also donate work clothing to women re-entering the workforce after an illness.

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  22. Your story so inspired me as I am also a cancer survivor. I give back to my community by donating to the American Cancer Society who helped me through my journey with cancer. I also donate work clothing to women re-entering the workforce after an illness.

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  23. I give back to my community mostly through donations like food and clothing items like hats and gloves in the winter time. I like giving to others.
    soapstarr01 at aol dot com

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  24. Sheila Vasconcellos’s story inspires me because I have a few family members with diabetes. I know that it’s a tough illness. She keeps fighting and giving back! That is truly awesome to me! I want to make a positive difference, too. My passion is animals, so I already give back by helping to take care of stray cats in my neighborhood and help feeding wildlife . I would also love to help others by donating money to help support a few charities I like. Praying for them ,too , is something I feel good about because I know that God hears and answers prayer!
    2dogs5catscrew@att.net

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  25. We give because we want to share the love of CHRIST with all those around us. We have been blessed to be a blessing, everything we have belongs to the LORD and when HE says give we obey. Thanks for the chance to win. GOD bless
    Neiddy
    neiddyruiz@gmail.com

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  26. I give back our gently used items to the less fortunate at our local shelter!

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  27. I (try) to keep a case of water in the car so I can give them to the homeless when I see them around town. A few times a year, I gather all the free samples I have acquired and make up little baggies with ones that would be useful to them and pass them out with my kids.
    turtleemiwee(at)hotmail(dot)com
    @boykrazymommy

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  28. My grandkids and I collect new toys throughout the year and donate them to toy drives before Christmas. Diabetes has been a big factor is my life. Both my sister and brother became diabetic when they were very young. 3 years ago I donated a kidney to my sister and last year she had a pancreas transplant. She is now helping out the older population in her community.

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  29. l am inspired by Andrea Volfova who is from the Prague, Czech Republic and has had cardiovascular disease and she says: CHOOSE LOVE AND COMPASSION, EVERY SINGLE TIME. How awesome! My brother also has a congenital heart defect and if it was not for modern medical technology he would not be here today!
    And I give back to my community by Volunteering at the Food Banks and helping out during the food drives and I would donate this money to my local food bank.

    jewelwood55(at)gmail(dot)com

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  30. l am inspired by Andrea Volfova who is from the Prague, Czech Republic and has had cardiovascular disease and she says: CHOOSE LOVE AND COMPASSION, EVERY SINGLE TIME. How awesome! My brother also has a congenital heart defect and if it was not for modern medical technology he would not be here today!
    And I give back to my community by Volunteering at the Food Banks and helping out during the food drives and I would donate this money to my local food bank.

    jewelwood55(at)gmail(dot)com

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  31. I am inspired by Sheila Vasconcellos, I have family members impacted by diabetes and I love her message -
    "LOVE IS A POWERFUL REMEDY THAT EVERYONE CAN SHARE."
    I give back by my work with our local council against the abuse and neglect of children.

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  32. I give back to my community by donating clothing and personal needs to our local womens shelter. I do this because I know how fortunate I am to have more than I really need, and want to do what I can to help others.

    I am very inspired by Twinkle's story because I cannot imagine having to live with chronic pain. She not only has had to deal with this symptom of her medical condition, but she has used her life to raise awareness for CRPS/RSD and neuropathic pain diseases and disorders. Wow!

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

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  33. I like to donate food to my local pantry to give back to my community. I like to do this so I can have my kids help and set a good example for them by helping others.
    kellywcu8888ATgmailDOTcom

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  34. I donate food and personal hygiene items often to a local shelter that does great things for people in need. I like to help others when I can.
    prettyinhotpink6 at gmail dot com

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  35. We donate food and toys to our residents in need program through our school but we could and should be doing more. The nominees stories are very inspiring and motivating.

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  36. I’m a nurse so I’m constantly inspired by all of the fighters that I see every day. I wanted to become a nurse for as long as I can remember. My brother was in the hospital quite a bit and we always had nurses that went above and beyond. I knew that that was what I wanted to do when I was older. I loved reading all of the stories but was immediately drawn to Twinkle’s story and her quote “"WHEN YOU THINK YOU CAN'T, MAYBE YOU ALREADY HAVE." I think it’s so true, that everyone has those moments of doubt but before you know it, you find yourself crossing over that finishing line.

    lindilala at aol dot com

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  37. I give back to my community through my job as a children's librarian. Besides their parents, I am often the first person to read to a child, and that is SO important!

    heather (dot) m (dot) ellis (at) gmail (dot) com

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  38. I give back to my community because I can and because my donations and time can and do make a difference.
    cbythesea5@gmail dot com

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  39. I've been so blessed in my life and try to give back as much as I can through the donation of physical items or my time.

    mijulin at cox dot net

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  40. I give back by volunteering at my son's school for test monitoring, helping to set up for events, and raising money for fundraisers.

    dlatany at gmail dot com

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  41. I give back by volunteering with at risk kids.

    julimi at aol dot com

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  42. I give back to the community by donating to local charity organizations and also to local animal shelters.
    heather hgtempaddy@hotmail.com

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  43. I studied psychology and parkinson’s disease was always something that I was interested in. David’s DBS shows just how far technology has come and I’m inspired by his upbeat personality.

    whittikere at yahoo dot com

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