Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Inside Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Hundreds braved the rain to come to the 7th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer on Sunday, May 17, 2009. The rain stopped just in time for the yoga class on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. One dedicated attendee blogged about her experiences at the event. Visit her blog to see what she had to say.

Save the date for our 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, which will be held on Sunday, May 16, 2010. If you want to get involved, contact Lauren at

Friday, May 15, 2009

Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer Makes Headlines

LBBC’s social media efforts made the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer todaycheck it out here! You can also read about Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer and see a photo in today's edition of the Philadelpia Daily News.

T-Minus Two Days

The day is almost upon us! Thank you to everyone who has donated or started a fundraising team for Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. We have raised over $95,000 so far and have almost reached our goal of $100K!

If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time! Just visit our Web site at Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on this amazing event. Even if yoga’s not your thing, there’s still plenty to do!. Here are a few highlights:

Catered food.
Who doesn’t love food? Feast Your Eyes is catering the breakfast, which is sure to be delicious. The food will be served after the yoga class and is a great way to celebrate a job well done!
Massage therapists will be on hand to soothe tired muscles. I’m sure we all could use a massage after a long week! Not to mention, all proceeds benefit LBBC. Now you can relax for a good cause.

It stands for “Stuff We All Get,” and you’ll get plenty of it at this event! The first 600 people to check in or register will receive gift bags filled with all kinds of goodies, including nail polish, ChapStick, energy bars, day planners and much more.

Not sure how to do a breast self-exam? Lead sponsor Aetna will provide breast self-exam training at the event. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to be aware of your own body.

Bra Bar.
It’s like a regular bar with bras instead of drinks. We’ll leave this one a mystery to be revealed at the event.

Our Healthy Living Expo will feature many exhibitors, including yoga studios, spas, gyms, clothing companies and other breast cancer awareness organizations. LBBC will have our own table featuring official Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer merchandise. And if you get dehydrated from all this activity, there’s plenty of Smartwater to go around! For all you top fundraisers, make sure to stick around after the yoga class to receive your prizes. Your hard work and dedication will be rewarded!

To all of our supporters—without you, we never could have come this far. Thank you for your help in making this year’s event the most successful yet!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Destination: Philly

In the words of The New York Times, “Philadelphia’s evolution from day trip to destination city is such that you can spend a long weekend there without visiting any 18th-century sites and not even miss them.”

Don’t get me wrong—the historic attractions are fantastic. But Philly has much more to offer, including food, art and music-related attractions. And since you’re already going to be in Philly for Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, why not make it a weekend getaway?

Don’t know what to visit in the city? No problem! Here are some sights you’re bound to enjoy:

Philadelphia Museum of Art

You’re going to see the outside of the museum at Sunday’s event, so be sure to wander inside it during the weekend! Check out the Cezanne and Beyond exhibit which runs until May 31. The exhibit features 40 paintings, watercolors and drawings by Paul Cezanne displayed along with works by artists for whom Cezanne has been an inspiration, such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Web site for more information.

Galileo, the Medici and the Age of Astronomy

The Franklin Institute is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s astronomical discoveries and the International Year of Astronomy with a special exhibit that explores the impact of Galileo’s work on science and the world. The exhibit will run until September 7, so be sure to get your tickets now! For more information, visit the Franklin Institute’s Web site. And while you’re at the Franklin Institute, see Star Trek the way it was meant to be seen: in the IMAX theater.

Sorrento Cheese 9th Street Italian Market Festival

Enjoy a weekend of authentic Italian-American culture in South Philadelphia! The street will be lined with stands offering fresh sausage, peppers, cheeses, meats and assorted pastries. Musicians will roam the crowds, and top chefs will show off their skills at live cooking demonstrations. Just be sure to bring your appetite!

Want more ideas? Visit for more information and to start planning your stay.

If you want to get involved in Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, visit our Web site at or check us out on Facebook.

Thanks for your support, and we’ll see you on the steps!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yoga Class Memorializes Rachel Levin Troxell

Just 21 days before her death, Rachel Levin Troxell, founder of LympheDIVAs, wrote in her blog, “just because I'm scared doesn’t mean I don’t have hope.” She was preparing for her final round of chemo and knew her life was on the line. Rachel’s words, which were actually given to her by her father, deliver such an important message. We often believe that to be courageous, we can’t be scared, and that to feel optimism, we must not admit fear. However, life is seldom that black and white, and even less so when you’re fighting for your life.

Like many of the women who receive support from Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Rachel developed an arsenal of weapons in her fight against breast cancer. One of her tools was yoga, which helped her manage the lymphedema she developed after breast cancer surgery. Another was her company, LympheDIVAs, which she founded with another breast cancer survivor, Robin Miller. Both women suffered from lymphedema, swelling caused by a build-up of lymph fluid in body tissue. Their doctors and therapists recommended they wear a compression sleeve to control the swelling, but the only sleeves available at the time were rough in texture and bandage-like in appearance. Both women were upset and frustrated by the lack of options in sleeves, and they decided to do something about it. Together they met with fashion designer Kristin Dudley to discuss their ideas for a more elegant and comfortable compression sleeve. The result was an array of colorful and artistic sleeves unlike anything seen before.

Rachel died January 22, 2008, at the age of 37. Rachel’s life is honored at 6:00 p.m. on the first Friday of each month at a memorial yoga class to benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer at LifeSport Fitness in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia (2112 Fairmount Avenue, across from Eastern State Penitentiary). The class is open to the community, and a $5 minimum entrance donation is requested.

To learn more about LympheDIVAs, visit To view Rachel’s blog, visit To contact LifeSport Fitness, visit

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fundraising Incentives

When I think about my fundraising experience, I realize I always do my best when incentives are involved. Incentives give me extra motivation and something to work towards. With only three weeks left until Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, LBBC has come up with our own incentives so fundraisers can raise money for LBBC and get cool stuff!

Even though your registration fee covers the logistics of the event, we still need your help to reach our goal of raising $100K for this event. You can help us by joining a fundraising team, starting your own team or registering as an individual. Then you can start raising money and get the chance to win a number of fabulous prizes.

Incentives vary with the amount of money you raise. For example, if you raise $50, you’ll get a Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer T-shirt. If you raise $100, you’ll get the T-shirt and Jennifer Schelter’s Am Awake CD and DVD. If you raise $250, you’ll get all of these prizes and a watch from White House Black Market. Our top fundraisers will have a chance to win gear, gift certificates and more! The more you raise, the more you get in return. Think of the incentives as our gift to you, the fundraiser. Without you, meeting our goal would be impossible!

For a full list of fundraising incentives, go to, click on “Fundraising” and then pick “Incentives” from the drop-down menu. To join an existing team or start your own, email

Friday, April 24, 2009

Upcoming FUNdraisers

One of the things I’ve learned as a community activist is that each person likes to give in his or her own way. Some get great joy by writing a check; others need to pitch in and get their hands dirty to feel like they’re a part of something. This understanding has given me greater appreciation of the flexibility (no pun intended) Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers its fundraising teams and partners. Rather than set rigid fundraising guidelines or limits, Living Beyond Breast Cancer asks supporters to use their creativity to find ways that feel comfortable to them to help the organization. Today, I’d like to highlight three upcoming fundraising events you may wish to attend.

On April 25, at 12:00 p.m., Stillpoint Yoga in King of Prussia will host a special, slow flow yoga class to benefit Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. This class is free and open to the public, but a donation is requested. For more information, please visit

On Sunday, April 26, one of Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s most passionate cheerleaders, instructor Beatrice Marx, will host an inspirational yoga class at 11:00 a.m. at the Pilates Core Center Studio in Medford. Guests are welcome and a donation is requested. If you don’t know Bea, read about her amazing journey through breast cancer with the help of yoga in our previous blog. For directions, visit

The entire weekend of May 1 - May 3 is Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer Weekend at all three Cornerstone Health & Fitness locations at The TreeHouse, New Hope and Doylestown. On Saturday, May 2, at 10:45 a.m., The TreeHouse will host a special LBBC-themed Vinyasa class. Doylestown will host an LBBC-themed Anasura class that same day at 9:45 a.m. Non-members are invited to participate in any yoga class from Friday evening through Sunday for free, but a donation to Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer is requested. Members are also asked to make a donation to Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer when attending yoga classes that weekend. For more information, visit

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Get Creative

“Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving.”
-Hank Rosso

This year, LBBC is not just hosting the 7th Annual Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer; we are also getting involved on another level by starting our own fundraising team in honor of our Helpline volunteers. While the team began with only one member, it has now grown to 21 members. It gets even better: LBBC’s fundraising team has currently raised $5,378.00, exceeding our goal of $5,000!

You may be wondering how we’ve achieved this goal; the answer is through dedication and lots of hard work. Each team member has come up with a fundraising strategy. Some are raising funds in honor or memory of a loved one affected by breast cancer. Others are reaching out to local business owners or enlisting the help of yoga studios or fitness centers to hold special, donation-based classes. Many are using Facebook to help them raise funds by posting status updates about how much they’ve raised so far and by providing a link to their personal donation page. You’d be surprised at the incredible impact of social networking!

Make sure to let people know they can make a secure donation online through your personal fundraising page. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of setting up your own page—it’s really simple, and it will help you send personalized emails to your friends and family asking for a donation. People can either donate directly on your page, or they can print out a form and mail it in with a check or credit card number. Fundraising has never been so easy!

The bottom line is that each team member is raising money in his or her own way. There’s no specific way to raise funds, and that’s the nature of this collective event. While fundraising can seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of ways to go about it. Think creatively. Ask for help. Despite the economy, people are willing to do what they can. Ask them for small amounts, like $5 or $10. You’ll be surprised how much that amounts to! And the most important piece of advice is to do what works for you.

For fundraising ideas or to get involved, visit our Web site at or email And when you do come up with creative fundraising ideas, let us know by posting it to our Facebook group at We’d love to hear them!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Going Green

If you’re like me, you probably have several old cell phones lying around the house. It’s easy to forget about your discarded phones once you get that new Blackberry Storm or iPhone. And you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 150 million cellular phones nationwide go out of use annually. That’s an estimated 65,000 tons of electronic garbage. But don’t feel guilty. There’s a way to recycle your used cell phones and raise money for Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer!

RYAH Yoga and Health is hosting a cell phone drive to raise money for Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. You don’t have to buy or sell anything to get involved. All you have to do is donate your used cell phones. Easy enough, right? And for every cell phone donated, you will be entered for a chance to win a free massage. I’m sure we all could use one!

From now until May 18, simply mail to or drop off your cell phones at the following location:

RYAH Yoga and Health
424 E. Elm Street
Conshohocken, PA 19428

Or you can stop by RYAH Yoga’s booth at Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer on Sunday, May 17. When donating your cell phones, please do not include any accessories, chargers, ear pieces or manuals, since they can be recycled locally. If you have any questions about the cell phone drive, please contact Maura at (610) 834-1551.

LBBC encourages all fundraising teams to come up with unique ideas like RYAH Yoga. If you have a unique fundraising idea or simply want to get involved in Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, visit our Web site at or find us on Facebook. You can also email

In the spirit of unique fundraising ideas, check back next week to see what LBBC’s own fundraising team has been up to!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Yoga Mala at JAI!

Jai (Sanskrit): 1. An exclamation of wonderment, admiration and deep respect, comparable to the English words, "wow," and "awesome." 2. How we feel about the hard work of all of our fundraising teams for Yoga Unites® 4 Living Beyond Breast Cancer. 3. A yoga studio in Narberth that is holding a Yoga Unites 4 Living Beyond Breast Cancer fundraiser on April 16.

Yoga Mala: 1. 108 Sun Salutations. 2. A gathering of spirit, energy, joy and healing through the ritual of 108 Sun Salutation, 108 being a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga. Some believe 108's significance comes from the tradition in which "malas" or garlands of prayer beads come as a string of 108 beads, plus one "guru bead" around which the other 108 turn like the planets around the sun. The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 time their respective diameters. According to yogic tradition, there are 108 sacred sites throughout India, and 108 sacred places on the body.

It is with great Jai that we invite you to join us for a Yoga Mala at JAI! Yoga Lifestyle and Massage on Thursday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. to benefit Yoga Unites 4 Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Live music by Yvette Pecoaro -- the talented musician who donates her sounds to Yoga Unites 4 Living Beyond Breast Cancer each year -- will provide a lovely backdrop to this spirited fundraiser. There is no fee, but donations are requested. JAI! Yoga is located at 727 Montgomery Avenue in Narberth. For more information, visit or call (610) 664-YOGA.

Friday, April 3, 2009

In Honor or Memory

"Remembering is an act of resurrection, each repetition a vital layer of mourning, in memory of those we are sure to meet again."
~Nancy Cobb, in "In Lieu of Flowers"

If you’re looking for another way to get involved in Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, look no further. How about donating or starting a fundraising team in honor or memory of someone? It could be a family member, a friend or a member of your community. Once you donate to a team or individual, your donation will be displayed on their fundraising page for all who visit the page to see. What a way to recognize those you care about!

Several people, including a group of LBBC staff members, have started fundraising teams in honor or memory of loved ones. For example, LBBC has formed a fundraising team in honor of our Helpline volunteers. And in turn, our team has received donations in honor or memory of other loved ones. Remember my last blog entry about the circle of giving and living? You get the idea.

Whether you’re making a donation in honor or memory of an individual, or just making a donation, we are thankful for your support. Every donation, no matter how small, helps us get one step closer to our goal of raising $100,000 for education and support programs for women affected by breast cancer. For more information on making a donation, or for other ways to get involved, please visit our
Web site. You can also email or check us out on Facebook!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Living in the Moment

"Learn to be genuine in every moment of your life."
--Chogyan Trungpa

This quote reminds me of a common saying: “Live in the moment.” But what does that really mean? And what does it mean to be genuine and live in the moment?

For me, it means giving my time and effort to support others. For many of the women who attended Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Young Survival Coalition’s 9th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer, it means appreciating each day. For others, it means focusing on relationships. And for most, it means getting involved in a cause that’s important to them.

Judging from the increase in fundraising teams (3 new teams in the past 4 days), it seems like many are choosing Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer (YU4LBBC) as their way of living in the moment. The effort our teams have put into raising funds and awareness is a great example of being genuine by supporting others. And through raising funds and getting the word out, our teams are helping hundreds--whether diagnosed with breast cancer or not--improve their quality of life through the healing effects of yoga. Rather than thinking of it as a circle of giving, think of it as a circle of living.

We hope you’ll consider living in the moment with us on Sunday, May 17. What better way to do that than by watching the sunrise while performing yoga on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? You can get more information on YU4LBBC a number of different ways. Check us out on Facebook (we’re up to almost 400 members!) and at our newly-launched Web site. You can also follow us on Twitter at YU4LBBC. And if you want to create your own YU4LBBC team, contact Lauren Ainsworth at

That’s all for this week. Remember to share your stories with us by posting a comment here or by joining our discussions on Facebook. And get your friends involved! It’s always more fun to live in the moment with others right beside you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beatrice Marx: Profile of a Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer Participant

Beatrice Marx was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. In 2007, her cancer recurred, having spread to her liver, lungs and spine. When Beatrice was first diagnosed, her physician recommended she try yoga.
Beatrice not only tried yoga, but also became so engaged by it that she got certified to teach, shortly before her recurrence was diagnosed. Beatrice credits yoga with her ability to maintain her equilbrium as she continues to face uncertainty, anxiety, pain and the need to stay calm and still for exhaustive testing.
Last year, Beatrice assisted Jennifer Schelter as an instructor at Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer (YU4LBBC). She also created her own team for the event, The Wellness Warriors. Beatrice's Warriors are all women who have suffered different illnesses.
This year, Beatrice is continuing to support YU4LBBC. As she explained in a recent letter to other yoga teachers, "after my recurrence, I turned my attention to healing myself and also to continue to give to others. I started with the 2008 Living Beyond Breast Cancer Yoga Unites event ..."
You can join Beatrice on Friday, April 3, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for a fundraising event for YU4LBBC at The Yoga Center of Medford. East will meet West through drumming, singing and chanting facilitated by Justin Marx and Gary Palisch. The event is free, but donations for this organization will be gratefully accepted. For more information or directions, visit

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yoga and Breast Cancer

Earlier this week, I promised to write about yoga and breast cancer. You may have wondered why Living Beyond Breast Cancer chooses a yoga practice rather than the traditional walk or run to support our cause. Increasingly, research is correlating the practice of yoga to overall well-being in women being treated for breast cancer. Our mission is different from many other breast cancer organizations. We exist solely to help women from the moment of treatment forward to live their best life possible. We believe that for many women, yoga can be one of the many tools they employ during breast cancer treatment and beyond. In addition, by making our fundraiser an inclusive yoga practice, we open it up to everyone.

The newest piece of research about yoga and breast cancer came out late last month, when researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine reported that yoga can improve the emotional health of women affected by breast cancer
. The report published in Psycho-Oncology supports findings by Albert Einstein College of Medicine and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, as well as two studies published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. All of the studies point to a link between the practice of yoga and increased quality of life and feelings of wellness during breast cancer treatment. For example, the researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center found that women who practiced yoga during the period in which they were receiving radiation therapy experienced increased physical functioning, better general health, improved social functioning, lower levels of sleep-related problems and lower levels of overall fatigue. The Wake Forest study found that after 10 weeks of restorative yoga -- a variation on gentle yoga -- participants reported less fatigue, a 50 percent decrease in depression and a 12 percent increase in feelings of peace and meaning.

These studies simply support what many women have experienced in their own lives. On your next visit to our blog, learn about Beatrice Marx, who began practicing yoga after her initial breast cancer diagnosis and is now a teacher, mentor and one of our strongest fundraisers, despite a more recent metastatic, or stage IV, breast cancer diagnosis. We want to hear your stories about breast cancer and yoga. Please post them here or on Facebook

Monday, March 16, 2009

Anyone Can Do Yoga!

Happy Monday! We're so excited that our new Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer Web site debuts today. Check it out!

The last two weeks have brought an influx of registrations for May 17. I think it may be the warm weather, but no matter what it is, keep 'em coming.

Still, a lot of our supporters are reluctant to register for May 17 because they've never tried yoga. If that describes you, please reconsider. This event is intended for people of all fitness levels and all ages. You can't participate without feeling the warmth and support of the entire group, making it the perfect place to try yoga for the first time. Besides, with 500 people all practicing together, it would be hard to stand out in the crowd.

Later this week, I'll be writing about some new research linking yoga to increased quality of life and feelings of calm in women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The connection between yoga and quality of life relates directly to our mission of helping women from the time of diagnosis to live their best life possible. If you have a story to tell about yoga during your own treatment, please post it here or on our
Facebook group.

The word of the day is Namaste, which is derived from Sanskrit. Commonly used at the end of a yoga class, Namaste loosely translates to "the light in me honors the light in you." Namaste, YU4LBBC supporters.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Help Us Meet Our Goals: Start a Team

As of today, Yoga Unites® for Living Beyond Breast Cancer (YU4LBBC) is just two months away. The economic downturn has impacted our fundraising, which makes meeting our goals for YU4LBBC more important than ever so that we can continue to help women diagnosed with breast cancer live their best life. We realize it's harder for people to give this year, so we're encouraging more people to give just a little (not that we'd turn it away if you want to give a lot!) through our team fundraising program.

This year, we're asking everyone who registers to consider starting a fundraising team for YU4LBBC. Teams can be created in honor or in memory of a special person, or can just be a group of friends who want to participate in YU4LBBC. Each year, we have several 13-year olds who create teams as part of their B'nai Mitzvah celebration. You certainly don't need to be an experienced yogi to create a team or participate in YU4LBBC.

Each team is as unique as its captain; the only thing they have in common is the goal of raising money for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Some teams ask people to sponsor their participation in YU4LBBC. Others hold off-site events, like fashion shows or dinner parties to raise money. Last week, one team held an East Meets West Drumming Circle.

This year, team captains will find support and ideas through the discussion board on our new Facebook group; on Twitter by following YU4LBBC; and through this blog. Please consider creating your own YU4LBBC team by contacting Lauren Ainsworth at

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to the Yoga Unites 4 Living Beyond Breast Cancer blog. With less than three months until the big event on May 17th, we're entering the heavy sign up period for teams. We just had a new team sign up this week, led by Cece Charendoff, a 12-year old student who is making Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer(YU4LBBC) her Bat Mitzvah project. Her goal is to raise $1800 for the event, which is the day after her Bat Mitzvah. We can't wait to see Cece and her friends up bright and early after her big day. It's a shame they're too young for coffee.

There are a lot of exciting changes going on this year with YU4LBBC. This blog is one of them. You'll be able to find out exactly what's going on right here, with inside information about fund-raising efforts, events and participation. You can follow us on Twitter at YU4LBBC. We're also on Facebook, where you can join in discussions about your team and fund-raising, and share your stories about your journey through breast cancer and your experience with yoga. Please join our Facebook group -- we already have close to 300 members. Get your friends to join and let's see how quickly we can top 1000.