Thursday, November 18, 2010

A winter yoga class to benefit LBBC: 1st Annual Barefoot Ball

Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) is gearing up to host our 9th annual yoga event! We’re looking forward to seeing all of you there. You’re in for a surprise as LBBC is working tirelessly to restructure the familiar event and bring you yoga like you’ve never experienced it before! You’ve contributed to our success at last year’s Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer event and you’ve helped us raise over $200,000 for LBBC’s educational programs. LBBC feels empowered to know that dedicated people like you will help us deliver at next year’s re-modeled yoga event and help us further our mission.

To introduce LBBC’s yoga event like you’ve never seen it before, LBBC is hosting our first annual Barefoot Ball! Leave the gowns at home and grab your yoga mat for this interactive yoga class lead by JAI! Yoga’s very own instructor, Erica Taxin Blexnak. On Sunday, December 12, 2010 Ardmore Toyota will transform the car dealership into a yoga studio, lending space to LBBC from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for a yoga class that anyone of any skill level can participate in. Restore your balance, relax your body and rejuvenate your spirit as you are lead in song by singer, songwriter and kirtan artist, Yvette Pecoraro! Her live performance is the perfect accent to make this event as warm, compassionate and inspiring as it’s intended to be.

Attendees of the Barefoot Ball are encouraged to make a suggested donation of $25. All proceeds from the Barefoot Ball will go directly toward LBBC’s education and support programs for women and families affected by breast cancer.

Here’s a snapshot of how your contribution helps LBBC reach women affected by breast cancer. Last Saturday, LBBC hosted our annual fall conference, News You Can Use: Breast Cancer Updates for Living Well. Over 300 people attended the conference including women affected by breast cancer, caregivers, exhibitors, healthcare providers and guest speakers. Only 19% of this conference is paid for by registration fees leaving the rest of funding to come directly from fundraising events like the yoga event and other sponsor initiatives.

For more information on the Barefoot Ball or to purchase a yoga mat to aid your practice, refer to the links provided. Feel free to share this post! See you there!

Monday, July 12, 2010

YU4LBBC fundraiser highlighted in local newspaper for contribution to the yoga community

Beatrice Marx, along with her team the Wellness Warriors, raised $6,000 this year for Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Her committment to the yoga community has made her contribution to this annual event more inspiring with each year. Samantha Costa, local reporter for the Courier Post, highlighted Beatrice Marx and her endless contributions to the yoga community in "At Center Peace."

Click here to read the article.

Beatrice Marx (center) prepares to lead the largest yoga class in the city of Philadelphia.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Don't forget to pack some YOGA in your suitcase

Looking forward to a relaxing vacation this summer? With blazing 100-degree temperatures, who wouldn't want to make a trip to a beach resort, relax under a palm tree, and take modest sips of a delicious Bahama Mama? Well, while you're on your way to that well-deserved trip be sure to find a comfortable and shady spot to practice yoga. Adding a yoga routine to your get-a-way will make your vacation a life-changing and spiritual experience.

Take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Yoga Travel: 100 Essential Tips, Tools, & Links and find out why yoga will make your vacation a breathtaking experience! 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jennifer’s Everyday Retreat

For all of you who thought that you’d have to wait until next year’s Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer to see master yoga instructor, Jennifer Schelter, in action…you thought wrong! Jennifer is ready to make her TV debut with a new television talk show, “Jennifer’s Everyday Retreat.” Could Jennifer Schelter be selected for the “Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star” competition?

With your help, it’s possible to welcome a show that highlights and offers everyone a guide to practice the basics of health and well-being. Jennifer aims to inspire viewers and get them moving in a healthy direction today, tomorrow, and for years to come. The show entices you to try new things and be a beginner in the wonder of learning, expressing, thinking, feeling and communication. “Jennifer's Every Day Retreat” will support those who are looking to ease and relieve stress, anxiety, isolation, health-related issues and depression. It encourages balance, gratitude and fulfillment in your own skin while motivating others to share in the journey.

Please support Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer's Jennifer Schelter as she follows her dream to get her own talk show. Vote today!

Jennifer Schelter leads over 1,000 people at the largest yoga class in Philadelphia. All proceeds benefit LBBC's education and support programs.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thank you for helping us go BEYOND our $200,000 fundraising goal

Thank you for all those who helped to contribute to the lives of the 200,000 women who will be affected by breast cancer this year! Over 1,000 dedicated men, women and children followed prominent yoga instructor, Jennifer Schelter's lead and reached for the sun on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 16. By then, LBBC was proud to announce that we raised over $170,000 for LBBC's education and support programs! To date, we are over our initial $200,000 goal and are estactic to announce that with the support of you, your generous donations, and our committed sponsors, we have raised over $219,000! What a success! Donations will continue to be collected until June 30th.

Help us continue to provide education and support at little to no cost by texting a small donation right from your mobile phone! Text “LBBC” to the number 20222, and a one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Messaging and data rates apply; all charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Spread the word to your friends, family and via social networking sites.

Spread the word! Help LBBC get to $230,000! We can do it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Team honor of my mom

This entry was written by 15-year-old Ari Shanon, the daughter of a breast cancer survivor:

Ari's Mom, Dorel, is a breast cancer survivor and attended this year's Yoga Unites for LBBC, alongside her daughter, Ari, team captain of 'Team Dreams.'

My mom brought me to my first Yoga Unites for LBBC when I was 7 years old. I'm 15 now. When I was looking for a service project for my bat mitzvah I thought of LBBC first. The reason I chose LBBC is because my mom had breast cancer when I was six, and it was a hard time. I remember cutting off her hair with my brother at a hair-cutting party before it fell out. Even though that's one of the only memories I have of that time, I know that LBBC was extremely helpful because my mom always talks about them. I'm really grateful to them for being there for my mom. So I decided to create a team for Yoga Unites for LBBC called Team Dreams and raise money for LBBC. Ever since, I've been creating a team filled with friends and family, and friends of friends. Even people I don't know support our team, and I'm so glad and honored that they join us on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Team Dreams raised over $5,000 for LBBC's education and support programs.

I really enjoyed my experiences with Yoga Unites for LBBC because, first of all, it's really cool to see so many people doing yoga together while looking out over the beautiful skyline of Philadelphia. Second of all, I love my team and they're all really great people for supporting me and LBBC, and for coming out every year. A bunch of my friends come every year and they really enjoy it. We have such a great time together. Third, the yoga is amazing. I don't usually get to do yoga during the year, though I did take a class when I was in fourth grade. During and after the Yoga Unites class I feel so strong. And I look at Jennifer and she looks really strong, and it makes me look forward to next year.

Ari (left) and her mom, Dorel, feel strong together as they practice yoga on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

I mostly raise money for Team Dreams by emailing friends and family over and over, and asking them to email their friends and family. I also emailed my entire school this year. A few years ago our local paper did an article about Team Dreams and Yoga Unites for LBBC, which helped raise money. My grandmother is a huge help and emails all of her friends, and she usually comes and cheers us on along with my grandfather, my Dad and my brother. (They're the official Team Dreams photographers.) I'm really lucky to be surrounded by people who want to help this cause. Each year we've raised more money than the last. This year we raised more than $5,000, which was our goal. It feels really good to raise so much money for such a great organization.

One way LBBC can get more young people involved is by getting parents to bring their children and their children's friends to Yoga Unites for LBBC. Also by trying to get high schools to organize teams to raise money. A lot of young people have family members who've been affected by breast cancer, so this would be a good group to get involved. I think once they saw how much fun it is to be at Yoga Unites for LBBC and how easy it is to raise money, they'd want to do it every year.

Yoga Unites for LBBC is a fundraising activity that is open to everyone, even young high school students like Ari. You want to share your story? Email It's not too late to donate!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Last Minute Decision...No Regrets

Talk about a last minute decision! LBBC caught up with Sandi Selzer who decided to come out to support the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for LBBC event just hours before the event took place! She wouldn't regret her efforts!

This entry was written by Sandi Selzer: 

I wanted to share my experience and pictures from this year’s Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I’ve heard about the event for the past two years and decided at 10pm on the Saturday night before to pack my yoga mat and take part. It was the best decision I’ve ever made! Seeing over 1,000 beautiful people doing yoga was obviously an amazing site. What I wasn’t prepared for was the incredible feeling of love, support and HOPE that surrounded us.

When we did our first pose and the clouds move away to let the sun shine on us, I realized that this was bigger than just a yoga class. I’m not a breast cancer survivor, but two of my close friends are and I will be sure to bring them with me next year. They are not “yogis,” but I will convince them that this event is more than just yoga—it’s a life changing experience. Thanks to all of you who made this happen—hope you like the pictures!

LBBC wants to hear about your experience too! Send your story to Share your most fascinating, interesting or touching moment that you experienced at the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for LBBC. Thank you for your donations!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dr. Kathryn Schmitz impressed with new yoga study

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is hosting its annual meeting in one week. Over 30,000 clinicians will be in attendance at the annual meeting responding to and offering information as it relates to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. LBBC caught up with Dr. Kathryn Schmitz who was invited to speak at the meeting. She will be presenting guidelines for exercise testing and prescription for all cancer patients based on an expert panel brought together by the American College of Sports Medicine.

“Doctors are concerned about doing the best they can for their patients. There was a time, not so many decades ago, when cancer patients didn’t live as long as they do now, so doctors were teaching ‘take it easy,’ says Dr. Kathryn Schmitz as she discusses why most doctors don’t associate exercise with being the best option for cancer patients.

Dr. Schmitz conducts research that is based on the findings of the benefits of physical activity. While she targets those who suffer from obesity, she also has extended research to women affected by breast cancer as well. She supports a new study that ASCO released that shows evidence that yoga may help cancer patients with treatment side effects.

Dr. Schmitz is impressed with the way Dr. Karen Mustian went about conducting the yoga benefits study. “What’s lovely about this study is that Karen went through the oncologists. The challenge with dealing with cancer patients is getting clinicians involved…the oncologists have to know that it’s safe,” said Dr. Schmitz. “Until we provide information to physicians that women want this, women benefit from this and women will not be harmed, nothing will change,” she says.

Dr. Mustian was the lead author in a study that revealed that yoga had sustainable benefits on sleep quality, fatigue, and overall quality of life in cancer survivors. A total of 96% of the participants of the study were women and 75% of them had breast cancer.

“People [cancer patients] are living, and for a long time, particularly breast cancer patients. It turns out the talk of ‘take it easy’ is associated with worse risk than exercise itself. In my opinion, [doctors] should stop recommending patients avoid exercise,” says Dr. Schmitz. Primarily, doctors rely on medication to assist their patients with side effects of treatment and are more reluctant to “prescribe” exercise.

According to Dr. Schmitz, doctors don’t have time to investigate and encourage their patients to explore the benefits of exercise. “Women are talking to their doctors about arm pain, scar pain, side effects, and the best ways to prevent recurrence. By the time they are done with all of what is on their agenda, the allotted time for the appointment is over or even long past. And then Doctor’s are supposed to say ‘oh, there’s an exercise program you can do?’ There just isn’t enough time,” she said.

Financial issues also factor in when doctors consider suggesting exercise programs to their patients. “Cancer patients are tapped out financially. The financial burden of cancer treatment creates stress, and on top of that, many patients have taken as much time off as they are allotted at work. On top of that, they have to PAY for yoga classes? Cost can be a real barrier,” said Dr. Schmitz.

Dr. Schmitz and a team at the University of Pennsylvania are looking into disseminating an at-home yoga work-out video for breast cancer survivors as a way to assist with the high out-of-pocket costs for those undergoing treatment.

Dr. Schmitz herself has been practicing yoga since she was in elementary school. “People who have been doing it for the longest are the least likely to say they’re good at it, including me. I’m really still just a beginner,” she ends.

Dr. Schmitz has heard from people across the world who are pleased with the programs that LBBC provides. She has even offered to help LBBC promote more physical activity programs on a day to day basis for women affected by breast cancer.

To hear about the latest findings revealed at ASCO’s annual meeting, register for LBBC’s teleconference scheduled for June 11th: Breaking News from ASCO.

Are you having trouble sleeping? Are you suffering from fatigue after treatment? Talk to your doctor about practicing yoga at your local yoga studio and about any other options that may assist with treatment side effects. Tell us what your doctor suggested on our facebook page.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moving Meditation

This entry was submitted by LBBC staff member Stacia Weaver:

Jeanne Egan vicariously lived through her grandmother’s diagnosis of breast cancer. After finding three benign tumors, the dreaded fear of being diagnosed with breast cancer had somehow become a reality. In October of 2007, Jeanne had a bilateral mastectomy which revealed that she had a 1.6 cm malignant tumor.

“I always had a fear of cancer. I always thought I would get it. It was just a part of my story,” said Jeanne.

Jeanne attended the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer event. She joined over 1,000 people as they all joined together on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to support women affected by breast cancer. But Jeanne’s presence at the event was even more significant when she learned that she was the top individual fundraiser, raising over $2,000 for LBBC’s education and support programs. It was the first year that Jeanne participated in the event and accounts the benefits of yoga to helping her heal, cope and find peace, grace and divinity.

“When I do yoga [the instructors] talk about grace. They tell you ‘you’re one with the divine. The divine is within you and there, you will have grace.’ Yoga is a moving meditation. It keeps you in the present. You’re so aware of everything in your body,” said Jeanne as she admits that she’s not afraid of recurrence. “Yoga is a big part of it,” she says.

Participating in an outdoor yoga class would have been a “no, no” for Jeanne when she first finished treatment after her 2007 diagnosis. Jeanne admits that she felt so intimated by yoga that she practiced at home with a beginner’s yoga work-out tape for about a year. However, now Jeanne practices yoga three to four times a week and admits that she can even do the advanced classes.

“Whether you’re taking a yoga class on the Art Museum steps or a yoga studio, you’re trying to achieve being one with the universe. Yoga is where I find peace,” said Jeanne.

But Jeanne also finds peace in her female support system that helped her during her breast cancer diagnosis. Jeanne’s blog, Sisterhood and Survival: A Breast Cancer Blog, is a reflection of the bond of women and the power of the female connection. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Jeanne credits her significant relationship with her women friends with helping her get through the tragic time. Her blog is a symbol that represents that “women help each other get through crisis and happy times as well.”

“The illness has changed my family,” says Jeanne, mother of two. “It was very difficult for my son. It didn’t change our relationship, but more so, our lives,” she says as she acknowledges the very women were able to step in and take action for her family during this traumatic experience. “My women friends were a web of caring, a safety net that lifted me up. We [my family] got here because of my women friends, my sisters.”

One of her ‘sisters’ attended the event with her. Jeanne and her team, “Sisterhood and Survival,” were deeply moved by master yoga instructor, Jennifer Schelter’s performance. “When Jennifer talked about love and grieving and that connection, we were crying. It’s so true. We grieve because we love. This event resonates to breast cancer survivors’ lives, recovery, and living beyond breast cancer.”

“This event is a movement,” she ends.

Did you attened LBBC's 8th Annual Yoga Unites for LBBC and you want to share your experience? Email Remember, it's not too late to donate. Visit

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer a Definite Success!

This entry was written by LBBC staff member Stacia Weaver:

Over 1,000 men, women and children participated in, connected with and supported the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) partnered with Jennifer Schelter, master yoga instructor and founder of Yoga Unites as she lead the largest yoga class in the city of Philadelphia on the morning of May 16, 2010. While participants followed Jennifer’s lead, the cloudy skies transformed into bright blue skies with a hint of yellow from the bright sun. With every yoga pose, Jennifer  instructed each participant to reach for the sun’s rays.

Yoga Unites for LBBC is an annual fundraising event that provides a way for individuals and teams to support women affected by breast cancer and spread the word about healthy living, while raising funds and awareness for LBBC’s education and support programs. So far, we have raised over $185,000 for our education and support programs. However, we are still receiving generous donations from the participants of the event who are dedicated to helping us reach our ambitious goal of $200,000 for the 200,000 women who will be affected by breast cancer this year.

This year, Lu Ann Cahn, NBC 10 investigative reporter was the honorary chair of the event. The 18-year breast cancer survivor put down her reporter microphone and picked up her yoga mat for the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for LBBC. She talked about her journey with breast cancer and how she, herself, is living beyond the disease. Right after the hour-long class she took the stage. She told all participants it wasn’t too late to join in on the cause if they hadn’t done so already. She urged participants to take part in LBBC’s latest text-to-give initiative and text “LBBC” to 20222 to make a $10 donation. With everyone's help, we will reach our $200,000 goal.

The therapeutic and intimate outdoor yoga class was also lead in song by Yvette Pecoraro and her talented musicians who chanted soothing lyrics that coincided with each yoga pose. Participants were instructed to close their eyes, feel and release their energy, and internalize all emotions of love. Jennifer’s grandmother died from breast cancer. Throughout her class, she expressed her love for her grandmother and explained that her grandmother is in fact one of the reasons why Yoga Unites for LBBC is a special event for her.

Philadelphia Eagles mascot, ‘Swoop’ participated in this event and helped LBBC celebrate May 16, which had formally been declared Living Beyond Breast Cancer day in the city of Philadelphia. He put his wings to work on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum with over 80 formed teams by his side. 

The half-day event included an outdoor yoga class and Healthy Living Expo, where participants were engaged in informative conversations that highlighted yoga and exercise, healthful foods, natural cosmetics and goods and services to improve quality of life. Olga and Warners, one of the sponsors for the event, offered bra-fitting tips as they offered women free bras.

Click here to view pictures of the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Enter password: yogaunites.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Reason to Celebrate

This entry was written by LBBC staff member Stacia Weaver:

Robin Schoen is not comfortable using the term ‘survivor’ and admits that she “didn’t want to be a member of a group of women with breast cancer; who would?” However, she will be taking part, for the first time, in the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer event. “I’m looking forward to meeting more incredible women and sharing our experiences in support of one another.”  One motivation:  May 16th is Robin’s 54th birthday.  Another, she’s a big believer in the benefits of yoga. Coincidentally, the city of Philadelphia has declared May 16th Living Beyond Breast Cancer Day.

Robin attributes much of her physical strength in coping with the treatment necessitated by her breast cancer diagnosis to the healing benefits of yoga. (She has been practicing yoga for more than 15 years, but has practiced it more consistently since 2007.) “In fact, I think the reason why I recovered so quickly following my surgery was the result of the core strength I developed from my yoga practice,” says Robin, as she describes her recovery from the mastectomy of her right breast and subsequent TRAM flap reconstruction. This surgery uses tissue and muscle mass from the abdomen to replace a removed breast.

Robin isn’t a member of one of the 80 or so teams that were formed in support of the May 16th event. “I’m not a great team player, so I decided to do this on my own,” she says. “I sent two e-mails and made a couple of personal calls, and pretty quickly received tremendous support in the form of very generous donations from my very supportive friends and family members.” To date, she has raised $2,695 for the annual fundraising event – exceeding her $2,500 goal – which will be used to advance LBBC’s work to support women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer and spread awareness of LBBC’s education and support programs.

Robin urges everyone to get involved with campaigns that deal with promoting awareness about the impacts of breast cancer. “Nearly 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are reported annually in the U.S. alone.  The methods for dealing with breast cancer have significant physical and psychological impacts,” she says. “The removal of one’s breast or breasts – unlike, perhaps, the removal of an internal organ -- provokes profound responses and the people affected need and deserve attention.”

This may be what drives Robin to support LBBC rather than organizations focused on finding a cure. “With breast cancer – as with all cancers -- there are so many variables and they’re so specific, that I’m not sure a cure is possible; perhaps better, less invasive and less destructive therapies and treatments – but a cure?  While driving toward these lofty goals, I think it’s important to remember to focus on providing the support needed by those who are living with breast cancer or its terrible impacts so they’re able to live their lives as unimpeded by this disease as possible.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Fourth Year Participating, My First as a Survivor

This entry was written by Denise Portner of Elkins Park, PA:

This May will be the fourth year I’m attending the Yoga Unites for LBBC event, and I always love the feeling of camaraderie, the gentle early morning sun on our faces, the quiet of a group of hundreds during yoga together. The Healthy Living Expo is fun, the food is fresh and the coffee is delicious. But this year will be different. It will be the first one in which I am a survivor. And the lesson I’ve learned is that any one of us can go from supporter to survivor. But with the help of loved ones and an organization like LBBC, we can make it.

I had gotten involved with LBBC through my work in public relations, connecting one of my client companies to LBBC as a sponsor. The CEO has since joined LBBC’s board of directors, as has one of my law firm clients. Both are men whose wives, sisters and other relatives have had breast cancer, and they want to be involved with an organization that touches women so profoundly, through individual support, as well as the highest level of educational programming and seminars around. That’s what hooked me too.

From the start, I was impressed with how easy it was to work with Jean, Elyse, and all the staff at LBBC and how quickly they felt like friends. In the meantime, I was on my own personal journey, since my mother and aunt had both had breast cancer. After my aunt was treated, she and my mother underwent genetic testing and learned they carried the BRCA 2 mutation. My sister and I were then tested, and I learned I was BRCA 2 positive as well. In the summer of 2008, after visiting two local Family Risk Assessment centers and receiving top-notch counseling, I was giving thought as to whether to take prophylactic measures to prevent breast and ovarian cancer. I was in my mid-40s, and my mother and aunt had been diagnosed at age 60. I assumed I had time.

Last May, on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I was a participant in Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. In our tradition, I shared the morning with my friend Risa, her daughter and mother, who is a survivor. During the program, I listened to the stories and prayed for the women who had gone through so much, and was glad to contribute to a great cause. Later in the month, I attended my 25th college reunion in New England, spent the weekend with wonderful friends, and had a great time.

But then in June, I had an MRI rather than a mammogram, because of my genetic status. It showed an area of concern that I subsequently had biopsied, and all of a sudden, and forever, I became a woman who had breast cancer.

In the year since, I have had surgery, reconstruction, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. My care at Fox Chase Cancer Center has been top notch, and thank heavens, my prognosis is good. My family and friends have been there for me, and so has LBBC. The newsletters and teleconferences are suddenly extremely relevant – as if someone is reading my mind and addressing my concerns. Jean and Elyse have reached out to me, shared their experience, and put me in touch with experts for second opinions that are leaders in the field. The silver lining during this challenging year has been the expression of love and support I have received from my family, friends and colleagues, and the time I have been able to spend with them. I realize not everyone is as fortunate. Not everyone has the network I had, the insurance I had, the access to information and the ability to process it. And alas, not everyone is married to a physician who also cooks.

So this year, I appealed to my circle to help raise funds to support women who face this diagnosis with fewer resources than I had, because getting through cancer treatment is hard enough. This year, when we gather on the steps of the majestic Philadelphia Museum of Art, overlooking our beautiful city in the Sunday morning hours, my perspective will be very different. My sense of connection to LBBC and its supporters will be stronger. My compassion for those who suffer and worry and persevere, will be top of mind. And my gratitude for having reached this day, overwhelming.

It's not too late to part-take in this year's event! Sign up now at

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Karma Project in Honor of a Loved One

Lisa O’Rear thought that participating in this year’s 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer was the perfect way to complete her “Karma Project.” She has only been practicing yoga for a year and is now on her way to becoming a yoga instructor. One of the requirements for her yoga-teaching course is to complete a “Karma Project,” which brings yoga into the community by volunteering.

“Breast cancer is a huge deal. It runs in my family,” said Lisa. On April 23, 2010, Lisa lost her cousin Micheline Camire Bedard to breast cancer. She had been battling the disease for two years. “When Micheline was diagnosed, it brought back painful memories for our family. “Our aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 49. Micheline was the same age when she was diagnosed,” Lisa wrote in an email.

Yoga has been a fundamental experience in Lisa’s life. She credits yoga and its benefits to the healing effects that it has had on her personal life. “Yoga teaches you about acceptance; about being content with what is and not what could be,” said Lisa.

Over 200,000 women will be affected by breast cancer this year. However, a pilot study revealed that a brief yoga class would be beneficial for combating side effects from cancer treatment. Lisa is familiar with the many aspects associated with yoga. “It allows women to be physically involved. You can sit in a chair and do yoga.  It makes them [women] feel like they’re doing something. It gives them hope,” she said.

Lisa, 33, has done research about breast cancer gene testing. She believes that the more you learn about breast cancer, the more you realize that it could in fact be you. She is afraid of breast cancer and disappointed that people don’t become involved enough until it affects them. “Motivation comes from within. How could you not be a part of something that affects so many people?”

“Think about all the women you work with; about all the women you come into contact with in your daily life.” Many of those women will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Lisa.

Yoga Unites for LBBC will take place on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum on Sunday, May 16. Lisa’s team “MC Yoga Love” has raised $1,260 for LBBC education and support programs.

“You don’t always have the opportunity to do things like this in life. Micheline was a humble person. She was much more concerned about other people than herself. She was an inspiration,” she ends.

Would you like to share your story about participating in Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer? Email

Friday, April 23, 2010

Yoga Unites

This post was written by Melissa from Ohio: 

This is certainly true. It unites us as a community and it re-unites us with ourselves. If we just take the time to focus on our breathing, we can become present in the moment and live now instead of yesterday or tomorrow.  There are plenty of things to worry about, but we are better capable of dealing with them when we slow down and breathe. There are various forms of yoga, and everyone can find something they are physically capable of doing and something they can enjoy. 

I was involved in a study at The Ohio State University that set out to look at the role of yoga and stress in breast cancer survivors. The study is ongoing, so the data is not published yet, but we were shown very gentle movements and breathing exercises that were calming. My instructor was a peaceful, beautiful lady who truly loves yoga. Often that is the case with yoga instructors- they want to share the gift of yoga because it is such a great experience. We just need to let go and relax as students. Don't look at your neighbor's pose- focus on your breathing and relax into the pose.  Let the day's worries melt away....

How do you feel about yoga? Has it help you cope? Share your thoughts with us, either here on this blog, on our Facebook page!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Team Spirit!

This post was written by Sydney Licht, team captain of Team Spirit:

Yoga Unites for LBBC is one of my favorite days of the year. It is an experience that I have looked forward to since I was in eighth grade. I first formed a team when I was thirteen, completely unaware of how much of an impact Yoga Unites for LBBC would have on me. I was so impressed with the intimacy and uniqueness of the event- it was unlike any fundraiser that I had ever attended. Over the years my team, Team Spirit, has grown, and my friends and family have helped me to organize ice cream socials and bracelet sales in order to raise money for a genuinely awesome organization. This year with survivors among us, we have a very high fundraising goal of $3,000. We have arranged a fundraiser at Rita’s Water Ice on Butler Pike in Ambler on April 28th, 2010 from 4-9PM and plan to have raffle baskets filled with items such as yoga class cards, and gift certificates! I am incredibly glad to be involved with such a fantastic organization that I know has supported people close to me battling breast cancer. I am really looking forward to this year’s Yoga Unites for LBBC and hope that we can all help LBBC reach their goal to raise $200,000 in honor of the 200,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year! See you there!

Like Sydney, you too can participate and help LBBC fulfill its mission of empowering all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life. Join us on May 16 and! Visit to register!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pink Kitchen

This entry was written by Lisa Grey, a first time participant:

My name is Lisa and this year I decided to participate in Yoga Unites for LBBC and form a team – Pink Kitchen -- for a few reasons:

I am a two-year survivor. I was born in Philadelphia. Most of my family - particularly those who supported me through the worst of my treatment - still lives in Philly. So there is something very nostalgic for me in supporting an event that takes place on the steps of the Art Museum.

I am also a huge fan of yoga. There is no other activity that can combine exercise, relaxation, and personal achievement in quite the same intensity as yoga can. I began practicing yoga two years before my diagnosis. Little did I know then that yoga would be such a critical part of getting through treatment, and then rejoining the non-cancer world. It was bittersweet for me - between the chemotherapy and all the surgeries I've had, I've lost so much of my range-of-motion and energy. Yet I've learned that yoga is a safe place - no one cares what you're doing, or how you're doing it. No one cares what level you'd reached before cancer struck. You're just there in the moment of each pose, feeling alive.

But the best reason I have for supporting Yoga Unites for LBBC is that LBBC helped me this year. For the first time, I attended the Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer. I really felt like I needed to get away from my role as post-cancer Superwoman and surround myself with women who understood what it's like to balance cancer and daily life expectations. The workshops gave me a chance to empower myself through knowledge, while the social events let me leave my cancer label behind for awhile and just be 'Lisa'!

So here I am! I want to raise money so others can experience the conferences and programs like I did. I am earning my PhD in Health Psychology, and my dissertation research pertains to breast cancer and healthy living. I’m creating a cookbook series titled Pink Kitchen to make nutrition easy on survivors (and really, anyone) with a lack of time and energy....even if they think they have no knack for cooking. Next year, I hope to have a table at the event. Can't wait!

Why are you participating in this year's event? Comment here or on our Facebook page!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yoga: Not Just Poses

This entry was written by Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer instructor, Jennifer Schelter:

So you’re not sure about this yoga thing. Maybe you’re intimidated by the poses. Or maybe you’re unsure about whether the exercise is really helpful or not. Regardless of where you’re coming from, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about yoga. Bottom line: yoga is not just about poses. There are many physical and emotional benefits to be gained from giving it a try.

Practicing yoga is like being an architect of your body. You connect the dots between your mind and body, while cultivating well-being and happiness.

In the last ten years, yoga has become a great way to “get fit”, flexible, balanced and toned. We’re motivated by celebrity beauty and glamour and we fear aging and death like the plague.Those would be reasons enough for anyone to leap into yoga and seek the fountain of youth.

But what‘s really happening when you’re doing yoga?

The deeper benefits, whether you feel them or not in the beginning, far surpass asana (poses).

You can easily get physically injured if yoga becomes yet another thing you have to “win.” The mind is really what we are all up against. And the center of yoga is your relationship to perception and your mind.

How do you slow down the mind long enough to feel in sync with your body?

The mindfulness of a yoga practice acknowledges that your body, heart and mind are like a river. How are you going to relate to this river that is constantly in flux? What awareness do you need in order to cherish, love and forgive your body, your self, others and the world?

Yoga provides the basic structure for four important daily life practices:

1. Inspiration: Inspiration is the foundation of change and growth. It helps you understand and expand your ever-evolving self.

2. Attention: What you focus your attention on impacts your mind. Feed the mind thoughts of victimization and fear and that’s what you will see. Feed the mind thoughts of trust and love and that’s what you will see.

3. Intention: Growth and transformation can only be fulfilled if you are willing to allow new thought and action. These new thoughts and actions can help you create new experiences that result in improved health, well-being and love.

4. Choice: Choice is the key ingredient to well-being because, as we all know, excuses are plentiful and an easy way out. Choosing to commit to your intentions opens up new worlds of opportunity and friendships.

These past eight years of Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer have been an incredible testament to the power of inspiration, attention, intention and choice, not only from women affected by breast cancer, but from all the participants who join together to meditate, acknowledge life as it is and celebrate unstoppable optimism.

Regardless of whether you’ve tried yoga or not, come join us on the steps of the Art Museum May 16th!

Interact with other participants by visiting our Facebook page and following us on Twitter!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fundraising for Dummies

So you've registered for Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer and formed a team. Now you're not sure what to do next.

Fundraising can be a daunting thing, especially if you've never done it before. But there are hundreds of creative ways to fundraise that involve no prior training or skill. We're bringing some of these ideas to you in the hopes that you'll use them to help us raise $200,000 for the nearly 200,000 women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

1. Hold an event at a local restaurant.
Chances are you frequent a local restaurant regularly. Use this to your advantage and ask them to hold an event to benefit your fundraising team. Or ask them to donate a portion of the sale from a certain item to your team. Most restaurants are happy to help a good cause, especially if it will draw more people to them. Remember Jenna, our program coordinator? She raised over $500 in one evening by hosting an open bar night. Everyone paid $25 to get in and $10 of that went straight to Jenna's team, The Rack Pack.

2. Bag it up.
Let's face it: grocery stores are short-staffed these days. Most of us bag our own groceries, which takes extra time and is an added annoyance to most customers. So why not lend your services for the day? Find your local grocery store and offer to bag for a day (get your whole team involved). Leave tip jars at the registers for customers. Make sure to advertise this event beforehand as many customers will make sure to shop that day.

3. Embrace community organizations.
Visit your church, synagogue, fitness center or yoga studio and see what they can do to help. Maybe you can hold a Saturday morning pancake breakfast at your church and charge people $2 for a plate. Or maybe your fitness center or studio will hold a special, donations-only class to raise money for your team.

4. Use the kids.
Even if you're not a parent, you can still utilize local schools. Some schools will have a dress down day, where kids can pay $1 to wear jeans.

5. If you're good at something, sell it.
Everyone is good at something. If you like painting on the side, consider selling your paintings for a donation. If you like to make jewelry, sell it. If you're an organizer, offer to help someone organize their home in return for a donation. One of our supporters, Judy Herman, loves making chocolate chip banana cakes. Judy spent six days a week baking hundreds of cakes and raised over $5,000 for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. All she did was ask for a $10 donation for each cake.

Our website has lot's of other fundraising tips and tools for you to check out. The key is to look around you. Everyone is involved in some sort of group or organization, whether it be your work, volunteer organization, fitness center, book club, etc. Use these groups to brainstorm ways to raise money in the community.

Last but not least, ask for money. That form of fundraising is just as effective as ever. Write an email (or letter) to people you think may be interested in getting involved or making a donation. Personal stories always tug at people's hearts. Don't underestimate the impact of simply asking for help.

Do you have fundraising ideas of your own? Share them with others by becoming a fan of YU4LBBC on Facebook and following us on Twitter!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Reason Behind it All

All the proceeds raised from Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer go towards our programs and services. Programs like our Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer. Check out the pictures from the 10th conference below--it's always good to remind ourselves why we're raising the money!

Help Living Beyond Breast Cancer raise $200,000 for the nearly 200,000 women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. We're almost at $25,000 already! You'd be amazed at the impact one fundraising team can have on the lives of thousands of women. Visit our website for more information & to form a fundraising team.

Become a fan of Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Rack Pack

This entry was written by Jenna Jackson, LBBC's Program Coordinator:

When my colleague asked me to write a blog entry about why I decided to start my own Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer fundraising team I thought it would be an easy thing to do. But now that I am trying to write it down, I’m finding it difficult to pinpoint just a few reasons for getting involved in the event. There are thousands of reasons why I felt it was something I wanted to do.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer during my spring break freshman year of college. I remember feeling lost and not knowing what to expect during the next few years. Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer helps fund a lot of the programming that assists families like mine during that time of confusion and uncertainty.

I recently became a Program Coordinator at Living Beyond Breast Cancer, which means I assist in the planning of our education events. In this position, I have the privilege of attending all of our conferences and networking meetings; as well as, listen in to all of our teleconferences. I am able to observe first hand all of the valuable resources that Living Beyond Breast Cancer provides to women affected by breast cancer.

I also felt it was a great event to bring all of my friends together. Once I decided to start a fundraising team, I asked all of my girlfriends on facebook and was surprised by all of the positive responses. I currently have 12 friends on my team and it gives us something positive to do together. We recently held a fundraiser at a local bar and restaurant and raised $520 for our team in two hours. Not many 23-27 year olds can say that they raised that much money on a Saturday night while just having fun with their friends!

There are a lot of reasons why I started my own fundraising team for Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer and I certainly can’t list all of them in this blog entry. To summarize all of them, I’d just like to say it is a healthy, fun, and unique way to bring people you know together for a good cause.

                                   Jenna (on left) and her sister

Like Jenna, you too can form a team for Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer! Just visit the website to register and get started. If you don't feel like starting your own team, join an existing one! There are tons of ways to get involved and help us raise $200,000 for the nearly 200,000 women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Tribute

This entry was written by Jennifer Schelter, creator of Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer:

Every year I dedicate Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer to my grandmother, Katherine Converse. She was one of my best friends. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, there were no organizations like Living Beyond Breast Cancer available. For me, Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer begins and ends with her. Her legacy and everything she gave to me: family dinners, blue fish, strawberries and vanilla ice cream, sunny afternoons around her pool, hours playing “Hearts” around her kitchen table, visiting me at college, writing letters back and forth, always being there to talk and being a fabulous woman and grandmother.

I know my grandmother would have benefited from Living Beyond Breast Cancer and loved to participate in their programs and services. That’s why I dedicate my time and love of this event to her memory and to all the fabulous women I know who are courageous and loving, even in the face of breast cancer.

Who in your life is courageous, despite their circumstances? Consider forming a fundraising team in honor or memory of them for the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. It’s an amazing opportunity to honor the life of a loved one and help raise $200,000 for women affected by breast cancer. Learn more about the event, register and form a team by going to the website.

Jennifer Schelter is the founder of Yoga Unites®, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring individuals and engaging communities by nurturing creativity and well being through the transformative power of yoga. Jennifer is also the founder and owner of Yoga Schelter.

Check out our blog and join us on Facebook!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Check your ego at the door

This entry was written by one of our volunteers. This is her first year participating in the event:

It’s coming up on my two-year anniversary since my breast cancer diagnosis. It’s been quite a journey in just two years! When I was first diagnosed in April 2008, I knew my life would change forever. At first, I thought it would change for the worst. But, this experience has changed me for the best in so many ways.

One of the most significant uplifting experiences I have had on this journey is my involvement with Living Beyond Breast Cancer. When I received the Guide for the Newly Diagnosed that first day in my surgeon’s office, I felt hope. LBBC’s mission statement would become my mantra; live the best quality of life for as long as possible.

About six months ago, I decided it was time for me to start getting back into yoga. (Of course, I thought I was a pro from way back when - I was self-taught using my power yoga DVDs.) I took an intensive beginner’s yoga class and from there I became hooked. At first, I just thought it would be good exercise. After a few weeks, I began to make the connection that yoga could change me not just physically, but spiritually and mentally. Back when I was initially diagnosed, I felt betrayed by my own body. As I get more into yoga and learned to breathe and listen to my body, I feel more in touch with my body. I am developing awareness. I am also learning acceptance of what I can and cannot do. I have learned to check my ‘ego’ at the door.

I am learning to live in the moment. I feel peace and jubilation that doesn’t end when the class ends. It only seemed natural that I get involved in LBBC's event, Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, which is a basic outdoor yoga class and Healthy Living Expo. I formed a fundraising team for the event and appropriately named it "Jubilant Jugs."

Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a perfect event on so many levels: increasing awareness while supporting our mothers, sisters, and friends. And what a perfect place for such an event - at the top of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps! Rocky fans will particularly enjoy that location.

What am I looking forward to most? Participating with my fellow sisters (and brothers) on those Art Museum stairs. Jubilant Jugs… here we come!

Want to form a fundraising team for Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer?
Just visit the website & register to get started. It's a great way to honor someone's memory, support a loved one or like Kathy, celebrate being out of treatment! Even if you don't know someone affected by breast cancer or don't live in the Philly area, you can still form a team. 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year...let's support these women by raising $200,000!
Remember to visit us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hakuna Ma TATA's

This entry was written by Ann Kaczmarskyj, a Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer supporter:

In the past six years, my mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer four times. This past year, I decided to participate in as many breast cancer events as possible during the last year of my 20’s. I found Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and signed up. It was one of my favorite events, and I decided I had to do it again! However, I wanted to do more, so I’m recruiting others to join me. That’s how my fundraising team, Hakuna Ma TATA’s, was born.

My motto has always been, “don’t worry about it until you’re given something to worry about.” I’ve kept this in mind each time my mother was diagnosed. It helps me focus on the positive. Naturally, I wanted to incorporate it into my participation. After all, who can forget a name like Hakuna Ma TATA’s?

This event is my way of doing something for my mother, and all the other women and supporters affected by breast cancer. I’ve never heard of an event that promotes breast cancer awareness through yoga in such a public setting. What a great way to get the message out—on the steps of a major tourist attraction! At last year’s event, I performed yoga on the top step of the Philadelphia Art Museum. I remember looking down at all the other participants and being amazed by the quiet. It’s not often you’re in a city and its quiet. I was touched by the moment and the fact that we were all there for the same reason.

Am I a yoga professional? Absolutely not. But I went out there and had a great time. The instructor gave alternatives for beginners like me. Even if you can’t perform yoga, just relax and take in the peace of the city. You’re there for a good cause and watching the class on the steps is just as breathtaking as participating in it.

My mother has been a pillar of strength in our family. By participating in Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, I’m being strong for her. I’m also being strong for the men and women that have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and for the thousands of men and women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Instead of sitting around worrying about what could happen, I’m taking action to help change what will happen. After all, worry gets you nowhere. Will you join me?

Hakuna MaTaTa!

Ann & her mother Martha

 Ann is proof that you don’t need to live in Philly to form a fundraising team. She’s doing this all from Virginia, with some team members from New York! If you’d like to join Ann’s fundraising team, another existing team or form your own, please visit the event website. We’re encouraging all participants to form fundraising teams in order to help us raise $200,000. Last year, our fundraising teams brought in $68,052—which was over half of the total amount raised. Donations at all levels help us reach our goal and even just $5 or $10 can make a difference!

If you’re already registered to participate, share your story with us by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook Page. Why have you decided to get involved? Who are you raising the money for? You may have a chance to be featured in our next blog entry. Until then…Happy Fundraising!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One Song

This entry was written by Beatrice Marx, a breast cancer survivor, yoga instructor and LBBC volunteer:

Yoga has always been a part of my life, but it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with breast cancer that I dove deeper into its roots. I found that yoga could help me cope with my newly changed life. It became a significant factor in how I approach my health and my life.

Like many, I initially tried yoga for its physical aspects. The mantras, affirmations and the meditation didn’t interest me. I just knew that I wanted to beat breast cancer and to not let it change me. If anything, I wanted to grow because of it. I wanted to make a positive out of a negative. As I practiced yoga after my first surgery, I focused on regaining strength and flexibility and slowly began to realize the beautiful connection between my breath, body and mind. I felt that I could get through anything with grace and dignity.

As a woman living with breast cancer there are many long waits, doctor visits, test results, scans, the “chemo chair”, etc. As you wait, you watch your loved ones go through the waiting along with you. What gave me peace during this time was focusing on my breathing. Even if you have never tried yoga before, we have all had moments where we’re aware of our breathing. I recommend breath awareness to all, especially to those diagnosed with breast cancer. Close your eyes and just follow your breathing. Follow it as it travels through your body and find it as it calms and relaxes every muscle and nerve. Feel the smile as it slowly creeps over your face. This is yoga. Peace in any situation.

Each day, I put one foot in front of the other as best I can. All of us are awakening to health and to joy at our own rate. Sometimes a discomfort brings us into a much deeper connection with who we truly are and allows new blessings to enter our lives unexpectedly. It is my wish for all women to realize their potential for grace and healing. We are all part of one song with many melodies. Sometimes joyful, sometimes sad, but the song continues and so must we.

 Will you be apart of something bigger than yourself? Help us raise $200,000 for women affected by breast cancer at the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The first 50 people to register and form a fundraising team during March will receive a free watch from White House Black Market! Get more details by visiting our Facebook page.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Remember to Breathe

This post was written by Jeanne Egan, a breast cancer survivor & Yoga Unites for LBBC participant:

Prior to having breast cancer two and a half years ago, my day usually began with two Oreo cookies for breakfast accompanied by a couple big cups of coffee. I was usually sleep deprived, so a little sugar and caffeine in the morning seemed to be just the perfect things to get me going.

“Mommy, can I have a cookie for breakfast too?” My children would ask, not understanding why they couldn’t partake in this decadent morning delight. “When you're a grown up you can have whatever you like for breakfast,” I would flippantly respond. Looking back, I realize that my cavalier attitude towards my health was foolish.

“Diagnosis cancer” forced me to rethink a lot of things. First was my diet and second was my exercise regime. I rarely ate fruit and never took a vitamin supplement. I have always liked vegetables but I certainly wasn’t getting enough of them. I had been a runner for many years, but in the two years prior to my illness my running was sporadic. Oddly enough, I had dropped five pounds.

After finishing my chemotherapy and gaining weight, I decided I need a more holistic approach to my health. I cut out red meat, began to take flaxseed oil and vitamins, and changed to a diet of mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. As far as my fitness regime, I continued to run but I bought a yoga DVD at the grocery store and began to learn Anusara yoga on my family room floor.

The changes in my body were almost immediate. Because there is so much focus on breathing, I achieved a deep relaxation while strengthening and stretching my entire body. I felt longer and more flexible than I used to. My core became stronger and my balance improved.

I finally got up the nerve to attend class at a yoga studio. Now, I enjoy Vinyasa classes with advanced practitioners and RePose Yoga with other cancer survivors. Each session brings me something different. As I participate in a moving meditation, I begin to know each and every part of my body just a little bit better, thus experiencing the healing effects of this ancient practice. Each time I emerge from my yoga class I am reminded of the importance of nurturing my body and my mind.

I'm looking forward to the Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer event and the opportunity to share this experience with family, friends and other breast cancer survivors on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Yoga can be a valuable part of a healthy lifestyle as a breast cancer survivor. It helps bridge the gap between the mind and body. It teaches us about the divinity in each and every one of us. Most importantly, it reminds us that we all have a unique gift to give to the universe. All we need to do is to remember to breathe.

Check out Jeanne's blog.

Even if you’ve never tried yoga before, this event is a great way to support women affected by breast cancer while focusing on healthy living. It’s a powerful experience to see hundreds of members of the community practicing yoga with the city skyline as a backdrop. If you don’t live in Philly, don’t worry! You can still help us raise $200,000 for the nearly 200,000 women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Why not form a fundraising team with family, friends or co-workers? There are plenty of ways to fundraise and our cool incentives provide great motivation. Check out the Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer website for more information.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Insider's Story

This entry was written by Michelle Zeigler, LBBC's Marketing & Communications Assistant:

I always assumed yoga was for flexible people. Not for someone like me—who can barely reach down and touch her toes; someone who trips over a jump rope and somehow falls over an aerobics step at the gym. When I was hired at Living Beyond Breast Cancer as the Marketing & Communications Assistant, I knew I’d be working on Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. And I knew I needed to understand—really understand—what the event was all about.

It’s hard to explain what the event means, because it holds different meanings for different people. For me, this was an opportunity to help change the lives of so many women. Women whom I had never even met. It was an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself—and bigger than my everyday stresses. Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer gave me an opportunity to step outside of myself and put life in perspective. There are women out there going through much more than me—and staying positive. They’re living their lives to the fullest. Couldn’t I take some time to focus on someone other than myself?

So I decided to not only help plan the event, but to join Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s fundraising team and help raise the money. You may be saying to yourself, I’m no fundraiser. Well, neither am I. Marketing and fundraising are two completely different things!

What kept me motivated to raise the money? The women we serve. Women whose phone calls I take each day. Women who tell me they’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer and are afraid. Women who tell me they need support. Women who tell me they’ve chosen to live their lives as fully as possible. Women who tell me they have hope.

I also do it for the caregivers. Those whose loved ones have been diagnosed, but who remain by their side. Husbands that stand by their wives. Daughters that encourage their mothers. Friends that help a loved one without being asked. I raise the money for them.

When I stood at the bottom of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps last year, I watched as families gathered together to do the yoga poses. I watched as two friends embraced. I watched as fundraising teams with matching shirts encouraged one another. It was breathtaking and overwhelming, all at the same time. So many people from so many walks of life…all in one place for the same reason.

I’ll always remember that moment. I remember that moment when I’m stressing over not having enough time in the day. I remember that moment when I’m sitting in traffic and feeling the weight of inconvenience upon me. I remember that moment when I’m angry with a loved one. I remember it and think, life is so much greater than this. Am I always successful at stepping outside of myself? Of course not. But this event has made me think hard about life and how I want to live it. And I’m thankful for that.

Have a story to share? Leave a comment here or on our Facebook Page. It's with your support that we can raise $200,000 for the nearly 200,000 women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Snapshot

We can tell you how amazing Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer is (which we do). But pictures also speak for themselves...

Unfortunately nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. That's why we've set a fundraising goal of $200,000 for this year's event. Will you help us? Check out the website and become a fan of Yoga Unites for LBBC on Facebook. And of course...spread the word!