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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Little Pink Babies



I am beginning to think this weekend is called LABOR DAY weekend because I have about a million things to do. Even though I may never see the end of the to-do list this weekend, I have started each day by completing one simple, yet very important task: voting for Little Pink Houses. And even though I have other things I could be doing right now, including blogging about babies, I am going to spend time doing something more urgent: explaining Little Pink Houses.

If you know me, are friends with me on Facebook, or have run into me in the last couple of weeks, then you have seen or heard something about Little Pink Houses of Hope. What is Little Pink Houses, and why am I begging you to vote?

Last June, Jeanine Patten-Coble, one of my dear friends and colleagues, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39. I still remember the shock and sadness when Jeanine calmly told me the news. In typical Jeanine style, she spent most of that conversation comforting me and asking me how I was handling the news. That’s Jeanine--always sensing what others are feeling and asking how she can help.

Since the shocking diagnosis, Jeanine has weathered chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, along with the complications that such aggressive treatment entails. I remember going to visit Jeanine during one of her hospital stays at Duke. When we arrived, we learned Jeanine was in isolation due to a possible infection. As we peered at her through the glass window, we didn’t see a weak, depressed patient. No, Jeanine was smiling and laughing as we wrote messages on paper and held them up for each other to see. That’s Jeanine--always able to make the best out of a less-than-ideal situation.

She is a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend, and even though having cancer is a full-time job, she nurtures each of these relationships with a love that has only grown deeper since her diagnosis. She can be found at her son Jake’s basketball games, enjoying a laugh with one of her brothers and sisters, spending a quiet moment with her husband Terry, giving her mom and dad a hug, or bringing her friend who just had twins a bag full of her favorite foods. That’s Jeanine--always putting people, not things, first in her life.

Last summer, right after finding out she had cancer, Jeanine, Terry, and Jake left for their annual beach trip. This beach trip would be different, though. This year she would have to find the words to tell her 12 year old son that she had cancer. Not only did she find the words to tell Jake what no other parent ever wants to have to tell her child, she also found something else--inspiration. It was during this trip that Jeanine first had the idea of Little Pink Houses, an organization that could provide week-long beach retreats to breast cancer patients and their families. That’s Jeanine--always finding a way to give instead of take.

Jeanine envisioned a place where families could come together, and love deeper, laugh harder, and live stronger. What a great idea, and what a huge undertaking. There was money to be raised, houses to be secured, volunteers to recruit, advertising to design. The task would overwhelm most corporations, let alone a single person. Jeanine, though, is no ordinary person. She took the challenge, mobilized her resources, and put her talent where her heart is. That’s Jeanine--always redefining what is possible.

Little Pink Houses is now a recognized organization, and one of its first efforts is competing for $50,000 in the Pepsi Refresh Project. Pepsi is giving away over a million dollars each month to fund great ideas. Ten winners will be chosen each month based on the number of votes received. In order to win, Jeanine and Little Pink Houses of Hope need your help. How can you help? First, vote by text message and online each day during the month of September. Next, spread the word to your family, friends, co-workers, church, and neighbors. Finally, think of how you can use your own gifts to help Little Pink Houses of Hope.

For more information on Little Pink Houses of Hope, check out the website http://www.littlepinkhousesofhope.org/.

Vote online at http://www.refresheverything.com/littlepinkhousesofhope.

View cute Little Pink Babies promoting Little Pink Houses of Hope here...






2 comments:

Melissa Brown, DPI Instructional Facilitator said...

Your blog so made me cry. Thank you for taking the time to share something close to your heart, even though you have a million things to do.

Rock the Pink!
M

jpattencoble said...

Ever the wordsmith, always a great friend! I love all of your kind words and I think we have two new national spokespersons in Em and Drew!

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