Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Little Pink Babies--rewind

In anticipation of tomorrow's Little Pink Houses of Hope giveaway announcement, I am rewinding the blog clock back to an entry I wrote in September about my friend Jeanine's organization Little Pink Houses of Hope. I wrote about Jeanine, how special she is to me, and how exciting it was to watch her dream of helping others materialize. I made Emily and Drew help, declaring them LPHOH twin spokesbabies and posing them for lots of Little Pink shots.

So much has happened since then. Little Pink Houses is now under two weeks away from its first round of beach retreats. To celebrate, I will be offering some giveaways and providing others with a way to offer support virtually. Until then, I hope you take a couple of minutes to meet my friend here:

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.

Read the original post here.

Little Pink Houses is now a recognized organization, and this year alone it will provide seven weeks of retreats for 50 families from all over the country. These retreats (housing, food, entertainment, supplies) are provided free of charge to families and are completely funded through the generosity of donors and volunteers.

(left to right) Melissa B, Jeanine, and Me


Andrea said...

Wow, she is an inspiration too all! What a beautiful woman! I look forward to reading more!

Dolli-Mama said...

That's amazing! Thank you for sharing this with us.

Tasha said...

Amazing woman! Thanks for sharing her story....I look forward to reading about the progress of Little Pink Houses.

Onesie Mommy said...

How she manages to stay strong, focused and optimistic during such an ordeal is absolutely amazing to me. There are no words other than I wish I knew her personally. You're lucky that you do. Hold on to that friend and never let her go.

Thanks for sharing with us and thanks also for visiting my blog and keeping me motivated to hang on when a sick baby gets the best of me.

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