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Sunday June 19, 2011

Stay tuned.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending two national/international conferences. One was for hospice organizations, and the other was for Child Life Specialists. In the coming days and weeks, I will be sharing some of their amazing stories because these individuals model what Kare'n Cards are all about and are an inspiration to us all. Just wait until you hear their stories. Stay tuned.

Thursday June 16, 2011


On her own time and out of her own pocket, Jo Ann Namm decorates pillowcases. What's the big deal about that you ask? See...

Jo Ann works with terminally ill patients and their families at a famous hospital in LA. One day she came up with an idea to spark a timeless interaction between the dying patient and their family and friends. Based on the dying person's favorite hobby, she would create a custom pillowcase. If the patient were a Harley fan, then she would buy Harley Davidson fabric and sew a pillowcase. If they were a Lakers' fan, then the fabric would be Lakers. You get the idea.

But she didn't stop there.

Jo Ann took it one giant step further. She invited the patient to share a word or words that they wanted their loved ones to remember them by or for. Whatever they said, Jo Ann crafted on the pillowcase. When the time was right, the pillowcase was given as a gift to the family and friends... by their loved one. Often, it was the last gift exchanged between them. Can you visualize the emotion? Can you imagine how cherished that pillowcase is?

It happened and is still happening because Jo Ann Namm sparked a timeless moment using... pillowcases.

Wednesday June 8, 2011

Meet a Miracle

Meeting a cancer survivor is inspiring. Meeting a two time cancer survivor is awe inspiring as in double "WOW!!"
Meet Valerie Brown who is a full fledged member of the small band of survivors to have stared down breast cancer twice. The first time she was a 34 year old single mother to a 14 year old daughter. It was the 1970s which may not seem long ago, but when it comes to cancer treatment it was almost prehistoric. So Valerie planned for the worst by making the best choices of guardianship for her daughter Carla. Then she focused her energy on fighting the cancer. In the end, Valerie won the war!

Twenty five years of checkups went by with great news. Then... the enemy returned to pick another fight. Maybe it's because she grew up on the tough streets of Boston, or perhaps it's just her disposition, whatever it is Valerie Brown is the wrong person to mess with. Apparently, breast cancer didn't learn its lesson the first time, and like the champ she is, Valerie knocked out cancer...again.

This past fall, Valerie's husband, Bill, threw her a 2nd "Five Year Cancer Free Anniversary" party. If I remember correctly, over 120 of her family and friends from all over the country came to West Palm Beach to celebrate the historic moment.

To survive cancer once is remarkable. To survive cancer twice borders on the miraculous. And if you doubt miracles happen, then you need to meet Valerie Brown because that's what she is.

Tuesday June 7, 2011

The Last Conversation

It's one thing to lose someone we love when we know they are dying.
It's an entirely different thing when someone in our world dies without warning.
The former provides opportunities to say goodbye; the latter does not.

Today a close friend of mine is facing the latter with the completely unexpected death of someone close to him who was only 50 years old. She went to bed last night happy and healthy only to die in her sleep. My heart aches for him and his family.

I wonder who she spoke to last. I wonder what she said.

When someone dies in our world, it's quite common to recall the last time we saw or spoke with them. Think about the people you've lost. Who did they speak to last? What did they say? What was your last conversation with them?

Monday June 6, 2011

The Bar

Imagine going to medical school when you're 40. Throw in the additional obstacles of being a woman and too many applicants to American medical schools, and it's easy to see the odds are not in your favor to become a medical doctor.

But that didn't stop Dr. Mary Stegman, Chief Medical Officer of Hope Hospice Healthcare Services in Ft Myers, Florida. Instead of throwing in the towel, she applied to and was accepted to medical school overseas. Now medical school is harsh regardless of where you go, but Dr. Stegman's was further complicated by the political and police corruption in that region. Even when it came to delivering babies in the remote jungle, police expected bribes to ensure safe passage. No payoff brought police brutality, but Dr. Mary Stegman never let anyone or anything stand in her way.
Thirty years later after practicing in Texas, Oregon, Rhode Island and now Florida, she still lives by that creed. She beat the odds. Perhaps that's why she works tirelessly serving those who also have the odds stacked against them. I've personally witnessed her sacrifice an entire weekend to care for a friend who had surgery, and this was after an 80 hour work week. After talking to her family and long time friends, I realize this is how Dr. Stegman rolls. This is who she is and what she does so she sets the bar for the stories that will be shared on this blog. In closing, I have two words for Dr. Mary Stegman: you rock!

Friday June 3, 2011

And We're Off...

Today is the day I stop talking about blogging and actually blog. I will do my best to blog here at least 3 times a week.

On this first real day of blogging, I want to chart the course for the rest of this blog's existence: Just like Luap Ink, this blog exists to be oxygen in a carbon-dioxide world.
Every blog will spotlight someone who models our mission. As I travel for Luap Ink, it is my honor and privilege to cross paths with remarkable people, and I'm going to tell their stories on this blog. I also invite you to share stories of people in your world who deserve to be recognized.
While the mainstream news is bad; here on this blog we are going to shine the light on all that is good. Please follow along as I share my stories from the road, and join me on this great adventure by telling me about yours.

Tuesday September 7, 2010

World Record to happen...HERE!

It's no surprise that the founders of Luap Ink think big.
Big is:
The size of your dreamsThe size of your heartThe size of your determination
Elevate your dreamsUnleash your heartIgnite your determination
Go Big!  Live and Love Large!
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Records 7


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