Friday, October 11, 2013

Building Fields, Moving Mountains.....

It’s quiet at 4:00 am. I’m on my deck, drinking coffee as I clear the cobwebs from my head. It’s cold, but I like the quiet time outside before the busyness of the day begins. To be honest, I’m waiting for the owl that I heard the morning Jillian died. Jillian comes to me in many ways. The owl is just one of them.

While I’m sitting outside, I allow my thoughts to wander. Just random, fleeting thoughts. I was thinking back to a year ago when Joshua ran in the Chicago Marathon in honor of Jillian. Sunday, Josh will run in her memory. I wasn’t thinking back then that Jillian wouldn’t be here today. The excitement I felt as Josh finished the marathon was not overshadowed by sadness. I was just proud. And Jillian was proud of her brother.

As Josh runs in his sisters memory Sunday,  I’ll be thinking of them having quiet moments together.  I’ll picture them holding each other up, supporting one another. I will once again be proud of my son for his training and dedication to a cause so personal to him, but I will be swelling with pride for Jillian as I remember her own personal marathon, and how she crossed the finish line a winner.

The owl didn’t come to me this morning, but a scene from the movie, Field of Dreams, did. Kevin Costner plays a farmer, Ray Kinsella, and hears a voice that whispers, "If you build it, he will come", and sees a baseball diamond. His wife, Annie, is skeptical, but she allows him to plow under his corn to build the field.

Where does this stuff in my head come from? Never mind. I already know. Or at least I think I do, so I’m going with it.

Education. Awareness. Cure. Hope. Fear. Tanning Industry. Grief. Determination. Anger. Jillian. Melanoma. Death. Life. Fields.  Mountains.

I started Jilly’s Jems for Jillian so the word “Cancer” could be a part of our everyday vocabulary. I knew Jillian would have a hard time talking about her illness. I wanted the “C” word in the open, but with a positive spin.  That  White Elephant  had to leave the room. Through it all, I’ve met the most incredible people who have become very dear to me.  Melanoma warriors and their caregivers , many of whom have started their own grassroots movements.

After Jillian died, our family started the Jillian HayesFoundation.  Another tiny speck in the world of Foundations. None of these grassroots groups are anywhere near being Susan G. Komen.  Not even close. We don’t have the funding, we don’t have the backing. But all of them have the passion and the dedication to make their voices heard.

The Billboard Campaign has become a very effective tool. By being  LOUD, we’ve been given several opportunities to educate and to spread awareness to melanoma. I believe this is the start of something I can’t begin to imagine, but I’ve learned long ago I don’t need to have all the answers now.

Please consider donating to Josh’s marathon. The money goes directly to the Jillian Hayes Foundation. We are small. The money will be used to fund the billboards for now.  Please help us to get LOUD!

I’m a dreamer. I’m asking. Thank you.