Monday, October 7, 2019

Mama Bear's Spot, Billboards and So Many Things, Oh, My!

I’ve got the fire back in my belly, and it’s burning. 

I've felt as  if I’ve been living under the weight of a heavy fog for about ten years. Jillian has been gone almost 7. She was first diagnosed with Melanoma in 2009. I’m not saying there haven’t been spectacular days when the fog had lifted, because there have been many. But I can tell you that I’ve been stalked by that Fog’s wispy tendrils for a very long time. I could feel it. I could sense them swirling around my legs, just waiting to grab me and pull me under. It has been an everyday battle to outrun those far-reaching tendrils. And it’s a frightening thing. Grief is messy. Sticky. Foggy.

Two years ago, my life took a different turn. I made a choice, followed a new path, and started on a journey to wellness and healing. That choice has allowed me find my way through the Fog.

I am starting a new blog and website called, Mama Bears Spot. I will be sharing the continuation of my journey from that space if you’d like to follow me, and I certainly hope you do. “Jillian’s Journey with Melanoma, A Mother’s Story”, just didn’t feel like the place to do that. I will continue to link the two, but I need to keep Jillian’s space a separate place.

 I am not near finished creating the new site, but I am going to begin blogging there. It will also be a place holder for some of the things I will be participating in coming up. A place for inspiration, health, fitness.

 Since Mama Bear’s Spot is in its beginning stages, it will continue to evolve. Just like me. Just like you, if you are on a similar journey through the Fog. Either way, I’d like to travel this road together. I believe we can learn together, share together. Inspire one another.  Laugh and cry together. A safe Spot for any, and all things.

 I just signed up for the Amway Riverbank Run (25K) and have set up a team within the website. It’s called “Team Jillian Hayes Foundation, Melanoma Awareness”. You can join any race; it is not limited to the 25K. I’ll figure out all the logistics later and decide if I’ll do fundraising, but for now it’s something I’m planning to do in memory of Jillian and in honor of all those currently battling the Cancer that knows no boundaries. I’d love it if you would join me.

The Riverbank Run is in May, which happens to be Melanoma Awareness Month. Registration is now open for the May 9, 2020 race. I’ve taken the below description right from their website. It’s a pretty big deal.

Amway River Bank Run presented by Fifth Third Bank with Spectrum Health, the Official Health Partner on Saturday, May 9, 2020 in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, there is something for everyone!   Plus, the pre-race Sports & Fitness Expo, Friday, May 8, 2020 - showcasing health and wellness vendors, product sampling, beer garden and the last chance register for the race at DeVos Place.   After the race on Saturday (or beginning at 7:30am), meet up with fans, friends and family to kick back at the Finish Fest on Calder Plaza with the food, beverages, music, live race broadcast and watch 25Ker's finish on the big screen.   

Featuring the largest 25K road race in the country, the event is also the site of the USA 25 km Open Championships. More than 15,000 people are expected to participate on event day including a 5K Run, 10K Run, 25K Handcycle race, 25K Wheelchair race, 25K race and a 5K Community Walk.


If you’ve read this far I’d like to tell you about the next Billboard I'm planning. I have already secured the dates, May 4, 2020 through May 31, 2020 at two locations. Jillian’s friend Greg has agreed to do the creative again. This billboard will get a lot of visibility due to the race and I am so excited.

If you are currently battling melanoma, or if you have a loved one that is no longer with us, I would love to have have you included on this latest billboard. 


 What I need from you is specific.

·       An email sent to which will include:
·       A high-resolution photo with the person’s name.

·       If you want to be included on the Mama Bear’s Spot webpage, I plan to add a space for photos which should include the person’s name, stage, and a brief description of their story. If that person is no longer here, include their birth date, their parting date, as well as a brief description if you wish to share.

·       I won’t be able to accept anything unless it comes through email, so please don’t sent me private messages. If you can donate towards the billboards, I would be most grateful. All donations go directly to paying for the billboard. There is a "Donate" button at the top of the blog. Thank you!

I am so thankful to feel the fire and the desire to tackle this project once again, grateful for the desire to try something new, and truly blessed to have your support.

I’m looking forward to sharing the next chapter with you!

 Oh. And Melanoma? Mama Bear has a long memory.


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