Work Hard, Skol Hard.

Life's a garden, and I dig it, but that doesn't mean there aren't going to be a few weeds to pull along the way...

Just as I returned from Barbados, I was nominated by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as North & Central Florida Woman of the Year. I was one of three women and four men to be asked to take part in the 10 week Man/Woman of the Year fundraising campaign, which was to kick off on Feb 19. Participating was going to require endless amounts of work, energy, and time - a full time job in itself, really. It was looking as though “The Year of A.Score” was going to end before it had even began! 

Furthermore, unlike the other candidates whom were asked to participate months in advance, I was asked 10 days before the campaign kicked off, giving me little to NO time to strategize, plan, or line up sponsorships. The decision had me in between a rock and selfish place…. Alas, after getting my sister’s full commitment to help me, I signed my life away.

I am, after all, forever in debt to these people. Aside from being a Leukemia patient/survivor, The LLS funded the researcher who developed the drug (Gleevec) that saved my life. Which is actually how I justified taking part I the campaign and aligned it with my resolution - I, in participating, was being selfish in hopes that these donations would someday lead to another miraculous Leukemia breakthrough, in which I could benefit from (joking, obviously). The Year of A.Score lived on!

Despite being in over my head managing work, wake, and fundraising 24/7, throughout the same ten weeks I managed to have a few adventures as well… Imagine that! I made a weekend trip to Nashville to drink green beer with some Tennesseans, checked off a bucket list item by attending a Molly Hatchet concert, celebrated my buddy Shane’s birthday at his annual Clear Lake bash, made appearances at multiple Liquid Force Free For All’s at some of Florida’s finest wake parks, attended Tortuga Music Festival in Ft. Lauderdale with my pal Chase after which I took him shredding at OWC (video below), turned 24 years old, and bought myself my first Chevy Silverado. 
I will find a vineyard in any geographical location, even Nashville.
Molly Hatchet - a dream come true!
Liquid Force Free For All. See you at a park in 2015!
Chase & Mama Rice at Tortuga <3    //   Homeboy, Church            
            My friend Shane.   //   My friend Shane laughing.  //  My friend Shane surprised.
My friend Shane's party.

Work hard, play hard.

The ten weeks flew by, and three days after my birthday, the Man & Woman of the Year campaign came to a close at Grand Finale Gala. Knowing we’d raised over $34,000 as we approached the finale, Tiff and I were proud regardless of if we had “won” or not. So when we ended up coming in second to Dr. Jennifer Cultrera, who raised over $50,000 (thanks in large part to two $20k donations) we were still downright thrilled with what we and our supporters had accomplished. It was truly amazing. (Okay, so my ego was a little hurt, and I drank an entire bottle of champagne at the finale, but I was proud, nonetheless.)

FYI: As a chapter we raised over a quarter of a million dollars in ten weeks, and nationwide, the 2014 campaign raised over $27 million…Given the potential impact that money has in the fight against cancer, in the end, we all won. 
One of the many donations for the LLS Grand Finale auction. Thanks, Shecks!
Regardless of the dollar amount, the outpouring of support, generosity, and consideration behind the donations from friends, family, and complete strangers was the most rewarding part. It was a humbling experience to say the least, and to be honest, despite being a wordsmith, I can’t fully describe how grateful I am to have the amount of absolutely wonderful people in my life - I’d list all the people who deserve a thank you right here in this post, but I think I’d shut down the Internet. Thank you all!
My supportive and damn good looking crew at the Grand Finale Gala.
Being that I started the year with no plans, as summer approached and I’d already crammed a plethora of things into the first four months of the year, I was feeling pretty good. What I’ve yet to mention, is that all the while this was happening, I’d been on endless calls and visits with my doctors trying to figure out just what I was going to do about my newly returned Leukemia. The adventures were a good distraction from the reality of the situation, but it remained in the back of mind like a weed in a garden. Just when you think you’ve pulled ‘em all and you go sit on your porch and crack a Bud heavy while admiring your freshly weedless shrubbery, a little green punk has already sprouted up and shown it’s leafy little face. But that’s life, and that’s reality. You see the weed, you acknowledge the weed, and you remove it. There’s no pretending it’s not there – you get off your porch and take care of it.

Life’s a garden, and I dig it. But that doesn’t mean there’s not going to be a few weeds along the way... Acknowledge, deal, and dig on. 

Dig it.