Tiny Oranges Reached for the Cure

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I had an awesome day this past Sunday. Friends, family and readers came together in Irvine to walk or run in the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Cinco de Mayo event as we all reached for a cure for pediatric cancer.

The team spirit and feeling of community was intoxicating. Every person there gave up their Sunday morning to support those fighting this disease. Just awesome.

We had 52 team members join this year, and raised $5,450. Although not the $24,000 we were able to raise the year before, I was still happy to see that we were able to raise this amount, and over the course of 2 years, over $30,000 for pediatric cancer research!

I wanted to thank these companies that donated items for our event:

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market (Newport & Harbor in Costa Mesa) donated a ton of water and granola bars. The manager couldn’t be nicer. I told him what we were doing and he said, “I’ll have stuff ready for you on Friday.” Just like that. Thank you Mike!

Sensitive Sweets in Fountain Valley donated some of her delicious mini cupcakes and a special cake for us. Her baked goodies are soy/dairy/egg/gluten-free, so my little one who is allergic to eggs and milk could even enjoy. People that came by were floored at how tasty they are! Love you Melanie!

xist Publishing in Tustin was kind enough to donate our banner again this year and went above and beyond to help us. Thank you Calee!

The following people were team members and I wanted to give a little shout out to their businesses too because I am so grateful for their participation and support:

Erica from Knocked Up Fitness and Core Athletica
(Erica raised $1000 for our team!)

Elsie from Precious Hand/Footprints
(Elsie raised $560 for our team!)

Dave from Snowden Industries~ Johnny from Daft Daddy ~ Christine from Happy Healthy Mamas
Lani from Merlina Design ~ Angie from Whiz Kids

And to the following companies for so graciously donating to my fundraising page:

Jessica Bennett InteriorsAngelique Ink Apriori Beauty
JustAskBoo OC ~ Pier to Peer ~ Healthy Skin Naturally  ~ Fun Orange County Parks

The biggest gift I have received from being involved in raising money for PCRF has been perspective.

Many of the teams on Sunday were created in honor or in memory of a child with cancer. I would get overcome with emotion as I saw the t-shirts and signs.

On Monday, I got to go back to my regular routine… blogging, carpool, dance class, Mommy & Me, gymnastics class, play dates, etc.

Many families regular routines include chemo, surgery, radiation and hospitalization.

Whenever I think my day is rough all I need to do is think about this event and I realize if my kids are healthy, there is nothing going on in my day that I can’t face.

My eyes were also opened up to the generosity of my friends and family. I had a personal goal of raising $1000. A week out, I was barely at $500, even though I had been trying and trying to raise money, and I thought it was going to be impossible.

But then, one by one I got donations rolling in that not only helped me reach my goal, but exceed it!!! In the end, I was able to raise $1,345. I wanted to jump through my computer and hug each person every time I got a donation email notification. Thank you so much!!!

Please keep PCRF in your mind and heart whenever you are looking to help a charitable cause. 80% of funds raised helps to go towards research to find a cure for pediatric cancer. And money is needed for research to help.

To the families and children facing cancer I have met along the way, please know that you are in my heart and prayers and thoughts everyday.

Thanks for following our team everyone! Life is precious, go give your little ones that extra hug and kiss today!

XOXO
Jen

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PCRF Fun-draisers!

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On May 6th, 2012 ,Team Tiny Oranges will be rocking the PCRF Cinco de Mayo event to fight pediatric cancer.  Want to join us? It’s not too late! Click here for more info. There are a few fun-draisers going on right now that I wanted to share and we would love your support.

Precious Hand/Footprints: One of my favorite keepsakes for any new mom! Elsie, the owner is generously offering to donate 20% off all sales of her precious ceramic baby handprints and footprints now through May 4th, 2012 to PCRF and Team Tiny Oranges. This is also good for gift certificates, which by the way, make an AWESOME baby shower gift! Call or text 949.364.3659 to make an appointment or email babyhandprints{@}gmail.com. Elsie is located in Mission Viejo, but can also make house calls. Inquire for more info. {Please note that this offer cannot be combined with any other coupons or promotions.}

Core Athletica: Have you ever tried a Pilates Reformer class? AMAZING workout! Erica from Core Athletica in Newport Beach is holding 3 upcoming fundraiser Pilates classes. Offered on the next three Sundays, 4/15, 4/22 and 4/29 at 7:30am, for a $25 donation you can enjoy a great workout for a great cause. Click HERE for more info on how to sign up and do it quickly as her classes are 8 pp max and do fill out. Please also take a moment to read on that same post why this cause is close to her heart as one of her good friend’s daughters was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Our thoughts and prayers are with Raelyn’s family.

Thanks for your support friends!

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Gavin’s Story

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I started Team Tiny Oranges last year because I wanted to do a charity project through my blog.

I knew I wanted it to benefit a charity that helped children, so when I heard about the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation’s (PCRF) annual Cinco de Mayo Run / Walk event which happened shortly after I posted this guest blog from a mommy reader who was a pediatric cancer survivor looking to raise awareness, I knew this was the cause I wanted to support.

I wanted the opportunity today to share the story of a mom I met last year through PCRF, Kim, and her son, Gavin.

When you are not personally affected by pediatric cancer, those words are just that, words. But what I learned through doing our team, is that behind the words, “pediatric cancer” there are countless stories of families facing this horrendous disease. Families that need our help. 

If you are inspired today to do something to help fight for Gavin and all the families like Gavin’s who face the unfathomable, please join us on Team Tiny Oranges 2012!  Click here for info on how to join our team. There is no minimum fundraising, and you DON’T have to run a half marathon! There is a 1K, 5K, 10K and half, an event for everyone.

May Gavin’s story also be a reminder, that even on your most challenging, craziest of days, to have healthy kids is a blessing beyond measure.

You can read their amazing story in more detail in her book she published last year, Hope Room. It gave my life an entirely new perspective.

Gavin’s Story

“In 2009, I was the happy mother of an infant daughter, Mia, and a 4 year-old son, Gavin. My husband and I were enjoying watching our healthy, happy family grow. We had a great summer enjoying Mia’s first year and Gavin’s first real swim lessons.

Gavin started preschool that fall, and suddenly was getting sick all the time. We, along with everybody else, chalked up his fevers and recurrent ear infections to his body being exposed and getting used to all the germs in preschool. Fall turned to winter and when Christmas finally came, Gavin was too miserable to come out of his room. We saw the ENT right after the holiday weekend, who diagnosed acute mastoiditis and immediately admitted us to the hospital. The pediatrician on the floor looked at Gavin’s blood work and told us that we should be transported up to CHOC, on the oncology floor. She believed that there was more going on in Gavin’s body than the mastoid bone infection. After a bone marrow test at CHOC, the doctor led us to another room on the oncology floor, where he sat us down and told us that 75% of the cells in Gavin’s bone marrow were cancer cells. Gavin’s diagnosis was acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Gavin’s oncologist informed of the good news: he had the most treatable form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, which is itself the most common type of childhood cancer. There is a distinct and well-established protocol for treating his cancer. Then the bad news: the treatment protocol would involve 8 months of intensive chemotherapy followed by 3 years of less-intensive chemotherapy called “maintenance.”

It’s been a long road. Gavin endured many phases of chemotherapy including scores of different drugs. He lost his hair and grew it back. He puked everywhere. But today, he is 6 years old and child-of-the-week in his kindergarten class. He just started playing T-ball. His best friend in his class, coincidentally, also has ALL. They compare the toys they get when they go in for chemo, which is served up either through an IV or spinal tap monthly.  Gavin takes his chemo pills every night and he will continue his chemo regimen through May 2013. They’re normal kids, who happen to have cancer.

Our family supports PCRF because the money they raise goes directly to pediatric cancer research. It goes towards finding better treatments for the 1 in 330 kids who will be diagnosed with cancer before they turn 18. It goes towards finding drugs with fewer horrible side effects. It goes towards finding long-term cures for these children who deserve to live out the full life that lies ahead of them.

I have so much respect for Jen for starting Team Tiny Oranges to raise money and awareness for PCRF. I am grateful for her commitment to a cause that doesn’t directly affect her family. I’m involved because of my son and because of all the other kids who fought cancer, are still fighting, or who passed on far too early. Jen is involved because she wants to be, and that’s simply awesome.”

Thank you so much Kim, for sharing your personal journey with us. Kim’s family and supporters will be out in full force on Team Gavin this year at the PCRF Run / Walk. They also wear Orange (Gavin’s favorite color).  Gavin, you know what? It’s mine too! If you would like to make a donation to support Team Gavin, please click HERE.

[Photos compliments of the Rowe Family.]

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Join Team Tiny Oranges 2012!

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For those of you that are new to my blog, Tiny Oranges was a part of something very special last year when 110+ people joined our Team Tiny Oranges to help find a cure for pediatric cancer in the Cinco de Mayo Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) Run / Walk in Irvine.Together, we made a difference in the lives of children and families affected by pediatric cancer.

Now Team Tiny Oranges is back again to make a difference in 2012! Will you join us?

As a mom, this cause touches me deeply.

Through my experience last year I was profoundly touched and inspired by the people and families involved in the PCRF.

It is a grass-roots organization focused on laboratory research that translates into immediate treatment for children with cancer.

80% of all funds raised for PCRF goes to research.

Now a little about the event!

Taking place on Sunday, May 6th, 2012 in the Irvine Spectrum area, there is an event for everyone including:

50K Bike tour – starting at 6:30am
Half Marathon – starting at 7am
5K Run – starting at 7:15am
10K Run – starting at 7:45am
5K  Walk – starting at 9:30am
1K Kids’ Fun Run – starting at 11am

Then at the Expo & Finish Line Fiesta you will find a super fun family event with bounce houses, food, festivities, music & more.

Team Tiny Oranges will have a booth set up where you can come by and hang out! SO much fun! Here is a recap of last year’s event.

How to Sign Up / Help / Get Involved: 

1. Click HERE to Join Our Team!  No pressure to fundraise, even the money raised for registration helps.

2. Can’t make it? Click HERE to donate. Even $1 or $5 will help!

3. Want to fundraise but can’t make it on May 6th? Enter as a Virtual Participant! Click “Join Our Team” and follow the registration and then click “Virtual Participant” for your event.

I hope you will join us and bring your family to this amazing event.  It is a great opportunity to teach your kids about giving back, a wonderful family event, and there is no better way to start the new year than with a fitness goal. So maybe this just might inspire you to run your first 5K or 10K?!

It is 3 months from today – PLENTY of time to start training!

Thanks and hope to see you on May 6th! Woo too! Go Team Tiny Oranges!  Who’s IN???

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Super Cute Call Me Card Fundraiser!

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How many times have you been at preschool or the park and met a new mom and said, “we should exchange info!”?

Well, these darling call me cards are the quick and easy way to share your info and the best part is that 100% of the price is a tax-deductible donation to Team Tiny Oranges to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation!

That’s right, place your order between now and April 30th (day before our big race!) and you will get 50 super cute, customized cards for only $35, again, 100% donated.

This fundraiser is hosted by two of my amazingly talented team members, Calee & Brenda.

Here’s how to order:

1. Click here to look at all 26 designs (A – Z) & pick your favorite!  Brenda even designed an orange-themed one just for me, check out design “W”! So cute!

2. Click here to make your $35 donation to Calee’s personal fundraising page.

3. Email your design choice and personalization info for each line to calee@existdesigns.biz.

4. Calee’s company, eXist designs, will print the cards and ship to you.

A little about Brenda & Calee…

Brenda Ponnay is a stealthy secret agent who juggles parenthood to her adorable daughter by day and freelance graphic design/illustration by night. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of cardboard boxes or just doing the laundry with flair, Brenda Ponnay has learned that what really makes her happy is being creative every single day.  You can see more of Brenda’s darling work over at Secret Agent Josephine.

Calee M. Lee is the copywriting arm of eXist designs, because, as we all know, “If it’s not online, it doesn’t exist.” eXist designs specializes in web and print marketing services for small to midsize businesses. As part of our commitment to PCRF, we are proud to support the Tiny Oranges Team and will be donating an additional 10% of all print jobs in the month of April. From business cards, to stationery to large-format banners and canvases, eXist designs offers low prices and exceptional service to all our clients.  Contact us for a customized printing quote.

Thanks so much ladies! I am blessed to have you both on my team AND so grateful to you for putting together this fundraiser!

REMINDER!  Huge COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE THIS WEEKEND! with all proceeds benefiting PCRF and our team!!   Shop, shop, shop and raise money to fight pediatric cancer!!

I am taking the day off from posting tomorrow, so have a great weekend everyone and I will see you back on Monday!  XOXO

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