Sunday, September 28, 2008

Good causes, and yarn giveaways

There are a lot of them. And I know that we all have our list of causes that are near and dear to our hearts, and that we put our energy and time and love and, when we can, money into. There's one that's been on my mind quite a bit lately, in large part because of my friend, Anna.

I first met Anna because our daughters went to school together. Our daughters became friends and we became friends, and we have stayed that way even as our girls have gone to different schools, and as they've moved in and out of activities with one another. When I first moved here, one of the hardest things to leave behind in the Bay Area was a network of friends so close that they were almost family; oh, heck, really, they were (and still are) family -- you know how that is. Leaving those friends was terrible and wrenching, and I wondered if I'd ever end up being part of a community like that again. How it happened is another story, but I did, and Anna is an important member of that community. I know that I can always count on her to be there when I need her, and to be cheerful and upbeat when I hate to hear it, but know that it's time and past time to move out of that funk I've sunk myself into.

For all the years that I've known her, Anna has been deeply involved in volunteering and fundraising for events which support women who are battling breast cancer. Her own involvement with that cause came from watching her dear lifelong friend Nancy struggle with breast cancer after being diagnosed at the age of 32 just after the birth of her first daughter. During the years, I have watched Anna give unstintingly of her time and energy to breast cancer retreats, and to raising funds to support those retreats. The amount of organizational energy that goes into work like that is breathtaking, and Anna has this sense of sympathetic awareness of what needs to be done that I can only wish I had. Nancy has participated in the Walk For the Cure several times now, and each time Anna has been unable to walk it with her. But this year she can. I can't tell you her story as well as she can, so if you want to read about it, click here. This is personal to me, too; both my grandmother and Rick's have fought breast cancer, as have a number of good friends, and we have family members and friends who are at high risk for developing breast cancer. And we have daughters. And the part of me that believes that no knowledge acquired is ever wasted is sure that what we can learn from developing better diagnoses, treatments, and cures for breast cancer can be used to fight other, equally frightening and devastating diseases.

When contemplating something this big, it's so easy to feel helpless, to ask, "but what can I do?", and to feel like the only option is to leave it to the medical professionals. But sometimes that behemoth "The Medical Field" needs help. It needs financial help (research costs money), but I also think that it needs help in maintaining its own sense of hope, of connection to the real people who are affected by the diseases they research. An event like this is all about hope. It's all about believing that something can be done; not something for some other people someday, but now, for these people who are walking and the people they love, today. Hope is powerful, and its effects should never be underestimated. I don't think I can adequately describe how awestruck I am by each and every person who participates in an event like this. Walkers aren't just giving three days and 60 miles of their time; they're also giving all of the steps and time that are involved in training for the event for months in advance, and every one of those steps is motivated by the belief that something can be done. I've been trying to support Anna by walking with her twice a week, but at the end of our hour together, when I can go home and take a shower and have that second cup of coffee, she is still out there walking, getting ready for those three days in November when she and so many other people will participate in San Diego's walk.

So, here's where the ask (and the offer) come in. First, the caveat. As I said at the beginning of this post, I know that each and every one of you has causes that are important to you, and that you support as much as you are able. I also know that these are rough financial times. So it is absolutely, 100%, A-OK to leave a comment here sending your best wishes to Anna as she trains for and completes this walk. I'll pass along every single one of them, and I know she appreciates that encouragement at least as much as the donations. But if this is one of your causes, and if you don't know anyone who's walking this year, or you haven't had a chance to give what my girls call their "charity money" this year (the girls usually choose Heifer for their annual donation, but this year, it's The Walk), or if you have a couple of dollars burning a hole in your pocket (ha!), then I want to offer this as an option.

I also want to make taking that option fun and suspenseful, so I'm giving yarn away! (See, I remember that this is a fiber blog, really I do.) If you leave me a comment on this post (I'll put a link to it and to Anna's page in my sidebar) telling me that you were able to donate to Anna's team (honor system here, I trust you all), you will get an entry into a drawing for all the lovely yarn I'm going to show you below. And no, there is no minimum donation amount; every little bit counts. If someone leaves a comment saying that they came over from your blog to donate, not only do they get an entry, but you get an extra one, too. I'm thinking that I'll do the drawing around October 20, which gives everyone around three weeks; I'll extend it if it looks like we're still going strong. Also, I've got seven prizes here right now, but if lots and lots of people are participating, I will add more so that everyone has a reasonable chance of winning something. Please be sure to leave me a way to reach you in your comment (your blog address, email, whatever works for you).

At the moment, here's what I have photographed (badly -- you all know me and cameras) and available:

That is a skein (balled, but unused ever) of Manos del Uruguay (138 yards), in the colorway Agate, 100% kettle dyed wool. The colors are more rosy than that, with all kinds of lovely autumnal shades of oranges and bronzes. It felts like a dream.

And those are two skeins of Misti Alpaca (100% alpaca) laceweight (437 yds each) in a color that is a deep eggplanty purple. This stuff is so soft, I can't tell you; let's just say it's really really soft and leave it at that.

This washed-out picture is of a skein of Cascade Yarns Malizia (the one on the top), 54 yards of colorful ribbon yarn, paired with (on the bottom) a 75-yard skein of Berroco Glace. Scarf for the fall, anyone?

And this, my friends, is 550 yds of 100% merino, hand-dyed, Briar Rose yarn (Fourth of July). I'm dying here. And we're not done yet.

Two skeins (balled) of Cherry Tree Hill Sockittome (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon) in the colorway Fall Foliage. It looks like it sounds (I'm attempting to be marginally seasonally appropriate with most of these).

Except this one, which is a seafoam green skein of Dream in Color Smooshy, 450 yds of 100% superfine Australian merino superwash, in the Beach Fog colorway. And last but not least...

A ball of Plymouth Yarn Eros ribbon yarn (165 yds) in forest greens and golds.

So there it is. A chance to make a donation if that's something that's right for you right now, and to simultaneously maybe win some yarn. If it's not the right time to donate, I (and Anna!) would still love to hear from you.

Next time: back to our regular programming with some lace knitting involving handspun yarn, and a knitting book.

14 comments:

EGunn said...

Both of my grandmothers and one of my aunts have battled breast cancer (and won!). I am grateful to everyone that takes the time and effort to make these events successful. Thanks Anna!

The Seattle walk was a few weeks ago, and we've already donated there, but in absence of cash, we send many, many good wishes.

Anne said...

We supported my colleague (a 35 y.o. survivor) this year, but please send Anna our very best wishes.

hopalong682003 said...

Please send Anna all the good vibes in the world from me. A good friend of mine is also walking in San Diego.

Both of my folks survived cancer/lymphoma and a dear friend died earlier this year after a 2 1/2 year battle with breast cancer. I totally agree that Hope is such a critical component for healing...even if the disease is too far gone for your body to recover. Hope is the thing that allows your spirit to heal.

I'm sorry that I don't have the finances right now to sponsor...but THANK YOU both for your work to support this cause.

Lynne said...

Best wishes to Anna. Keep up the good work you're doing in raising awareness and funds.

KnitNana said...

You GO, Anna!
My cause, and limited funds, too, go to Women's Heart disease for personal and family reasons, but I wish you an easy training schedule and terrific event!
(((hugs)))

Marianne said...

We just had our walk here to which I contributed. It IS all about Hope and Research and Hope in our souls.
Best of wishes to Anna.

Mary Lou said...

I recently contributed to a walker here. Thanks for doing this.

Stell said...

You are such a good person, don't put me in the draw for yarn, but do know I support a local version here in NZ.
and the handspun handknit scarf in the latter post looks yummy, lucky person.

twinsetellen said...

Don't put me in the drawing - yet. I will get a link on Jan's and my blog, but it will have to wait to the weekend, and then I'll get some funds going, too.

In the meantime, please send my best wishes to Anna. You, too.

twinsetellen said...

I've linked to the contest from twinset! Now to find my wallet and get some funds donated to Anna's team.

twinsetjan said...

I've commented and donated to Anna's site. My dear, dear friend Vanessa is fighting a devastating recurrence...she won't give up, but is having a very tough time of it. I applaud anyone who takes action to support finding a cure.

Kanjun said...

Thank you so much for doing this. My best friend's mother has been going through a relapse of breast cancer, and we are hoping for the best for her. As a college student, I have donated what I can to Anna's cause (which sadly isn't much). I hope that it helps - please give Anna my heartfelt thanks!

Kanjun said...

Apologies - my email is kanjun@mit.edu. I don't think my blog address actually works - I never seem to get email from it.

Amrita said...

Wishing Anna all the very best for the walk.

I lost my mum to breast cancer when I was 16 so this is a very personal and sensitive issue for me. I am so glad that you are taking this initiative for this cause. Like you said, every bit counts.

Unfortunately, I don't have the finances right now - I really wish I could - so I won'e be able to support the cause financially. Real sorry about it but all my best wishes and hugs to Anna. :)