I don’t usually do much on August 15th. I keep to myself. I brood. I remember – (or try to remember stuff…) My mother died 27 years ago today of breast cancer. I gave the eulogy at her funeral and it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I haven’t been back in that room until a couple of months ago when I delivered a remembrance of a dear friend from my radio days who met me – 27 years ago when I was mourning the recent loss of my mother. Funny how life circles, isn’t it?
I have been asked to volunteer for numerous cancer events throughout my radio career, and I always did them – happily. Yet I did them from a safe distance wearing the cloak of my radio persona and guarding the young woman who mourns the fact her mother never saw her daughter walk down the aisle, never saw her grandson, never saw her daughter become a powerful mover and shaker in her own right.
I never liked when people would say “your mother lost the good fight.” “Too bad she lost her battle to cancer – so young.” I never saw it as a ‘battle’ of any sort – I saw it as a cruel disease brought on by not speaking your truth. So sometimes the rhetoric of the October Breast Cancer Awareness month was lost on me. Not that I didn’t want to help in some way – that I always was up for. But I resented “losing” anything – especially my mother. I played the commercials, showed up to the events, but never really let my heart get involved. Until now.
I met Kristin Baker at a seminar I was teaching on “Facebooking for Bucks.” She asked great questions and when I asked about her company, she said “I own Abel and Lovely – it’s about a lifestyle; an attitude. We’re doing the T-Shirt Project to help the Vermont Cancer Center.” The cynical marketer in me kicked in and I thought: Yet another company marketing cancer. Then I saw the photographs. Then I felt the energy from Kristin and it all made such perfect sense. The message is simple: I AM Abel and Lovely. Period. There was no battle to be won, no pity, no pious venture. This shirt was worn by women with grit – a steely ‘I will not go quietly’ quality that I just found so incredibly appealing. So I paid my $20 last week and waited for my shirt to come in the mail. I unwrapped it last night with the simple white tissue paper and a “Thank You” sticker placed carefully in the center. I put it on, scanned my image. And I cried.
Kristin’s mission, like her company, is simple: She’s inviting as many Abel and Lovely women (and men, for that matter ) to don this simple T-Shirt, stand locked arm-in-arm October 6th on Burlington’s waterfront and capture the essence of the moment in a snapshot. Pretty cool, eh? A portion of the proceeds benefit the Vermont Cancer Center and Kristin assures me the T-Shirts are organic, Vermont-made and Vermont loved.
So as long as I am ‘abel,’ I will tell as many people as I can about my friend, Kristin, about her company, Abel and Lovely, and about my mother who did not lose a battle, but instead, through the way she lived, instilled in me a fierce independence that I hope I pass on to her grandson.
If you’d like to join me Oct. 6th on the Burlington Waterfront, it’s pretty easy: Buy your shirt here, and show up around 9am in front of ECHO. Oh yeah, and wear your shirt! My buddy, Sandy, from Brown and Jenkins Coffee will be serving a free cup of coffee to those who show their Abel and Lovely shirts.
Cheers to all the Abel and Lovely people who have entered into my life. I wear this t-shirt proudly in your memory, Mom. Love you.
This entry was posted in Facebook, Social Marketing and tagged Abel and Lovely, got clicks, I AM Abel, Kristin Baker, Oct Breast Cancer Awareness, Oct Breast Cancer Awareness Events VT, Sarah Spencer, Vermont Breast Cancer Awareness, Vt Cancer Center, vt internet marketing.