Laurianne's Hope

Friday, September 22, 2006

11th anniversary

Today is the 11th month of Laurianne's death. It is unbelievable how fast the time goes. We had friends over today and I had to go to work for couple of hours today so I am late with my blog. Josie burned some candles tonight and maybe we will burn some tomorrow too. We are very happy and thankful that Calem is with us and that we see a little of her in him.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Henry (Calem's Opa) :: 10:37 PM :: 1 people are more aware

Monday, September 18, 2006

I didn't Forget

I didn't forget to update you on Relay. I don't know why it seems like writing about takes longer than actually living it. lol.

I will try to get you all updated by this weekend.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 7:32 PM :: 1 people are more aware

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Relay for Life - The beginning

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When we arrived at Relay for Life, the first thing we did was go into the "stop, drop and roll" area. This area was where teams could drop off their things and go to park their car before taking their things to their team site. I immediately took charge of Calem, and was introduced to several people in the drop-off area. Normally I don't like to hug people I just meet, but it didn't feel odd, hugging these people I have heard about, people who chose to honor Laurianne with this Relay.

We worked on setting up the tents, canopy, and other things. Dan and I were introduced to team members. I don't think I even knew everyone's name. Right away, we wondered where Laurianne's banner was, because we were told it would be featured prominently. We didn't see it.

We each had to go to a table to get a wristband to show we were walking. This would entitle us to food that was donated to this event, like pizza from Mary's Pizza Shack. The survivors in our group - Dan, my aunt Angie, Marie (the doctor who delivered Calem) - all registered at a separate table where they got a survivor's package. I was told the survivors were treated like royalty, and it seemed to be true. Dan even brought me 3/4's of a chocolate muffin, and every survivor on our team shared fruit. What was also really cool was when the ceremony began, all our survivors except one held the banner. The fourth survivor was the son of my mom's coworker, who had a rare cancer as a baby. His name was Brandon. I didn't actually talk with him personally, but he is the red-headed young man below in the pictures I posted with the newspaper text.

As the survivor's walked people stood around the track and clapped for them. This upset Calem. He is sensitive to clapping and cheering. My mom ran down the track with him, and I chased her down and took him when she was a quarter way down the track. I took him and pressed him against my shoulder and covered his other ear, and started humming a song my dad sings to him. After I did this he almost instantly fell asleep. then as we approached the stage where they were going to do the opening ceremony and we saw it...
Laurianne's banner.

During the opening cermony, they introduced the people that made this all happen. They talked about Laurianne, and her dedication to Relay last year, and how this Relay was dedicated to her. Then they asked our family to cut the ribbon and begin the first lap. I was grateful when my dad took Calem from me after we walked about a quarter way. One year old is a heavy age. :)

While we were walking, Mary Callahan came to talk with us. We invited her back to our tent, impressed that the Press Democrat wanted to talk to us. But I will talk more about that tomorrow....

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 7:52 PM :: 1 people are more aware

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Actual Newspaper Article - Recongnize Anyone?

Click any image to enlarge

Tomorrow, I will begin posting my views about Relay for Life. This was such a wonderful event. As important as research is, I didn't really realize the other important things the American Cancer Society does, like provide transportation to appointments for patients, and free wigs for those who have lost their hair. Isn't recovery so much easier if the patient can make their appointments and feel good about themselves?

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 8:56 PM :: 1 people are more aware

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We Made The Paper!!


Quest For A Cure

Cancer survivors, families, friends join in 24-hour fund-raiser at Maria Carrillo High School


Laurianne Koning had a baby and advanced lung cancer when, on the eve of last year's American Cancer Society's Relay for Life fund-raiser, she was rushed to the hospital.

Still, the 25-year-old Santa Rosa woman somehow made it to the event and immediately began anticipating this year's relay.

It was to be an unfulfilled dream. She died Oct. 22.

Instead, Saturday's event was dedicated to her memory and led off by her family: her parents, their 1-year-old grandson, Calem, her brother, and her sister and brother-in-law from Indianapolis.

Also present were Koning's grandmother, an aunt and uncle, several nurses and the obstetrician who delivered Calem two days before his mother's cancer was diagnosed.

"Everybody wants to find a cure," Koning's mother, Josie Koning, said simply.

The 24-hour relay at Maria Carrillo High School - the region's largest - was one of eight similar events scheduled this year in Sonoma County. The six previous events raised $1.1 million, said Alison Urmson, a cancer society spokeswoman.

The relays work by having those who do the walking line up sponsors to pledge money for their participation. The final Sonoma County relay of the year will be held next weekend in Petaluma, By then, 7,000 people will have taken part, Urmson said.

"It's the biggest fund-raising event in the world," Urmson said. "And we are the second largest contributor, other than the federal government, to cancer research" in the United States.

Events in 4,350 U.S. communities last year generated $351 million for research, advocacy and patient services. In California, 255 relays generated $28 million.

Santa Rosa organizers said they expected 1,000 people just at Maria Carrillo, where 85 teams were registered to participate, each with enough people to have at least one person on the track throughout the 24 hours.

Despite its scale, the Relay for Life experience is an extremely personal and moving one for participants, each inspired by reasons both unique and universal.

"You feel so powerless against this disease, and I think when you feel like you can do something, you do it," said Pat Hall. She was a member of Judy's Team, honoring Judy Palinkas, an occupational hand therapist who died of lung cancer and, like Koning, was a nonsmoker. "It's very empowering."

Koning's aunt, Angie Williams of Grass Valley, is fighting leukemia. "Everybody's been affected by cancer in some way," she said. "You can't find anyone who doesn't know someone who's been affected."

Like the other relays, the Maria Carrillo event was organized around a kind of tent city, where teams set up camps for those scheduled to stay overnight.

Around the track, many teams erected elaborate information tables addressing specific types of a cancer or booths selling everything from leis to lemonade, all for the cause.

Friends and colleagues on Judy's Team decided at Palinkas' memorial service that they had to do something to honor her. They laid out a garden plot with dozens of flowers, statuary, a bird bath and other ornaments to which they planned to have people add, "so it's ever changing and growing, like a real garden would."

At the nearby "jail" set up by members of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department team, people incarcerated at the whim of anyone willing to pay for the privilege had to choose between doing their time or paying to get out.

At dusk, the track was to be lined with 5,000 luminaria, each a tribute to someone who has battled cancer.

Diana Bowland, a cancer survivor of 23 years, said there's nothing like seeing those lights around the track to make her feel warmly supported and extraordinarily lucky to be alive. But it's the strides in diagnosis and treatment since that bring her back each year, she said.

"I'm doing it for the next generation," said Coleen Gervant, who won her first bout with breast cancer a decade ago but recently was diagnosed with recurring, stage 4 cancer. "But also, it's been such a great thing to do while going through treatment. It's something positive. I feel like I'm fighting at some other level."

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 9:39 PM :: 3 people are more aware

Friday, September 08, 2006

Good-bye to My Blog Buddy, Lynne White

Tonight I shed belated tears because I found out my blog buddy, Lynne White, died of non-smoking related lung cancer on August 29, 2006. She died on her 55th birthday. Lynne found me though another blog, and told me about her interest in Laurianne's story. Lynne and I talked about lung cancer, and we both agreed that no one deserved to have lung cancer. Lynne often blogged about the difficulties and unfairness of the disease. I recommend you visit and read her archives.

I found a picture of Lynne on her blog. Hopefully her family doesn't mind that I use it. You can see what a beautiful, young woman she is. She was only a few months older than my mom. It is just further proof that this disease can happen to anyone. Two of her children have just gotten married within the last year and a half.

I would like to share Lynne's first blog entry from March 27, 2005:

I've decided to begin journaling by using a blog. I'm a 53 year old never-smoked woman with lung cancer. I'm 7 months past diagnosis, and doing well, considering it is Stage IV. I know that's not good, but I'm pressing on.

I've been though 6 rounds of chemo with good success, and with a partial remission, I am stable and being evaluated every three months. I tend to worry and focus on every little ache and pain, but I suppose that's natural.

I have lost a lot due to the cancer.... I became unable to work, I had to give up my home, and I am currently living by the grace of my daughter and her fiance, in their home. I am fortunate to have three fabulous grown children, three loving pets, and two of my children will be married in 2005.

I feel blessed to be alive, and have learned to mediate, visualize, and hope. Thanks to ECaP, Dr. Bernie Siegel's books Peace, Love and Healing, and Love, Medicine, and Miracles, I am learning to live each day and be grateful for the love that surrounds me.
Good-bye, Lynne! I am sure Laurianne will be there to help you along on your new journey!

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 11:46 PM :: 1 people are more aware

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Only 4 days left...

...until the Relay for Life starts. The last couple of weeks we have a great response for donations . I want to thank all the people who has made donations in the last couple of weeks. There is still a lot of work left. I am exited about Lynda and Dan here this weekend to celebrate Relay for Life and honor Laurianne. We are also thankful for all the people who are on our team and keeping Laurianne's memory going.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Henry (Calem's Opa) :: 8:16 PM :: 0 people are more aware
only 4 more days

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Henry (Calem's Opa) :: 8:14 PM :: 0 people are more aware