Monday, February 2, 2015
Lung Leavin' Day 2015 & Smashing Your Fears
I was contacted last November by Heather Von St. James, inquiring if I would be interested in helping spread a little information, during National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, on how to keep your lungs healthy and strong. While the timing was not quite right last year, we are now partnering together, along with several other bloggers, to spread Heather's story, and particularly the event she deemed Lung Leavin' Day.
See. . . Heather was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a rare cancer in the lung that almost took her life. She was only 36 years old, and had just given birth to her new daughter, Lily. Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Healther was given just 15 months to live. Can you imagine? One day your life is business as usual, the next you are being given a 15 month prognosis. To watch a short video detailing her story, click here.
A little hint. . . she defied the odds.
Nine years ago, Heather had her lung removed. She says she was more afraid than she had ever been in her entire life. To lighter the situation, Heather's sister nicknamed Heather's surgery as Lung Leavin' Day. The name was such a hit, it stuck, and now their family celebrates this day every year.
Y'all. . . the concept is so cool. Lung Leavin' Day is about overcoming (aka smashing) your fears. I am pretty sure we all have some fears that could be smashed, wouldn't you agree? Every single year Heather, along with her family and friends, get together and write their fears on plates and then smash them in a fire.
From her blog post recalling the event. . .
"Eight years. I still find it hard to believe sometimes. That first year—the one-year mark of Lung Leavin’ Day—it was just Cams and me, outside by a little bonfire on a freezing cold night, writing our fears on a plate. Mine had everything to do with cancer, since surgery was so fresh in my mind. I didn’t read his plate; they’re his fears to smash, not mine. When we were finished writing we both took a breath and shattered our plates in the flames. With that, a tradition was born. As the years have come and gone, the thing that stands out to me about every celebration is the variety of people who attend. Of course there’s family: sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles, and my husband’s mother, who always comes. But what makes me smile the most is the friends we have from many walks of life, people who would probably never come together in the same place except on this one night. . . To celebrate life takes on new meaning when you’re told yours won’t last long. Yet here we all were, defying the odds and smashing our fears. Our backyard was frigid but beautiful, ringed by globe lanterns and strands of blue lights, with the bonfire burning orange in the center. One by one, we took our plate and threw it into the fire. Each one shattered in a burst of sparks, and by the end of the night, the fire was ringed by countless shards of broken plates. It always takes me awhile to come down off the high of the event. As I write this, I’m still sort of floating on it. . ."
Lung Leavin' Day is now used as an annual fundraiser, and to date, over $7,000 has been raised towards mesothelioma awareness.
To participate in smashing your fears this year, click here, choose a plate, write your fear(s), and then smash that thing. What a neat opportunity to stop running from your fears, and face them head on. So. . . Who's in?