Aimee Taylor: A Story Of Hope And Helping

I’m hearing them often now: stories about young women – mothers – who are being diagnosed with cancer.  As a mother in their age group and having friends in common with these brave soldiers, the stories have felt too close.  Actually not quite like stories, but like…reality. And that has me asking, “What can I do?”

Today I’m going to tell you about Aimee Taylor and her experience with cancer as a new mother.  Not to instill fear, not to make you feel sad or defeated.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I want to tell you about the restoration of Aimee’s faith in humanity, and how any one of us can be a part of that.

A talented writer and musician, Aimee recently became a mom to beautiful Alexa and shortly after learned that she has Stage IV cancer.  As Aimee focused on what this diagnosis means to her new daughter and loving partner, Evani, the community rallied around her. Friends, acquaintances and strangers alike are banding together to do what they can to ease Aimee’s burden and that has meant so much to her.

Photo Credit: Images by Bethany www.imagesbybethany.com
Photo Credit: Images by Bethany www.imagesbybethany.com

One of the biggest concerns Aimee has for her daughter is that she is no longer able to breastfeed her (while undergoing chemotherapy). Friends put out a plea…and the milk came pouring in.  Read the Vancouver Sun article here about Aimee’s emotional response to the human kindness she is experiencing through breastmilk donors.

There is still help needed, and if you’d like to be a part of this beautiful movement of kindness and humanity here’s how:

To donate breastmilk, email Margo at margo@margossecrets.com

To donate Save-On Points that they can use toward gift cards for groceries (they live right next to a Save-On store), call 1-800-242-9229 and ask to put the points toward card number 480 0343 4081 (the second line of numbers is AC #X6VXNU)

If you’d like to give meals or baby items, email emily.wight@gmail.com to coordinate.

Aimee is on maternity leave and her wife has stepped down from her work to support her through chemotherapy and an upcoming liver surgery.  To assist them financially, Aimee’s brother Gus has set up a donation page with a goal of $50,000.  It moves me to report that as of 3 days ago, nearly half of that goal has been reached!

If you are able to donate financially to aid Aimee, Evani and Alexa:

Especially in a city that is being put on the map for its kind acts, Aimee’s experience can be hopeful.  Thank you to everyone who is helping and thank you for sharing this post.

I Remember The Music

Last week I piled both kids into the car, tapped my foot impatiently as my son’s fingers fumbled with his car seat buckle, then rolled my eyes as I remembered I left the water bottles on the kitchen island.  A few minutes later, we were finally cruising down our street on the way to swimming lessons.  Fiddling with the air conditioning, I half-smiled when my kids started chanting, “Music, pleeease!  Music, pleeeease!”  So predictable and so reminiscent of my brother and I doing the exact same thing.

With the click of a button, Beyonce’s If I Were A Boy filled the car and both kids were screaming, “My favourite song!” (They say this about pretty much every song they recognize.)  And then my daughter said something that I can’t seem to get out of my mind.

“Mommy, when I hear this song I can see you cooking in the kitchen!” She giggled, probably because the image was of me not just stirring a pot or chopping veggies, but because I happen to turn into a rockstar in these situations – with the funky moves to prove it.

As she and her brother enjoyed the song, I got lost in my own reverie. My mom was also a rockstar (Bollywood actress/singer to be precise), and I can recall many kitchen moments with her as she belted out Hindi songs, shook her shoulders with her hands raised and giggled through her shyness.  In the car, there were more moment like these.  They were fun and they are imprinted in my being because they are a glimpse into my mom as a woman, not just a parent.

So to hear from my 6 year old girl that I was leaving some sort of a stamp, some kind of insight into who I truly am (a rockstar, of course) made me feel great!  It wasn’t a conscious effort on my part – which got me thinking about a very important topic I seem to be bumping up against a lot lately: my legacy.

I’m not talking about the material possessions I will leave behind.  I’m talking about the way people will remember me, the impacts I will have made on individuals and communities in my lifetime, the images of me conjured up by my adult children.  My stamp.  My mark.

“I Was Here.”

It’s not a morbid thought – it’s a motivating idea.  It’s empowering and it is full of opportunity.

What are your thoughts on legacy?  What are you consciously doing today to leave your mark on the world?

The Antidote To Sadness

Ages ago, I wrote this post about the night I prayed my water wouldn’t break.  I had a quiet, solitary evening ahead of me and just when I was relaxing in my very pregnant state, I felt it: anger. Clutching me with its sharp claws, I could feel the pain and rage of a past experience as if it were happening at that very moment.  I couldn’t allow that feeling to grow because the last time it did, and I was pregnant, I went into labour 5 weeks early.  That could have been a coincidence but I wasn’t taking any chances.

Instinctively, my mind grasped for something else, anything else, that would pull me out of this teeny, tiny world of she-did-this-to-me and he-said-that-to-me and into something greater.

My mind turned to service.  It reached for kindness.  I bet it was my Soul beckoning.

I thought about a particular man who was doing good deeds and that led to more thoughts of hope and inspiration.  I always knew being of service and doing kind things, just because, had a therapeutic effect on me (hence, I reached for thoughts of that nature as I was headed into a downward spiral) and now I understand why.

Last night I was reading am i being kind  by Michael J. Chase (founder of The Kindness Center) and here’s what I learned:

Performing an act of kindness increases the serotonin levels in your brain.  Serotonin is a hormone that, when released, brings feelings of happiness and peace.  It also strengthens immune function.  And it’s not just performing kind acts that does this: receiving and witnessing kindness have the same effect!  (Serotonin is also the hormone that is increased with the use of anti-depressants).

I bet you knew this, too, even if you didn’t have a way to chemically explain it.  Try it.  Next time you are in a funk – be it sadness, anger, the grumps, self-pity – go out of your way to do something nice for someone else.  See what happens!