And so it begins…

My first (of 36) random act of kindness this month was/is something that might sound a bit strange. I believe that you cannot be kinder to someone else, if you don’t start with yourself, so that’s what I’m doing (and it’ll be an ongoig project).

Being kinder to myself one quote, one idea, one thought, one memory at a time.

Being kinder to myself one quote, one idea, one thought, one memory at a time.

I love quotes, so when I found this small journal at a store (for €3), I just had to pick it up. At first I meant to send this to a friend, but quickly realized that this is a great way to start my random act of kindess project. Why? Well, it helps with

  • taking time to realize my own limits, potentials & needs
  • I have a tendency for perfection (might be the German in me) and the stubborness of a capricorn, which can lead to me being too hard on myself and too impatient. Just finding some quotes that deal with this (and reading Brene Browns book “The Gift of Imperfections”) has helped immensely during the past few days
  • it creates space for myself. Being a full-time student is a challenge, and my “me time” usually consists of wonderful volunteer work for the LIVESTRONG Foundation and my self-help group of young adults with cancer. Just being forced to spend a few minutes each day trying to find a quote that fits or going back to some wonderful event in the past and linger there for a while is a precious gift.

Being kind to oneself is vital to being kind to others, just like taking care of yourself is vital for care-givers. How can you care deeply for others, including strangers, if you can’t care enough about yourself?!

“It’s all really very simple. You don’t have to choose between being kind to yourself and others. It’s one and the same.”

Piero Ferrucci (author of “The Power of Kindness”)

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Kindness Project Ripple Effect

When I thought of some small way to make a difference on my birthday, I though maybe a couple of my friends would join me… you can’t imagine the smile on my face, that’s getting larger each day, reading all messages, posts or tweets of people doing something (big or small) for others. Not only have friends donated on my LIVESTRONG fundraising page, but lots of them have joined in on doing random acts of kindness in my honor. I’ll keep adding to the list, and if YOU have joined the project (or will do so sometime in January), please feel free to leave a comment with your RAK. If you’re new to this blog and have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this earlier post:

Next up: my own RAK list. Check back tomorrow for the first entries and keep spreading smiles & kindness!

  • I’ve decided I’ll share LS cheer by honoring your special birthday wish at local hospitals & other important cancer support organizations by delivering wristbands & up-to-date LS guidebooks to spread HOPE to survivors in the Albany, NY Capital Region USA area. Looking forward to visiting the children’s ward at an area hospital & Ronald McDonald House as a LiveSTRONG fairy God-mother!
  • I bought a dunkin donuts gift card and put it under the windshield wiper of a police car 🙂
  • I went to dunkin donuts with my daughter, then paid for the order of both cars behind me.
  • At dinner we had a very poor service from our waitress who seemed to be overwhelmed and having a bad day. Left her a bigger than expected tip and a nice note to cheer her up.
  • I helped a friend with MS for a few hours on your birthday.
  • I used today as an opportunity to give my niece some coaching and training advice on running. She’s new to running but has signed up for her first 5K at the Philly LIVESTRONG Challenge this year. I’m looking forward to introducing you to her in August!
  • Worked a morning at a food bank for your birthday. As you asked, something I don’t normally do
  • I just signed up for my first ever dog rescue transport for THIS SATURDAY! I was going to compete with my dog in agility, but I think helping other rescue dogs escape from being euthanased and finding the forever home their deserve is more important. Wish me strength. I think it will be a happy/sad experience. Happy Birthday!
  • This is a great idea. I am mentoring someone running on the LIVESTRONG Team in Austin. A few weeks ago was his Birthday and instead of bearing gifts, he requested guests bring donations….He raised over $400.00.
design by Shu

design by Shu

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My 2014 Birthday Project to spread kindness & joy

For those of you who don’t know me all that well: January is my birthday month, so this year, instead of gifts, I ask(ed) people to do something for others. I thought about 2013 and how it had been a struggle and challenge for so many of us and thought about three choices that would be easy to achieve, but can have a big impact… and a ripple effect if all goes well.

  1. commit to doing one random act of kindness sometime in January (that’s beyond your normal ‘kindness level’; you can leave a comment with your RAK or send me an e-mail; I’d love to hear from you if you’re taking part in this); I will post things that my friends came up with all through January and will also post my own 36 acts of kindness soon. Some examples to get your ideas flowing are: call a friend you haven’t talked to in ages, help make change when someone at the gorcery’s is a few cents short, invite a homeless person for a cup of coffee (or just stop for a minute to talk to him/her), volunteer an hour or a day for your favorite cause, buy a couple of books you’ve really enjoyed reading and then leave them somewhere with a short note explaining this program and my e-mail (, so whoever picks it up can write a short note once they’ve found it (idea borrowed by Christine Mason Miller’s 100 Books Project – if you chose ‘Ordinary Sparling Moments’, you’ll get extra credit;, etc. Got other ideas, big or small – PERFECT, can’t wait to read about them.
  2. make someone (and me) smile
  3. make a donation to the LIVESTRONG Foundation via my fundraising page: . I’ve been raising money for the foundation for more than 9 years, have met so many wonderful people through my volunteer work and just know how much of a difference the foundation makes to so many people affected by cancer. From the moment of a cancer diagnosis, the foundation can help navigate you through treatment issues (clinical trials, one-on-one support,…), but also survivorship programs during and after treatment, such as fertility preservation services and LIVESTRONG at the Y fitness/strength programs. Anyone effected by cancer can access these FREE and confidential services.

If you chose to donate, there’s a small incentive: not only will you receive a small surprise gift (don’t forget to e-mail/FB message me your address, so I can pay it forward), you also get one vote to help decide what crazy hat I’ll be wearing for my next half marathon in Copenhagen. I will buy the hat with the most votes from the talented and will wear it during my run in March. Now, that could mean this Pack and Red Sox Girl could be forced to wear a Yankees MoHawk or a Viking’s hat ;-) No donation is too small and every cent makes a difference. Here’s a picture of all hats that are up for voting (on January 4th, it was a 3-way-tie between the Oregon Duck, the moo cow and the Packers mohawk):

hat collection - twitterI hope this makes you decide to join my little project – cannot wait to hear/read from you all through January. Happy 2014 – may it bring you peace, love & happiness!!

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Wear Your Support!

Here’s the flyer for our 2013 fundraising t-shirt collection. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who might be interested. There are shirts for all 3 LIVESTRONG Challenges (Davis, Philly & Austin), RAGBRAI and a blank version for general supporters, who do not participate in any specific Team LIVESTRONG event.All shirts have been approved by the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

Unisex and kids’ shirts are $25/each (including registered shipping), women’s shirts are $35/each.

Wear your support Collection

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YOU are the LIVESTRONG Foundation

IMG_2495Let me start off by thanking YOU for your contributions towards my LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon fundraising goal! Collectively, we’ve raised $1525 for the LIVESTRONG Foundation, which means 20 cancer survivors can participate in the LIVESTRONG at the Y program (a 6-weeks fitness/health program that helps them reclaim their life beyond cancer) for free!!! How amazing is that?!?Makes all those training hours (in a Siberian Cold front) so worth it 😉

Now, I didn’t make it to Austin for the half marathon, but I walked the half at home (and realized I still have a looooong way to go after knee surgery to get back to my previous fitness level – working on it, I promise ;). However, my fellow Team LIVESTRONG team members made the most out of marathon weekend and kicked cancer’s butt.

Meet Iram (he’s just one of many inspiring team mates and won the cancer survivor division in ATX), a 31-year-old brain cancer warrior, runner and, most importantly, dad to Kiana. I met Iram through the Team’s FB page and was honored to create a “Survivors” Canvas for him and his daughter (=>

Well, Iram won the Gusher Marathon (in 3:07) on March 9 pushing his daughter in a borrowed stroller.  His (and Kiana’s) marathon win made international news, but Iram told me it was clearly a slow news day. He always stresses that a marathon win isn’t that newsworthy (although, in those circumstances we’ll just have to agree to disagree 😉 – being a father and telling a loved one what he/she means to us, should be the headline of the day. Making memories for his daughter to remember him by is Iram’s priority.

My top priority is to make sure that Iram, and cancer warriors all over the globe, will have access to the best survivorship programs and services for as long as they need them. For me, that means supporting the LIVESTRONG Foundation, so they can continue providing personalized services and programs ( to anyone affected by cancer, such as

  • Cancer Navigation Services
  • Emotional and peer support
  • Fertility Programs
  • LIVESTRONG at the Y fitness programs

When life presents us with challenges, will you join me to turn those challenges into blessings? I signed up for the Philly Challenge to once again raise money for the LIVESTRONG Foundation and would be honored if you’d decide to join me (either by signing up as my team mate, donating towards my fundraising goal via, sharing this note with your friends or cheering me on from wherever you are).

Iram and Kiana are the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

I am the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

YOU are the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

I’m thankful for your friendship – smiling in Germany,

Henrike (proud Team LIVESTRONG team member with Cyclists Combating Cancer – Philly Challenge)

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Walking a full half marathon

I’m WALKING a full Half Marathon in February (and if that weren’t crazy enough, I’m going to do it during what most likely will be freezing temperatures, wearing my Team LIVESTRONG gear and my yellow finger puppet in support of my friend Steve). Cheer me on by donating whatever you can afford to the LIVESTRONG foundation to help support and empower cancer patients and global anti-stigma campaigns. Cures Rock … cancer does not!!
To reach my first fundraising milestone of $100 with Team LIVESTRONG 2013, I’ve pledged to walk Thursday’s survivor walk event decked out in LIVESTRONG gear (including my BRIGHT YELLOW tutu and a yellow finger puppet), if we reach the $100 mark by Thursday.
I’ll also mail a thank you card and a sticker to all my donors (so please include your address as a personal note when donating). I’m totally pumped to start this crazy training endeavor that will result in me WALKING a half marathon in February – and would be honored to have your support.
Your donation will help LIVESTRONG continue their amazing and much needed programs and anti-stigma campaigns. If you have any questions or would like to share your cancer story/connection with me, so I can walk in honor/support of someone you know, please reach out!! Thanks.
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Benefiting LIVESTRONG…

Benefiting LIVESTRONG...

I’m raffling off one LIVESTRONG package this coming month, so if you donate to my LIVESTRONG fundraising page ( from now until June 30th, you get one chance to win these cool items (1 Tribute Canvas, 1 small “Fight Like Hell” LIVESTRONG flag, 1 LIVESTRONG Sharpie, 1 “I Ride for LIVESTRONG” bike decal, 1 “Unity” bike decal, 1 “Unity” sticker, 1 LIVESTRONG Challenge car decal, 1 “I support people affected by cancer” sticker, 1 i[2]y CD “Both sides of the coin” with piano solos from a cancer survivor – Matthew Zachary- and a cancer surgeon – Dr. Adam Dachman, 1 LIVESTRONG Chalenge lip balm & 4 pins).

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