Woman of the Year

If you’re my Facebook friend I’m sure you’ve heard about my Woman of the Year campaign.  Just in case you haven’t (and even if you have), I’m going to talk about it more.  Let me back up a little and tell you how I got roped into this.  I wanted to volunteer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) as a ‘first connection’, which is someone who talks to someone who is newly diagnosed and shares their story, answers questions… that sort of thing.  I filled out the form online and never heard anything.  Then in December I get a call from my cousin Dustin’s friend Andrea, who is on the committee for the Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) Campaign for SW MO, asking if I would consider being a candidate.  I was really just wanting to volunteer, not be that involved, but I told her we could talk after the holidays.  In January I had lunch with Andrea and Beth, who is in charge of the campaign.  Beth sent my info along to be a first connection volunteer, but also told me all about the campaign.  I told her I’d think about it.  Now, if you know me, you know just how competitive I am.  I told her I’m not going to accept unless I know I can win.  After a couple more meetings and trying to gauge the support I would have, I accepted in February.

Thanks to Joanna for designing our logo!

Thanks to Joanna for designing our logo!

How it works:  In a nutshell, it’s a fundraising competition.  There are 6 candidates in SW MO, 3 women and 3 men.  So to win, I have to raise more money than the 2 other girls.  Doesn’t sound so hard as there’s not many people to beat out, but we’re talking about raising a lot of money.  The two winners last year combined raised $22,000 and as a group they raised more than $50k.  I can’t officially state my goal as it’s a blind contest, but let’s just say it’s a lot.  We have from now until June 21st to collect money then on June 27th we have a Grand Finale Gala.  At this event we can have 5 silent auction item groupings and 1 live auction item, which counts towards our final fundraising total.

I need your help and here’s how:

  • Donations through my fundraising page-  http://www.mwoy.org/pages/mid/swm13/lwinsteij5
  • Do a small fundraiser on my behalf – initiate a dress down day at your work, do a bake sale, yard sale, etc.
  • Auction Items – We are collecting items from local businesses, but I am also needing out of town things- specifically a 2 night hotel stay in STL.  We will take any and all donations you can get your hands on, especially if you can get your hands on some iPads or exotic vacations 🙂
  • Support our local events- Next Event:  Celebrity Shake-Off on Thursday, May 2nd, at Parlor 88 East – find more information on the FB Event page – https://www.facebook.com/events/533988946643669/  Jay Fotsch from Power 96.5 and Springfield Cardinals fame is my celebrity
  • While you’re at Parlor 88 East for the Shake-Off, purchase a $1 blood drop.  You can also do this at south side Parlor, any Dublin’s Pass or Big Whiskey’s Location.  Tell your friends or let me know if you’d like to sell blood drops as well.
  • Follow the FB page to keep up to date on all events:  https://www.facebook.com/LauraWinsteadWOTYCandidate  We are working on something really cool so you’ll want to stay updated.
  • Buy a ticket or table to the Grand Finale Gala on Thursday, June 27th:  http://www.mwoy.org/pages/mid/swm13/lwinsteij5 – ‘Attend the Grand Finale’ Button

I have an amazing campaign team that’s been working their butts off to help me so far!  My cousin Dustin is my campaign manager and has been putting a lot of time, thought and energy into this!  John, Torie, Neal and Niki are all in it to win it too and I love it!  We are overcoming some frustrating defeats in planning fundraising events, but are also super excited to roll out the next one in the works.  All of the fundraising is done in honor of a Boy & Girl of the Year and the team got to meet these cute little kiddos last week at Kick-Off!


For me, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is a way to give back to an organization that helped me upon my diagnosis.  Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is the #1 cancer in children, but thanks to research over the years, the survival rate is over 90%!  My hope is that with more funding and research, we can raise the adult ALL survival rate as well.

Every dollar puts me one step closer to my goal and every donation is so greatly appreciated!!


Round 3- Day 7

Last Tuesday I started my third round of maintenance.  The past couple days have been rough from stopping the steroids, but I am feeling better today.   This morning I went in for my weekly appointment and was surprised to find that my white count has gone down again.  Today it was 2.4- neutropenic again.  When I voiced my surprise, the nurse said “Well, that’s what chemo does, it catches up to you.”  It’s really not that big of a deal, but I guess I was just getting used to it being in the normal range.  I asked for a form to renew my handicapped tags that expire on 5/10, but Dr. Ellis shot me down.  He wants me to walk more and I guess I was expecting he wouldn’t sign off on it, but it still wasn’t the best appointment I’ve had.

This Friday is Relay for Life in Festus and Ryan and I are heading up that way on Thursday.  John has to work this Saturday so he won’t be making the trip with us.  I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family and having a little change of pace.  Oh, and along the lines of Relay for Life, I wanted to give a shot out to my college roommate Karen for doing the Country Music Half Marathon 2011 with her LLS Team in Training.  Thanks KG- ❤ LB

I have been feeling pretty down lately, just stuck in a rut.  I know I get tired when I try to do too much, but I know I could do more if I just pushed myself- then eventually I would have more energy.  I need a new routine.  I am hoping the nicer weather is the motivation I need to get off my ass and make some changes!  And of course declaring my intent publicly might be some motivation too.  I think the major problem is these things (gaining energy, strength, diet, etc) are long term goals and I haven’t had many short-term goals I can cross off my list lately, which is what really motivates me.  So today, I made a to-do list of things I was already planning on doing so I can cross them off.  You have to start somewhere.


John and Ryan headed off to work/daycare this morning and I got to sleep in until 9!  I caught up on my latest copy of Rolling Stone and then decided to tackle my project for the day- cleaning up the front flower bed and planting some flowers.  I headed to Wal-Mart to pick up some plants around 10:30.  I never go in with a plan about about what I want to put where and how much light that area gets- which is probably why I end up killing plants.  It’s still a vast improvement over what we had going on in the front.

Once the front was done, I moved on to the back deck.  I have been looking forward to having some time to relax on the deck to read and catch a few rays, but before I can relax everything has to be in order.  One of the faults of being a type A personality neat freak.  I planted flowers in a couple pots and a wine box that John & I had found and made an herb garden in last year.

I went into outpatient at 2 to get my neupogen shot for the day and was in and out in about 30 minutes.  Since it went so well, I had some time to go downstairs and talk with the patient advocate I’ve been working with.  She had given me some paperwork to apply for a financial assistance grant through the LLS.  It’s not much – $500 that, if awarded, could go to co-pays for things like the bone marrow biopsies I have to get.  And trust me, every little bit helps!  Once we were done with that, she took me to the financial assistance department.  The bills are starting to roll in so we were able to set up a monthly payment plan.  I don’t really like talking about the financial parts of this burden on the blog, but I do feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders by just having a plan set in place (again, type A personality).

My friend Heather brought dinner over tonight, it was the house pasta from Otts, with salad and bread.  I don’t think I’ve ever eaten there before, but it was really good.  Ryan ate almost a whole plate full! Needless to say, he was pretty messy and immediately needed his bath.  I call this picture “Bathtime Showdown”.

Heather stayed and ate with us, and hung out until around 9.  Before all of this happened, she would come over at least once a week for PJ TV night, so it was good to have that feeling of normalcy again.  Plus I just like hanging out with her.