Diving in head (and heart) first

It’s not often that our Seas It team gets to meet grant recipients in person. Amanda was lucky enough to meet Marie, a young mother of 4 children and Stage IV Pancreatic cancer patient, this summer.  What struck Amanda the first time she met Marie was her positivity and warm smile. Marie was first diagnosed in 2013 and faced her second bout in 2014. Yes, Marie has cancer. But, cancer certainly hasn’t defined Marie or held her back from embracing life.

With help from her daughter, we realized that a yearly membership to the Aquatic Center at Monmouth University would allow Marie to swim on a regularly basis. Marie was looking for a healthy exercise regime to combat some of the side effects from her treatments: the stiffness, the aches, and the fatigue. Marie was kind enough to share her experiences with us:

“Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. The Seas It foundation you have established in Todd’ s memory has helped others and me fighting cancer. I am a firm believer that his spirit lives in every one of us fighting Cancer. Thank you and SEAS IT for helping me get back to my “old self” or I should say “new normal”. The pool membership is a reminder that I still have a life to live and I have to get stronger in order to live it.”

Marie and her daughter enjoying a night out

Marie and her daughter enjoying a night out


The Cross-Fit Cure

Almost two years ago, Seas It received a Patient & Caregiver Grant application from Kellie, a young woman battling Stage 3 Colon Cancer. We worked on fulfilling Kellie’s grant but before we could complete it, she let us know the grant would have to be postponed until she felt strong enough to exercise and had more time to recover from her intensive surgeries.

In September during one of those “small world, happenstance” moments, Amanda ran into Kellie in NYC.  Kellie was feeling better and recovering from her treatments. It was time for her to get back on track!

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With help from the generous folks at Cross-Fit Mount Laurel, Seas It was able to provide Kellie and her husband a 6-month family membership. They have found renewed energy and healing at Cross-Fit Mount Laurel and enjoy working out with their trainers who understand the grueling effects of chemotherapy and cancer recovery. Stay strong, Kellie and Billy. Seas It is in your corner!

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Seas It Grant Recipients, Marisa & Bryan, share their story

On November 15, 2013, a little less than five months after our wedding, Bryan was diagnosed with an inoperable brainstem glioma. We spent the rest of 2013 and the better part of 2014 visiting hospitals, getting educated about brain cancer, making big choices about doctors and treatment, and actually going through treatment. It was a whirlwind honeymoon period to say the least.

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Almost a year later, we are gearing up for Bryan’s first cancerversary. The first year was focused on treatment, but as we move into our second year, we are really focused on reclaiming our lives.

 On September 27th, we attended Stupid Cancer’s OMG Summit, our first cancer event. It was amazing – we met so many wonderful people, picked up new knowledge from the sessions, laughed a little bit, and made a really great connection. We met Amanda McGovern, the founder of Seas It.

In the first few minutes of meeting her, we felt a strong connection. Hearing her story, we realized there were quite a few parallels. We decided to apply for a Seas It grant and were accepted.

Bryan used to be an avid bike rider. He commuted to work on his super sporty road bike and often rode in the park to release stress and get exercise. After his diagnosis, that stopped. One of Bryan’s side effects is that he struggles with his balance. He no longer felt comfortable riding his road bike because the tires were so narrow and he felt unstable. He thought about investing in a bike with wider tires, but after the year we’ve had, it didn’t seem financially feasible. When we met Amanda, Bryan knew exactly what he would ask for if we were able to get the grant. About two weeks after we spoke on the phone with Amanda, she delivered a brand new, amazing hybrid bike with wide tires to our door step, along with an indoor bike trainer so that he can ride in the winter months! Bryan took it out for a spin the moment he got it and loves it. He is so motivated to get back into shape, and has a goal of being able to ride to work again one day.

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So often, the caregiver is forgotten, but not with Seas It. The organization approved a grant for me too. It has been so long since someone asked what I needed. It felt really good to think about that. Yoga has been a very expensive hobby that I love because it provides me with balance. It is a time that is just for me, and that is important. Seas It got me a very generous class pass for my favorite yoga studio, so that slowly but surely, I can begin to get back to myself.

Marisayoga

As I mentioned before, we will be focusing on reclaiming our lives this year, and Seas It has kick started that for us. We could not be more grateful.


Walking, Riding, & Laughing

The Roller Coaster Ride….

Seas It was able to help a family of four from Colorado recover from the daily grind of living with Cancer. Rich and Diane decided to use their Seas It grant for something their entire family could enjoy – a season pass to Elitch Gardens in Denver. Rich has been battling Stage IV Colorectal & Liver Cancer since May. The season pass has provided Rich and his family with some much needed fun, running around, and quality bonding time that the roller coaster ride of cancer (yes, pun intended!) hasn’t been able to give them. Last weekend, they spent the day at the park living in the moment and feeling great together as a family. We wish Rich and Diane and their young children all the best as they face this battle together as a family.


In Her Studio: A Place To Heal and Recover

Karen, an artist and instructor from PA, hoped to continue painting while being treated for metastatic lung cancer but the process and expense of purchasing supplies for her home studio was a deterrent. The very activity that provided the most healing distraction and comfort for Karen seemed difficult to pursue.

Seas It was able to apply Karen’s Seas It grant to top-notch art supplies delivered to her home studio with donations from the Italian Art Store in NJ and Dick Blick in Philadelphia.

Below is an image of one of Karen’s paintings from 2013. Seas It wishes Karen recovery aided by doing what she loves. We can’t wait to see the outcome of her time in her studio!


Balancing Life With a Brain Tumor

Thanks to a referral from Dr. Hu at Cedars-Sinai, Paul and Melissa are the most recent couple to receive a Patient & Caregiver Grant from Seas It. Paul was diagnosed with Grade 2 Glioma this year and dislocated his shoulder and strained his back during one of the seizures associated with this Brain Tumor. With Melissa’s encouragement, Paul has chosen to begin practicing yoga as he begins his road to recovery. Thanks to the good people at Addicted to Yoga in Rancho Cucamonga, California, Seas It was able to provide Melissa and Paul with a 6 month unlimited yoga membership. We wish them all the best during the months ahead. Namaste!


Biking and Hiking in Beautiful Vermont

Gerry and Carol are Seas It’s latest Grant Recipients who embody the mission and spirit of Seas It.

Gerry, a Stage IV Colon Cancer patient from Vermont, has decided to live life to the fullest despite his intense treatments and long battle. To help him train for the Norris Cancer Center 2015 Prouty Bike Race, Seas It has provided Gerry with an awesome road bike. He felt great this past weekend and enjoyed a great ride with his whole family. Gerry’s training is well under way and we wish him all the best over the next few months. Seas It would like to thank the Claremont Cycle Depot for their generosity and compassion which helped Seas It fulfill Gerry’s Grant.

Carol has been Gerry’s caretaker for 6 years and with some prodding from Seas It, finally will be making some time for herself. If you are trekking through the hills of beautiful Vermont, be on the look out for Carol and her new hiking and trekking gear from Seas It.

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Gerry & Carol – thank you for providing inspiration to cancer patients and caregivers by proving you can still remain positive and active despite a Cancer diagnosis.


Gardening for Health

We are glad that Seas It could provide Jeff, a nurturing and dedicated Caregiver to his wife who is battling metastatic lung cancer, some much needed therapy and time for himself. With the beautiful plants, rose bushes, mulch, and garden supplies from Meadowbrook Farm, Jeff has created an outdoor respite for him and his wife. We hope the sunny days and evening breezes in his Huntingdon Valley, PA garden will bring some calmness and healing into their lives.


Chopping Her Way Toward Health

Here at Seas It, we aren’t sure who is enjoying this grant of cooking classes more: the grant recipient or her husband who reaps the delicious benefits! Sharon, from Pennsylvania, is fighting Cholangiocarcinoma but was able to relish a date night at “In the Kitchen” cooking school with her husband Carl. Always a great cook, Sharon was so relieved that her cancer treatments haven’t affect her taste buds and that time in the kitchen remains both therapeutic and rewarding. Bon appétit Sharon and Carl! Thank you for including Seas It on your journey toward health and recovery.


An Artist is Born

Marilyn sensed that learning to paint would be therapeutic and revitalizing as she continued to fight advanced gastric stomach cancer. Taylor, an accomplished artist at PAFA in Philadelphia, has always been interested in art therapy. We sensed it was a perfect match for a Seas It grant!
Above, Marilyn proudly exhibits the beginnings of her first painting from a session that, from all accounts, inspired and rejuvenated both teacher and student. Well done Marilyn & Taylor!