Strength of Heart

It’s strange how everything can change in an instant. How one’s world can suddenly disintegrate and turn upside down while everyone else carries on. Each year, the parents of approximately 15,300 kids experience this when they hear the words “your child has cancer.”

Across all ages, ethnic groups and socio-economics, this disease remains the number one cause of death by disease in children. Despite this, less than 4% of the federal government’s total funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers each year. Unfortunatley, many of us have been affected by cancer in some way. Whether it is you, a relative or friend, life changes in that instant.

There are times when I question my faith and it happens each time I am told of another child getting diagnosed with cancer. It just doesn’t seem fair that when they should be outside playing and riding bikes their innocence of that childhood is taken away. The days now consist of doctor appointments, tests, medicines, surgeries and more unpleasantries.

When a person under the age of 18 gets cancer, it is called childhood or pediatric cancer. In the United States, about 12,500 children every year are found to have cancer. Doctors do not know why some children get cancer. They do know that children can’t “catch” cancer from someone else – it is not contagious. So, if you know someone with cancer, you should not be afraid to be around them – you can play and talk to them just like anyone else.

Although most children with cancer will get better, cancer is a very serious disease and doctors have to work very hard to find the right ways to get rid of cancer in children. So, when a child gets cancer, the doctors will give special cancer medicines or have the person get a special surgery to remove the cancer cells. Most of the time, the cancer goes away and does not come back! Sometimes the cancer does not go away and the child gets sicker and even dies. This is what happened to Alex Scott, the little girl who started Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Girl Talk Marlton sets up a lemonade stand every year to donate to the foundation.

I have seen the spirit of children fighting the disease and it is courageous. The word courage comes from the Old French word for “heart.” So when someone says those battling cancer have courage, it means “strength of heart.”  Their body might win or lose, but their hearts will never give up.

One such girl in my life has a special place in my heart. Her amazing smile and upbeat attitude is always radiant as she shows the world the true definition of a fighter!  It’s nothing less than miraculous. She is strong for her family, she is strong for other cancer patients and most of all, she is strong for herself. She inspires others to fight back and never lose hope. She, to me, is an inspiration and a real hero.

I encourage all to do their part in raising awareness of childhood cancer so that the innocence of childhood can be experienced by every child.

Girl Talk Marlton will be holding a fundraiser in May to benefit The Alexa’s Butterfly friends (http://www.alexasfriends.com/). For more information please contact: girltalkmarlton@gmail.com

fireshot capture 092 - alexa's butterfly friends - https___www.alexasfriends.com_

Cancer Statistics

  • Cancer is diagnosed each year in about 175,000 children ages 14 and under worldwide.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease past infancy for U.S. children.
  • However, thanks to better therapies, more than 80% of U.S. childhood cancer patients now become long-term survivors.
  • Survival rates can vary depending on the type of cancer.
  • About 420,000 childhood cancer survivors live in the U.S., with many more around the world.

*Statistics by St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our teens. Our voice. Our world? by Olivia Demmler (center in pic) age 14

Some of you may be offended with what I’m about to say and prepare yourself because I cried when I heard about this. Written by a teen who heard about something unimaginable happen on February 14, 2018. How can this even be our world? What will be different about this school shooting? Is there a way to make a change? Who do we confide in? All of these questions I asked myself when I heard about what happened in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

636542839634075922-AP-School-Shooting-Florida.1I wasn’t at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but I was still affected because most of those kids who sadly passed away were my age. A 19 year old should never have an AR-15 let alone one who’s mentally disturbed. I posted something on Instagram it said, “ We need change. We deserve change. We can’t let innocent people keep on dying we’ve had enough #enoughisenough. There are so many things wrong with the world we live in right now and what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is only the beginning of it.

dab95bd742064c529b292ea44b48cb43.jpgTo spread change I’m no longer asking I’m begging for you to march. March so we know we’re not alone. March so change will come. March because there’s so much more to life than just sitting down thinking about how you could have made a difference. March for every life lost during the school shootings. March because this is somehow our reality. I literally cried while writing this so please I’m begging all of those who don’t feel like they have a voice trust me you do.

Personally I want to have kids and I want them to go to school in an environment they can trust with people they can trust. Seeing how someone can walk into a school with an AR-15 and decide to kill 17 innocent people is unbelievable and to be honest I don’t trust schools that much. Hopefully our future generations never have to go through something like this. Finally, there have been 18 incidents where a gun has been brought on school property like wth. Honestly we need to put the politics aside and focus on public safety. This situation is not red and blue and we can’t point fingers if someone says something we don’t like.

180217-parkland-victims-16up-composite_f28d54947a0ad694bc02699c473e6dc2.nbcnews-fp-1200-800When I heard about this I cried those were kids my and most of our leaders age that ended up dying. I hate to say it but that could’ve been anyone of us. We can’t get through a normal day without hearing that someone’s been shot. We should send thoughts and prayers but we should also take action. I think all of these kids have heard enough of thoughts and prayers.

Capture-5Someone or some group needs to take action and do something. Schools will never be the same. Lives will never be the same. If you saw the CNN Town Hall for the victims. Well Ted Deutch (Representative) for Florida said something very important, “it is not — it is not too soon; it is too late for the 17 lives that are lost.” I completely agree with what he said. Why did it take so many? How many more do there have to be? Another thing is that they want to trust teachers with a gun. How is that okay?! Not to be rude but how many of your teachers don’t know how to use an activboard? Teachers are here to teach us. They shouldn’t have a gun. Protect children not guns.

Olivia Demmler

Valued Girl Talk Marlton Member

Black History Month by Kenikki Thompson age 11

February is recognized as Black History Month in the United States and Canada. During this month, people are encouraged to learn about African and African American history. Black History Month actually started out as a week. It was celebrated the second week in February because it was between the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. They were both important to Black communities at that time.  It was began so that people would not forget about African American culture and accomplishments.  Because of slavery and Blacks not being able to learn to read or write, a lot of the history was not written down.  What a lot of people knew was by memory and stories being handed down from generation to generation. 

In 1970, the week celebration officially became Black History Month. It was especially for kids in school to learn about African American history because most schoolbooks only talked about Blacks as slaves.  The history was much more than that.  There were so many pioneers.  Their stories needed to be told too. There were scholars, inventors, musicians and more to learn about.  Many schools now make sure their students are learning about some of the very important accomplishments of African Americans during Black History Month.

maxresdefault.jpg

 

 

There  are a few things you might not have known. Dr. Charles Drew helped create blood banks. 

 

 

marie-van-brittan-brown-invented-first-home-security-system-in-13736875

 

 

Marie Van Britton Brown was a nurse who was worried about people possible breaking into her home so she invented the first home security system. 

 

 

 

download

 

 

Garret Morgan created the gas mask and the traffic signal.

 

 

j3jeer4oydqhhb4vjvv8.jpg

 

The Underground Railroad, which helped guide slaves to freedom, even has history where we live in New Jersey. Harriet Tubman, the most famous fugitive from slavery traveled to Lawnside, NJ, where a home was used to hide escaping slaves.  She also worked as a cook in Cape May hotels during the summers of 1849 through 1852 to help raise money for her Underground Railroad journeys.

Although February is actually Black History Month, you can learn about it all year. There are so many interesting facts and people to learn about.

Kenikki Thompson

Valued Girl Talk Marlton member

Cyberbullying is reaching dangerous levels

Cyberbullying-and-social-media.jpgThe Internet and Social Media are powerful tools. It allows us the incredible opportunity to share our thoughts and experiences with billions of people around the world in an instant. While it can aid us in conducting research and getting to visit parts of the world virtually, it has also opened another platform for bullies and trolls.

CyberbullyingBullying among teens is nothing new, but it only happened at the bus stop, at recess or in the lunch line. Once a child got home, the bullying stopped.  Now with social media outlets, they are providing new avenues for it, often out of sight of parents and teachers. Statistics say girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.

Social media’s popularity has taken cyberbullying to new dangerous levels. The emotional, sometimes physical, and social implications for the young person involved can be lifelong. Cyber bullying is any form of bullying, harassment or victimization online. It can spill from on-screen to off-screen and affect the face-to-face interactions.

In 280 characters or less on Twitter, one picture on Instagram, or one video on Snapchat, teens can make hurtful and emotionally scarring comments (sometimes anonymously) about fellow schoolmates. Up to a staggering 70% of kids report that they have been bullied or have witnessed bullying and/or cyberbullying. Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse because they are embarrassed or afraid they will get into trouble themselves.

large_55_sa_antibully-1-.jpgOnline safety is becoming tricky and is fueling a rise in self-harming among teenagers. The rate of teenage suicide has increased gradually because of cyber-bullying. Sadly, a new word, bullycide (children killing themselves after being bullied), has surfaced. The good news is, it is possible to weather a bully attack and come out the other end OK. It’s all about how you approach the situation.

Bullying is NOT caused by social media. It’s caused by bad human behavior. Talking to your children and teaching them good digital citizenship and resilience in the face of bullying can help. Help them use social media wisely and guide them in the steps to take to discourage the attacker.

cyber-bullying-laws-ireland-e1484128819245.jpgSimple, practical steps can be taken to help manage the issue. Do not stoop to the level of the bully. Nothing makes you look worse than turning around and attacking in return. Take the time to listen to your children and not judge. Let your child know that you are there to help them, even if they are in trouble, you are there- no matter what.

Remember that it’s important to stay involved in their online lives (as well as physical lives) to help guide them through the tough times. Encourage empathy and resilience. Explain to them why open communication is so important, whether directly with you or a trusted adult they may feel more comfortable opening up to.

lsReassure them that you won’t block their access to the internet and/or social media because they have reported a problem to you. It is not the app or platform that is causing the bullying! Advise your child not to retaliate or respond to any messages from a bully, which may prevent material being further used against your child. Have them block or unfriend the bully to stop contact with your child immediately. Help your child change their privacy settings to restrict who can see their posts and profile page.

Collect any screenshots of the cyberbullying to have evidence in case the bullying continues. Help guide your child in their decision making rather than telling them what to do. Empower your child and help them to make wise decisions for themselves. And if the situation persists and gets out of hand, contact the school and inform the police immediately if their physical safety is at risk.

imagesNow, if your child is treating others badly, is dismissive of their feelings or targeting or intentionally excluding a child or group, they could be the bully. Do NOT ignore these signs. Explain to them the ramifications and life long harm they are doing to a human being. Talk to your child and get them the help that they need.

Bullies will always be in our world, whether online or face to face. All we can do is raise our children the best we can to NOT be bullies and not to let others get away with bullying. Do not let anyone ever dull their sparkle.

Mary Beth

Girl Talk Marlton www.girltalkmarlton.org

Queen of Wishful Thinkin’ www.queenofwishfulthinkin.com

 

Will YOU Give Back this Holiday Season?

joyThis is one of my favorite times of the year, it is not the weather I like (I prefer the sun and beach), but it’s the season of giving I adore.  Although giving back is a great thing to do all year round, everyone seems a little more generous and charitable as the holidays draw near. Our country has been through so much with recent devastation to millions of families from hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other disasters, now is a great time to help.

5a1ddc36ca37b.image.jpgIt is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that the season brings. The endless commercials and advertisements combined with the pressures to shop, bake, decorate and wrap overshadow the true meaning of the holiday and can turn anyone into a Grinch. But take a second to stop and breathe. Count your blessings- your family, your friends, your job, and all that you have to celebrate. Just things we take for granted. Many people in our community do not have it as lucky as we do-and YES, even in our town.

give_6152c.jpgOne of the best things I believe you can do is teach your children that the holiday season isn’t just about getting gifts. Start some new holiday traditions by engaging your family in community service projects. Spend one day thinking of others and to help spread your holiday cheer to more than just your family. Donate some non-perishable foods to help community members facing food insecurity during the holiday season. No matter your income level, you can find time to donate to others.  Find ways to practice kindness, a kind word or smile to a homeless person, serving others during the holidays, drawing a picture, writing a note, or comforting a friend or family member does not cost a thing but will be priceless.5a1cb02a75e46

Enjoying the little things, special moments, and the people in your life is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. But there’s nothing like the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from making someone else happy, and that taps into the true meaning of the holiday season.

If you would like some ideas to help local families this holiday season, please reach out to me at GirlTalkMarlton@gmail.com

Happy Holidays to you & yours,

Mary Beth

72c11715-310e-40b4-a17f-6d7fd18bbd15

Moving Forward After Tragedy

mass-shooting-vegas-music-festival-2017-9e0c489f-a651-4496-918a-34f76ff81b18
David Becker/Getty

The horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others. After events like this senseless attack, many Americans feel sad, helpless and fearful. We are only human, it affects us emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The Las Vegas tragedy comes after weeks of devastating stories from storm-ravaged areas across our nation, which can be a lot of tragedy to process all at once. The shock and devastation of any tragedy leaves us feeling stunned and vulnerable. We know that life is fragile, but it is not supposed to be this way.

1506991109747.pngTragedy and grief are devastating.  But it doesn’t have to get the best of you. The news overwhelms us with stories, pictures, videos and interviews around the clock showing every intimate detail of these tragedies. It is like reliving it over and over. Shut it off and regroup. Never underestimate the importance of your mindset. Get yourself refocused in a positive direction.

Don’t forget your children’s feelings and emotions during this time too. When it comes to any tragedy, most adults either feel the need to talk a lot to their kids or think they shouldn’t talk at all. The best place is somewhere in between. First, ask what they think happened. Kids get information from many different sources, not all are reliable. Let your child’s questions to you be your guide. Reassure them of their safety, spare them the scary details and be sure not to lie to them. Don’t allow young children to watch the news. Empower your kids to take positive action in the wake of a tragic event by doing something positive for the victims and survivors. This will help you both heal.

today-las-vegas-140709-vid.jpgLife is unpredictable and uncertain. What we have today can be taken away in a moment. Let’s just accept the fact that life is unfair sometimes.  This, however, doesn’t mean that we give up. When the world is falling apart around us, it’s tough to see the ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. But, that is exactly what we must do. Take this time to reflect on the life you have and make any necessary positive changes to your life starting today.

1507054518676Life is for living, not worrying about dying, so don’t be fearful to live it to your fullest potential. None of us know how long our life will be, but we all get to choose what we make of each day. See the beauty, not the darkness. Focus on the good, not the bad. Many things are out of our control but you can control how you will react to situations, how you will treat others and how you will live your day. Make it a great one.

MB