I believe a world without childhood cancer IS possible

I am a very faith filled and spiritual person but many things throughout my life have had me question my faith. My religion tells me that I am not supposed to question my God and ask “why”, but sometimes I just don’t understand. My recent questions involve childhood cancer. Now, I know this is not a topic people want to talk about because it hurts to read the effects of this horrible disease on precious young lives, but we must start.

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Last year I met an amazing 9-year-old boy (now 10), battling cancer, from Blackwood NJ, who has melted hearts and opened eyes to the nasty disease of childhood cancer. Nico was diagnosed with stage IV high risk neuroblastoma in August 2010 at the age of 3. Nico has had a rough life full of doctor appointments, hospital visits and needles but through it all he has remained an outgoing, fun, energetic, friendly, little boy…with cancer.

Nico dubbed himself a “soldier” and his family his “army, and with that Nico’s Army was formed. They come together to help support Nico and his family in the fight of his life, for his life.

“An army fights not because they hate what is in front of him, but because they love what is behind them”-G.K. Chesterton

With meeting Nico, I learned so much about childhood cancer that I had no idea existed. I even found out that it effected a Girl Talk Marlton members sister and took her young life years ago. They started the Alexa Nawrocki Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Inc http://www.alexasfriends.com and help families that are now suffering through the same heartache they went through-amazing.

According to childrenscancer.org, each year more than 15,000 kids and young adults are diagnosed with cancer—that’s about 42 per day. Though the 5-year-survival rate for childhood cancers has reached 80 percent, nearly 2,000 kids under age 19 die each year. And that’s just in the United States. In 2016, over 300,000 kids and young adults were diagnosed worldwide. Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group; socioeconomic class; or geographic region. Childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the U.S. Despite this, less than 4% of the federal government’s total funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers each year. WHAT?!

2015-childhod-cancer-facts-infographicLifesaving and innovative research on childhood cancer is crucial. Awareness and education, along with fundraising to help support research can cure this disease. With funding in lifesaving, leading-edge research for new treatments and cures, we can help in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and (one day) cure of childhood cancers and end the suffering for so many innocent lives. 

I believe a world without childhood cancer IS possible, and I encourage and hope to empower others to get involved and make a difference for children with cancer. The world needs devoted volunteers to bring awareness and education to people who have not been effected by this disease and just do not understand all the pain and suffering. Get involved, make a difference, YOU have the power within you to do so. Even the smallest gesture starts a ripple.

As Nico spends his remaining days at home with family and friends, surrounded by all that he loves, I ask that you join me in prayer to fill the family with the strength they will need to get through this difficult time. Nico and his family have graciously shared their battle throughout this disease- the pain, the laughs and now the sorrow. They are all true hero’s and Nico forever an amazing warrior. Prayers and love to Nico and his Army, now and always.

~Mary Beth Iannarella

Please help support:
Army Logo

Nico’s Army
P.O. Box 1442
Blackwood, NJ 08012

bannerAlexa Nawrocki Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 628
Marlton, NJ 08053

Celebrate Mother’s Day

As we near another Mother’s Day celebration, we make our way to the Hallmark store and the florist. But it is not all about the commercialized holiday festivities, at least to me it is not. Call me selfish, but it is about the time I get to spend with my lovies doting on me. The hugs, the kisses, and yes, OK, the flowers and cards. LOL. No matter what we do or where we go, as long as we are together, it is a Happy Mother’s Day for me. When you’ve lost your mom like I have, Mothimageser’s Day is a tough day—but my lovies make my heart full.

Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is observed in over 40 countries around the world.

Let’s face it, moms are those amazing people in our lives who act as our guardian angels, cheerleaders, defense attorneys and personal assistants. They do more than we can ever imagine or pay them for. You of course, won’t understand this until you are a mom (or a parent).

Mother’s Day is also a good opportunity to celebrate women in general and to ponder THM_HappyMothersDay_1how to act to achieve equal rights for all. Not all women are mothers, of course – and not all want to be. But, Mother’s Day is a great day for thinking about the diversity of women in general and how all women should be respected equally.

So, whether it be in person, by card or phone, connect with the mother figure in your life and let them know you care.

Enjoy your Mother’s Day.

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

 

The Greatest Love of All

44fad4f6843f1b92f5d97ab041a3709aI believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, Show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride to make it easier, Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

Everybody searching for a hero, People need someone to look up to,
I never found anyone who fulfill my needs, A lonely place to be,
So I learned to depend on me.

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows, If I fail, if I succeed,
At least I’ll live as I believe, no matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.

Because the greatest love of all Is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all, inside of me. The greatest love of all, is easy to achieve.
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows, If I fail, if I succeed, At least I’ll live as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.
Because the greatest love of all, is happening to me. I found the greatest love of all,
Inside of me. The greatest love of all, is easy to achieve.

Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.

And if by chance, that special place, that you’ve been dreaming of,
Leads you to a lonely place, Find your strength in love.

This song by Whitney Houston came on the radio as I was stuck in traffic last week. For the very first time I listened to every single word. She sings of self-love and standing up for your beliefs. But we all know the decision to love one’s self is not quite as easy as the lyrics suggest. There are many struggles faced in learning to love yourself and being happy with who you are, even the parts of yourself you aren’t too fond of.

Given all that has been happening in our country with youth on youth violence and youth suicide, I was struck by the timeliness of the message of this song. However, it was the chorus, which resonated with my spirit. I believe we need to teach our youth how to connect with themselves so they can create a better future for themselves and the next generation. We must teach our youth, and ourselves, the true meaning of self-love, The Greatest Love of All.

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

 

 

Some Female Problems Most Males Will Never Understand

Source: Some Female Problems Most Males Will Never Understand

Some Female Problems Most Males Will Never Understand

There are some things in this life that you won’t understand as a member of the opposite sex. A big reason men and women get into some of the biggest arguments you’ve ever heard of is because guys just don’t understand us. And face it, some men kind of suck at empathizing about things that have never actually happened to them directly.

052a2f319997739329b0d6be0da5e374f2e1e5-wide-thumbnailBOOBS & BRAS

Starting off as a young girl, you worry that you are developing too early or even too late. Holy hell will break out if your boobs grow bigger than every other girl in your 5th grade class, it’s embarrassing- trust me! And I am assuming the same embarrassment if they don’t grow fast enough. From training bras to old lady bras, they are annoying. It’s always hard to find good ones that fit and when you do they never keep their shape that long. Guys will never experience the utter horror of side boob, or worse, a nip slip. And let’s not even get into under boob sweat-ugh. Dealing with boobs is something men will never understand but I know you women understand the relief of removing a bra after a long tiring day.

PERIODS, CRAMPS & PMS

This is the ultimate mystery for men. In fact, it is known that all men (if they are smart) stay far away from a woman who is PMSing. And yes, most men do their best to be considerate when asking questions, trying not to ask the wrong thing, but as soon as you start explaining to them how everything works, they start to shut down and no longer want to listen. I don’t blame them, it’s a little yucky and complicated. But just know this, “I’m fine,” it often means she’s not at all fine. Just buy her chocolate and all should be fine.

OB/GYN VISITS & CHILDBIRTH

First off, going to a gynecologist as a young woman is one of the scariest things a female will ever have to do. And it is not that it is scary at all, but more of the unknown adult world you are now officially entering.

Being pregnant is a wonderful, yet at the same time, terrifying experience. You have this human that is growing inside you. The baby moves around beating the crap out of your insides regardless of the hour of day. You now must buy maternity clothes because nothing fits you, you get pains often and worry about them constantly, your hormones and emotions are cra-cra, you crave the craziest things to eat. You start falling in love with this alien invading your body, then you remember you must push this huge object out of your vagina-greeeeat. And then you have a beautiful child and all will be forgotten, until next pregnancy.

Wearing Spanx. No explanation necessary.

Walking in heels. We must learn to walk in them. Yes, they can be as dangerous as they look. Yes, our feet hurt like hell if we wear them for more than an hour. And yes, we might even use them as weapons if the need arises. But we know we look extremely hot wearing them and that’s why we’ll never stop.

Being catcalled. Because guys think that this is a compliment, and they’d be happy to hear such things whistled from random women on the streets. Guys NEVER understand how this girl problem is just creepy.

Long bathroom lines. Women need to use bathrooms more often and for longer periods of time, there needs to be more women’s restrooms added per restroom locations. When are they going to be smart enough to figure this out?

Bathing suit season. Most women dread this part of the summer season. All women’s bodies are entirely different and shopping for a swimsuit sucks.

Waxing & Shaving. Rashes, ingrown hairs, itchy stubble, cuts. All in the pursuit of feeling and being felt silky smooth.

Putting on Makeup. Everyday Women are bombarded on every side about how they should look. Do you really think it’s possible for us to look this good all the time without putting in any effort? We go through hell. And if we go one day without makeup people ask, “are you sick?” “is everything ok?”. UGH!

Nail polish. Yes, my fingernails and toenails must match. And if they do not, I am mortified-don’t judge.

Proms & Special Occasions. Finding the right dress for a special occasion is a taxing task that requires hours and hours of shopping. And it is NOT the fun type of shopping we live for either. We also worry that another person may be wearing the same exact dress. And what if they look better!

Wage gaps. And yes, the wage gap continues. See last week’s blog.

This is just a few problems men will ever understand about being female. All we need is a little bit of understanding, a little bit of respect, a little bit of support, a little bit of love and lots of chocolate and wine, if you are of age. We are not that complicated..lol….ok, yes we are. But we are kind and lovable and never boring.

 

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

Equal pay for woman

Equal pay for equal work. It might sound like common sense, but unfortunately, it’s not reality. On April 4th, a day known as Equal Pay Day, people gathered in various cities to speak out against the various barriers women encounter in the workplace.

In 1963, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act (EPA) into law, making it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform equal work. At the time the EPA was made a law, women earned only 59 cents to every dollar earned by men. Today, women make, on average, only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men which tells us that significant differences remain and need to be addressed. The EPA started to help move the pay gap, but a lot still needs to be done.

imagesWomen have made tremendous strides taking jobs and occupations previously held exclusively by men. But women are still segregated into minimum-wage working jobs, according to an AAUW report. Based on their analysis of Department of Education data, 40 percent of women work in historically female occupations like social work, teaching and nursing, but only five percent of men were employed in these fields as of 2013. American women who work full time all year are paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to men — and for women of color, the wage gap is even larger. That is a gender wage gap of 20 percent! This means it took 44 years for the wage gap to close just 18 cents — a rate of less than half a penny a year.

equal-pay-dayOn average, women receive more college and graduate degrees than men do. Yet, women continue to earn considerably less than men. The pay gap was the smallest in New York, the largest gap was in Wyoming, where women were paid 64 percent of what men were paid. The pay gap affects women from all backgrounds, at all ages, and of all levels of educational achievement. The pay gap is even worse for women of color.

 

In Pennsylvania, workers are on track to get the same pay for the same work in 2068. That is 51 years from now, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported. In New Jersey, equal pay is projected to happen in 2054.  Overall, the U.S. is expected to have equal pay by 2059.

EPD

What can we do? Let’s help support raising the wage to promote fair pay for women. Equal pay for equal work shouldn’t be an idea. It should be reality. We need to make pay equitable. The Legislature can create paid leave and child-care policies allowing mothers to keep their jobs, avoiding long gaps in employment that drive down wages. And we need to raise the minimum wage — two-thirds of minimum-wage earners are women — and enact other policies to raise wages. We need to rally to combat wage discrimination and get our voices heard. Here are some dates in 2017 to support equal pay. Get out there and show your support!

2017 Equal Pay Days

March 7, 2017-Asian American Women’s Equal Pay Day

April 4, 2017-All Women’s Equal Pay Day

May 23, 2017-Mothers’ Equal Pay Day

July 31, 2017-Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

September 25, 2017-Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day

November 2, 2017-Latinas’ Equal Pay Day

 

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

www.girltalkmarlton.org

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“When I joined four teammates in filing a wage-discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer late last month, it had nothing to do with how much I love to play for my country. It had everything to do with what’s right and what’s fair and with upholding a fundamental American concept: Equal pay for equal play.” —Carli Lloyd, in a New York Times article from March 2016

“If fighting for equal pay and paid family leave is playing the gender card, then deal me in!” —Hillary Clinton, in Harlem at the Apollo Theater in March 2016

“Without women’s groups knocking on doors, I wouldn’t have gotten where I am. We need women to support each other. We still don’t have equal pay.” —Sonia Sotomayor, at an event organized by Watermark in 2013