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.
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?!
Lifesaving 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:
P.O. Box 1442
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Alexa Nawrocki Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 628
Marlton, NJ 08053
Summer is the time to enjoy late night dinner with friends, strolls on the beach, and back yard BBQ’s! There’s something about getting home from work when it’s still light out that gives you bundles of energy! Summer is a time of leisure and good times with the people you love. There’s so much to do every night of the week in the summer and when the evenings are longer why not get out there and have some fun. Sleep is for winter-get out there and enjoy summer!
The beach is my number one favorite thing about summer. I love everything from the glowing hot sun, the various striped and colored umbrellas titled in the burning sand, the refreshing cool salty water, and the hunt for beautiful seashells. I can look for hours into the ocean hoping to see dolphins and watching the waves. It is my happy place.
The boardwalk is quite entertaining. The food, the drinks, the Ice-cream and the peoplewatching. I used to love the rides but in my old age I prefer a nice safe arcade game instead.
Early sunshine and late sunsets, vacations, holidays, baseball games, fireworks, flip flops, bonfires, summer storms, tanned skin, sweet corn on the cob, sunglasses, sangria, blooming flowers, fruits & vegetables, dog parks, ice coffee, driving with the windows open and music loud, stepping out into the sun after sitting in a/c all day, floating in the pool, rainy movie days, sleeping in the a/c with a blanket. Late nights, long sleep-ins, catch-ups with family and friends, happy hours, new hobbies and craft projects, home revamps and new experiences to be etched in our memories forever.
We are lucky here in NJ that we are close to many major cities including New York and Philadelphia, dozens of beaches and boardwalks, state parks, amusement parks and the mountains. There are so many summer activities from outdoor concerts and movies, festivals, fairs and carnivals, drive-in movie theaters, zoos, museums, farmers markets, lakes, lighthouses and more. So, if you are bored, it is your own fault. Get out your phone and look up to see what is going on in your neck of the woods. Go out and enjoy the summer and have some fun!
~Mary Beth Iannarella
Girl Talk Marlton
100 Reasons to LOVE SUMMER ♥ ocean ♥ sand♥ sun ♥ warmth ♥ beach days ♥ ice cream ♥ popsicles ♥ smoothies ♥ BBQs ♥ green grass ♥ salty air ♥ salty skin ♥ sandy feet ♥ bare feet ♥ relaxation ♥ vacations ♥ road trips ♥ visiting the lake house ♥ long nights ♥ star gazing ♥ fireworks ♥ sparklers ♥ bonfires ♥ s’mores ♥ blooming flowers/trees ♥ morning walks ♥ sunsets ♥ surf boarding ♥ boogie boarding ♥ paddle boarding ♥ tubing ♥ boat cruises ♥ outdoor concerts/festivals ♥ cliff jumping into water ♥ swimming pools ♥ yard games ♥ flip flops ♥ sun dresses ♥ shorts ♥ t shirts ♥ waves ♥ a nice tan ♥ naps ♥ naps in hammocks ♥ time for reading ♥ blasting music with the windows down ♥ reuniting with old friends/family ♥ bike rides ♥ thunderstorms ♥ kayaking ♥ sailboats ♥ corn ♥ watermelon ♥ seafood ♥ golf ♥ tiki torches ♥ late night swims ♥ spontaneous adventures ♥ fourth of July ♥ carnivals ♥ fishing ♥ laying under an umbrella ♥ laying in the sand ♥ beach chairs ♥ floating on rafts ♥ fresh air ♥ constantly wearing your bathing suit under your clothes ♥ laying in the shade ♥ puzzles and board games on the rainy days ♥ rainy movie/Netflix days ♥ camping ♥ building tents ♥ carefree ♥ lemonade ♥ picnics ♥ eating outside ♥ shell/sea glass collecting ♥ picking flowers ♥ hikes ♥ day trips to the city ♥ outdoor markets/festivals ♥ parades ♥ rollerblading ♥ pie ♥ chips and salsa ♥ bubbles ♥ running through the sprinkler ♥ snorkeling ♥ smell of sunscreen and bug spray ♥ refreshing ♥ swims/showers ♥ sand castles ♥ drive-in movies ♥ climbing trees ♥ fresh fruit ♥ coconut ♥ sea creatures ♥ car washes ♥ flying kites ♥buzzing bees ♥ trips to the park ♥ Hawaiian shirts ♥ dancing
If I could teach everyone only one value to live by, it would be integrity.
Integrity is crucial in all aspects of life: professional, personal, social and spiritual. Yet, so many people lack it. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when nobody’s watching. It means being true to yourself.
Integrity is a consistency between a person’s inner values and attitudes and their outward words and actions. The more consistent we are, the higher the degree of integrity we possess.
Those that live with the value of integrity are honest, trustworthy, fair, show respect, accept responsibility, and have courage. The best way to guard your integrity is to decide in advance that you will never sell out or surrender your integrity.
The road to integrity is not an easy one but it’s the only one worth traveling. Integrity is essential if we are going to become people who positively and powerfully impact others.
People who demonstrate integrity draw others to them because they are trustworthy and dependable. They act with honor and truthfulness. They treat people equally and take responsibility for their own feelings and actions.
A word of advice to those who are striving for a reputation of integrity: Avoid those who are not trustworthy. If someone is dishonest in any aspect of his or her life you can be guaranteed that they will be dishonest in many aspects of their life. It is important to realize that others pay attention to those you have chosen to associate with, and they will inevitably judge your character by the character of your friends.
So, surround yourself with people of integrity. That makes sense, doesn’t it?!
~Mary Beth Iannarella
“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Father’s Day is celebrated worldwide to recognize the contribution that fathers and father figures make in the lives of their children. This day celebrates fatherhood and male parenting. The words ‘dad’ and ‘father’ are very similar on the surface and yet, I think to many people, they hold very different meanings. Father’s Day seems to ignite something in a lot of people, as it did with me. I believe there is a huge difference between the word father and dad. Now of course, this is only my opinion, so you may not agree.
a reproductive term referring to the male biological parent of a child
A father need only contribute the biological components necessary to reproduce the child. After that, their role and their obligation to the child is over-except financially. I am referring to the relationship bond that will never be developed and the mutual love and admiration that will never be shared. A father is absent.
a male parental figure that is present and participating in a child’s life
A dad is someone that is there for his children every step of the way. A dad actively participates in their children’s lives- the good times and bad times. A dad helps them grow up, raises them, nurtures them, attends school functions and baseball games. In one word, a dad is present.
I had a father growing up, a bad one at that. But I met my dad when I was 18 years old. He was everything that I had imagined a dad would be and more. There was a mutual love and relationship bond like I have never known. I felt truly blessed to have him in my life and my children’s lives until his passing a couple years ago. I think of him every day and miss his laugh and hugs. I am forever grateful for my dad and those that shared him with me.
If you are lucky enough to have a dad (granddad, etc.) in your life, be sure to let him know how much you love and appreciate him- especially on Sunday. If you have a father, have pity on them for their ignorant decision and know that they missed out on something wonderful. I wish all fathers would man up, step up and be dads to their children!
Mary Beth Iannarella
Girl Talk Marlton
I’m not going to lie, there are some things in this world that makes me question my faith and one of them is cancer, particularly Childhood cancer. The universe is random and chaotic. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. I can’t make sense of it and try not to spend my time focusing on the why. I rather admire the courage and determination of these brave soldiers fighting this hard battle and join the army full of passion to make a difference in doing my part to contributing to advancements in childhood cancer research. Honestly, what else can I do? Of course, I pray but I also argue with my God for allowing these children and families to suffer.
Over the years, I have unfortunately lost family and friends to cancer, as many of you have also. And we have watched them suffer thru sickness, some lucky enough to beat it and some who have left this world. It is a horrible disease and I wish for a cure- quickly.
The Unforgotten Haven, which I am proud to be one of the managers of, has been a huge supporter and friend of 10 yr. old Nico, a blackwood resident battling Neuroblastoma. Nico was diagnosed with stage IV high risk neuroblastoma in August 2010 at the age of 3. The Haven has helped raise money for his bucket list and took part in this year’s St. Baldrick’s event. A few team members even shaved their heads! It was an amazing fundraising event. Cancer sucks and it breaks my heart to see the suffering it causes. But through all the tears and hugs, the heroes, miracles and truly good hearted people that have gathered- all for the good of the cause-has touched my heart so much.
Nico has touched so many lives, more than he will ever know. I am very grateful that he has allowed us to follow him along the way through social media. Nico’s Army posts updates on Facebook showing pictures of Nico, with his approval, at the many hospital and doctor visits and tests that he needs. He is a quiet hero to all. He is a personal inspiration for me not to sweat the small stuff and not to take anything for granted. Nico’s family, friends, Army and supporters are also hero’s. Please keep them all in your prayers, as I will continue to do.
Together we can make a difference against childhood cancer.
~Mary Beth Iannarella
Girl Talk Marlton
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, Mother’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 how 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