08 August 2013

(I'm leaving Poland in a few hours and want to enjoy my remaining time here, so I'm ceding today's space to Nashville publicist Paula Erickson, who wrote a wonderful blog last month that creatively suggested using American Express points to help out friends in need by using the points to buy gift cards, etc. This time, Paula's guest blog takes on a more personal tone. Melinda)

My friend Marie is 63, and I want to be like her when I grow up. She embraces life with an open mind and an open heart — she loves her family and friends fiercely, loyally and unconditionally, and she can knit a fabulous sweater and make you the best meal you’ve ever eaten. She’s also an artist, a computer whiz, a great decorator, she raises vegetables and horses, and she’s traveled the world and tackles pretty much any project with enthusiasm and style. She kayaks and rescues dogs, and once even rescued a dog while kayaking (she literally pulled a drowning stray dog out of a river and found it a great home that same day).

I met her when I was 15, and loved her immediately because she had the coolest car of any of my parents’ friends. She offered to let me drive it right away (my dad said no – boo!), and then took me for a ride. She is the best kind of friend, always there for you -- no matter how big or small the project, dilemma, or celebration. And she’s FUN!

Marie is the vibrant, joyful picture of health, but somehow, inexplicably, she got lung cancer. And, no, not from smoking, although I hate even having to make that disclaimer— how anybody gets sick should never diminish people’s sympathy.  She had surgery last week, and the doctors say they got it all. I pray with all my heart that they’re right.

According to its website, "for over 95 years, the American Lung Association has been funding quality lung research with the intent to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. 

In addition to supporting their own research program, the American Lung Association aggressively advocates to increase America's investment into life saving research by pushing to increase funding at the National Institutes of Health to help find cures for lung cancer, COPD, asthma and all lung diseases."

—Paula Erickson

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