And Dreams Do Come True...

My Previous Blog > "One Year Since Diagnosis"

"A dream is a wish your heart makes..."
-- Disney's Cinderella 

Five years ago, I was paralyzed with fear after receiving a dismal prognosis. I had stage IIIb melanoma. There are only four stages of skin cancer, with the fourth being terminal and I was teetering on the cusp. Facing the reality of death at the age of 28 was beyond terrifying.

Daily, I prayed for my life.

After ending my year long treatment, I wasn't the same person I'd been. I'd matured, my perspective had changed and my priorities had shifted - facing death does that to a person.

I felt compelled to tell my story. I dreamt of being in front of people explaining what it means to have cancer, what treatment feels like and the mental and emotional strain it causes. I hoped to inspire others to stay strong and courageous.

But dreams are just that, and they are tough to turn into reality.

As time passed, I became busy with everyday life and I began doubting the power of my story. I was simply a girl who had battled cancer. That wasn't very unique. There were tons of girls and boys, women and men who had done the same.

Then, I got pregnant with Atia and my focus shifted completely. Of course, we all know what happened 17 months later - Atia was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and my world crumbled.

It wasn't until I started blogging about Atia's journey that my dream was resurrected. My story was no longer that of a young girl who'd battled cancer, but instead of a mother who knew first-hand the hardships of her daughter's treatment because of her own battle with cancer.

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and that there is a purpose to my and Atia's cancer.

And, tomorrow is the proof - my dream realized.

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On December 15th, Atia's Project Ladybug Fund launches at The University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital - where Atia is being treated. The fund will help ease the struggles of childhood cancer by providing financial and emotional support to patients and their families. With Atia's story, in Atia's name, we will help improve the lives of these young warriors - kids with cancer; kids like Atia.

It's a dream come true.

I personally invite you to join me in celebration of Atia's Project Ladybug Fund's launch.

What: Atia's Project Ladybug Fund Presents Dina Manzo

When: Thursday, December 16th from 5pm - 7pm

Who: Everyone. Kids are welcome, too.

Where: The Hyatt Regency Chicago Crystal Ballroom, 151 E. Wacker Dr.

Special Guests: Dina Manzo, founder of Project Ladybug and Real Housewives of New Jersey star, Ana Belaval from WGN-TV's morning news and my daughter, Atia Lutarewych

Cost: $30 at the door


Hope to see you there!

And, please become a fan of Atia's Project Ladybug Fund on facebook.

My Next Blog > "Behind the Scenes"



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  • wonderful entry! The best tomorrow evening! I wish I could be there!

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