Tag Archives: charities

CaringBridge and Hope Conquers All

Sona Mehring, the founder of CaringBridge I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CaringBridge. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

When I was recently hospitalized for a brain tumor, one of the first emails I received from my sister was a link to CaringBridge.  Luckily, my surgery went well and my recovery has been quick. (I’m writing this a little over two weeks post-op!) But if the tumor was worse than we thought or my recovery problematic, I would have signed up for CaringBridge in a heartbeat as it’s a wonderful way for everyone from relatives to neighbors to friends to get updated on a serious illness. CaringBridge can also serve as a support planner to help coordinate care and organize tasks.

For more than 15 years, the nonprofit CaringBridge has served as a lifeline of hope, bringing together families struggling with illnesses and tragedies. Sona Mehring, the founder of CaringBridge wants to share these important collections of stories to inspire hope through her new book, Hope Conquers All. Ranging from young children with cancer, to adults awaiting transplants, these first-person accounts share the importance CaringBridge had in their personal journeys. For uplifting tales to share with those who are in need of love and support, or even to just reflect on how brave these individuals were through such troubled times, learn more about Sona Mehring's book and how to purchase it at caringb.org/hope.

Help Aflac fight pediatric cancer #AflacKids

Aflac pediatric cancer numbers

I’ve been reading a fascinating book on the history of cancer and cancer treatment, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. It’s made me realize that while we’ve made great strides in cancer treatment, we still have a long, long way to go. That’s why I’m participating in the SheSpeaks campaign to support Aflac’s Swim with Friends virtual duck race. When you donate $12 towards pediatric cancer research – which is matched by Aflac, by the way – you’ll receive a cute rubber duck and entry into the Swim with Friends virtual race taking place on Facebook on October 9th for a chance to win a family-friendly vacation for four to Orlando!

Aflac’s commitment to fighting childhood cancer

For 17 years, Aflac has passionately supported the fight against childhood cancer. More than 16,000 independent Aflac national sales agents and employees contribute more than $425,000 from their commission checks or paychecks every month to help support the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta here in my home state of Georgia.

In that time, more than $75 million has been donated to the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare Atlanta to fight pediatric cancer.  In addition, $1.2 million was donated to Children’s Oncology Group to help find a cure for childhood cancer and another $1 million donated to CureSearch toward its adolescent and young adult programs.  Aflac has an ongoing commitment to the Child Life Therapy Program at the Morrell Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, which is housed in the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center in New York. Also, Aflac has an ongoing commitment to the University of Nebraska Medical Center to establish the Aflac Fund for Childhood Cancer Patients and Families.

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How you can help

Aflac obviously takes fighting pediatric cancer very seriously. To join them in this fight, please donate $12 to get a rubber duck and an entry into the Swim with Friends virtual race taking place on Facebook on October 9th.

You can connect with Aflac on Twitter @AflacDuck and use the hashtag #AflacKids to promote their fight against childhood cancer and the contest. Each tweet that uses #AflacKids will generate a $2 donation from Aflac directly to pediatric cancer research, so get tweeting!

In addition, you can connect with Aflac on Facebook at facebook.com/AflacDuck or learn more about the Swim with Friends program at www.aflac.com/friends.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Aflac and SheSpeaks. A donation will be given in my name for participating in this campaign. All opinions are my own.

Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Keeping preemies safe from RSV

RSV Infographic

As the mother of two preemies, I’m very aware of respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly know as RSV. Luckily for my family, neither Nathan nor Lucie contracted RSV. That’s probably because they were born towards the end of RSV season (Nathan in February and Lucie in March). Also, since Nathan was born seven weeks early and weighed only four pounds when we took him home, we were told not to go anywhere with him for nearly two months and to limit visitors.

What is RSV?

We lucked out, but I do know of several friend’s children – all full term babies – who got RSV.  So what is RSV anyway?

RSV is also extremely common and spreads very easily. RSV can live on household surfaces like doorknobs and bedding for several hours. It can also be spread through touching, hugging and kissing. That’s why almost 100% of children contract RSV by their second birthday. With older children, you probably don’t even know they have RSV because it’s so similar to the cold or flu. However, in very young babies – especially preemies – RSV can lead to a serious respiratory infection.

Symptoms of serious RSV infection include: persistent coughing or wheezing; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths; blue color on the lips, mouth, or under the fingernails; high fever; extreme fatigue; and difficulty feeding. Parents should contact a medical professional immediately upon signs of these symptoms.

RSV season begins in November and lasts through March for most parts of North America. Serious RSV infection is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, responsible for more than 125,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 infant deaths each year.

Preventing RSV

The best thing parents can do to check out rsvprotection.com for tips on preventing RSV such as washing hands, toys, and bedding frequently. It’s also important you and your child avoid crowds and cigarette smoke.

In addition, parents should also educate friends and family who come to visit and ask them to:

  • Postpone a visit if they feel that they may be getting sick, have recently been ill or been exposed to an illness.
  • Wash their hands frequently! They should was or sanitize their hands upon entering the home and especially prior to holding the baby.
  • Leave their toddlers at home, especially during the winter months. Young children, especially if they attend day care or preschool, often carry germs and viruses, like RSV, that are easily spread.
  • Make sure that their clothes are clean and they haven’t smoked or been around smokers recently. Smoke can be very dangerous for underdeveloped lungs.

If they make a fuss, send them to rsvprotection.com and tell them this advice is what your pediatrician recommended.

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Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by
Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and received promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Future Fortified, building a community for global nutrition

help make photos like this a thing of the past I’m always interested in promoting charities that help families here in the US or abroad can get the food and nutrition they need. That’s why I’m posting about Future Fortified, a campaign of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) that can help millions of families access the essential nutrients they need to lead healthy lives.

Their goal is to provide sustainable access to improved nutrition for 50 million women and children in developing countries by 2015. They do this by providing vulnerable families with home nutrition packets that add essential nutrients to their every day, homemade meals. These nutrients can help strengthen bones, build muscles and improve immune systems so people can ward off serious health problems.

Why nutrition?

Investing in improved people’s nutrition not only leads to improved health, but also helps support progress in education while alleviating poverty. Nutrition interventions is one of the most cost-effective ways to meet the world’s development challenges, even increasing a country’s GDP by 2 to 3% per year.

  • Nearly 2 billion people around the world suffer from a lack of proper nutrition.
  • Malnutrition contributes to 3.5 million maternal and childhood deaths around the world each year.
  • 11% of diseases globally are caused by undernutrition.
  • 60% of the developing world is physically stunted which is generally caused by diets that are lacking sufficient nutrients.

1,000 Days from Future Fortified on Vimeo.

How is Future Fortified funded?

Funds raised from individuals like you are leveraged as investments. This helps Future Fortified’s local partners increase the supply and availability of home nutrition packets. Your donations also fund programs to educate mothers on the use of home nutrition packets and the importance of proper nutrition.

Since the home nutrition packets are produced and sold locally at a price mothers can afford – about 3 cents a packet - the solution is sustainable over the long term.

Learn more and get involved

I like Future Fortified’s approach since it supports local food production and industry while helping to improve the health and welfare of families in need.

To learn more, check out Future Fortified’s website at futurefortified.org. You can also connect with them on Twitter @futurefortified and Facebook at facebook.com/futurefortified. Check out their FAQ page and donate online here.

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Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by
Mom Central Consulting on behalf Future Fortified. To thank me for my contribution, Mom Central donated $20 to the Future Fortified campaign.

Walmart gives $9.5 million in grants to organizations to promote healthy eating habits

grocery aisle This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walmart. All opinions are 100% mine.

I read in Bloomberg magazine that Walmart is reducing the fat, sugar and sodium in some of its private-label foods and they’ll be marketing more healthy grocery items starting in April. I’ve already seen these changes in my local super Walmart. For example, the price of whole wheat pasta is the same as regular pasta. They also have a terrific gluten free section and carry organic vegetables and fruits and tofu. It’s not a health food store by any means, but they’re offering more healthy choices at good prices.

So it’s no surprise that Walmart and the Walmart Foundation just announced a healthy living initiative and are giving more than $9.5 million in grants to national organizations that are helping families to have healthy, nutritional eating habits. The money will support nutrition education programs, provide classes focused on learning how to cook and shop for healthier foods on a budget, and provide live cooking demonstrations in communities nationwide.

Share Our Strength and make a change in our community

I’m happy to see that one of the organizations Walmart is giving money to is Share Our Strength, a charity that I’ve supported here at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet. Walmart is giving them $4 million to provide grocery store tours to 7,500 participants through Shopping Matters which helps low-income families learn how to shop healthy on a budget. In addition, 31,000 participants will be reached through Cooking Matters, a six-week course on how to cook healthier meals on a budget.

Check out the list of Walmart’s other grantees here.

Even here in slim and healthy Colorado I see huge lines at fast food restaurants and people who load up their shopping carts with processed foods. I truly believe that if you show people how easy and affordable it is to cook in a healthy way, they’ll try to make changes and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Teaming up with an expert

Walmart is also working with award-winning nutritionist and author, Rovenia M. Brock Ph. D. who is known for her unique brand of inspiration, nutrition education, and health advice. Like me, she believes that if you educate people on healthy eating, it’ll help them make positive changes in their lives.

“Nutrition education plays a vital role in helping families break bad health habits‚ from eating comfort foods to resisting exercise,” said Dr. Ro “As we tackle the issue of obesity in this country, every family must take a step back and look at what they are putting on the table for their children. Eating better today can help reduce the likelihood that your child will suffer from chronic health problems later in life."

Making changes in my household

At my home, we already eat healthfully, and have many grocery and health food stores nearby to support our healthy food choices. However, I still go to Walmart to check out their workout videos, exercise equipment, and workout clothes. Plus, Walmart is the closest store to me that carries my favorite gluten free brown rice cereal. So when I do a cereal run, I also stock up on other healthy food since Walmart prices can’t be beat. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more of my favorite healthy brands and more organic produce there in the future

How are you making healthier choices when you shop or in your community? Comment below!


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