BY DANA HOLMES
FeeBee Andrews is a mom, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, and a friend. FeeBee was diagnosed with multiple myeloma just last year and is currently receiving treatment. FeeBee is mom to beautiful daughters Abigail and Mackenzie.
Sharon is FeeBee’s mom and leading supporter. When Sharon heard about the Mambo for Myeloma Awareness Challenge, she immediately embraced the essence of the challenge and began posting messages and the link to our Mambo for Myeloma Facebook Page to her family and friends on her personal Facebook page.
We exchanged messages where Sharon shared,
You know at first when FeeBee was diagnosed I was devastated, I cried all the time. I cannot even visualize what she went through. I just know what I went through. As a mother I felt hopeless like what can I do? As a mother we want to fix things, because that's what we do for our kids. I couldn't fix this, I still can't fix this, but it makes me feel good that at least I’m helping get the word out there about this cancer, that affects my daughter and me and her kids and all the family.
I feel I'm contributing in some way. I can't fix this, no I hate this cancer, and what it has done to her and all of us. At least I can help and maybe make someone else aware of this cancer. I said if I can educate just one person then I have at least done something. I have had several people tell me because of me they now know about this cancer. Besides sitting here crying all the time, I can and have to fight for her and her daughters. So when I saw this campaign yes I embraced it with everything I’ve got, I will fight till the end for FeeBee.
So dear Dana your mambo in reality saved me.
With love and gratitude, Sharon
Within days, Maria, a very close friend to FeeBee, posted a video to the Mambo for Myeloma Facebook page and to You Tube. It was her interpretation and version of the Mambo for Myeloma. Maria’s video was not a classic Mambo or any type of dance for that matter, but it contained her heartwarming and emotional message to help raise awareness for Multiple Myeloma. (Click to watch Maria's video) She asked others to please help.
Sharon shared Maria’s video with her own family and friends and used it as the basis for her TEAM FeeBee Mambo for Myeloma Awareness Challenge. In just a few weeks, Team FeeBee has created a dozen videos in honor of FeeBee and they have reached people beyond the Multiple Myeloma Community.
Many of the participants in these videos don’t even know FeeBee, but they "danced" for her and are helping OUR Myeloma community raise awareness. They may be "dancing" for FeeBee, but they "dance" for each and every Myeloma patient!
We see a group dance at a BBQ, a solo dance in front of hundreds at the Bakersfield, California Pride Festival, which included an interview with a local newscaster, a grandmother and granddaughter dancing to the latest pop song, a family doing a parody of a popular music video, a young 11-year old cousin creating a play using her stuffed animals and dolls to deliver her message, Maria’s sister created a video delivering her message using notes, Sharon’s best friend from the time they were 16-years old strumming a guitar and singing a beautiful song, friends at a Halloween party singing karaoke to deliver their message … Each video is unique, no two are alike, but each carries the SAME message….Help spread awareness about multiple myeloma.
Here are a few of Team FeeBee videos. You can see how very unique each is. (You can watch all of the Mambo for Myeloma Challenge Videos on YouTube, just search "Mambo for Myeloma")
Team FeeBee is undoubtedly the team to emulate! This is how we can carry this forward. Do what you want to do in your video, NO "mambo" is required. Just do what feels right for YOU.
Make a sign - Mambo for Myeloma - and display it clearly and prominently in your video to help those who have never heard about multiple myeloma before "see" the words so they will remember it.
Then get ready to do YOUR thing.
Pick some music, any music works, make it YOUR favorite....
THEN cheer, dance, don’t dance, shoot some basketball hoops, score a soccer goal, swim a lap or two, speak from the heart, use just your two left feet, hula hoop, line dance, dance at the finish line after your walk or race, grab some friends for lunch and mambo off that delicious dessert, do a handstand, Zumba, video your dog dancing, Monster Mash Mambo, attend an International Myeloma Foundation Patient & Family Seminar and dance with the multiple myeloma specialists... whatever!
Here's a fun "crowd" Mambo challenge from the International Myeloma Foundation, which was done at the Short Hills Patient and Family Seminar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDbLPQKo2Eg
The Myeloma Crowd and CrowdCare Foundation will Mambo for Myeloma at their Myeloma Beach Party in Fernandina Beach, Florida, March 20-22, 2015! But you really DON'T have to WAIT until then, do one now and do one again at the beach! There is always room for one more Mambo for Myeloma!
You can also include a request for folks to make a donation to any one of the Multiple Myeloma Foundations who are researching a cure if you would like to make this a fundraiser. By raising Awareness, we build a bridge to raise funds for research. Most people will more likely contribute to a fundraiser for a disease they are familiar with. Increasing awareness about Multiple Myeloma in the general population will help with these efforts.
Add the Mambo for Myeloma to your existing Fundraising Events as a way to continue increasing awareness once you have crossed that finish line in your race or walk, or raffled off that last basket of cheer ! Send your attendees home with the Mambo for Myeloma Awareness Challenge! Keep your efforts going strong until it is again time for them to sign up for your next event! It is a great complement to any effort!
We don't all have a way to get to these actual events as it may include travel, but we call all raise awareness, no matter where we live. Our Mambo for Myeloma Awareness Challenge is perfect for this! Watch all of the great videos people have contributed to the Awareness Campaign, just search MAMBO FOR MYELOMA on YouTube and all will be displayed to view.
Most importantly, DO it YOUR way. Help INCREASE AWARENESS FOR MULTIPLE MYELOMA in a way which is fun and very easy to do. Anyone can do our Mambo for Myeloma Awareness Challenge, there are NO barriers to our challenge. Use your smartphones or camera video and just upload it to our FB page or to YouTube, we will find them and share with the Mambo for Myeloma Community. Be sure to also post your video to your FB page to share and challenge your family and friends to make more videos for you, this is how YOU build YOUR Mambo Team!
And then ask your family and friends to support you as Team FeeBee is supporting her. Start your own Team, join the Mambo for Myeloma Team and do YOUR Mambo any way YOU like! WE leave the details up to YOU !!
The Power of One Becomes the Power of Many. Team FeeBee can't do it alone! So tell us, WHO WILL YOU "DANCE" FOR?
RAISE Awareness, BUILD a Bridge to Fund Research, INSPIRE those for whom you "dance".
MAMBO FOR MYELOMA AWARENESS
about the author
Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of Myeloma Crowd by HealthTree and the HealthTree Foundation.