Grateful for ordinary heroes; a tribute to our fallen firefighters McCarthy and Croom

When others are running from danger, what kind of man or woman chooses to run intodanger instead? How many people ever stop to think of the job our local firefighters and policemen do? I watched, at length, the funerals in Buffalo NY today for two brave firefighters who died in the line of duty. About 6,000 firefighters from across the country and Canada came to pay respects, a solid line of blue uniforms and white gloves raised in salute or covering hearts. Lt. Charles McCarthy and Firefighter Jonathan Croom heard that there was someone trapped in the basement of a fire and they did not hesitate to go in to search, to try to save someone from the raging fire. When the floor collapsed, McCarthy and Croom were trapped and became victims of the fire themselves. It is a sad irony that no trace of another person was found in that basement. There was no need for them to have gone in; no need for them to have died. Some will say they should have waited to be sure, but they did what they were trained to do. When fire takes over, every second counts and firefighters don’t have a lot of time to sit and weigh the consequences. In those who have chosen to serve and protect, it is instinctive to face the danger head on. It is an extraordinary gift to have the heart to put another life before your own. these brave men and women are ready every day to do just that and we often give little thought to what that means, or how valuable they really are.

After 9/11, firefighters were revered and respected and we could not say enough about the sacrifice of those men following the destruction of the World Trade Centers. There were honors and parades and tributes, all richly deserved. A new respect for boys in blue, both policemen and firemen took hold. It was good. Eight years later we may have slipped back into our complacency. There have been no national disasters to rally our patriotism and gratitude. As we mourn and honor two men who made the supreme sacrifice, we really need to honor those who serve and are willing to take that same risk every day.  Let’s give  them our thanks while they are here to hear it.

Growing up on the east side of Buffalo in the 1950s, I have fond memories of the local fire houses, where the firemen would often be sitting outside. They took time to answer silly kid questions, show us the firetrucks or even join in a game of  jacks. We thought it was pretty neat that they got to hang around during the day while our dads were off to the steel plant or auto factories. They acted as neighborhood guardians and we were taught to give them unflinching respect. If there was a neighborhood fire in those days a crowd would gather, but it had a different feel then- it wasn’t some exciting show to watch.  Neighbors were standing by to aid the victims, wrapping them in blankets and offering to make phone calls (noot everyone had a home phone and cell phones were a Dick tracy fantasy). The older ladies stood in prayer, clutching rosary beads and making the sign of the cross. Someone would always bring cold drinks in the summer or hot coffee in the winter to weary firefighters. It was an honor and a duty to assist in any way possible. We were in awe of those men (no ladies back then) who braved the smoke and fire no matter what the weather or time of day. Those were the heroes of my generation.

I live in a small, rural community now. Our Barker Fire Department is an all-volunteer operation. We may move at a generally slower pace here in cow country, but when that siren goes off and scanners buzz, we have brave and dedicated men and women who drop what they were doing to respond. They may have been plowing a field, fixing a transmission or peeling potatoes for dinner; it all stops as they race to someone in need. The word “volunteer” may be lumped with amateur or unprofessional because few people realize the amount of training these volunteers must go through to become firefighters. Training in many areas continues while they are members. It is a huge commitment that is embraced by all too few members of the community. There’s nothing rinky-dink about local volunteer fire companies anywhere. They are dedicated people who already have jobs they do to earn a living. They have chosen to serve their community and neighbors as professionals. Our lives and property are in their hands and we rely on them. We can go to sleep peacefully at night, without having to wonder what would happen if lightning hit the house or the garage burned. While we sleep  we are blessedly unaware of the car crash that needed the jaws of life or the dairy cows that were herded out of a burning barn before it collapsed. As I watched those funerals today, I felt a little guilty. Our Barker Fire Volunteer Company, and those nearby who aid us, give me peace of mind. What do I do for them? Yes, I try to be supportive of fundraisers  and events when I can, but when was the last time I said “Thank You?”

I’m saying it now. To every man and woman who wears the uniform of a firefighter, I salute you. I say a prayer of gratitude for your noble service and a continuing prayer for your safety. I pray for those families who have lost loved ones, like Lt. McCarthy and  Firefighter Croom.  I say thank you to all those wives, husbands and children who have had to attend events alone, or have their parent miss a softball game and who wait patiently while their spouse or parent puts the needs and lives of others, often strangers, first. During the services today, Croom’s mother spoke about people saying “You must be so proud…” Her response was “I have always been proud.” That’s a very profound statement. It’s important that we let our public servants know that we are not only proud of those who have given their lives, but of all those who stand willing to make any sacrifice when that siren sounds. Yes, we are proud…and grateful. We’ll try hard not to take you for granted. Thank you for all you do.

Well done, Chip and Jonathan… good and faithful servants, well done.

Shooting stars are a gift to the soul!

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night: to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring …these are some of the rewards of the simple life.     ~ John Burroughs, Naturalist (1837-1921) ~

Take a couple of six-year-olds to the drive-in movies to see commando guinea pigs saving the world and there are bound to be a lot of laughs in between popcorn breaks. Drive-in movies, a memorable part of my childhood, are vanishing. Kids are wired up to daily movies and special effects on television, computers, video games and everywhere. It’s pretty hard to top some of the things they’ve seen.

Toward the end of the movies the Perseids made their way across the sky, tossing an occasional ball of fire into the inky heavens. It was enough to draw their attention away from the Aliens in the Attic for a bit, but there was still too much sensory overload and ambient light to see the meteors.

On the drive home at 1 a.m., I took a detour to the back of town park, where there are no lights except for the starlight and a waning moon over the ball fields of our rural community. Logan and Darian had no idea why we shook them awake, wrapped them in blankets and had them lie on the metal bleachers. “Just lie on your back and stare straight up!” It takes patience to just let go and wait for things to happen in their own time. There are no fast-forward or rewind buttons. You either see them or you don’t. Impatience turned to wide-eyed wonder as they saw the delicate arcs of meteor tails flash across the sky. “Did see that one?!!” If your eyes were on another part of the celestial ceiling, you may have missed that one, but others would follow. We tried hard to all watch the same area of the sky for the shared effect. When they came two or three in the same instant the kids were wishing hard on every shooting star.  Every time they slowed a bit and we prepared to leave, more would come and we were again caught up in the challenge. On this glorious summer night in August, the Perseid Metoer Showers were imprinted in their memories. I knew they would take root and send a reminder every August that it was nearly time to see the sky show. I don’t know what they wished for (I think Darian has her eye on a pony) but I know what my own ‘first star’ wish was. I wished them a lifetime of memorable moments that were inspired by the awesome wonder of nature. I wished with all my heart that they would learn to savor, to respect and to appreciate the beauty all around them. So many things in life are fleeting, popular and ‘in’ for a while and then extinct as we move on to new things. It is in nature that we find the only true and constant things in our lives.

No matter what life throws at me, I am sure that the sun will rise. The moon goes through her many moods, but she is predictable, after all. I eagerly await the return of Orion the Hunter, my favorite constellation, in the autumn and winter sky and rejoice when we get clear skies around August 12th every year to watch those Perseid showers. Oh, Mother Nature can be cruel and the unexpected fury unleashed takes us all by surprise. Still, after the darkness, comes the dawn. Rather simplistic, I know, but it is true in every struggle of our lives.

Before there was man to clear the land, build the cities and try to tame her, Mother Nature took care of herself. Fires in forests took away the old growth to make way for new beginnings. Floods and drought changed landscape and animals and plant life adapted. We came and put our houses and concrete right in the middle of things and we struggle to keep nature and natural disaster at bay. I sometimes wonder what the state of the earth would be if no one ever mowed another lawn or tried to tame a raging river. That would be the ultimate “back to nature” experience.

I thought of the John Burroughs quote while star gazing from the bleachers the other night. I thought about how rich I was in so many ways, to be able to share this heavenly moment (pardon the pun) with my great niece and nephew. Right now they are excited about going into the first grade next month and they still live in a world dominated by razzle-dazzle, but I’m making a prediction. Some twenty or so years from now, they’ll be telling their own children about the meteors, and maybe grandchildren too. It is how it has always been and will always be, if we are smart enough to share the timeless wonders of life with them. These moments are the ones that last. How rich I am… and how thankful!

Are you sleeping yet? Apnea study, cont’d.

Okay, I am now wired up from head to toe, in a strange bed, with a little red light on my fingertip… and I’m supposed to fall asleep. First of all, I’m used to sleeping on my side, curled up, and being flat on my back is strange. Secondly, I somehow managed to get in bed very near the edge (although it was a nice big double bed) and I had the strange feeling that I might fall out of bed. Just go to sleep!

I tried mental games (“My name is Annie, my husband’s name is Al, we live in Alabama and we sell apples…) but it seemed that it was a long time before I could sleep. Each time I was concious of being awake again, I told myself sternly to go back to dreamland. I remember seeing the full moon in the transom over the window, and wishing I could nod off again. I stayed in that spot, flat on my back with the strange mask and hose connecting me to the control room like an umbilical cord. When Mark boomed a hearty “Good Morning” at 5:30 a.m.  I  just rolled my eyes. I had made it through the night without the complications of a bathroom trip, the worst was over and I was sure it was just my usual sleepness night- with no serious breathing problems. It felt good to get the mask off and even better to get the wires and leads off, but I wanted to crawl back under the covers and go to sleep! One more short set of questions and I was set free. I was sure I would not have to keep the second appointment!

The first thing I did when I got to the car on that really foggy Saturday morning was to drink a whole bottle of water. Then I opened the car windows, cranked up the car stereo, put some minty gum in my morning mouth and headed home. I will admit it seemed like a long drive as I wearily made my back to my house. After trudging up the stairs, to be greeted by my cat companion with yowls of “Where have you been all night,” I made my way through the house to my bed. Forget the gobs of glue in my hair and red sticky circles on my extremities…I needed sleep! The phone rang two hours later and I was still longing for more sleep. What a slug!

When the Sleep Center gal called to tell me I needed to keep my second appointment, I was really surprised. She gave me some scary numbers that got my attention. It seems that it had taken me 44 minutes to fall asleep that night, and when I did I didn’t sleep soundly. She told me I had stopped breathing in light sleep an average of 22 times an hour, and in REM sleep it jumped to 43 times an hour! My blood oxygen was below 90% for a considerable time and it dropped as low as 79% at one point! The optimal oxygen saturation level is 95-100. No wonder I was so absolutely tired!!! As bad as that sounds, it’s considered “Moderate” Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It can be much, much worse.

It’s very scary to be told you stop breathing at night, and I let myself become very anxious about it until my return appointment. I never thought I had a problem, but now it was official and I was in a hurry to return. Yep, the wires, glue and ET finger suddenly seemed worth it. The wait was hard.

To be continued…

“Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night”

August 8th was the official holiday, established by Pennsylvanian Tom Roy, this day encourages sharing. “Due to the overzealous planting of zucchini, citizens are asked to drop off baskets of the squash on neighbors’ doorsteps.” Inspired by the “Submit an Entry” form in a copy of Chase’s Calendar of Events, Roy and his wife, Ruth, have launched several creative holidays.

A few suggestions from Tom Roy’s “Top 20 List for successful sneaking of Zucchini or otherwise ridding yourself of unwanted surplus summer squash:”

  • Look for out-of-the-way places which have signs posted, “Clean Fill Wanted.”
  • Under light of full moon, either stark naked or wearing full army camouflage, carrying a machete or any garden implement, run amuck in your zucchini patch, cutting and slashing. Be sure to thank Mother Nature for her bounty before and after this cathartic experience.
  • Buy a large roll of freezer paper–the kind that sub shops use. Then proceed to wrap each zucchini that has managed to grow to a foot or more in length. Next time your child has a fundraiser, send him or her out supplied with these phony subs. Tell child to drop them off with neighbors or relatives and leave quickly. It’s advisable that a responsible adult hover nearby in a get-away car.
  • Gather all available plastic containers and freezer bags. Drink a vat of your favorite caffeinated beverage, in preparation for staying up ’round the clock to purée large quantities of zucchini. This can then be packaged neatly and artistically labeled: “For Zucchini Nut Bread Recipe.” These packages can be freely given, along with copies of recipe, to anyone on your Christmas list.

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Here are a couple of ways to disguise your zucchini crop!

 

Zucchini Fritters- like potato pancakes without potato

1 lb of zucchini (about 2 medium sized), coarsely grated
Salt
Ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
Sour cream

Method

1 Salt the zucchini with about 1 teaspoon of salt (more or less to taste). Try to remove the excess moisture from the zucchini by either squeezing the liquid out with a potato ricer, or by squeezing with paper towels. (The original recipe calls for putting the zucchini in a colander set in the sink to let it drain for 10 minutes after salting it. I think it works much better to use a potato ricer.)

2 Whisk egg in a large bowl; add the zucchini, flour, scallions, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix to combine well.

3 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook fritters in two batches. Drop six mounds of batter (2 Tbsp each) into the skillet. Flatten slightly. Cook, turning once, until browned, 4-6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve immediately, with sour cream (or plain yogurt) on the side.

 

 

 

Best Zucchini Disguise Ever!

 

I have radar when it comes to zucchini, no matter how many ways you try to disguise it. I just don’t care for it. At a church luncheon one day, I was thoroughly enjoying some apple crisp made by one of the Wagner girls (top cooks all!) when the clan burst into laughter. They got me! Not only had the yummy dessert never even seen an apple, it was made with…zucchini! Well, of course I had to get some more and I poked and prodded, looking for tell-tale green things, but it was so cleverly disguised that there was only one thing more to do…I ate some more. If this recipe doesn’t get the veggies in your kids, nothing will! Thanks to Kathy Schumacher and Nancy Liuzzi (Wagners) for the recipe.                                                                                                                             Julie

Zucchini Pie

Disguised as Apple Crisp

 

Crust/crisp:

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ tsp. salt

3 sticks of butter

Filling:

8 to 10 cups peeled, sliced zucchini (seeds removed) (use more if you like!)

2/3 cup lemon juice

      1 cup sugar

      ½ tsp. nutmeg

      1 tsp. cinnamon

 

        Mix dry crust ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Pat half the mixture into a 13X9 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Take ½ cup of mixture from the second half and use in filling.

         Cook zucchini in lemon juice until tender.

Add sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Simmer 4 minutes. Add the ½ cup of crust mix to thicken.

Pour filling over baked crust.

Add 1 tsp. cinnamon to the rest of the crumb mixture and sprinkle it over the zucchini filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.

 

Zucchini Pickles

2 pounds zucchini or summer squash, sliced, about 7 cups

2 medium onions, halved and sliced, about 2 cups

1/4 cup salt

2 cups white vinegar

1 to 2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons mustard seed

      Place squash and onions in a large non-reactive pot; add the salt and enough water to cover. Let stand for 2 hours; drain well. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring remaining ingredients to a boil; pour over the squash and onions. Let stand for 2 hours. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes; pack in hot sterilized jars and seal; process according to jar manufacturer’s directions or process pints or quarts for 10 minutes from 1 to 1,000 feet, 15 minutes from 1,001 to 6,000 feet, or 20 minutes above 6,000 feet in altitude.

Sleep Apnea? Not me!!

            I’ve added a new accessory to my wardrobe. It’s a pear shaped vinyl mask with dark blue straps that resembles something out of a bondage catalogue and has lots of Velcro that makes me fear for my long hair. Who would have thought I would become wildly enamored of my strange new sleep buddy? It’s been a week since we started going to bed together and I think it’s going to be a long and happy relationship.

            Okay, maybe I should treat the subject matter with a more serious and scholarly approach but Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has been written about in scholarly tones for many years. We just don’t pay attention. At least, I didn’t think it could apply to me!

            Sleep, deep restorative sleep, had been elusive for a long time. It’s a gradual thing, this theft of quality rest, but one that comes with aging and a host of medical problems, not counting the stress of daily life. We assault our psyche with a continual bombardment of electronic and media stimulation and then wonder why we can’t turn it off at night. All I know is, I have been trudging along, weary to the bones, for way too long. In one of those head-slapping moments, I’ve realized that I should have done this much sooner, and I’m on a mission to get the rest of my fellow slugs headed for soothing sleep.

            Did you know that 80% of sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed? My own primary physician has suggested a sleep study several times over the past few years in a bid to combat my exhaustion, but I knew exactly why I didn’t sleep well. Or did I? Well, I’m getting older, I’m obese, I have some allergies and asthma symptoms related to my Lupus but most of all, pain is a sleep-wrecker. Tossing and turning to change the position of aching joints becomes a fact of life. Add those endlessly restless legs to the mix and it’s a challenge to stay asleep for anything but short bursts of time. Morning finds you clinging to sleep and your pillow like  achild with its blankie. “Don’t make me get up!” Daytime weariness got the best of me when compounded with some asthma issues and I finally relented, agreeing to a sleep study. However, I would surely know if I stopped breathing during the night, wouldn’t I? I don’t wake up gasping for air like a drowning person, so I fully expected the sleep study to be an exercise in futility. I was wrong. I could have been dead wrong.

 

THE STUDY

            First of all, I was happy to learn that there was a sleep center nearby in Lockport NY, only a 20 mile drive for me. Once you have a doctor’s referral, they set up two appointments, spaced two weeks apart. The theory is, if the findings are negative, you can always cancel the second appointment. They do explain the procedure so you know what to expect but it’s an overview that was quickly forgotten by the thought “What if I have to go to the bathroom when I’m all wired up?” Laugh if you will but it was a very real concern, since you get more like an old Betsy-Wetsy doll as you age (drink, wet, drink, wet). You need to go to the center, with your pajamas, and plan to stay from 9 p.m. until roughly 5:30 a.m. Come freshly showered with no lotions, sprays, ointments etc. Okay, gotcha.

            My appointment was on the Friday of Fourth of July weekend and all the fireworks were going on in my brain as I prepared. I decided to stop drinking liquids a full 10 hours before the test so I didn’t have to go to the bathroom, my usually tied back hair was left free for the equipment and my nightgown was at the ready. The anticipation was palpable. At 4:30 they called to postpone the test because the technician was sick. ARRGGHHH!!! Suddenly, I really wanted the test I didn’t want in the first place. They called on Monday to reschedule for Wednesday, leaving me only two days to get all worked up, so that was good.

On Wednesday, I arrived at the center, a small building in a huge professional complex. In it were three bedrooms, a toilet/bath/shower, the technician’s command center and Mark. Mark was the technician with a wry sense of humor who has this routine down like a drill sergeant.

            Behind door number three, the room is more budget motel looking than medical-like, probably to put us at ease. Lucky for me, a cracker-jack air conditioner made it nice and cool. No, I did not have my papers filled out because no one sent them to me. No problem. He gave me a clipboard and a pen and turned the TV on to show a video about sleep apnea testing and treatment while he went off to talk to doors number one and two.  Hard to watch the video and write, but I finished my assignment, anxious to get on with it. I put on my nightgown and filled out my questionnaires (more later on really being honest about the answers) and waited.

            If you have seen the head wires used in an EEG study and think that’s all there is to it, you’re in for a surprise. You get all that and so much more!

            A belt-like elastic band goes around your upper chest, and another one across your lower chest (to check breathing expansion). Electronic leads get stuck to your legs, two each, and the wires are threaded up through the elastic bands. (I was grateful that I had no leg hair under those sticky patches!). A  few more on arm and neck.

            The process of gluing the array of electrodes in your hair doesn’t take long, but I was surprised at the ones added to the face to monitor eye and jaw movement. Ditto for the microphone (like a watch battery) taped to your throat to catch the snoring. The thin hose that looks like a breathing canula puts tiny sensors in your nose to gauge the air intake. Holding the horse’s-mane of electrical wires aside while I backed into the bed, mark ran me through a series of eye movements, etc. to check the equipment and set baselines. Then Mark added one last touch before lights out, a fingertip meter to tell my blood oxygen saturation level. It glowed eerily red in the dark, like ET’s finger. Now, all I had to do was fall asleep. Yeah, right! 

To be continued……

May we have your bra? “Hooking up” to fight cancer!

Part of the Bra-Line hung out in the rain at the Relay For Life in Lockport

Part of the Bra-Line hung out in the rain at the Relay For Life in Lockport

The braline first showed up at the Barker Farmer's Market, alongside a raffle to raise money for the Relay For Life.

The braline first showed up at the Barker Farmer's Market, alongside a raffle to raise money for the Relay For Life.

Yes, those zany Soda Jerks have come up with yet another clever fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, and it involves talking women out of their bras! Here is an excerpt from my Friday Spotlight column in the US&J with the details. I’ve also added a “Mammary Mile” category so you can click on it for updates as we expand the line!

 

            Some people will do anything to get noticed or to draw attention to their favorite cause. This week’s Spotlight shines on Carol Ander and Thee Barker Soda Jerks, who have added a new project to their successful fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society.

            If you stop by Thee Barker Store on Main Street in the little Village of Barker, you’ll find some of the friendliest folks you ever want to meet. Manager Carol Ander and clerks Lori Jenks, Darleen Platt and Nancy Liuzzi will help you find anything you need and then, chances are, they’ll ask you for your bra. The latest cancer awareness project by The Barker Soda Jerks Relay For Life team is the making of “The Mammary Mile.” The group is “hooking up to fight cancer” by connecting bras and the goal is to reach one mile by next May.

            Each contributor donates $5 to the American Cancer Society, along with a bra that is signed by the donor. Some are dedicated in honor of someone who has battled breast cancer or cancer of any kind. The bras are hooked end to end and it is estimated that it will take 2,500 bras to make the mile and beyond. If the project is successful, they will have raised  $12,500 for cancer research, education, patient programs and advocacy but the bigger goal is to draw attention to the continuing fight against cancer.

            The team chose the Mother’s Day Breast Cancer Canal Walk in Lockport as the target unveiling of the Mammary Mile, stretched out along the bank of the Erie Canal. Both the Canal Walk and the Relay For Life are annual events that mobilize the community to celebrate survivorship and join in the fight against cancer. Rebecca Kelly Florio and husband Jack of Micro Graphics are helping to design a huge vinyl banner that will be displayed at various venues as the bra drive continues, and will be the focal point of the unveiling. After the Canal Walk, the Mammary Mile will make its way to the 10th annual Relay for Life in Lockport, where participants walk many miles overnight in support of the cause.

While some people are a bit shy of baring their unmentionables in public, many have embraced the challenge. Team member Sue Tesch has already had bras mailed to her from out-of-town relatives and there is a collection box at the store. Ander is so enthusiastic and persuasive that she has actually had customers remove their bra in the store’s restroom to donate. “We can’t be embarrassed about doing whatever it takes to draw attention to the cause,” said Ander. “We should be embarrassed about the number of people in this country who don’t have access to cancer screenings for early detection and the number of people without health care.”

The bra-line has made an appearance at the Barker Farmer’s Market and was strung up in the rain at the Relay For Life. From sturdy white cotton to frilly bright colors, each bra represents the heart of a person who has been touched by cancer; men, women and children alike. “People can donate one of their own bras or pick one up at a sale somewhere if it’s less intimidating,” said Jenks. “What matters is that one more person has signed on to join the fight against cancer.” The gals expect people to get creative as the entries continue to come in, but warn that the bra-line will be hung out in any kind of weather, so any writing needs to be done in fabric paint, stitching or permanent marker. Signatures and messages are left up to the donor but anything not family-friendly will be politely rejected.

Coming up on August 20 is Cruise’n Music Night on Main Street in Barker, in conjunction with the weekly Farmer’s Market. The Soda Jerks will be there with their bra-line, ready to collect and add more feet of elastic and lace to the line they hope will be 5,280 feet long by May 2010. Other displays are being planned and the progress will be charted at http://www.juliechatterbox.wordpress.com. Bras may be dropped off at the store or mailed to 8671 Main St. PO Box 465, Barker NY 14012 with the $5 donation. Make checks payable to the American Cancer Society. You can also send a $10 check and the team will purchase a bra and sign it for you. Please enclose your desired signature/message with the check.

The Soda Jerks have been a part of the Relay since it began in Barker in 2001 and have raised money in a lot of clever ways. They are hoping this mammoth project will garner support from people beyond the local community. “We don’t have 2,500 hundred women in our town but the Relay family reaches far and wide and we know there are thousands of people out there who have been touched by cancer. We’re sure they will hook up with us to make this statement. We will never give up the fight,” said Ander. 

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So, what are you waiting for? Get your unmentionables sent to us and then join us next year (or sooner) when we can all walk the mile and read the many hundreds of tributes and supporter’s names!

Stay tuned for our “Cele BRA ties” Challenge! 🙂