Monday, March 14, 2011

Pay it Forward

I am sitting listening to a CD made by a very special friend.  Thank you Chrissy!  Every song is uplifting and lightens the load of a tired mind.  You give me strengh my beautiful friend. 

I was waiting for inspiration this week to add to our blog.  My new career as Full time Mommy is the most rewarding and tiring job I have ever had.  Good is not an option when you are a stay at home mom, Great is the only score that counts.  Most days I have aspired to greatness and yet I am still learning so good has had its days as well.  Inspiration this week came over the weekend.  The Lucky Cast Club has a new family. 

I read a post on one of the support groups for Infantile Scoliosis.  I have been inactive from this group for some time, but something told me to read the posts this weekend.  I am so glad I did as it lead me to a new family and took me back to the roots of what inspired this group.  Our new little friend is 6 months old.  She was just recently diagnosed with Infantile Scoliosis.  Other than the diagnosis, her wonderful family is exactly where we all were not so long ago.  The beginning with all the unknowns is so scary.  Traversing the world of where to go, who to trust, what to ask, how bad is this is sometimes worse than being in the middle of this treatment choice.  With a lot of help from my beautiful friends we were able to share our experience, offer suggestions about our center and the experience we had with others.  Our new friends will hopefully be seeing our wonderful team at Chicago Shriners sooner rather than later. 

As I was corresponding with our new friend I was immediately returned to October 2009. It was my friends Cara, Amy, & Chrissy who extended the hand for me to hold and guided us to Chicago Shriners. It was with these friends and countless others who have joined our journey that the Lucky Cast Club was formed.  It is time for our arms to extend farther and for us to Pay it Forward in bigger ways!  

Let's dream big my friends.  We have fundraisers going on to raise the funds for projects that will need monetary considerations, but how many pay it forward moments out their won't cost us more than a stamp?  What if we could help new families simply by contacting the pediatricians in our area and sharing our story.  If we can meet new families at diagnosis, then we can save them the unkown portion of this ride.  We can remove the middle man so to speak of many kids journeys.  We know of wonderfully qualified centers in our areas who are capable, willing and ready to give these little ones hope.  I would bet we have at least two Orthopedic Surgeons in Chicago and Cincinnati who would be willing to help us with this campaign of hope. Let's not just support those on the journey, but lets extend our reach to help those who may not know hope exists.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Lucky Cast Club Spring 2011

The Lucky Cast Club is on the fast track for our fun spring season.  Before we start on club updates I wanted to give you updates on some of our little friends.  Our friend Dylan is out of cast for the first time in years.  He actually got a full week out while he underwent some additional testing.  We would like to ask everyone to keep our sweet friend and his family in your thoughts and prayers as they return to casting next week.  Dylan and his family have given so much to so many families.  They are very special people and I want only the best for them! 
         Our sweet Kaity and her precious family are still having a delay with returning to cast.  Kaity and her family need prayers and support as well.  They are a very kind and supportive family to all our Lucky Cast Members and we only want the best for them.  Lets lift them up and get Kaity back in her protective armor as soon as it's in Gods plan. 
        We have so many exciting and fun opportunities for others to join our quest this spring season!  The Lucky Cast Club is still hosting their SPRING "Fun" Raiser/DVD drive.  If you can help, we are collecting new and used children's DVDs and portable DVD players for our casting centers.  Casting day is long and a favorite movie can make the difference in our little casters day.  Check out our fun flyer to see what your little casters love to watch....
Another great way to show your support is by sporting one of our Lucky Cast Club bracelets.  The Lucky Cast Club is offering the Luck of the Irish green and gold bands for a minimum donation of $1.  If you can and want to give more, please do.  The money raised from the bracelets goes towards supplies such as parent packs for our centers as well as purchasing portable DVD players.  Contact one of our Lucky Cast Club friends if you are interested in sporting the jazzy bands!   
A wonderful Lucky Cast Club mom, Chrissy, is working on a mentor program for new families joining the casting world.  As a new family enters the club they will be placed with a "shell" family to act as their protective covering for all things casting.  We have members from all over the US and Canada.  We are ready to give Chrissy all the support she needs as we go forward!  SO excited to help others! 

The Lucky Cast Club is also offering T-shirts for those who wish to show their support.  If you are a family member of a Lucky Cast friend, you can ask them to include your shirt in their order. T-shirts are white short sleeved T's with a full front logo and personalization underneath.  They have our web page on the back!   Shirts can all be personalized for each friends unique relationship.  Let us know if you are interested in having your own Lucky Cast T-shirt! 

Another new fundraiser I have embarked on is Thirty-one gifts.  Thirty-one gifts offers some adorable products including purses, thermal totes, carryall totes, blankets and stationary.  The products can all be customized with embroidery.  They make great additions to any ones home or can be given as gifts.  100% of the commission from these parties will go back to the Lucky Cast Club.  Since all of our Lucky Cast Friends are spread across the country, we are having online and catalog parties.  You can view the products or shop online at

We are moving forward and charting new territory in all we do.  It is amazing to look back and see all we have accomplished as a family of friends.  We have centers now who are as dedicated to us as we are to them and new friends joining all the time.  We are eternally grateful to our friends who have helped us along the way.  The gift of time and talent has made this club what it is.  As we say in casting....Here we grow again Lucky Cast Club! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Write what you know

I had my post for this week all planned.  I was going to write about what the club is doing and where we are going.  I promise I will still get to that, but I thought it was important to share where I am right now with other families dealing with this darned condition.  I wrote last week about losing my job.  This week my focus has been on finding myself and learning what I want to do long term.  As a condition of unemployment I have to actively search for employment.  As I have been starting my search, it hit me, I have many obstacles in my way.   So here goes my first cover letter....

Dear Sir or Madame,
         I am submitting my resume for the position of _________.  Upon researching your company I feel I would be an ideal candidate for your position.  I have 6 years experience as a Practice/Office manager for local dental practices.  My previous experience as Director of Operations for a fortune 500 company has taught me how to multi task to smoothly maintain the needs of my employer.  I always try to adapt to change in my environment and have learned tenacity when dealing with adverse situation.  I am proficient with Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Publisher as well as have an ease with verbal and written communications.  If given an opportunity I believe I could be an asset to your organization. 
        I feel I would be remiss if I didn't alert you to my unique situation. I am a wife and mother prior to having a career.  My youngest child has a unique condition known as Progressive Infantile Scoliosis.  He is currently undergoing treatment at Chicago Shriner's Hospital using a technique known as Serial De-rotational Casting.  William's treatment requires our family to travel every 10-12 weeks to Chicago for 2-3 days to have a new full torso cast applied.  In the past I have forgone week long vacations to minimize the impact of my absence on my company.  I will instead take vacation 1 or 2 days at a time as needed to have  a new cast applied.  I would appreciate further discussion once you have reviewed my skills. 

Catherine T Diefenbaugh

OK so maybe the last part was unnecessary, but the reality is the conversation will have to take place at some point.  Why not put it out there in the beginning.  Save me time as well as them.  I am, at this moment, a whole package.  I don't have the luxury of finding something and having my family adapt to me, I have to adapt to my family.  I was extremely blessed that my former employer always supported me spending time with William.  I can't count on that being the same everywhere I look.  It forces me to look at my strengths.  I am compassionate towards families in need.  I have a passion for fundraising for local charities.  This has been a passion of mine passed on from my mom.  I am blessed to have a ready made opportunity with The Lucky Cast Club.  I love children...back to school is always on the table.  I can write and I love to write.  These are my strengths, now to look at whats available using my talents. 

I have researched grant writing.  The process is long and in depth.  The joy is I have time and a built in cause.  I am researching what it would take to get the Lucky Cast Club 501C3 certified so we can start seeking funds.  We are at the articles of incorporation faze of taking our club to the next level so we can start seeking funds.  We need a compassionate attorney willing to walk us through this process.  It is too much for any one individual to embark on, although I am giving it a fighting try.  The other option is to seek funds in the premise of setting up our charitable fund.  If we can raise $10,000 there are organizations who will incorporate us to their charitable trusts.  The other side to this coin, if we have that kind of funding we can pay to do this on our own.  I have great friends who are working this process with us, so together we can't lose. 

I started at looking for a job and ended with the LCC.  I think families faced with diversity learn quickly to adapt to their strengths.  I am sure I am not the first mother who has had to look for a job when they have obstacles in their way.  My friend Cathy was faced with a very similar situation and was able to overcome and achieve her goal.  What I am wanting to do is use what felt like such a blow as an opportunity.  I have something to offer and I just need to find an avenue to do so.  I have felt lost the past year and a half, now it is time to find myself.  In all the chaos that has been my life I feel more complete than I ever have.  I have a purpose and that is a blessing in itself. 

A huge Thank you to My wonderful husband who has agreed to love me no matter what I do.  To Chrissy, Sarah, Darrell, Liz & other friends who have kept me focused on the positive of all this.  I am anxious to get started on the next step in this journey towards discovery and I know I am blessed to have friends who are willing to participate.  The best use of your time is taking the time for you.