Changed by Chance…Champion by Choice » Author, Elizabeth Barker

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    April 16, 1986, 9:49 AM

    This moment in my life unraveled years of careful planning. From that day on, I was forever changed. As if I were a pinball, I bounced around haphazardly for five merciless years, from one misfortune to another. I experienced the heartbreak of burying my daughter, the joy of pregnancy with my son, and the terror of discovering a cancer that could terminate my baby and possibly end my life. Despite these adversities, I not only survived, I thrived. I learned many life lessons, but the most valuable, the one I’d like to share with you, is - that you CAN come through dark hardships to find light, love, and happiness, but only if you make the choice to do so.

    My life may have been Changed by Chance, but I became my own Champion by Choice.

Honoring the Memories

Elizabeth Barker Changed by Chance AuthorLiving Beyond Breast Cancer www.lbbc.org just had their Volunteer Appreciation Awards dinner this past week. It was at a brand new concept restaurant in Bala Cynwyd called Honeygrow.

I was delighted and honored to be chosen as an award recipient by them for doing something that comes natural to me – helping for and caring about others.

As the other recipients were introduced and spoke, I was moved by their words, their courage, and their commitments. One man had lost his young wife to breast cancer. He and his young children were left to carry on alone in life. To help him cope with his loss, he chose to volunteer for LBBC to honor his love for his wife. It was very touching.

Another woman recipient is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Despite her ongoing daily battle with cancer for years, she keeps herself busy and optimistic with her volunteer work. Her story truly touched me. Here she is literally fighting for her wellness each day, and she finds time to give back to others.

By the time that I was introduced, I realized that, although I have done a fair share of good deeds for LBBC, there is more to do. And, that I am very fortunate to have survived and thrived so well these past 23 years. This is why I thank God daily for sparing Bryan and I, and for the good health that we both enjoy.

This warm and wonderful event reminded me why I will always hold volunteering for breast cancer and for special needs children (in memory of Lauren), near and dear to my heart.
Liz Barker Author

Liz Barker Author Changed by Chance Champion by Choice

2014 Yoga on the Steps

Yoga on the Steps Philadelphia Group PhotoLiving Beyond Breast Cancer www.lbbc.org is an internationally recognized nonprofit based here in Haverford, PA. LBBC’s mission is “to connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support”.

As a 20+ yr. young survivor, I can vouch for the incredible services that they offer to women who feel alone and frightened when diagnosed. LBBC is a perfect name because they truly help thousands of women live through and beyond BC treatment, and back into healthy lives again.

Aside from their annual Butterfly Ball each Fall, Yoga on the Steps is LBBC’s biggest fundraiser and community event. This year it is slated for Sunday May 18th. As always it is staged, rain or shine, on the majestic steps of one of our city’s greatest landmarks, the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Y.O.T.S. was born from a collaborative friendship that developed between yoga master Jennifer Schelter www.jenniferschelter.com and student Courtney Kapp, who at the time was practicing yoga as one of her modalities for coping with breast cancer.

Jennifer states that her vision for Y.O.T.S. came to her while meditating at the Art Museum.

“I had a vision of the steps being covered with people who would practice yoga and it inspire them to trust their own inner voice; to feel their strength and their sense of belonging, especially if they were facing any adversity in their lives”. “I dedicate my life’s work to helping people practice good health for their well being and happiness”.

Jennifer will be joined on stage by TV personality and recent author of “I Dare Me”, Lu Ann Cahn www.luanncahn.com who herself is a vibrant and healthy BC survivor. Lu Ann says that:

“Y.O.T.S. is the most uplifting and spiritual event that I participant in and support, because of its mission”.

Literally, from her vantage point on the elevated stage with Jennifer as she leads the practice, Lu Ann notes:

“I am in awe when we are standing there surrounded by over a thousand other people impacted by Breast Cancer. I feel empowered because you know that you are not alone”.

A quote from her book explains “It’s important to recognize where we’ve been – to remember the scars and what we’ve survived – and also to honor what we’ve accomplished”.

Lu Ann’s words sum up the euphoric feelings and sense of empowerment that Yoga on the Steps offers to those who partake of it. Please visit this link to learn more about how you can help or be involved www.yogaonthesteps.org/Philadelphia. There are many ways to participate that day: a yoga practitioner yourself; or, to create a fun team of people to practice together; or, to be a volunteer; or, to be a vendor at this inspiring outdoor event.

We hope to see you there.

~ Namaste ~

Mindful Meditation

There was a recent article in a Sunday Inquirer’s Health section about Mindful Meditation. It was called “The Calm Before the Competition”.

It talked about a health trend that is catching on fast nowadays, particularly in competitive sports – practicing yoga and mindful meditation. According to over 40 medical studies, meditation and yoga have proven to help manage anxiety, pain, stress and depression. And it’s not just for athletes who are seeking mental conditioning to complement their physical workouts. It is also a proven effective tool for those suffering from chronic illness or pain, particularly cancer patients who may have severe anxiety about their potentially life threatening diagnosis.

Other studies have shown that often, winning, whether in an athletic competition or vying to close a business deal is a “mental game”. Mindful meditation can help your mind, body and soul to connect to create a winning team within.

LBBC Yoga on the Philadelphia Art Museum StepsI have personal experience with this phenomenon since I have been practicing yoga for 2 years. Yoga involves mindful meditation throughout the entire practice session. I have to admit that, I didn’t get it or feel it for the first few months of practicing. It could have been because I was too concerned about practicing well and keeping up with others in the class, who most times are half my age. But as I settled into it, it became not just physical work but a soothing mind exercise as well. I often say that my after work yoga sessions offer me a clean slate, that it washes away all of the grunge of the day. Afterwards, I head home relaxed and more focused. Many people have asked me how I had the energy, after long days at work, to write my book. I credit yoga with helping me to do so.

I encourage you to take a look at what may be offered in your area for yoga or meditation practices. Often YMCA’s offer these classes and they are a good introduction. But, a dedicated yoga studio will likely take you to a higher level of practice and satisfaction. Most communities now have a yoga studio nearby.

And if you’d really like to be inspired for a day, I invite you to register for Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Yoga on the (Art Museum) Steps event by clicking and exploring here www.yogaonthesteps.org You need to register to participate but it is only $20 minimum per person and it is for charity and to help breast cancer support. Join us, it will be fun!

~ Namaste ~LBBC Yoga on the Steps