How cancer has affected me

This post is going to be hard to write. I can already tell. I’m chock full of emotion already just thinking about it. I apologize now if it doesn’t quite flow correctly, but it’s what you get. There’s almost 25 years of thought in this 500 word post…so pay attention and do what’s right.

Twenty-five years ago I was 6 years old. I had a younger brother Robert who was two and a half…and that was as old as he would ever get. I remember that cold Winnipeg winter day on February 14, 1985 (yes Valentine’s Day) when I was taken home from elementary school, like it happened yesterday. Walking home with my grandparents who were in from out of town visiting. As I came around the corner I could see my house and the cars that lined the road way. I knew something was drastically wrong. I ran like I’ve never run before and flew through the door of my parents house. It was then I realized just what had happened. Robert had been sick almost since he was born and spent a lot of time at the hospital. I even spent a lot of time at the hospital but nothing like my parents did. Having an amazing daughter of my own now, I have no clue how they did it. They were so strong and for that alone I am blessed. Luckily we had good close family friends I could stay with. As a six year-old it was fun going to sleepovers at first. After weeks of sleepovers though, they became less and less fun.

Since losing Robert to Medulloblastoma, I’ve lost two grandparents, a great uncle, two great aunts and several family friends. I have friends who have battled and survived. Even friends who have beaten it multiple-times and still lost the battle one final time. There’s no doubt in my mind how much of an impact cancer has had on my life…and I’ve been fortunate enough to never have had it.

Honestly, I remember the good times and great impact these people have had on my life. It’s because of these people and even those whom I’ve never met, nor may have the opportunity to meet, that Tight ‘n Bright is around. It’s a reason to party. A reason to raise funds and awareness. Most importantly though, it is a reason to celebrate life! A life we are each fortunate to currently have and the lives of those who we’ve lost. As with our first Tight ‘n Bright party in 2009, our goal for this annual event is to raise funds in excess of $20,000 to go directly to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary. We, myself and the team involved, would like you to join us for a fun filled, theme evening on Saturday, March 20, 2010 for the Second Annual Tight ‘n Bright – it’s where a party can help find a cure.

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Discovering Google Apps with @sarahstanley

Today I had a brief chat on Twitter with the ever amazing Sarah Stanley surrounding a technical piece of her website. Most of it took place behind the scenes through direct message, but in the end I believe it was of assistance.

You see part of what Sarah is looking for are Inspire Ambassadors (act quickly by sending an email to if you’d like to be one). What got me thinking was that there was a domain name intact already, but she was essentially promoting Gmail. Many businesses do this, and I just don’t understand why – whether it’s Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or their internet provider. The list goes on. With domain names starting out so cheap now from a place like there’s no excuse to NOT have a company branded domain name. In addition to that, even though does hosting, you can easily get your email handled for FREE through Google Apps.

This is where Sarah and I were at a disconnect. Being that Run Ride Inspire is charity, “every dollar counts” she stated. And I agree. Running a fund raising initiative of my own (I need to update it this week), I know that every penny does truly count. I’ve been using Google Apps with my domain names for a few years now and have been fortunate enough to never spend a dime on the amazing service. In fact I just recently switched two separate clients over to the service. I could go off on why it’s a great choice, but there’s already plenty out there on Google as to why it’s a good choice…and even why it’s not.

I was on my iPhone but determined to help Sarah out I did a quick search in Safari. It started to become clear as to why she didn’t want to use the on Google Apps for fear of having to pay $50 per user per year. Typical marketing. On the initial screen, you’re presented with two options: Business or Education.

Google Apps Signup Screen

Google Apps - the Hidden GoldOn the following screen they present the nice, pretty blue button to begin a free trial. But if you look closely enough, there are some boring text links under the button. This is in fact where the hidden gold is in using Google Apps with your own custom domain name…for FREE.

When comparing the Google Apps Standard Edition (i.e. the FREE version) to the Premiere version, there’s not a lot of difference that the standard, average user would ever want or use. You still get Gmail, Calendar, Docs & Sites. I’m up to about 7GB of storage space in my App Mail account of which I’ve used about 50% over the last few years…and my business handles lots of large files through email. The rest of the ‘business’ features, controls, support and reliability aren’t really required. I use my hosted Gmail with my iPhone without issue. In fact, it works better then my normal Gmail account does…so there!Google Apps Comparison: Premiere vs Standard

As much as I love my Shannon Poole (who yes, does love me), I’m happy that Sarah at least sees some value in me.

So now my question to you is do you use Google Apps and if so, which version? Is Sarah making the right choice by moving (I hope) her email from Gmail to her own domain name? Let me know in the comments.

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Check it out – 2009 event!

Well it’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, but that’s because I’ve been working on Tight ‘n Bright – a fundraiser for the Alberta Cancer Foundation and Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary. I’m working with a great group of people to develop the event, plan it out and execute it on March 21, 2009. It’s the brain child of me and my brother initially with a whole bunch of other people being tossed in to it as well. Check out for more information on the event, ticket sales, sponsors, donors and more. And by the way, 100% of proceeds go directly to the charity. We’re hoping to keep costs as low as possible (like $0 to be honest) so that we can push more funds to charity. The goal is to exceed $20,000 and we feel it is going to be very easily done.

If you or someone you know has something they can offer as a donation, please don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know. All that information is on the Tight ‘n Bright website. See you on March 21 for sure!

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