Successful Concert – Thank You!

The concert was wonderful. Every performance was fantastic, from the musicians of WHCC (Pastor Huang, Tomo Tsai, Sarah Giron, Jonathan Tao, Jimmy Tsai, and perhaps even myself, if I may say so) to the dancers of Ad Deum, the actors of the A. D. Players, and Matt Brouwer and his band. Laurie Hughes’s presentation on reducing cancer risks during the intermission was very well received, too. Anyone who didn’t come really missed out on a great event!

We again extend our gratitude to all of the performers, organizers, volunteers, and donors who participated in the concert. You made this a wonderful evening for Cathy and me and many others, and we are deeply indebted to you.

The total amount of donations received at the concert came to $21,544. This figure does not include online donations or gifts that were given before or after the concert. We will publish a more complete figure when it has been calculated.

For now, I need to go to bed. (It’s 3:06 a.m.)

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Concert Information

The concert is nearly upon us. Remember that it will be at 7:00 pm, this Saturday (August 14th), at West Houston Chinese Church, which is located at 10638 Hammerly Blvd. Enter this address into Google Maps for directions, or see the bottom of this post for a rough map.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you make plans to come:

1. You’ll probably want to arrive early. The concert will start promptly at 7:00 pm, and it will be a good idea to allow some time for finding a parking spot and a seat.

2. Be prepared to park next door to the church. The church parking lot might fill up, in which case you can park at St. Joseph’s church (right next to WHCC to the west, also on the north side of Hammerly) or the Guthrie Center (just further to the west than St. Joseph’s, and also on the north side of Hammerly). Consider car-pooling in order to help us keep traffic under control and prevent over-crowding in the parking lot.

3. Drop your kids off at child care (ages 2 to 7) before entering the sanctuary. There will be ushers to help you find it. Don’t forget to pick them up again before you leave after the concert!

4. If you plan to make a donation, you might want to have it ready before you come. If you are just coming to enjoy the concert, we ask (though we do not require) that you donate an amount similar to what you would expect to pay for tickets to a concert. An offering will be taken up during the concert, and there will also be tables and boxes where you can drop off donations. Checks should be made payable to “Stand with Cathy.” Please note that, unfortunately, donations are not tax deductible.

5. Please turn off your cell phone when you enter the sanctuary, and please do not leave or enter the sanctuary during a performance. Out of respect for the performers, we would like to maintain a formal concert atmosphere.

6. Overflow seating will be available in the gymnasium (where the performances will be projected in real time onto a screen) in case the sanctuary fills up. Please keep in mind that we have to be careful to follow fire codes and not cram too many people into one space. Be alert for any announcements or ushers directing you to a seating area.

Thanks in advance for your attendance and your support for Cathy as she battles cancer. We hope you enjoy the concert.

Here’s a map showing WHCC’s location:

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Breast Cancer Facts

Here is some information about breast cancer, provided by Steve Wei of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center:

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, occurring in approximately 1 in 8 women (13%) in the US.  In 2009, an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed among women in the United States, the majority in women over age 60.  Less than 5 percent of all instances of breast cancer occur in women under age 40.

Breast cancer remains the leading cancer among Asian women.  Since 1990, the death rates from breast cancer have been declining, a trend that is believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness.  However, only 48.5 percent of Asian women 50 years and older in the U.S. have had a mammogram or clinical breast examination within the last two years—the lowest rate of screening among all racial or ethnic groups.

Please get screened regularly, and perform self-examinations frequently. Ask your doctor how to perform an effective self-exam. (There’s more to it than you might guess.) In younger women especially, mammograms aren’t always able to detect tumors that can be easily felt in a self-exam.

Be aware that men can get breast cancer as well. Make an appointment to see a doctor immediately if you detect any lumps or abnormal developments on the surface.

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Article in Chronicle (Memorial Neighborhood)

An excellent article about Cathy was published today in the Memorial-Spring Branch neighborhood paper. Please check it out here. Thanks to our friend Yates for contacting the paper, and to Kim Morgan for doing the story.

There’s less than one week to go now before the concert. I (Olen) have been going over to my parents’ house almost every other day where I can practice on a real piano. (I just have an electric keyboard in our apartment.) I’m starting to get nervous about playing in front of a group, which I haven’t done in a long time. (And back when I did it regularly, I wasn’t any less nervous.) Fortunately, I’m just one small part of the show.

We had the pleasure of meeting Matt Brouwer and his fiancee a couple weeks ago. They’re nice, down-to-earth people, and we feel blessed and honored to have Matt playing at the concert. I look forward to hearing him live, as well as seeing Ad Deum and the A. D. Players. Thanks in advance to all of them for sacrificing their time to come out and perform at the Stand with Cathy concert. Please check out their web sites and find out about their upcoming shows.

Cathy has an appointment tomorrow to get a white blood cell count, see her oncologist, and, if all is well, get another FAC (chemo) treatment. She dreads each treatment because of the inevitable side effects. Fortunately, she only has two more left, including tomorrow’s. We’re hoping she’ll be feeling close to normal as soon as possible and that she’ll be able to enjoy the concert on Saturday.

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Sundry Announcements

It’s been a while since our last post. Cathy has been busy with a course in government and economics that is a prerequisite for some of the nursing/pharmacy programs she wants to apply to. This week, she has been feeling quite good and has been able to go out a few times. Olen has been attending lots of teacher training workshops to prepare for the new school year. We do, however, have a few announcements to make:

1. Cathy’s mother-in-law has recently established an online music store featuring a books-of-the-bible memory song, all proceeds from which will go toward Cathy’s treatment. Visit it at www.marilynsmedley.com and purchase some music for your church!

2. Volunteers at West Houston Chinese Church will provide child care for children ages 2 to 7 during the benefit concert. If you must bring children to the concert, please use the child care so as to minimize disturbances during the concert.

3. At the concert, we will have T-shirts for sale to support Cathy’s cause. Buy a shirt for $15; proceeds will go toward Cathy’s treatment fund, and every time you wear the shirt you’ll be spreading awareness!

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2nd FAC treatment done

Cathy’s white blood cell count was high enough today that they decided to give her the chemo. She started at 7:00 pm, and my mother is taking her home now (as of 10:53 pm). They also gave her some stronger anti-nausea medication this time, so we’re hoping the vomiting won’t be as severe. No vomiting at all would be wonderful.

Last time, her temperature fluctuated a lot in the few days following the treatment. Obviously, with her white blood cell count being low, she may be susceptible to infections and illnesses that would normally be mild, so changes in temperature are cause for concern. If she gets a significant fever, we’re supposed to take her to the emergency room. Please pray that she’ll be spared any such complications.

Just two more chemo treatments to go. She’s been told that radiation is a cakewalk compared to chemo. (Hopefully that’s true.)

Posted in Updates on Cathy's Progress | 9 Comments

3rd Message from Cathy

My second FAC chemo treatment was canceled yesterday because my white blood cell count was too low. In order to get the treatment, your white blood cell count has to be at least 1000-1300, depending on who your doctor is, but mine was 800. So, the doctor scheduled me to go back on Monday. If the count is high enough for me to receive the treatment, I have to get a white blood cell booster the day after it.
 
I left the hospital with mixed feelings because I was disappointed that the whole process of this chemo has to be prolonged since I wish to have it done as soon as possible, but I also felt relieved from the fear of the discomfort I know the FAC will cause me. *sigh* I hope everything will work out on Monday.

Posted in Notes from Cathy | 4 Comments

Donations can now be made with PayPal!


We finally have everything set up so that you can make donations via PayPal (or any major credit card). Just click on “Make a Donation” on the menu above, and click the “Donate” button. You’ll be taken to a secure page on PayPal’s web site where you can enter the amount that you want to donate and then choose how to pay. In order to pay by credit card, you’ll have to set up a PayPal account, but it’s quick and easy (and you never have to use it again if you don’t want to). Unfortunately, you won’t get a tax deduction for your donation.

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Professional Acts Booked

We are extremely excited to announce that three nationally (and in some cases, internationally) renowned professional groups will be performing at the concert (which, please remember, has been moved to August 14th). They are, in no particular order:

Matt Brouwer (Christian singer: www.mattbrouwer.com)

Ad Deum (Christian dance group: www.danceaddeum.com)

The A. D. Players (Christian theater group: www.adplayers.org)

These are seriously famous, high-quality performance groups. Visit their web sites (the links are provided above) to find out more about them. Now you can really plan on enjoying a good show! (In the beginning, it was just going to be me on piano.)

In addition, we will have a speaker from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center making a presentation (during intermission) about cancer awareness (prevention, detection, treatment, etc.), which will certainly be worth your while.

We are DEEPLY grateful to these performers and presenters for giving their time and talent to help Cathy.

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2nd Message from Cathy

We’ve been moving into our new apartment since Monday. Thanks to our friends and Olen’s parents who helped us make the move so much easier. Now, we only have a few more things left to unpack.

I’ve been feeling very well since Saturday. It’s amazing! The dry heaves have completely gone! Praise the Lord! It feels so good to laugh with friends again and enjoy food together.

It’s easy for us to take granted the things we’re used to, such as our ability to see, hear, or taste. During the first week after my first FAC treatment, I wasn’t able to enjoy food at all; everything tasted bitter to me. That was the first time I realized I do need to praise Lord for these pleasures I’ve always taken for granted.

The experience of the first FAC has shown me that the discomfort doesn’t last for the whole three weeks between treatments; this is great news for me! I’ll list my other three FAC times below, as I really need your prayers for them.

2nd FAC: July 16th
3rd FAC: August 6th
4th FAC: August 27th

Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support!

Cathy

Posted in Notes from Cathy | 2 Comments