Friday, November 30, 2007

Brides Against Breast Cancer

My wedding dress cost $250 plus a $200 entry fee to the opening night fete of this year's Brides Against Breast Cancer event in New York, yet it feels like a million bucks. Or maybe two.

BABC is a traveling wedding dress bonanza that raises money for Making Memories, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to metastatic breast cancer patients. Some dresses are donated new, while others are gently (and hopefully merrily, lovingly, and memorably) worn.

Jen, a good friend and fellow journalist, sashayed down the aisle in an exquisite pre-worn gown in July, and she convinced me to try my luck at BABC. I was reluctant, as the idea of being one amongst a sea of New York brides nearly gave me hives. She mercifully offered to join the fray.

I knew I wanted a lace dress, and as occurs on many of my shopping expeditions, when I couldn't at first find what I was looking for, I wanted to run screaming out into the fall night. But once I tried on a handful of dresses and began to spot even better ones on other people's clothes racks and bodies, I rallied a little. We finished round one with a few almost-maybes, but found nothing in full lace.

After taking a cupcake and champagne break, Jen convinced me to go in for round two. She found a few more dresses, and right before I joined her in the fitting room, I grabbed a dress I'd tried on before after seeing it on the girl next to me. It was only partially lace, but the lace was high quality, and it had the A-line cut I wanted, a gorgeous train and bustle, a sweetheart neckline, and a low back. When I tried it on again, something in me clicked, and I knew it was my dress.

Today I'm going for my first post-alteration fitting, and I can't wait to see my dress again after a month apart! When I brought it home, I realized it really is the perfect one for me, for the way it makes me feel, and for the price and cause. I am proud of my dress, and pleased with how it gently, beautifully, reminds me of my Mom.

Though I know it will be hard to part with it, after the wedding I have every intention of donating it back to Brides Against Breast Cancer, to continue the cycle of giving, caring, and fighting.

November Donations

In November, the Eve Coleman Memorial Fund raised over $1,600, already surpassing our goals and hopes. Thank you very much for caring about us, my Mom, and the fight against cancer.

Jennifer & Jon

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Contribution: Eve: A Never-to-be-Forgotten Friend

Dear Jennifer and Jon,

May I offer you both my heartfelt congratulations for your upcoming union. You two give renewed respect to the sacred vows of marriage for your decision to honor your mother's memory on this very special occasion.

Eve was everything God intended us to be on this earth. Perhaps it is by no accident that her name was the first woman's name to appear in the Book. Eve was quite a woman: intelligent, charming, witty, talented and so genuine.

When Eve became ill, I marveled at her courage and willingness to assist others by involving herself in cancer support groups, lecturing to college students on death and dying, and bringing so much joy to those of us who could hardly bare the thought of losing her.

My last moment with Eve was during her birthday party. As photos were being taken, she asked me to sit on her lap for a pose. Even then, Eve was the 'life" of the party! On May 21, I was in Greenwood, Mississippi, preparing to give my daughter, Caroline, away in marriage. Before the wedding, I received a call from Charleston telling me that Eve had died. I remember going to a quiet place, turning towards the sky, and telling Eve "goodbye." That day was one of the happiest and one of the saddest moments in my life.

Soon there will be another wedding--Jennifer and Jonathan--and I am sure if you two listen very closely during the ceremony, you will hear the sweet voice of Eve Coleman blessing your union.

Peter Yaun
Saint Simons Island, GA


I'm stunned -- the Fund received its first donation today, for $1,000. This is an incredibly generous amount, and more than we would have ever expected. Thank you very very much.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Eve Coleman Memorial Fund

Some months ago, Jon told me that when we got married he didn't want to register for gifts because he'd prefer the money be given to charity. As many a bride or groom can imagine, I balked. No gifts? But what about all the people who love us and want to give us gifts to celebrate our new life together? But how would we afford all the things that would help us make a comfortable home together, as opposed to the hodge-podge of old dishes, ripped sheets, and uncomfortable furniture we live with now? He began to see my point.

As they often do, our ideas came together into an even better one. We decided that when the time came, we would set up a fund in honor of my Mom that would donate money to a worthy, breast cancer-related organization.

Now, as we plan our wedding, we have started the Eve Coleman Memorial Fund at Roper St. Francis Hospital, where Mom was a patient. The money raised by the Fund will be used to provide treatment to underfunded breast cancer patients who are part of the Breast Health Navigator Program.

What is the Program?
The Breast Health Navigator Program began at Roper in 2003. It is headed by an
oncology-certified advanced practice nurse (the Navigator). Though my Mom didn’t get to experience it, her favorite nurse later became the hospital’s first Navigator.

When a patient receives a positive biopsy, the Navigator contacts the patient to offer assistance and provide support. The Navigator then acts as an advocate and resource who directs the patient to information regarding diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

What Services Does the Program Include?
-Give support to patients with a new diagnosis, recurrence, coping problems, end-of-life issues and/or family support needs
-Serve as a consistent and knowledgeable clinical resource throughout the treatment continuum
-Act as a link between care providers and treatment settings
-Identify and meet ongoing learning needs of patients and families
-Provide educational programs on breast health to professional and community groups

Where Will The Fund Money Go?
The Navigator will oversee the utilization of the money we raise, which will be dispersed on a first come, first served basis to the patients most in need.

Roper already offers free mammogram and diagnostic breast imaging procedures to eligible low-income women, and the Roper St. Francis Cancer Center has kindly offered to waive facility charges for the women being treated with the Fund's money. This means that the money we raise will go towards patients' contiuum of care, which includes supplies, professional fees, and other necessary supportive needs.

What Is The Blog’s Purpose?
While Roper cannot share patient-specific uses of the Fund due to confidentiality rules, it will track and share how the money is expensed.
Watermelon Shoes will be our venue for sharing how the Fund money is spent, and will track monies raised (we will not mention specific contributors unless they approve it).

In addition, many of you didn't have the opportunity to meet Eve, but we hope you'll get to know her here, where we'll share more about her, post her writing and poems, photos, and other related information. Roper will also share the blog with its patients – we hope it will inspire them as they fight their illness.

If you have questions or would like to share a memory or thought about Eve, we welcome you to email watermelonshoes[at] Please indicate if you’d like your message posted.
Please send your donation to:
Roper St. Francis Foundation
25 Doughty Street, Suite 790
Charleston, SC 29403
Attention Annette Shepard
Re: Eve Coleman Memorial Fund

Roper is a federal and state income tax exempt organization per section 501(c)3 of the IRS tax code. As a corporation d/b/a Roper Hospital, Incorporated (RHI), its federal tax ID is #57-0828733.
Thank you!
Jennifer & Jon

Special thanks to Scott Broome at the Roper St. Francis Cancer Center for his assistance, and to Dr. David Ellison, who always goes above and beyond as both doctor and family.

Watermelon Winter

Watermelon Winter
by Eve Coleman, December 1992

In the dead of my worst winter
I bought shoes...

Watermelon shoes.

That's what the salesclerk called them,

Magenta snakeskin toes and purple snakeskin heals
Connected the flimsiest of light airy net.
And just at the place on each side
Where my arch might be, two watermelon halves
Broke through.

Bright green semi-circles with hot pink
Snakeskin center
Reminded me of juicy times past and hinted that,
This winter may one day end
And summer come again.

Watermelon shoes.

I squinted hard to see what the clerk saw
And finally saw it, too.
Bright green rind cushioning hot pink fruit.

I took off my heavy woolen socks,
And for a minute,
Just a minute,
I glimpsed the summer that will come again.

Then I took off the shoes,
Putting them carefully away,
And slipped back into my woolen socks.
For now, the image of that box will
Have to do
As I dream of
Watermelon shoes.