Monday, March 26, 2007

Screaming girls

Hello everyone,

Another week has flown by, yet one day seems to fade into the next without much difference. Sahara's doing about the same. She's being weaned off of the evil decadron, which is probably one of the most awful steroids known to man. One has to be taken off it very slowly, and it can cause side effects as the dosage is reduced, in addition to whatever it did to you when you were taking it in high doses. Not fun, but we are managing.

What a gorgeous weekend we had here in Southeast's easy to get spoiled with days like these, sunny and 80 degrees outside. Wow. Cape Girardeau is really pretty in the springtime. There are so many blooming trees and flowers, and a lot of streets look like scenes taken straight out of the pages of Southern Living. Our peonies have sprouted, and I can't wait to see those enormous white flowers again.

There's been a lot of good basketball to watch on tv these last few days! :) Shannon and Sahara have been glued to the tube and have really enjoyed the games.

Sahara asked me to tell her friends hello and that she loves and misses them. When she is feeling better, she will call you guys. Right now, she's just really tired most of the time and doesn't feel like having company...but please know that she thinks of you all the time. If we can just get her well, I am going to have the biggest sleepover party for you guys. I sooooo miss having screaming girls in the house!!!!!

We ask for your continued prayers and positive thoughts as we begin a new week. Sahara needs a jump start!

With love,

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Things that make you go MOO

Cow fans of the world, unite. If you're thinking about having lunch with us in Milwaukee, contact Teresa at or Linda at to get the full scoop. It's bound to be a fun-filled day--and while we're there celebrating the almighty Dairy State, we'll be doing good things for Sahara, too.

What more could you want?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Reaching for the stars

Somehow it's Sunday night...where did my weekend go? I never even left the house! Thanks to a generous friend with a smoker, Sahara and her family feasted on two smoked chickens in front of a roaring fire this weekend--and Amy made Swiss macaroni and cheese. She does realize that when all this is over and Sahara is making three point shots on a basketball scholarship at college, we're all going to line up and let her cook us one of her infamous comfort food dinners, doesn't she?

For all of you who sent the details for Ty Pennington and Oprah, thanks. I know a bunch of you have taken that a step further. But I want to go out on a limb here and acknowledge some of the local folks who are going to sweat it out for Sahara. The Eagles Club in Cape Girardeau has taken on the challenge, and they're holding a fundraiser for Sahara on March 31, called A Fistful of Hollers.

And Make-a-Wish deserves our applause, too. Their task is incredibly difficult, but they have an enormous network of people who lovingly listen to each child. Their gift of a new room for Sahara is really quite amazing. So to them, and to all the vendors who supply the materials, all the bright minds who put together a design that is creative and functional, and all who come together with hammers and nail guns and drills and aching muscles, you are our heroes.

There are heroes all over the place in this battle, and I'm constantly putting my hand over my mouth at what people have done. The overwhelming majority have opened their hearts and given generously: prayers, good wishes, ideas, and yes, money.

It all matters. And it's all helping.

One last thing, while we're on the subject of helping. On Saturday, May 12, there will be a fundraising luncheon called Rockin for Hoops in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The organizers, Teresa and Linda, are putting together a fun event to help Sahara--and celebrate Rick Springfield's talents. As of this weekend, Teresa had just 19 tickets left. I've got mine, and I'm looking forward to sharing Sahara's story with the audience. Send me an email if you're interested in going, or if you have something wonderful to donate for the raffles.

What are you waiting for?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Making a wish

I wish...I could pare down my list of wishes. Today, I'd wish for this snowstorm to slide out to sea. They're saying 10 inches or so. Right now, we've got a pretty little dusting and my crocuses are peeking through in all their purple glory. But the weather psychics insist that's all about to change.

So have you got your green outfit ready for tomorrow? We're having ANOTHER dinner party, which is very brave on my part because the last one did not go so well. The food was yummy, but the mix of people...not so good. I was in bed before they were out of the driveway. I barely got to say a word the whole night. Can you imagine?

Actually, the only time I got to talk was when I shared the latest about Sahara. Even to New Yorkers who stop for nothing, Sahara stops traffic. Just another sign of her magic.

Two more wishes from me: if you know Ty Pennington or someone in his production company, shoot me an email. And, keep the prayers and Irish blessings coming for Sahara. We're onto something.

Hello, everyone!

The signs of spring are everywhere in Cape these days, and I am so glad to see winter coming to a close. To say that it sucked would be the understatement of the century. Here's to spring, rebirth, new beginnings and hope.

Thanks to everyone who has sent cards and gifts to Sahara lately...she always lights up when she opens them! They are so very appreciated. :) And thanks to everyone who has posted positive thoughts and wishes...we read each and every one of them. Believe me, they help, and they mean so much.

She's getting stronger each day, but the coordination is what's giving her fits. I know that one of these days things will start to click again and she will make some serious progress. I know that she is so ready for some good stuff to happen - enough with the setbacks!

Thanks to Matt Sanders at the Southeast Missourian for doing another great article. If you'd like to read it, please click here: A new room for Sahara Sahara is very excited about getting our family room decked out the way she wants it. She got hooked on HGTV when we were in Houston and LOVES all of the design/makeover shows. That room has become her world these last few months, and I'm happy that she will be able to have it exactly how she wants it to be - it will have conveniences for her as well as some really cool stuff, as well. She really wants Ty Pennington to come and work HIS magic. (I think she'd like to see this house bulldozed so he could build her a new one...LOL) But since he is a celebrity, meeting him plus getting a room makeover would count as two wishes. Oh, well! We are very grateful for what is happening and know that it will be so wonderful!

Gramma Dooley has sold the last of the unbelievable 3000 of them are floating around, literally all over the country. WOW. The cookbooks are going fast, too - only about 400 of them remain! Shannon's keeping some in his car, so if anyone needs one, just ask him.

Our Lady Redhawks are on their way to Austin, TX to play Oklahoma in the NCAA Finals on Saturday - good luck ladies! We'll be watching the game on TV!

I hope you all have a great weekend...enjoy some March Madness!

With love,

Monday, March 12, 2007

To all the girls I've loved before, part 2

Good morning. I'm still trying to recover from the dinner party. My lasagna was yummy, but all my efforts to make things look effortless sort of backfired. I just wish people would listen to me. But gosh, that's a post for my own blog. Someday.

Couple of things to cover here before I turn over the blogspace to a new voice... for the day. Stop freaking. I'm not going anywhere.

  1. Someone who (we hope) meant well wrote a check to Sahara's Slam Dunk Cancer Fund for a cookbook, and the checking account was closed. In addition to the amount of the check, Sahara got hit with a big fee from the bank. Not cool, people. Don't write bad checks. It's bad karma, and it's illegal. We'd much rather have your prayers if money is tight.
  2. Speaking of cookbooks, I am told that Shannon has a whole mess of them in his car. So next time he's there to sell you floor wax or other exciting products, treat yourself.
And, while we're speaking of Shannon, he's given Amy a night off from the keyboard and has written a post of his own. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome (drumroll) Sahara's dad.

Sahara is feeling better and getting stronger every day. I think her legs have improved the most in the past week. She is taking physical therapy three times a week at St. Francis Health & Wellness Center, and it seems to be helping a lot. A little secret between me and all of you...I think she is actually LIKING therapy now.

Last weekend was very hard for me, because it was the anniversary of one of the best weekends ever. A year ago, I pulled Sahara out of school for a day so we could attend the OVC Tournament in Nashville. The Lady Redhawks won the game we attended. We were invited back to the Opryland Hotel to celebrate with the team afterward. It was such a great night.

We drove back to Cape that night, because we had a 12 noon game to play on Saturday. It was one of those games that Sahara did everything right...from scoring 16 points, to stealing the ball 10 times, she played a flawless game. The Lady Comets won that game by 25 points.

After that game, we drove to Scott City for a Hotshot competition. Sahara won first place in her age bracket by hitting thirteen shots in a row.

A year later, the Lady Comets have just completed an amazing 9-1 season, but something was very different. There was no #21 running the team.

Over the past few years, we either had the best record or tied for it in Upward Basketball. But it’s not about winning or losing. I’ve coached kids who have had to cope with death in their families, divorce, and other tough things.

This year I couldn’t figure out why I should coach, with all that is going on around me. I kept waiting for something to happen, a reason the kids really needed me. But this year, maybe it wasn’t that they needed me. I needed them. I had seven girls on my team, and from day one, I can honestly say I had seven superstars.

With this said, I feel if Sahara can’t play, then my coaching days have come to an end. I am going to referee games next year instead of coaching a team. Basketball is a big part of our lives. There are 27 shooting spots marked on our driveway, and a year ago, Hoops could burn a shot from any of them. I will not rest until she can burn those shots again.

Coach Aldridge

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Earlier this week, I sent Amy a great essay I read in the local paper. It tells the truth about having cancer--in a bold, funny voice. Amy approved, and shared her own voice: "I AM NOT STRONG. I am not a hero, nor am I an inspiration. I'm just a MOM, doing what a mom should naturally do."

If you would like to read the piece, it's online at,0,5088703.column?coll=ny-health-utility. Highly recommended.

Amy has other tidbits to report. I am insanely jealous because her daffodils are blooming. Mine are up, and the neighborhood rabbit kindly ate all my tulip leaves. Again. I am SO in the mood for rabbit stew.

Let's see... things are looking up!

It's been a good week. Very good, in fact. All of the prayers and well-wishes must've kicked in, because Sahara is doing so much better. Her attitude is brighter, she's laughing and cutting up more, and being extremely sassy. LOL. Her strength and coordination are ever-so-slowly trying to work together (she can pull herself up and sit herself down now...more than she could do a week ago). Thank God for great physical and occupational therapists!

Amy promises she'll have more for you this weekend. Be patient--I'm giving a dinner party tonight so I probably won't be updating until tomorrow. Oh, and whoever posted the dog jokes? Hilarious. Thanks.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Keep it coming

This is for all of you who check Sahara's site daily: no news--just two loving, tired parents giving every moment possible to their little girl. Amy has just enough time to read the site now and then, and the love you offer her and Sahara (and Shannon, who may be close to officially speaking on the site, woo hoo) means the world to her.

So hey, take the extra minute. It all matters. You have the power to give them comfort. Run with it!

And one more thing: Sahara loves to laugh. She's got a wonderful naughty side. Let's get her giggling. Give us your favorite dumb joke. Please, nothing offensive, naked, or rated anything above PG-13. And anything that makes you snort orange juice out your nose must include a warning label.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

You're surrounded

Amy wrote me a short email this afternoon, describing another frustrating week. Now, before you get worried, nothing has changed. Sahara's still doing her physical therapy, and the three of them are still working hard to make her well. It's hard, hard work. She's promised to blog soon, but I've ordered her to not worry about it.

Tonight, I want everyone who comes here to reach out to Amy and Shannon. Whether it's a hello, a short message of hope, a promise to pray for their little girl, an offer of a hot cup of coffee or an ice-cold brew, give yourselves to them, in friendship, in support, in love.

Whether you are a young child searching for news about your funny friend, or someone from a faraway place who is unsure about your English, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jew, or Wiccan, physician or prisoner, in love or alone in the world, hold out your hands to these parents. Tell them you are there.

We gather together

Not to keep running back to Atlantic City, but I thought you might like to see some of the official luncheon photos, taken by Renata Hearn, who does such a great job at Rick's shows. Here, you'd never know the poor guy was suffering with bronchitis and the crud. The full set is on Rick's website at

Here, I'm sharing our table photo, since there are a couple of people here who pop up in the blog frequently. From L to R: my husband, John; me, the red-purse gripping ninny in proper Sahara-orange; the two Long Island ladies who live less than 10 miles from us, 3rd and 5th from left; Rick (duh); Mufi from New England who paid $625 for Rick's stinky, sweaty shirt; and on the far right, Nancy from Boston, who posts here pretty much every day and is always offering Sahara and her family much peace, love, and laughter.
Amy has been quiet this week, which probably means the whole family is working hard on Sahara's physical therapy. It's exhausting--but it works wonders. So join me in saying a prayer for their strength. Spring is just around the corner--and with that, anything is possible.