Friday, November 13, 2009

Will You Be the Match?

This Sunday, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will feature the story and reunion of a bone marrow donor and the recipient and her family. Tom Wilhelm joined marrow donor registry, Be the Match, in 2000 and successfully donated marrow to Joey Stott, at 29 year old wife and mother. 

I joined the marrow registry earlier this year and I encourage everyone eligible to join as well. It's a simple cheek swab process. There are two ways to donate: bone marrow donation and PBSC donation. As someone who has donated before, it's not nearly as scary and painful as people seem to think. Especially considering what the patient and the family goes through. It's a relatively easy process and helping someone, anyone, in such a personal and LIFE SAVING way is such an incredible experience. I hope to have the chance to do it again.

I was lucky enough to be a match for my mom and I donated via PBSC. PBSC donation takes place at an apheresis center. In my case, while I was donating, my mom was close-by as I donated for her. This picture is of her at Duke that same summer with our dog Dixie. 

For 5 days leading up to donation, you receive daily injections that move more blood-forming cells out of the marrow and into the bloodstream. The blood is removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood forming cells. The remaining blood is returned through your other arm. 

So I ask you to do three things.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Magazine's Best: Finance

I read a lot of magazines and I subscribe to a lot of magazines because I know that I'll buy them in the grocery store or in line at Target anyway. To justify spending about $100 on subscriptions a year, I try my best to use the recipes, workouts, and the other information from the 10 or so magazines I get each month. (And please don't judge me, I'm an avid recycler).

I get a lot of great ideas out of these magazines and since I'm a sucker, I try some of the recommended products (assuming I need new mascara or whatever the product may be). I also find a lot of websites that have good tools and information. And I'd like to share what I've found with you! Be on the lookout for posts on these topics, starting with this one!

Starting out after college is hard enough, these websites can help you navigate your finances.
  • A comprehensive budgeting website that links directly to your bank accounts and categorizes what you spend. Endorsed by Money Magazine and Kiplinger's. Safe and secure.
  • A virtual "piggy bank" to save money for specific goals like family vacations or big purchases. It's easy to use, interactive, and you can share savings goals with friends and family so they can add money as gifts. I use it for general savings. It's easy to get to if you need to use it for emergencies, but not easy enough for the "emergency" dress that I want to buy.
  • Get a free, no strings-attached, no need to opt-in credit score. I used it this week to check my credit score and found out I'm also entitled to one free credit report a year from
  • Shop online frequently? Find free shipping codes here!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tales from Light the Night

I walked in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night walk for the first time on November 5th. The event was a celebration at the end of a fundraising season with games, a jump castle, a memorial service, balloons that light up and of course, a 2 mile walk. I formed a team with my sister (first picture below) in memory of my mom and in honor of a friend's nephew. Our team (second picture) raised $2200, while the Charleston Walk raised $50,000 total, which is incredible! Special thanks to Walsingham Academy for helping me with Dress Down Days for $1.

This cause is close to my heart and I've raised almost $10,000 through several different events, including a half-marathon. I hope to continue to participate and help raise money for those suffering from the disease. If you'd like to donate, go to my Light the Night page.

Is Social Media a PR Must?

As I work to further my expertise and career in communications and public relations by reading blogs and engaging in social media (among other means), a majority of the blog posts and articles that I read emphasize the need to engage and become an expert on social media. I blog, I tweet, I'm on Facebook, LinkedIn, and most recently, Yammer. But, so are most other professionals of my same age pursuing a similar career path. Some engage because they want to, others do because they think they should.

Thanks to Dr. Russell's Week's Best Post, I came across an interesting post by Sean Moffitt. Sean discusses the limitations of social media and the accompanying "fever pitch" associated with it. Many businesses have trouble leveraging social media for valuable uses.

One of Sean's points relates to one of my recent posts and reflections on how technology affects our relationships. Yes, social media allows for real-time engagement across states and countries, but it's also becoming a soapbox for many to broadcast, not engage.

From what I've read recently, Sean seems to be in the minority on the value of social media, but his post does remind us not to abandon traditional strategies and tactics.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Creating a Window to My World

There's no doubt that social media is a cornerstone of communications and public relations today. As a twenty-five year old, fairly recent graduate, I've used Facebook since it opened to Clemson's campus in 2004. I joined Twitter and began blogging in graduate school, thanks to the influence and assignments of one of my professors, Dr. Karen Russell. However, I still have trouble leveraging these tools for career related purposes, despite the plethora of posts on how to do so.

So here begins my quest to join the conversation. I recently started really following Dr. Russell's blog again and find the Week's Best post to be particularly helpful. Although I'm not fresh out of school, or currently a student for that matter, I am still new to and trying to learn my way around the field. The Week's Best points me to hot topics and helpful information, and also helps me find professionals that I can follow and learn from.

It was through a variety of clicks and blogrolls that I found PRos in Training and a post on giving your blog direction. Although I'm still not sure exactly what direction my blog will take, I'm looking forward to the experience. I think my main obstacle will be sticking to a schedule, but practice makes perfect right?

Any tips or tricks are much appreciated!