Saturday, January 9, 2016

Coaches vs. Cancer

As a mom myself, I often think of my own family of origin and about my own parents who now have ten now grown children.   As our three daughters and their families were home for the holidays and our home felt so full of love, it took me back to some of my own childhood memories where our home was full of love and kids.  I find most of my memories involve images and words which turn into statements that my mom used quite frequently.

Some of the statements invading my mind include:  "we share, pick up this crap, stop hitting your brother/sister, hurry up, work it out, here's the dictionary -- look it up, get outside, many hands make light work" -- but one statement she still repeats often today and has really stuck with me is "we are blessed!"  

Growing up in a family of 10 was full of many blessings.  One blessing is some of us "originals" have sister- and brother-in laws which have been in our lives longer than our siblings.   We call these additional people to our family "outlaws" and my mom calls herself the "Queen Mum of the Outlaws".   She states she was not an original Bridgewater -- she married into the family -- therefore considers herself to be an "outlaw".  

The "outlaws" in our family are mostly Bohemian.  They get along REALLY well.  They have meetings and exclude the "originals".  They have whistles used at family weddings to convene these "outlaw" meetings where they indoctrinate the new "outlaw" into the family by giving them a whistle and a pair of false teeth.  

They had t-shirts made which includes the entire list of outlaws and the year they became one (aka married into our family).  The longest ranking outlaw, besides our mother, is what I would coin the ring leader.  Her name is Deb and she married my oldest brother, Jeff, when I was 14. 

This is a picture of my mom with three of her "outlaw daughter in laws".  Deb is on the left.

I love Deb.  She helped turned my brother into someone that now knows how to laugh and not just work.  She helped him define and live out the importance of family.  Growing up I think he thought most of his younger siblings were a nuisance and now I know he loves being around all of us.

My brother Jeff.

Family:  a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation

I feel blessed to have such a great family of origin, married into a great family, have helped develop a great family and work with a great team whom I also consider family all united by a common conviction and affiliation -- we support each other no matter what.  

In my work family I am also blessed to have a sister-in-law and niece (@Mrs_KFisher) whom I work with.  I also have nieces and a great niece and nephew whom I get to be part of their educational experience.  My niece Kim, coaches and teaches at Benton Community and organizes the "Coaches for Cancer" event for the Benton Community Girls Basketball program.

Kim sent an email to all the staff at BC about why this event means so much to us as a family this year.  With her permission I am sharing her message and hope you are able to help support this event in some way and possibly share your blessings with others.  

Hello all!
I hope all of you are having a great week back, it always feels great to get back into a routine!  As a member of the Lady Cats Basketball program, I would like to extend an invitation to all of you to our annual Coaches vs Cancer game on Friday, January 15th vs. South Tama.  The freshmen game will start at 4:30, followed by the JV at 6:00, and Varsity tipping off around 7:30.  

The basketball program has tried to highlight members of the program and larger community through our fundraising events in the past.  This year they have decided to highlight someone that is very near and dear to my heart.  As some of you may know, but most of you do not, my mother, Deb Bridgewater, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in June of 2015.  During the past 7 months she has undergone a series of chemotherapy treatments, a radiation cycle, and very recently a surgery.  

My family has a pretty strong presence at Benton Community.  My dad, Jeff Bridgewater, was a 1975 graduate of Benton Community.  All 9 of his siblings graduated from Benton Community.  My sisters (Tracy Urell, Jenny Klein, and Becca Bridgewater) and I all graduated from Benton Community.  My son, Aidan, is in AK and my nephew, Landon Urell, is in Kindergarten, both in Atkins.  My niece, Karley Urell, is in 6th grade at Norway.  Even if you don't will probably encounter (or already have) a Bridgewater somewhere along the line in your career here at Benton.

I tell you this because I feel that it is very important for my family to be vulnerable in this situation.  This community has been beyond remarkable in their support for my family.  Now it is my family’s turn to tell our story to help raise funds and awareness for this terrible disease that too many families are or have been affected by.  Please consider joining the Lady Cats for our game and our efforts to support the American Cancer Society.  Our fundraising efforts will go directly to the American Cancer Society to help support the Benton County Relay for Life Chapter.  If you can't physically be at the game but would still like to make a donation to the American Cancer Society, please make your check out to Benton Community Schools and the basketball program will include it in our final donation. You can give/send your check to any of the following coaches. Thank you in advance your support of all things Benton!--Kim
Alex Olson

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