The 2nd annual Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland Resort (EADDL) will take place on November 6, 2014. Founded by parents Brad & Candy Levy and their pediatric neurologist Dr. Diane Stein as a grateful awareness-building tribute to the Levy’s 14 year old daughter Sofie, who is now 5 years seizure free!

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The Epilepsy EXPO, November 5th, 2014, is a free day for everyone to learn about epilepsy and to come together as a community. Over 30 non-profit groups will be at the expo to answer questions on how their mission can help you. In addition many exhibitors & sponsors will be demonstrating what they bring to the epilepsy communities. Round table discussions will be lead through out the day by various medical professionals, supporters and advocates. Don’t forget to stop by the 2BePositive table, introduce yourself, share your story and make a poster. We look forward to meeting everyone!

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The Expo will be held at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel - 1717 S Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, California, 92802.

The fun continues the following day – Thursday November 6th when we all join together to turn Disneyland purple! Last year was amazing and there were almost 1000 people.

This  year close to 2000 are expected! If you have any questions, please contact Candy Levy Candy@EpilepsyAwarenessDay.org

Epilepsy Awareness Day at Disneyland 2013

Come join us, raise awareness and have fun! Leave a comment below so we can get to know you..  Are you coming this year?  Are you with an organization? Did you come last year? See you there!

Choose 2B purple!

Hugs,

kl

Donate to Epilepsy Awareness Day Disneyland

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and in more than 200 cities across the country, communities and their leaders are coming together to take action against bullying. Bullying is a serious issue facing more than 1 in 4 children nationwide. This is an important topic for me as both my children were bullied when they were in school. There are 3 different types of bullying – verbal; social and physical – and between both my children, we experienced all of them.

When Michael started 8th grade, we moved to a new area. Being the “new kid on the block can be difficult” as he knows. School started out great. He was enthusiastic, happy, and involved for 5 months. Then came the “Birthday punches”, and life changed…again.

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We were however, able to turn this ugly experience into a positive one. We felt extremely honored to have Gerda Weissman Klein, a remarkable woman and family friend come and speak at Michael’s school. If anyone knows about tolerance and finding the strength to make it through an awful situation it is Gerda.

Gerda is a Holocast Survivor, an author of many books as well as a professional speaker. She has traveled around the world sharing her story in order to educate; teach tolerance; and help others move on after tragedies. Gerda has appeared on 60 minutes and Nightline, and has won an Academy Award for the HBO documentary called, One Survivor Remembers. In 2011, President Obama awarded her the Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive.

What exactly is bullying? According to stopbullying.gov, a federal government website, “bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

What you can do:

  • Stop the bullying immediately
  • Find out what happened
  • Support the kids involved
  • Be active in teaching

 

Thank you Jarrett and Bridget for looking out for Michael and always being there for him. Having such supportive teachers allowed him to persevere, take a stand and be an individual. Have you been bullied before? If so, what did you do about it? We would love to hear your story. Perhaps your sharing will help others.

Be compassionate, Be kind, Be honest, Be True!

-kl

Click here to read more about bullying from stopbullying.gov

One Survivor Remembers

Last year I was fortunate to meet a very special family and help celebrate the life of Maxie. This October will be the fourth birthday of Maxie’s that his family has to spend without him. Maxie’s Birthday Benefit will be celebrated again at Golden Road Brewing on October 12th from 12pm – 4pm and will be in support of First Candle.

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First Candle funds important research into the causes of Stillbirth, SIDS, and SUDC; educates parents and caretakers about safe sleep; and supports grieving parents with a 24 hour grief hotline 800-221-7437

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2BePositive is looking forward to being a sponsor this year at Maxie’s Birthday Benefit. Come and join us to celebrate Maxie’s life, help contribute to a very important cause, hang out with your friends and even meet new ones! Drink Golden Road microbrew (open bar), enjoy a fabulous buffet, arts and crafts, games, a silent auction, a brewery tour (have you ever toured a beer brewery?) and more! 

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First Candle

Golden Road Brewery

by Steven Greenberg

Sunday August 24th was the Brain Tumor Society Los Angeles Walk. My mom and I woke up bright and early, which I wasn’t so excited about, and set out for a day in the burning sun. I didn’t know much about brain tumors and in my mind I was simply going to help her photograph an event. However, my opinions were drastically changed while I was there.

I realized that brain tumors can affect anyone. I met survivors and people who had lost loved ones of all ages. In one day, their world was changed forever. It’s something we don’t tend to think about until it begins to affect us. Brain tumors are indiscriminate and destructive. They impact everyone.

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Being an assistant photographer, I was running around taking photos of different groups of people and hearing their stories. There was a little boy who got on stage and announced to the crowd, “I am 6 years old and I am a survivor.” I was incredibly impressed by his courage and his positive outlook on life.

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I realized very quickly the level of camaraderie these people felt with each other and tried to understand what they had been through, but I have never been close to someone who has suffered with a brain tumor. I will never be able to truly understand what they have been through, but I was inspired by their fortitude. Everyone at that walk has been through a lot, but they were there supporting each other, raising awareness, and banding together to find a cure. The people I met had made a choice to do something about their experience. Rather than simply mourning, they have turned their loss into strength and now use that strength to help others. The Brain Tumor Walk wasn’t just a walk. It was a community of people who felt true empathy for each other and supported one another.

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What did I take away from this? Life can change in a matter of seconds. You never know how long someone might have in our life. But it’s because of this that we can enjoy everything that life has to offer. We laugh and get hurt but no matter what, we’re still alive. Don’t take that lightly. Realize how amazing you are and how much potential you have and then use it! Do something extraordinary and live simply. Adventure doesn’t have to be extravagant, it can start right now, right here. The choice is yours.

NBTS – National Brain Tumor Society

NBTS – Southern California

Pass it on. Your life matters! #youmatter #suicideispreventable #letitout

My son often tells people that I have saved his life many times.

The fact is, he has saved his own life, but I was there to listen, to support, and to get him the help he needed. I was open. I didn’t judge him. I encouraged him to talk about his feelings and his thoughts. I respected him. There is no reason to fear honest open communication.

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I was also realistic – I locked up kitchen knives, prescription medication, and household chemicals. I educated myself and my family. I took him seriously and we worked together. I knew the feeling.

 

I remember when I was younger people would say a lot of things about illnesses like cancer and mental health. One thing they said really affected with me. “If you don’t talk about it, it won’t happen”. Obviously that isn’t so, but it stuck with me and I never told anyone how I felt for my last 2 years of high school. Since nobody talked about “those things”…neither did I. But one day I did. Talking about what I was going through brought relief, understanding, acceptance, self-worth, and the realization that we all need to be able to feel safe to express our thoughts and feelings. When my son was very young people would tell me “Don’t put ideas in his head”. I didn’t have to. There is no reason to be ashamed. There is no reason for the conversation of suicide to be tucked away in a dark corner where nobody wants to “wake up the monster”.

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If you or a friend are struggling with difficult emotions, no matter what you are going through, the Lifeline is available 24/7 to help. Call: 1-800-273-TALK(8255) The call is free and confidential, and you don’t have to be thinking about suicide to call.

From National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

·      Feeling like a burden to others

·      Sleeping too little or too much

·      Acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly

·      Increasing the use of drugs or alcohol

·      Talking about feelings of hopelessness

·      Searching for methods online

·      Talking about wanting to die

·      Withdrawing or feeling isolated

·      Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

 

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Pass it on. Your life matters! #youmatter Call Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK(8255)

AJ French is a mental health advocate who demonstrates that a little tenacity and the courage to speak up has the power to change lives.

“Suicide is a public health epidemic deserving of a proportional response and we need to address it as such. Anytime I catch myself saying “we need to” I am reminded that “I need to.” I hope many people who are reading this find themselves agreeing in heart and are compelled to action. continue reading here

The most important thing to remember is that we have a voice and lives are saved when we exercise our righteous voice. Everyone reading this has opportunity to save lives. Notice it’s in plural. We don’t know how many lives will be saved, but we do know that LIVES WILL BE SAVED!

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Suicide Prevention Lifeline Facebook

BringChange2Mind

DBSA

The Balanced Mind

We met when our boys were in 4th grade. We bonded over other challenges the kids were going through at that stage.  Then a few years later, I heard these words from Ellen, which turned out to be the first of 3 friends that year to share the words “he has GBM”. By the 3rd time, I knew more about it than my friend who had just been diagnosed!

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I didn’t hesitate when Ellen asked if I would photograph the Los Angeles Brain Tumor Walk. I will be there honoring Joey, Ben, and Brian and I will do my part to raise awareness and money, and to help educate and connect others. -kl
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Ellen is participating in the 2014 Los Angeles Brain Tumor Walk because “I lost my youngest son, Joey, to Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), on August 27, 2011, 15 months after diagnosis and I don’t want to continue seeing other familes go through what we did with Joey.
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There’s still time to make your donations on behalf of Team Joey for the upcoming Los Angeles Brain Tumor Walk which takes place on August 24, 2014! We are doing this in honor of Joey whose Angelversary takes place a few days after this walk (8/27). Please help us honor his memory by making a donation which whill help the NBTS towards its goal of finding a cure or viable treatment for brain tumors. If Joey were alive, he’d be actively participating in this worthwhile effort. Thank you in advance for your support!”

 
Los Angeles Brain Tumor Walk, is an event to raise awareness and much-needed resources to fund critical brain tumor-specific programs to improve the lives of all those affected by brain tumors. All funds raised through their events allow the National Brain Tumor Society to advance research and public policy to improve the availability of new and better treatments, and fuel the discovery of a cure for brain tumors.
 
Countdown has started for the 2014 Los Angeles Brain Tumor Walk. So far over $132,079 has been raised and the donations keep coming in.

You can still register for Team Joey (or another team) - Head down to Exposition Park Los Angeles tomorrow at 8am and go to the check in tent. Please consider making a donation online at www.braintumorwalk.org/losangeles or bring your donations tomorrow.

For more information, contact sfernandez@braintumor.org
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It is said “good things are worth waiting for” It has taken me a while to get on track and to post some work… I’m hoping you’ll find it’s worth waiting for!

As always, I’m fortunate to do the work I love. I get to see old friends, make new ones, and work with wonderful organizations.  I am able to inspire and be inspired, to share and connect, and to help people help themselves.

I can’t think of a better time to be blogging again – I received a surprise package in the mail today to celebrate the start of the 15th annual Happiness Happens Month on Aug 1, yup the whole month is a celebration of happiness.
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My friend Pamela, founder of SOHP (not telling exactly what that is – you have to go check it out) is kick-starting the month by… click here to find out and would appreciate your support.
Thank you Pamela for being a constant reminder – you can never have too much happy!

Be True – Be You!

xo – kl

On July 17th everyone looked forward to a night of laughter, and…tumors? Sounds odd but the pairing works quite well for NETumor Humor.

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NETumor Humor is an annual comedy benefit and raffle based out of Los Angeles on a mission to aid research and awareness of Carcinoid/NeuroEndocrine Tumor (NET) Cancer through comedy. NET Cancer requires a different treatment than your ol’ everyday run-of-the-mill cancer and could look like other cancers but a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis could be deadly to a patient with NET Cancer. In light of the high rate of misdiagnosis, stand-up comedian Andie Bolt took on the task of raising awareness through the only way she knew how: comedy. As the tagline of NETumorHumor.com reads, “If you’re laughing about it, you’re talking about it.”

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In the past NETumor Humor put on stand-up comedy shows to raise awareness but now Andie has been in production on a full length feature documentary: The Road to Azeroth, inspired by her mother who is a NET patient and her love of World of Warcraft. Terry (her mother) uses the game as a tool to cope with fighting this rare cancer and Andie copes by telling jokes about it. Over the last year Andie has been documenting Terry knocking out her bucket list which also included her mom doing stand up for the first time. So Andie merged the two! July 17th they teamed up with Nerdist and Meltdown Comics to host a comedy show featuring Chris Hardwick, Greg Fitzsimmons, Fortune Feimster, Adam Ray, Andie Bolt and Terry Bolt. With an appearance by the 2 time talent show BlizzCon champs the epically awesome band, Song Hammer.

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This documentary “Road to Azeroth” Directed by Andie Bolt, produced by Red Bolt Films and Nerdist industries is about Andie Bolt’s mother and her journey to crossing the last three things off of her bucket list: publish a novel, perform stand up comedy and attending BlizzCon in full cos-play. A convention that hosts a large number of gamers and Blizzard fans. Although the story was first conceived as a way to tell Terry’s story it shortly became a story for those who are not only dealing with NET Cancer but how people all over the world use games as a way to cope with hardship or loss.

From RoadtoAzeroth.com Andie Bolt writes, “I met a man who played WoW with his son while he was losing the battle to brain tumors. He read me a poem about the moment he felt his son’s life leave his body as he held him…In that moment I realized: I can’t just bang a project together…I better tell their stories right…[We] want to do justice to everyone’s lives and memories by giving the film the polish it deserves…There are just too many people who relate to my family’s story, and I wanna tell their stories right.”

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Enjoy some photos from that night. We hope you’ll follow the links below to NETumor Humor’s website, Road to Azeroth and find out a little bit more about how comedy fights cancer. To see or download the images from the evening click here!

 

The Road to Azeroth

Nerdist

Wildland Firefighter Foundation

NETumorHumor

Cedar Sinai – special link to be added soon, set up by Cedar Sinai to donate to NETumorHumor and Terry Bolt!

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Songhammer

Choose 2BePositive™

Carcinoid Cancer Foundation

 

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Charlie John Cash was born on 2/27/13 via EXIT procedure. He has an undiagnosed syndrome and is still currently residing in the NICU. I feel blessed to have met another amazing family. Thank you Jerrica and Owen for connecting us. Jerrica, you are a beacon of strength to all who know you, and Owen, you are quite simply the happiest baby I have ever met, what a role model you are for your little buddy Charlie!Alina and Brandon, thank you for opening your home and your hearts and trusting me with your family. Charlie, I’m so glad you made it out of PICU to meet me. What a great Christmas gift you gave your family! Kayden and Cameron – you are very special big brothers and Charlie is lucky to have you guys!

 
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Charlie’s 1st birthday is coming up, and so is his next big surgery. I have set up a GiveForward fundraising page to help Charlie’s family with all the expenses that they face, and to help celebrate all 3 boys birthdays in the next couple of months. Most people cannot begin to imagine what it might be like to raise a child with special needs, let alone comprehend of the kinds of medical conditions that Charlie has faced. “Charlie was partially delivered for 23 minutes before his ENT Dr. secured his airway” …and then proceeded to have a 7hr surgery … and that was day 1! You can read more about Charlie’s Epic Journey here.Do you ever just stop and appreciate how special life is? That it shouldn’t be taken for granted? That you should really appreciate everything…even the little things, especially the little things. Don’t wait for a momentous occasion to celebrate; feel gratitude or acknowledge something or someone. Be grateful for what you have right now.Please take a moment to think about Charlie’s family, and how positive and grateful they are. Click on the link, and help make this difficult time a little easier for Charlie and his family.

 
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by Alina:
 
We’ve had an entire year of absolute chaos, constant worry, sleepless nights and most of all adjusting to this new crazy normal we call our LIFE! Along our journey we have met some of the most caring, genuine and kind hearted people. Charlie was born on Feb 27th and spent the 1st 8 months of his life as an inpatient in the hospital. During the majority of 2013 our sweet baby endured surgery after surgery. For our family to have photos taken was SO much more than just a picture. To me it symbolized how far we have come and how blessed we are. We may have all given up a little or a lot of something but gained so much more along the way. Meeting Keren through a fellow PICU mom was the chance of a lifetime. To sit with someone who, in a sense, speaks the same language was so comforting. There was no need to explain my son’s differences or his medical equipment. I can’t even begin to explain the sense of relief I felt. I’ll forever display these beautiful photos and it’ll be a constant reminder of love, peace, happiness and strength

 

 

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It is my goal, through photography and Life Happens – Choose 2bepositive™ to help empower each person to be true; to find the strength within; to handle life with grace; to pursue passion, and to learn what happiness and being positive means.

My wish is to bring a little happiness to other people’s lives who are  going through a difficult time. It saddens me that in order to enjoy something or to feel better (physically, emotionally, and mentally) it usually comes with a price tag. I know that every person can make a difference and I intend to do just that!

In 1997, my friend Mike Young was paralyzed during an accident in the middle of a motocross championship race.  I have only known Mike a couple of years. He works hard at staying positive and inspiring other young racers who have had accidents, yet I have come to see how hard he struggles to find the balance by not competing in racing and experiencing a physically active life, together with his financial and ongoing physical complications. Mike let me know recently how badly he wants to be able to “hit the dirt” in adaptive equipment – an amazing Off Road Handcycle, but that it is unfortunately too expensive.

So I have chosen to celebrate my birthday (Jan 3rd) by receiving the best gift I can think of – to see Mike motivated again, and fulfill his passion to be outdoors, explore, race and compete. I decided not to have a party and in lieu of presents, I would like to ask if friends and family can help me give Mike a special gift!

IMG_4685IMG_6400Life happens – choose 2bepositive™ is about sharing stories to both educate and break stigmas, and remind people they are not alone…that there is support out there from people who know 1st hand what they are going through. 2bepositive™ is about inspiring others and being inspired… it’s about helping and being helped, sharing, caring, compassion and kindness.

GivingForward is a wonderful medically based fundraising organization and I am thrilled to be working with them. I have set up a page directly for Mike with the intention of purchasing the hand cycle chair for him…with your help! Please click this link to donate, and check back soon for Mike’s blog post about the day that changed his life forever.

Be grateful for what you DO have…don’t dwell on what you DON’T have. Pay it forward!