C – A Celebration of Life is in the Alive Documentary Film Festival

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We are very excited to have been selected to show in this years Alive Documentary Film Festival.

C – A Celebration of Life will be shown online tomorrow, September 23rd at 5:05pm Pacific Standard Time.

They also have audience voting, so if you like the film, please, please vote.

Their website is www.Alivedocfest.com

Thanks so much for your support.

Mission Positive Films

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Thank God for Skycaps


It took 2 vehicles to get us to the airport, 3 skycaps carts to get us to the counter, an hour to get all the paperwork processed, 30 minutes to get the animals through TSA, and we still had time to shovel in a quick Lahaina Chicken plate. Will post more details later, but we’re on our way. Thanks to Tom and Kalena for helping us handle getting to the airport.

Woohoo!!! Portland, here we come !!!!!! 

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MPF Celebrate Life Tour – 10 Days & Counting & We Still Have Monkeys

MPF Celebrate Life Tour – 10 Days & Counting & We Still Have Monkeys

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Prep for The Celebrate Life Tour

I bet you’re scratching your head about that title. Years ago when we were drowning in the responsibility of a small business, a friend told me I needed to take those monkeys off my back, and give them to someone else. Meaning of course, I needed to learn to delegate. Over the course of time though, whenever I’m loaded down with a big ” To Do ” list, I have this great visual of all these monkeys swinging around on my back, yanking my hair, flicking my ears, sticking their fingers in my nose, and in general just trying to aggravate me. As I check things off the list, I grab a monkey and send it packing, and then anxiously get started on the next thing, trying to rid myself of those little beasties as soon as possible.

Now that we’ve hit the 10 days and counting point to the Celebrate Life Tour, when I was hoping to have just a few hanging around, there’s still enough of those little suckers left to have a full blown monkey party. Well as they say, no rest for the crazy. Anyway, let me catch you up a little on what’s been going on.

When we first came up with the idea of being gone 3 months, it didn’t seem like it would be all that difficult to put it together, kind of an ignorance is bliss thing. Had we really thought about it, we might have said, ” Nah, way to much work “, and missed out on all this insanity. Things like paying the monthly bills seemed like no big deal, because there’s this wonderful service called E-Banking, sweet. Yeh, that is until your bank tells you it doesn’t work in Canada, WHAT ? Ok, now it’s complicated. Oh, and then there’s your mortgage company that won’t let you do an autopay unless you have a checking or savings account with them. Really. Fortunately, thanks to some very accommodating bankers, I think we have gotten it worked out, but if I happen to send you what turns into a rubber check, I promise it wasn’t intentional.  Then there’s holding the mail, no problem right ? No problem if you’re gone less than 30 days, but if you’re gone more than 30 days, yeh, you got a problem.

Yesterday was plant day, and for this I need to back up a minute and give you some background. Sorry, again with the business, but this relates to dealing with stress. As you know, owning or running a business is definitely in the high stress category of daily life, and people deal with it in different ways. Some eat, some drink, some take really strong drugs, and some do all of the above, but for some reason I dealt with it by getting in touch with my inner gardener. I found that caring for plants, primarily orchids, worked as a decompressor, and the number of plants was in direct relationship to the amount of stress. I think you’ve already guessed, that means a whooooole lot of plants. I joined an orchid club, and I went to plant shows, and there wasn’t a meeting or show that I ever left empty handed. Our house is built on a hill, so it has multiple levels, most of which have patios, and we have a large atrium area off the living room, so it’s a great house for plants. Did I take advantage of that ? You betcha. After filling up every nook and cranny that had enough light to accommodate a green one, and reaching my limit on having enough time to tend to them, I finally quit the club, and would not step foot in a plant show knowing that I had no willpower to resist those beautiful flowering plants. Though I have been gifted plants since then, I have not bought any more, but most of them are still alive and under my care. Our normal trips have run around 10 days, and we have been lucky to have house sitters that were kind enough to try and make sure there were no casualties while we were gone.  Now, we’re looking at 3 months, and there’s no way, I could ask someone do deal with the work of that many plants, so the only option was to find a home for them outside under the sprinkler system. With the invaluable help of our very good friend Tom, all of them were relocated yesterday to their new home, and what I thought would be a few hours, turned into an entire day, but it’s done, and that monkey’s long gone.

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What’s an atrium without plants ? A Bowling Alley ?
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Outdoor Living – A New Home for Lots of Spoiled Houseplants

Today is clothes packing day. I’m not sure how this is gonna turn out, I have a hard enough time trying to figure out what to wear to dinner, and now I have to put together 3 months worth. Yikes !

MPF – The Celebrate Life Tour

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MPF – The Celebrate Life Tour – The Route – Looks A Little Loopy To Me

The Celebrate Life Tour – The Route – Looks A Little Loopy To Me

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Thought it would be fun to show you the route for this summers Celebrate Life Tour. We start in Portland, make our way north through Washington State, cross the border into Canada, hang a little in Vancouver, then head up to the incredible hiking country that is Yoho, Banff, Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks. We should have some really amazing shots for you from that area.

After playing with the bears, we head back down to the beauty that is Coeur D’Alene, then over to Missoula, Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole. I’m planning on doing the Jackson Hole Marathon while we’re there, so that should be good for lots of laughs since I haven’t started any training yet. We fortunately have a few days scheduled after the marathon, and considering I probably won’t be able to walk for a while, that should come in quite handy.

From there we head back through Idaho, visit some friends in Boise and enjoy the last Celebrate Life Tour event. Our final stop is Bend where our ” Climbing Gurus “, Gil and Cheryl, are waiting to inflict the pain of their Hiking Boot Camp on us, then we’ll put the Beast in it’s winter home, and head to Portland for our flight back to Hawaii.

Three months, 5 States, 2 Canadian Provinces, and 20 RV Parks, and it all starts on June 30th. Stay tuned, lots of laughs ahead.

The Celebrate Life Tour – Mission Positive Films

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MPF – The Celebrate Life Tour – The Critters Are Coming – Part 1

MPF – The Celebrate Life Tour – The Critters Are Coming – Part 1

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Breakfast

If you would have told me 5 years ago that we would have seven cats, 1 dog, and 3 birds, I would have said that Starbucks cup you were holding had something stronger in it than just coffee. When we sold our business, we had a senior dog, a Muluccan Cockatoo ( very big bird ) , two Love Birds, and absolutely no intention of adding anything else. A few months later, the scrawniest looking tuxedo cat ended up in our yard, begging for help. We took him to the vet, cleaned him up, and brought him inside. A few months later another hard case showed up, and we reluctantly followed suit.

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#1 Kaimana ( Tuxedo Cat ), #2 Kimba

My friend Cheryl holds that Don’s mom and my mom, who are both stars in the heavens, sent those little cats to us knowing we would care for them. I have a different theory though. I now firmly believe that all stray cats carry around a little sign with them that simply says ” Suckers” , and as soon as they find a sympathetic house, they plant it in the front yard for all the other cats to see.

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#3 Beau, and #4 Rosie

Our third cat stumbled over to me ( again in our front yard ), when he was just about 4 weeks old, and barely able to walk. Two weeks later, his sister showed up, so all of a sudden we were starting to get those ” crazy cat people ” looks from the neighbors. Finally, a few months later, the same mom popped out 4 more, and despite a valiant effort, we were able to find a home for only one of them. As time passed with no takers for the others, they won our hearts, and then there were seven.

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Tobi

Sometime between cat number 2 and cat number 3, I was out for a walk in the neighborhood, and saw the cutest little dog running free, which is a very unusual site considering the nature of our particular street. Though it’s very much a two lane residential road, the 25 mph signs are bowed over from suction of cars going by at almost the speed of sound. OK, a slight exaggeration, but you get my point.  Anyway, I grabbed him up, found someone who pointed me in the right direction, dropped him off, and left very happy that he was home safe and sound. A few days later, I was in the middle of a morning walk, when…( I know you’ve already finished the sentence ), there he was running down the neighborhood speedway again. Unfortunately, his owners were at work, and since I wasn’t about to let him loose again, I took him home, introduced him to Don, and waited until they got back. This time when I dropped him off I got a little more information about the situation. He was a stray that had shown up on their doorstep 3 months earlier, and had just stayed. They were a young couple with a new baby, and another dog, so I mentioned that we would be happy to take him if the situation was too much for them. They thanked me, but let me know they were just fine. A week later, I got a frantic call begging me to pick him up. Apparently another neighbor had found the dog running the street and gave them enough of an earful to prompt the call. We had no idea at that point, what a wonderful gift we had just been given.

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Tobi & Rudy

One of the most common questions we hear is ” How do they all get along ?” or more specifically ” How does the dog get along with the cats “. The honest answer is remarkably well. Does that mean they walk around purring all day ? No… but outside of an occasional swat, there’s never any serious disagreements. Our first adopted cat, Kaimana, is the king of the castle, who bows to no 4 legged family member except Tobi ( the dog ), and if he is not paid the proper homage, he uses ” the paw “. Once discipline has been administered though, all’s well. Tobi, while firmly believing that dogs are the more evolved species, accepts the cats as part of his family, and treats them accordingly. He has told us though on more than one occasion, that the cat to dog ratio is a little skewed. In the evenings, when Don and I start relaxing , most, if not all of the animals are there with us. It’s a kick so see so many furry ones happily lounging in a small area, and the main reason we have hopes for a smooth transition to our close quarters in the RV during the Celebrate Life Tour, but you never know.

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The Wrecking Crew. #5 Teri, #6 Rudy, # 7 Edmund

The biggest surprise for Don and I has been how much joy these critters have brought to our lives. There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t get at least one good belly laugh and tons of chuckles. The second biggest surprise is how much havoc they are capable of creating. Our first 4 cats were so gentle on our things, they’d gingerly step around vases or art pieces, never leaving but a hair or two behind. However the last three to join the household could be hired out as a wrecking crew. After losing a number of irreplaceable pieces, and knowing that eventually everything would fall prey to the destruction team, I found a miracle, and it’s name was Museum Gel. At this point everything in the house is glued down with Museum Gel, and I mean everything. Come to my house and try to pick something off a shelf or table, not a chance, that puppy’s there to stay. Trust me, it’s the greatest thing since the wheel. I was going to say fire, but that’s pushing it a bit. At least now I can laugh when one of them does a 2 1/2 gainer off the top shelf and lands on top of grandmother’s vase.

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like without them, which is why we’re attempting to take them on this crazy adventure, and believe me, the Museum Gel is going too.

The Celebrate Life Tour

Post Script

Our senior dog ” Daisy ” was a wonderful companion for 16 1/2 years. She actually got to meet all the family before she passed.

We were finally able to catch the mother of the 2 litters we adopted and had her fixed. She is doing great.

 

Coming up : MPF – The Celebrate Life Tour – The Critters Are Coming – Part 2 – The planning that goes into taking 8 animals from Hawaii and back again without a 4 month  quarantine.

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The MPF Celebrate Life Tour Is Headed To Vancouver, BC

The MPF Celebrate Life Tour Is Headed To Vancouver, BC

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Celebrate Life Tour – Vancouver BC

If you’ve been touched by cancer, whether you’re a patient, survivor, or caregiver, please come and Celebrate Life. We’ll have great music, a Fighter and Survivor slide show with tips and tricks, information on services and products to help those going through and recovering from treatments, 2 fabulous guest speakers, and a showing of the award winning cancer survivorship documentary ” C – A Celebration of Life “.  Watch Trailer

It all happens on July 19th from 9am to 11:30am, at the Hollywood 3 Cinemas – 19190 Lougheed Hwy. Pitt Meadows, BC, and it’s free to the public. Seating is limited, so be sure and Register Here.

Check here for more information on the Celebrate Life Tour and it’s other stops.

OUR AMAZING KEYNOTE SPEAKER

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” Choosing to smile ” is the message Chilliwack’s own Glenda Standeven practices and passes on to whomever she meets. This force of nature has not just survived but thrived through adversities that would bring most of us to our knees. After losing her right leg, hip, and pelvis to Bone Cancer, she gave birth to her second son, won 2 Silver Medals in the 1990 BC Winter Games, saw her husband through a battle with an aggressive Prostate Cancer, had 2 books published, and became an award winning Inspirational Speaker. She has also garnered numerous awards for her volunteer and fundraising efforts over the last 2 1/2 decades, including the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

For more information about Glenda, visit her website at www.glendastandeven.com.

OUR VERY SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER

Celebrate Life, Celebrate Life Tour,Celebrate Life Vancouver BC,Celebrate Life Event Vancouver BC,Celebrate Life,Mission Positive Films,C - A Celebration of Life,Celebration of Life,A Celebration of Life,C A Celebration of Life,Scott Kehoe

Scott Kehoe is on a mission. At 28, when he was thriving in the fast paced world of Sports Marketing, he was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. After a difficult but successful battle against the disease, his priorities had changed, and he left the world of sports to do everything he could to help find a cure, and lend his support to those still fighting. As the Fund Development Manager and Peer to Peer Consultant for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – BC/Yukon region, he is in a position to do just that, but it doesn’t end there. He has recently founded Project 5ive which is an online peer to peer inspiration and resource network for cancer survivors, and if there’s an event to help make a difference in cancer fundraising or awareness, he’ll be there, doing whatever needs to be done.

For more information on Project 5ive, visit the website at www.project5ive.com.

GREAT SPONSORS

Celebrate Life, Celebrate Life Tour,Celebrate Life Vancouver BC,Celebrate Life Event Vancouver BC,Celebrate Life,Mission Positive Films,C - A Celebration of Life,Celebration of Life,A Celebration of Life,C A Celebration of Life,Hollywood 3 Cinemas Pitt MeadowsA big thank you to Hollywood 3 Cinemas Pitt Meadows for generously donating our wonderful venue.

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Thank you to Clark’s Audio Visual Services Ltd. for generously donating the Mic System.

SEATING IS LIMITED, SO BE SURE AND REGISTER HERE

Please note: Food is not included with the event, but is available for purchase at the theater concession.

Event Map


Mission Positive Films

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Maybe We Shouldn’t Have Had That Second Glass Of Wine – Celebrate Life Tour

Maybe We Shouldn’t Have Had That Second Glass Of Wine – Celebrate Life Tour

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Did you ever have one of those days where you and your honey are having a glass of wine, and you come up with this great idea to go on an RV trip for 3 months, take all the animals with you, and put on Celebrate Life Tour events along the way, then 9 months later you look at each other and say, ” What in the world were we thinking” ?

Back when we owned a custom sign company, we’d close the shop over the year end holidays and take our sanity vacation. We figured out early on that we had two choices, a funny farm or a vacation, and the vacation was cheaper. If you have owned or managed a small business you know exactly what I’m talking about. Anyway, the weeks preceding the trip were insane to the point we’d start questioning whether it was really worth it, but of course as soon as we got on the plane, all the madness faded from memory. Little did I know that would turn out to be our basic training for this trip. What makes this one especially challenging is not only the time length of it, or the number of furry ones we’re taking, or trying to outfit a new rig when we’re in Hawaii and it’s in Oregon, but also organizing the Celebrate Life events that we’ll be doing along the way.

Let’s take a minute to go over the beginnings of this crazy adventure, so those that are just joining us will have a better idea what all the fuss is about. Last July, Don and I had a few hours to kill in Kalispell, Montana, and on a whim decided to go to an RV dealership just to window shop. We’d been kicking the idea around for a few years on how fun it would be to travel the U.S. in a ” home ” away from home, but figured we’d do a lot of research to find the right rig at the right price, and blah, blah, blah. Well to make a long story short, we spent the next 2 days at the dealership and headed back to Hawaii the proud owners of a Winnebago Scorpion Toy Hauler. Now your question at this point would be, ” What on earth do 2 people need with a 45′ long, 8 1/2′ wide, and 13′ 3″ tall monster rig ? “.  The answer, is that we have 7 cats and 1 dog, and live in Hawaii. Because taking short trips to and from Hawaii is not practical, because there’s no way we would leave our animals for months at a time, and that’s even if we could afford the pet sitting fees,  and because there’s absolutely no way we’re going to have litter boxes in our living room, we needed something that could accommodate all of us.  This unit has a 14′ long garage that was intended for carrying motorcycles, or ATV’s etc., so it makes the perfect home for our 4 legged friends, and after a long day of fun, we can close the door and have the main living area of the RV all to ourselves. Ahhhh, peace and quiet.

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In October, we took a few days and moved the RV to it’s winter storage home in Oregon, where the Celebrate Life Tour will begin, which unexpectedly turned into quite an adventure. If you want a couple of good giggles, check out the blog posts between August and November in ” The Celebration Tour & RV Adventures” category. The best way is to scroll all the way to the end of that category and read backward so to speak, that way you’re reading them in the proper order.

OK, flash forward. There were still some warranty issues left undone when we stored the RV, so I found a great company in Bend that agreed to pick it up, do the work, and drop it back off again, and I set up an appointment in March to make sure everything would be done long before we started the trip. The day before the scheduled pick up, they called to let me know that they were no longer an authorized Winnebago repair shop. **** ( insert expletive of your choice ). Several days and a ton of phone calls to Winnebago and all the RV repair shops in the area finally produced a company that would do the work, but they couldn’t do the repair on the generator, nor would they do any transporting of the trailer. **** ( same expletive ). Fortunately, we had some odds and ends that needed to be done outside of the warranty work, so here’s how it went down. The original company picked it up and took it to the authorized trailer repair company, then picked it up and took it to the authorized generator repair company, then picked it up, did the odds and ends work, and took it back to storage. Phewww.

The next issue that we needed to address was storage. If we were planning a weekender or even a week trip, or if we were the Bear Grylls type that can spend a month in the wilderness with a pocketknife and a bag of potato chips, no problem, but unfortunately we weren’t checking any of those boxes, so we definitely had to come up with a solution.  Our trailer was the first generation of this particular model, and considering the garage has much better layout than the kitchen, no doubt the designer was a man.  After getting customer feedback, no doubt primarily by women, ( see I’m an equal opportunity smart *** ), they made some great improvements in kitchen storage, but that of course didn’t solve our problem. Outside of a few kitchen drawers and 2 very high and very, very short upper cabinets, we have 1 wall cabinet that is 8″ wide x 10″ deep on the inside . To give you an idea what that means, a standard dinner plate is 9″ to 10″ in diameter, and a standard paper plate is 9″, so basically that cabinet is barely big enough to hold a salad plate.

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Fortunately the answer to this was fairy easy. First, right around the corner of the island there is a nice triangular space not doing anything that is perfect for a tall triangular shaped pantry, so woohoo, we’ll have a place to put food. Second, which unfortunately you can’t see in the picture, they put this enormous crown molding at the top of the cabinet, so we can make a new replacement cabinet that uses the same amount of wall , but gives us considerably more usable space inside. Yeah, kitchen solved !

Another spot that really needed to be looked at was the half bath, which for some reason has no cabinet or mirror. So that means the extra rolls of toilet paper have to sit on the floor ? I don’t think so. Well that little kitchen cabinet that we’re replacing is at least big enough to hold a few rolls of TP, so guess where it’s going. And finally, there’s a great wardrobe closet in the bedroom with it’s lower half occupied by the little washer/dryer combo and an upper area that’s just screaming for shelving. So with 2 cabinets, and some shelving, we made lots of extra storage, we just needed to find a carpenter to do it. I did find what I hope to be the right company in Bend, but after a few phone calls to see how it’s going, I get the ” I haven’t started it yet, but don’t worry, no problem.” I don’t know if you’ve found this to be true, but usually when someone tells me not to worry, that’s when I really should be. We’ll see, I’ll keep you updated.

Next Post: “The Critters are Coming “. Look for it in a couple of days.

Heather M Spencer

Mission Positive Films – Celebrate Life Tour

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The MPF Celebrate Life Tour Is Set To Stop In Tacoma, WA – July 9th

The MPF Celebrate Life Tour Is Set To Stop In Tacoma

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If you’ve been touched by cancer, whether you’re a patient, survivor, or caregiver, please join us at Celebrate Life Tour – Tacoma. We’ll have great music, tips and tricks, information on services and products to help those going through and recovering from treatments, 2 fabulous guest speakers, and a showing of the award winning documentary ” C – A Celebration of Life “. Watch Trailer

It all happens on July 9th, 2016 from 11am to 1:30pm, at The Blue Mouse Theatre, 2611 N Proctor St., Tacoma, WA, and it’s free to the public.  Seating is limited, so be sure and Register Here.

Check here for more information on the Celebrate Life Tour and it’s other stops.

OUR DYNAMIC KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Celebrate Life Tacoma,Celebrate Life Event Tacoma,Celebrate Life,Mission Positive Films,C - A Celebration of Life,Celebration of Life,A Celebration of Life,C A Celebration of Life,Robert B. Haase

We are honored to be joined by Washington’s own Robert B. Haase, a Keynote and Motivational Speaker, and owner of Haase and Associates, Inc. Diagnosed with Tongue Cancer in 2008, and a reoccurance in 2013, he went through 14 surgeries, and was told his speaking career might well be over. He was determined to not let cancer take away what he loved doing, and has fought his way back, but with a new purpose. He’s using his story and experience to help others who are dealing with hardship and adversity.

“Robert is a class act. He made the event what it was with his charm and grace. He connected with the audience and was a delight to work with.” ~ Trinette Baer-Kowalski, Gilda’s Club

For more information on Robert, visit his website at http://www.roberthaase.com.

OUR VERY SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER

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We are equally honored to welcome the amazing Anna Gottlieb, who is the Executive Director of Cancer Pathways ( formerly Gilda’s Club of Seattle ). She had seen an article in People Magazine about the first Gilda’s Club opening in New York City and was so intrigued that she went to see it for herself. She immediately knew that it was something the Northwest needed, and after a long four years of raising money and spreading the word, she was finally able to open the doors. In the 15 years it’s been operating, it has touched over 200,000 people living with cancer, and all the services are free of charge.

For more information on Anna and her mission visit her website at http://cancerpathways.org

GREAT SPONSOR

Celebrate Life Tacoma,Celebrate Life Event Tacoma,Mission Positive Films, Celebrate Life,C - A Celebration of Life,C A Celebration of Life,A Celebration of Life,Celebration of Life

A big thank you to Blue Mouse Theatre for generously donating our wonderful venue.

SEATING IS LIMITED, SO BE SURE AND REGISTER HERE

Please note: Food is not included with the event, but is available for purchase at the theater concession.

Event Map

Mission Positive Films

To keep up with the Celebrate Life Tour,  sign up for Email notices of new posts.

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The MPF Celebrate Life Tour Makes It’s First Stop In Portland – July 2nd

The Celebrate Life Tour Is Coming To Portland

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What does a cancer documentary, a Winnebago Scorpion Toy Hauler, seven stray cats, one stray dog, a 35th year anniversary, and a love of hiking all have in common ? The answer – The Celebrate Life Tour, and it’s starting in Portland.

This begins what should be a very interesting adventure that involves taking a ridiculously large RV, and a ton of animals on a summer trip to Celebrate Life with those touched by cancer.  We will be putting on parties in cities throughout the Northwest, and Canada, bringing together patients, survivors, and caregivers to share stories, information and fun. Amidst the balloons and streamers will be great guest speakers, music, food, information on products and services, and a showing of the award winning cancer survivorship documentary ” C – A Celebration of Life “. These Celebrate Life Tour events are free to the public.

It all happens on July 2nd from 9am – 11:30am, at the Jubitz Cinema – Portlander Inn, 10350 N Vancouver Way, Portland.  Seating is limited, so be sure and Register Here.

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Keynote Speaker – Becky Olson

Our Amazing Keynote Speaker

We’re extremely excited and honored to have Portland’s own Becky Olson serve as our Keynote Speaker. She’s a three-time breast cancer survivor, author, speaker, and co-founder of Breast Friends. She will make you laugh, cry and leave with a newfound enthusiasm for life!

A small sampling of Becky’s clients include: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, National Consortium of Breast Centers, University Health Systems, Good Samaritan, Peace Health Hospital System, Augusta Women’s Leadership Conference, St. John’s Hospital, Soroptimists International, Frito-Lay, Red Hat Society, Michigan State University, Eastern Connecticut Health Network.

Awards Include: Bank of America Local Hero Award, National Pink Power Mom Award, Susan G. Komen Local Hero Award, Toastmasters International Leadership and Communication Award.

“A joy, an inspiration and a witty, articulate speaker – Becky just makes any listener’s heart grow warmer and head grow smarter.”  – Carol Farron, Lodi Memorial Hospital

For more information on Becky’s work and mission, visit her website.

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Guest Speaker – Stephen Swift – Photo by Today’s News – Herald

Our Inspirational Guest Speaker

In March of 2012, Oregon’s own Stephen Swift had already beaten Bone Cancer, lost his father and sister to cancer, and his wife in an automobile accident, but hearing the doctor say he had Pancreatic Cancer, brought it all crashing down. Given 18 months to live, and not knowing what to do, or where to turn, his daughter suggested he go on a bike ride.

In May of that year he headed out on what has been a 4 year, and over 17,000 mile journey across the US. He worked along the way to cover costs, and stopped to spend time with others facing health issues. His goal has simply been to let people know they need to fight cancer or any disease. ” I want them to know they need to get out there and live. It all has to do with my doctor giving me 18 months to live and my expanding it. A doctor has no right to tell us how long we have to live. We have no expiration date, and we need to make the most of each day.”

Through his travels he has collected dozens of pictures, memories, and messages, which are all compiled in notebooks. “I met hundreds and thousands of people with cancer,” Swift said. “I want to just love on people with cancer, care about them, let them know to fight, to never give up, never give in, always go forward.”

It couldn’t happen without these generous sponsors.

A big thank you goes out to Jubitz Corporation for donating the the use of our wonderful event venue.

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And AV Rental Services for donating the use of their Mic System.

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MPF – The Celebrate Life Events Fighter and Survivor Slide Show

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The Celebrate Life Events Fighter and Survivor Slide Show

Life can be so interesting. You plan and prepare, and have an idea on how things should unfold, but somehow the picture in your head seldom matches the reality. Fortunately, in many cases, what actually happens works out considerably better than if it had gone the way we planned. Well that certainly was the case for me regarding a Fighter and Survivor slide show I wanted to put together for the Celebrate Life events. I thought how nice it would be to have something for folks to watch as they were arriving that would inform and inspire, and what’s more inspirational to those dealing with cancer than finding out a little bit about others that are walking that same road. So I sent out a call for photos through all the social media sites, and just knew the pictures would come pouring in. Uh, not !

OK, on to plan B. Still convinced that the Fighter and Survivor slide show was important, I started searching Facebook for photos that showed the courage and bravery that is at the core of those that face cancer, and then contacted the person that had posted them. As you can imagine that was a much greater time and labor investment than I had originally intended, but the surprise that came with it, was something I could have never anticipated.

Had my original plan worked out, I would have gotten a lot of pictures, put together a Fighter and Survivor slide show, and moved on to the rest of the event planning. By having to contact people individually, I received an incredible gift, the gift that only comes with connecting to others. I was rewarded with wonderful stories of hope, of strength, of love, and have become invested in the lives of the beautiful faces that are in those pictures. So the editing that would have normally been considered ” run of the mill “, was transformed into a labor of caring, because I was now dealing with the photos of newly discovered friends.

The project that was intended to be for the benefit of those attending the events, had also turned into a blessing to the giver. All I can say is that I’m so grateful that it didn’t work out ” my way “, I would have missed out on so very much.

Thank you to all who have shared your pictures and stories, you are a light to all those that are trying to find their way through the darkness of a terrifying disease. So many of you have mentioned the hope that your experience will be of help to others. In that vein, we will be sharing a number of your journeys on this blog over the next few weeks. I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy life. Stay true to the beauty you have within, and as so many of you have said, ” Never give up “.

Heather M Spencer

Mission Positive Films

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MPF NEWS – Sharing Our Stories and Adventures