April 29, 2017

Smarty Mom: Shelley Miller

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By Smarty Guest Blogger Lisa Farley

Anyone who knows Shelley knows that she is passionate about health and fitness, quick with a smile, and an empathetic listener. My bet is that these traits stem from her early childhood experiences. Growing up in a very active family, she developed a lifelong love of competition and sport. Shelley is the oldest of four children, with a younger sister and two younger brothers, she is a natural care-taker. When she was a teenager her baby brother, Chris, was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was just five years old. Watching him fight a 3-year battle and survive, beating the odds at that time, set a foundation of compassion that is integral to who she is today and gives her a joyful perspective on life. I am blessed to have Shelley as a friend and am honored to introduce her to all you Smarty Moms.

Smarty Mom: Shelley Miller

Married to: Jason
Children: Lauren, Jordyn and Madison
Pets: Skeeter (dog) and Shadow (gerbil)
Hometown: Woodbridge, VA
Years in Charlotte: 20
Occupation: Stay-at-Home Mom / CPA / Volunteer
Alma Mater: Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!)
Favorite Charity: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)

Your younger brother had cancer as a child, what was that like for you:

Chris was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when I was thirteen, so I was definitely aware. The medicines that he took made him really sick so it was a very scary time. I saw firsthand what he went through; many blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants, hospital stays and chemotherapy treatments. We were hopeful he would go into remission, but there were no guarantees. It was really hard when Chris lost his hair because people would often stare. Not that they meant to, it’s a natural reaction, but I just remember being very protective of him. I also remember times where he was sick and had to miss out on things. Once while we were on vacation in California, Chris got sick and my dad and my siblings and I and went off to explore while my mom had to stay back with Chris. That was tough. Shelley & Chris

When I look back now, I see that my parents did a lot to make sure that my other brother and my sister and I had as normal a childhood throughout those three years as possible. Now that I have children of my own, I realize just how strong they were. My mom spent a lot of time with Chris the hospital, and that was hard, but both my parents really just kept everything as even keel and as normal as possible for the rest of us.

Thankfully Chris did go into remission at age 8 and is now 36, cancer free, and living in Portland, OR, with his wife, Caitlin.

How did you get involved with the LLS Man & Woman of the Year Campaign? What do you hope to achieve through your involvement?

The one charity I always gave to most substantially was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. More than 140,000 people are diagnosed with a blood cancer each year and more than 53,000 will lose their battle. I wanted to do all I could to fight this disease. Last year I co-coached a Moms In Training session at the Providence United Methodist Church. There were about 12 moms and we worked out and raised about $12,000 for LLS. My family also participated in the Light the Night walk last November.20160611_085958

This year I was honored to be nominated as a candidate in the Charlotte Man Woman of the Year Campaign for LLS. It is a spirited ten-week fundraising competition among a select group of individuals in the community. Candidates and their teams compete in honor of local children who are blood cancer survivors: the Boy & Girl of the Year. The man and woman who have raised the most at the end of the ten-week period are named The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year at the June 3rd Grand Finale Event. We’ve formed a team of family and freinds, Team Hope, and have set a goal of raising $150,000. Because when a disease as ambitious as blood cancer kills a man, woman or child every 10 minutes, it must be met head on with just as much ambition. If interested, you can find out more here.

Tell us a little about The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services and the organization relies on the generosity of individual and corporate contributions to advance its mission. For more than 60 years, LLS has invested over $1 billion to advance cancer therapies and save lives. And it all begins with people like you and me.

So many of us are touched by cancer today. It’s important to note that many LLS supported therapies are helping blood cancer patients, and are also now being used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers and are in clinical trials for patients with lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers. LLS funded drugs like targeted therapies and immunotherapies are now saving thousands of lives every day!

Check out this video to learn about the amazing impact LLS is making with alternative cancer therapies.

What do you need from us? How can we help?

There are many ways you can help!

Please consider making a generous tax-deductible donation through the link here: http://www.mwoy.org/pages/nc/clt17/smiller and utilize your company matching gifts program to maximize the value of your donation.

Support us through corporate sponsorships and in-kind donations of auction items. Please contact me at shelleyfinneymiller@gmail.com for additional details.

Please share this article with everyone you know and help us achieve our goal of seeing a day when fathers, sons, daughters, and mothers are not lost to these dreaded diseases.

Team Hope

Switching gears for some fun Smarty questions to get to know you better…

You’ve worked full time, part time and now stay at home, if you went back to work someday what would your ideal role be?

Right now between the girls’ homework and after school activities like soccer and Jason’s work schedule we’re pretty busy. If I were to work again, I would probably do some volunteer bookkeeping for a non-profit or start up company that needed help. That would give me the ability to give back while still utilizing my accounting skill set.

Former employers: Arthur Anderson, LendingTree, Peak 10 Inc.

Favorite workout gear? Athleta

Favorite beverage? Three way tie between coffee, Gingerberry Kombucha and wine

Favorite gym? HSM Core

Favorite music: BPM

Favorite local dinner? Salmon over salad from anywhere especially Leroy Fox.

Favorite family weekend getaway? VT Football game in Blacksburg, VA

Last book read? Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty


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