On this special day, I remember my best bud, Jen Bunich and wish her a happy, happy birthday up there! Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her and miss her dearly. When I reflect back on how Charlotte Smarty Pants has evolved, I can’t help but ache in my heart wishing she was here with us enjoying this special ride. She would be so proud of us. And you, our CSP readers, for all of the incredible support you have given us whether it be through a comment on a post, a Smarty Mom nomination, a referral to your friends, or just living Smarty. Trust me, she sees it all. So on this day, I’m reaching out to our Smarty friend, Keely Lane, Captain of the Jen Bunich Team for Lungstrong. On February 4, 2008, CSP was forever changed when we lost Jen to non-smokers lung cancer. The entire Charlotte community was shocked by the intensity of this disease. We have decided to direct our philanthropic efforts to LungStrong in Jen’s name. Meet Keely:
“Dear Smarty Moms & Friends,
I’m here to tell you about a topic that should scare the Smarty Pants right off of you! Did you know that lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of women? Let me say that again….lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of women. Additionally……it kills more women each year than ALL gynecological cancers COMBINED. Yes…more than breast, ovarian, uterine, etc. COMBINED. This fact was brought to light in a most unfortunate way when we lost our amazing friend and Co-Founder of CharlotteSmartyPants.com, Jen Bunich. When Jen died suddenly from stage 4 lung cancer, with very few symptoms, we were beyond shocked.
Why IS lung cancer such a killer? Well….there is a ‘smoking’ stigma associated with the disease. People think that lung cancer is caused by smoking, and since smoking is a choice the federal government has been unwilling to fund research for a disease that they think can be prevented. But the fact is….just as many non-smokers as smokers are getting lung cancer. Because there has been so little funding for research for lung cancer, there is no early detection system in place; therefore by the time people realize they have lung cancer it is often too late because the cancer has already metastasized. Think about it…..we have pap spears to detect uterine cancer, mammograms for breast cancer, colonoscopies for colon cancer, skin screenings for skin cancer and so on…but what is there for lung cancer – NOTHING!! It is time to take a stand and raise money for research to create an early detection system and treatments for lung cancer.
Charlotte Smarty Pants is joining forces with LungStrong – a local organization putting on a race at Lake Norman on October 18th, 2008. Funds raised from this race will go to Lungevity – a research organization out of Chicago, as well as Presbyterian Hospital’s Cancer Ward. This will be the second year of this event and we plan to continue this effort each year and even take the LungStrong organization to a national level. As a Smarty Friend, I call on each of you to join the Jen Bunich Team in honor and remembrance of our friend. I’ve set a goal of $25,000. Yes…it’s a hefty goal, but with your help we can reach it. You do NOT have to be a runner – you can walk, volunteer or even make a simple donation.
Jen left such a mark on this world as an amazing mom, wife, daughter, friend, and co-worker – let’s now let her lead us to a new level of awareness of lung cancer. In her name and honor, I’d like to see an early detection system and a CURE!
Your Smarty Friend and Jen Bunich Team Captain – Keely”
Keely, Ashley H, myself and hopefully a huge Smarty team will be running the 15K race in Jen’s honor. (Don’t check my time though – I’m pretty sure I’ll need to get ‘coptered out of there since I’m not in the best of shape!) We’re excited about this race for a special cause so close to our hearts. Our blogging team also wanted to send Jen some birthday wishes and we encourage you to do the same. I know Jen is on this site every single day. She wouldn’t miss out on this! Happy birthday, my friend. I miss and love you!
Jen, I hope we make you proud today and everyday with the ways we are nurturing and growing your legacy/online “baby”, CSP. It certainly took a lot of us to try to pick up where you left off, how did you do all this and more?!! There’s not one single day that passes without thoughts and memories of you threaded through. I wear my Smarty Pants with great pride but heavy heart that it’s all without you here. Oh, by the way, I’ve gotten to know so many of the girlfriends you used to talk about and they are all super cool gals! I miss you so very much my Smarty friend, we all do. I love you JB!
On my friend Jen B.’s birthday, I am going to remember her smile. She shared it with all of us unselfishly. There were so many times that she made our celebrations so much better just by walking through the door with her smile. I am going to smile as I think of Jen and the joy and love she brought to our lives. I am going to smile as I think of her in heaven going “the birthday cake is really good here!” I am going to smile as I think of the friend I was so blessed to have and the memories that enrich my life every day. I am going to smile because she would want me to.
“I feel fortunate to have met Jennifer and to witness what an amazing woman she was in so many areas and to so many people. A beautiful person, accomplished career woman, a devoted mother, wife, daughter, friend and much more. On her birthday, I will think of her smiling as she often was and what an inspiration she should be to us all. “
“On Jennifer’s birthday, I am reminded of what an amazing friend she truly was. She always remembered her friend’s birthdays as well as all of their children’s birthdays. She always put that personal touch on her gifts that made you feel special. I miss her smiling face at work, her positive attitude and wonderful outlook on life. I know that she is watching over me during the day. I know she is watching over all of us. We love you, Jen!”
“Jen – I miss you so much! I don’t think you ever realized how significantly you touched my life and so many others. I think about you every day, and particularly today on your birthday. Birthday’s were always such a special occasion for you and you never missed a single one … I only wish I could be as good as you! I am also reminded today of just how short your life was and that we should embrace each moment like it’s our last. You’ve given me a new outlook on life, and for that I thank you!”