Walking the run.

You guys know how I feel about sick kids, right?

Sick kids make me cry and curse and use the caps lock.

Sick kids. I’ll do anything for them.

So of course, I’m going to participate in Genre’s Kids with Cancer Fund Footsteps in Faith 5k/1 Mile Fun Run to help Genre raise some money for his new nonprofit.

I was having lunch with Genre’s mother and some friends the other day, and she was updating us on Genre’s cancer treatments, explaining that I think it is 2014 before Genre will be considered cancer-free. Cancer. Such a persistent, aggressive, hateful bugger.

Anyway, Genre’s Kids with Cancer Fund is raising the funds necessary to provide free hand-held gaming systems and games to every child diagnosed with cancer at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  In addition, they have some exciting new programs they’ll be launching soon designed to help the parents of those children make the adjustment to hospital life and life with cancer a bit easier in the going.

I have a lot of passion for what Genre and his mother are doing with their fund, so I’m doing my first charity walk ever. Wait. No. I recall doing a walk for cancer once before, perhaps ten years ago, after my friend died from leukemia at the age of 20. Have I said how much I hate cancer? RIP, Matt.

Now, this is supposed to be a run. I don’t run. I’ve mentioned her twice recently, but she’s getting mentioned again. As Gina from My Very Last Nerve said to me, “I don’t run. If you see me running, start running, because something bad is happening.”

Yeah, that’s how I feel. If I’m running, I’m running away from something scary. Pigeons. Blobs. Aliens. Mongolian Death Worms. Snooki.

So I will be WALKING this run. Briskly. As the little kids pass me all, “Geez, grandma. Pick up the pace.”

I want to raise some money for Genre’s fund, and I’m hopeful that you’ll help me out?

Mike, my trusted butler/friend/co-conspirator in all things shenanigan, has put a little donate button in the side bar that will take you to the Genre’s Kids with Cancer PayPal account.

It’s not just a normal donate button.

It’s a cropped picture of me at the age of 17 attending the Norwin Snowball Dance with a foreign exchange student from Denmark whose name was Rasmus, I believe.

1991. The year in which I rocked the black pantyhose and grandma shoes with a green velvet dress and went to Chesterfield’s and ate mozzarella sticks before going to the dance and having that picture snapped in front of a sea of red poinsettias.

Those were the dorky days. There were lots of dorky days and those dorky days were chronicled with dorky photographs.

I will share them with you, one at a time. My goal is to raise $1,000 for Genre. I will unveil an embarrassing picture of myself with every $500 raised, so if we reach our goal of $1,000, for sure you’ll see that picture as well as one my father recently found laying around the house and showed it to me all, “You could raise a fortune with this thing.” I am NOT MAKING THAT UP.

Embarrassing teen pictures also make me use the caps lock.

If we raise $1,500, that’s three embarrassing pictures.

It won’t take much. Two dollars? Three? Five? Can you spare a dime for me to help out all the kids who will be admitted to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh with the scary weight of the word Cancer resting on their small shoulders?

Thank you in advance, Pittsburgh!

I’ll keep you posted on progress toward the goal!


  1. Daunette Baker
    August 2, 2010 11:10 am

    Thank you Virginia! Thank you for helping us help families living through pediatric cancer. We hear stories all the time about how the new games help the kids through the roughest time – hospitalization upon diagnosis. Unfortunately there are 6-8 new cancer diagnoses every month at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The games are such a wonderful distraction for the children. They sit through hours and hours of blood transfusions and chemotherapy. As happy as we are to be providing these games, we need to always remember that each new system or game given means another child has cancer. It’s bitter sweet. We just want to help and we are trying to fulfill Genre’s wish/idea about helping other kids. Thanks again to you and your readers. You are all so very much appreciated.

    Daunette Baker
    Genre’s mom

    PS…Genre will have chemotherapy treatments until September of 2012 and then he will be considered ‘cancer free’ five years after that.

  2. Gina
    August 2, 2010 11:34 am

    OK – I would donate for the kids anyway but I want to see some embarrassing photos! I have some pretty bad ones myself – I can sympathize (but that doesn’t mean I won’t laugh).

    Yay for walking briskly!

  3. rickh
    August 2, 2010 11:52 am

    We’re keeping Genre and all the other kids are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Good luck Ginny!

  4. Nancy
    August 2, 2010 12:12 pm

    Done! Keep up the good work! I pray my kids never need to go through what Genre has.

  5. Pa-pop
    August 2, 2010 12:15 pm

    You are not alone in the world of humiliating photographic evidence of one’s youth. But if all of our pictures held the same entertainment value as yours, Virginia, we could cure cancer in a year! :)

  6. empirechick
    August 2, 2010 12:23 pm

    Great idea for a great cause! I’m in!

    We busted out the ‘classic’ pics last summer for our 20th class reunion – there were some doozies indeed.

  7. REARless
    August 2, 2010 1:16 pm

    Wow, Ginny’s picture is a strange mixture of looking pretty cute and looking kinda stoned.

  8. Bluetail
    August 2, 2010 1:38 pm

    You are beautiful, Ginny; Genre is beautiful. And as soon as i find a kleenex & compose myself, i’m donating.

  9. Sooska
    August 2, 2010 1:38 pm

    done and he is adorable. Keep it up Ginny. Pretty soon you will have no more secrets at all. After trying so hard for complete anonymity you have gone 180 deg for some great causes!

  10. Bob M
    August 2, 2010 2:40 pm

    You got my beer money!!
    A great cause, and the added bonus of pictures!!

  11. Julie
    August 2, 2010 5:51 pm

    great cause. and chesterfields….went there on a date when i was like 16 and my date choked on his steak and nearly passed out after spitting/spewing onto the restaurant floor. thanks for reminding me of the wonderful adolescent moment!

  12. Leighann
    August 2, 2010 7:44 pm

    Ginny, my best friend of 30+ years Johna (who is helping Daunette plan Genre’s Footsteps in Faith event) sent me the link to your blog because I happen to be Rasmus’ host sister and I might happen to have a copy of said “embarrassing” teenage picture!
    I also have something in common with Genre. I was diagnosed with stage IV (for the roman numerally challenged that’s a 4) colon cancer at the age of 30…that was 6 years 4 months ago. And I’m absolutely certain my still being alive on earth is a miracle of God. In many ways advance stage cancer at a young age has been one of my life’s biggest blessings. It is a privilege for one’s life to be used by God in such a way. I no longer take the little simple things in life for granted. Things like spending time with Rasmus when he visited this June, waking up next to my husband every morning, the ability to eat, standing and even picking the 20+ dirty socks my sons leave lying all over my house every day. My boys were two and a half and 4 when I was diagnosed we weren’t sure I’d be here and able to put my oldest on the bus his first day of kindergarten but by God’s mercy and grace I’ll send him off to 5th grade and my youngest to 2nd grade later this month. At night when I tuck my boys in bed I tell them a “cancer blessing”; some way God has used my cancer to further is Kingdom or someone I met who I never would have, had I not had cancer or something I’ve learned to appreciate because of cancer. Tonight I will tell them about a “grandma” who will be WALKING at “Aunt Johna’s fundraiser for Genre”.
    In a crowd of people when a person stops, looks up and points toward the sky, some people may become annoyed at the delay, grumble and walk around but others will stop and look up to see what’s being pointing at. This is what Genre and his family are doing, stopping, looking upward and stepping out in faith. Others watching WILL follow Genre’s Footsteps in Faith and he will lead them to Jesus.
    Although it breaks my heart when the words cancer and child are used in the same sentence, I think what Genre and his family are doing is awesome and beautiful. So instead of posting the “embarrassing” picture, I’m going to help you reach your goal by clicking donate so you can post it!


  13. Leighann
    August 2, 2010 8:07 pm

    And by the time I finished writing all that you already hit your $500 goal….here’s to $1000 and then $10000, break out that 80’s-90’s album!

  14. Randi
    August 2, 2010 9:57 pm

    My husband is Genre’s doctor at CHP and he is so proud of him and all that he is doing for other sick children at CHP. He is certainly a special kid. I know that my husband will be at the run and I am hoping that our whole family can be there too. Thanks for all of your dedication and hard work.

    PS: I didn’t need any embarrassing photos of you to donate but they are certainly icing on the cake!

  15. Daunette Baker
    August 2, 2010 11:49 pm


    Thank you for sharing your story and for your beautiful words. Thanking God tonight that you are able to tell your children about your cancer blessings. Isn’t it ironic that there are so many? I understand your words more than you know. My hope is that many people living through this disease will find the peace that passes all understanding. Thank you for your donation. Thank you for helping us make a child with cancer a little happier during his treatment. Be well.