MTV Extreme Cribs and a Shout Out to Luna Parc

If you know me, you’ve probably heard me talk about Ricky Boscarino.  He performed the ceremony at my wedding and is one of the artists at the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival.  Also, you may remember Ricky’s gorgeous mayfly jewelery auctioned off during last year’s fundraiser (recall it had moving parts).  What makes Ricky even cooler?  His house!  Luna Parc, the official name of Ricky’s 5 acres, is an ever evolving masterpiece that is located in rural New Jersey (yes, NJ has more to offer than the Jersey Shore).  Don’t believe me?

 Luna Parc in 2008

Luna Parc in 1989

Luna Parc fun fact: the windmill (among other various Luna Parc structures) was erected with the help of Donny!  After raising the tower frame, a large crane dropped the ‘blade contraption’ on top of the frame where Ricky and Donny proceeded to bolt the pieces together. 

Although Luna Parc can only be truly appreciated in person, not unlike game-day at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, this short clip will at the very least give you an introduction to a place (and person) the Hall Family loves dearly.  As Ricky has been one of our biggest supporters through the years, I will also shamelessly plug his jewelery and pottery.  I have a gorgeous necklace (seen in this video) that I wear at least 3-4 times a week and without fail, ALWAYS get compliments.  Don’t forget, the holidays are approaching…  Now, for The Video!  (start at 16:50).  


Finally, a movie about cancer worth watching!

Photo courtesy of

All too often, I find myself disappointed by movies about cancer*.  1 in 3 Americans are diagnosed with the disease, so why can’t screenwriters and directors get it right?  Among other critiques, I don’t understand how medical inaccuracies and wildly unrealistic timing get past the screenplay let alone onto the big screen.

With the past disappointments in mind, I was cautiously optimistic about the new film, 50/50.  “This one looks different,” I thought.  Here was my rationale:
1) The film is actually based on a true story (Will Reiser’s story)
2) The main-character in the story wrote the screen play (Will Reiser, again)
3) One of the lead actors in the movie plays, well, himself (Seth Rogen)
4) It’s not marketed as chic-flic but as a comedy.  No one jokes about cancer unless they experienced cancer.

So off Donny and I went to the theater via the cab ride of our lives, thanks to our cabbie and to the small fire in the Park Street T station that rendered the entire Red-Line worthless.  And after 100 minutes of laughing, crying, and laughing while crying, I can say hands-down, the movie was amazing!  No, it didn’t have the special effects of Star Wars or the twists and turns of Inception.  It didn’t need that.  It was real-life.

Will Reiser provided us with a glimpse into the world of young-adults with cancer.  It’s not a documentary about cancer or about his life with cancer.  It was a film where the audience routed for Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who played Will Reiser) to kick the crap out of his neuro-fibroma-sarcoma-schwannoma, walk his dog, Skeletor, and deal with his crazy girlfriend (a great reminder that crazy girlfriends are still around even after a cancer diagnosis).  

In summary, Watch This Film!  You don’t have to see it in theaters, in fact if you don’t like to cry in public, I wouldn’t recommend it (the restroom was filled with women reapplying makeup- I kid you not).  But, you should make the time to watch it, sometime.  And, of course, don’t forget the waterproof mascara!

*Major exception to the disappointing cancer movies: Crazy, Sexy Cancer.  Blog post to follow.

The Miracle Baby is 2 & a PR for the DFMC team!

As September 30th marked the official end of the fundraising period for the 2011 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Team, I took some time to reminisce about the previous year.

When I first set the goal of $15,000 (to celebrate 15 years cancer-free), I had high hopes of achieving the full amount but my goal was just that: a  hope, wish, or dream.  Nothing was definite, except that it was not going to be easy.  Donny, who rarely worries, began to prepare himself for my inevitable meltdown when my cancer-fighting fundraising goal wasn’t met.  But as all of you know, Donny did not have to console me (at least not for that reason).  Before I even started training, donations were coming in from all over the country; from people I knew and many that I did not know.  I spent some evenings teary eyed after reading emails and hand-written letters about those cancer-fighters that touched your lives (Thank goodness Donny had prepped himself for some consoling).  Overall, I was blown-away by the generosity and genuine support that I received.  Thanks to this huge response, the donation amount largely exceeded the original goal of $15,000 and reached:
$22,613.68 !!!
Many marathoners train with the goal of achieving a PR- that’s “Personal Record” for those of you like me who are not quite at the point of worrying about running a faster marathon.  Well, fundraising for DFMC is not dissimilar from training – we want a fundraising PR for every Boston Marathon.  I can safely say, that many members on the team put in more time fundraising than training- my 4:58:00 finish is evidence of that.  Fortunately, the hard-work paid off as I am thrilled to announce that the DFMC team achieved a PR!  The 550 members of our team rallied support from friends, family, colleagues, and complete strangers to collectively bring in a whopping:
$4,598,628.50 !!!

While presenting this check to the Claudia Adams Barr Program (and trying not to look like I just sprinted one mile down the road in heels), I quickly realized that my wish for celebrating 15 years cancer-free in some worthwhile way, more than came true.  There I was, presenting a check for almost $4.6 million dollars and all $4.6 million will be used to fight cancer.  I cannot possible express how thankful I am for all of your support!

On to more good news…

The Miracle Baby (a.k.a. Gus), turned TWO!  

It feels like it was just yesterday when Donny and I were staring at each other in disbelief as we discovered that we were going to have a baby- a feat that we were told was impossible after my cancer treatment.  

Now The Gustus, as his cousin lovingly calls him, is a walking, talking, dancing, jumping, mom-ignoring, singing, not-so-little, little boy.  His primary jams consist of the wheels on the bus and the song from Babe.  He is a Boston College Football season ticket holder and will do the infamous Nittany Lion roar (yes, while rubbing his head) if he sees the logo.  Obviously, his birthday was a reminder of how fortunate I am, but, as most other AML-survivors are infertile, it is also a reminder of how much further cancer treatment must come. 

On behalf of the entire Hall Family, THANK YOU so much for supporting this cause!