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Haunt Jaunts: A Little Blog with a Big Heart on a Mission to Raise Awareness about Lymphoma
When writer Courtney Mroch was diagnosed with Stage 2 B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on December 31, 2008, her whole world changed –for the better. Now she's on a mission to try and make other lives better by raising awareness and giving back.
"I suppose not many people who've been diagnosed with cancer could say it was one of the best things that ever happened to them," Mroch says. "But for me it was. Because of it, I started a blog that helped save my life. And now I'm hoping I can use it to help others. "
Mroch, who had been a Senior Blogger for Families.com in their Pets and Marriage sections, had quit her job only weeks before the nagging pain she'd been suffering in her left shoulder for weeks suddenly flared and sent her to the ER.
"I'd had a cold I couldn't shake for months. I'd just lost my mom to cancer five months before I was diagnosed. The doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and thought perhaps I was just depressed. That pain saved my life. It prompted doctors to order X-rays, which revealed the grapefruit-sized tumor in my chest. It was pressing on a nerve and totally disabled the use of my left arm for a couple of months. In fact, here it is over a year later and my left hand still isn't quite right."
But Mroch doesn’t let an impaired hand stop her from pursuing her newest passion, which is posting prolificly on Haunt Jaunts, her travel blog for restless spirits.
Mroch, who calls herself a "Director of Paranormal Tourism," has been providing a passport to paranormal tourism for other ghost enthusiasts for almost a year now. In fact, she's getting ready to celebrate her blog's one year anniversary and decided to throw "the biggest little party to ever hit the Net" --complete with contests and giveaways.
However, she also saw her one year celebration bash as an opportunity to both give back and raise awareness about lymphoma.
"When I was first diagnosed, I asked my oncologist what I could do to up my chances of survival. He told me two things: One, keep a positive attitude. Done. Anyone who's ever met me knows I'm perpetually positive. But the other thing he suggested was getting off the couch as much as possible. Haunt Jaunts became my 'get off the couch' project as I went through treatments. It inspired me –heart and soul. Clichéd as it may sound, it gave me something to live for, and as a result I'm convinced it was a contributing factor in saving my life."
Mroch, who's now in remission, decided any celebration of Haunt Jaunts was also a celebration of Life. And she owed hers to the scientists, researchers, doctors and nurses who work every day to find new treatments and cures for lymphoma.
"That's why I decided to donate five cents to the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) for every Twitter follower Haunt Jaunts has come March 30, 2010. Five cents may not sound like a lot, but I'm no Oprah! In case a lot of people end up following, five cents per shouldn't break my bank. "
Since she made the announcement, Haunt Jaunts has acquired over 200 new followers.
"I'm of course tickled pink, but I'd love to see even more. Another thousand would rock! I'd really like to send LRF the biggest little check I can."
If you're on Twitter and would like to help Mroch in her mission to raise money for the LRF, follow her on @HauntJaunts. She also suggests another way to help.
"Spread the word. Tweet about it, post it on your Facebook page, or blog about it. Whatever you can think of to let people know that following Haunt Jaunts on Twitter will help raise money, I'd really appreciate it."
Mroch sure never wanted cancer, but she got it. She also realizes she was lucky enough to get a kind that was not only treatable, but potentially curable.
"But I'm well aware others are not so lucky. More lives could always be saved, and the only way to do that is through more research, improved treatments, and continued patient assistance programs. That's why the work LRF does is so crucial and why I'm supporting it and trying to raise awareness for it in this small way."
Small perhaps, but there's no denying the size of Mroch's heart or perky, can-do optimism. Both are huge.
Haunt Jaunts website: http://hauntjaunts.net/
Haunt Jaunts on Twitter: http://twitter.com/
Lymphoma Research Foundation: http://www.lymphoma.org/
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The Sociable Scribe provides social media marketing consulting and offers advice and assistance navigating today's top social media circles.