Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Swimming for Katie

I am so honored to have been invited to participate in this event!
From October 10-12 some of the best stampers in the business are joining together to support and encourage our friend and fellow stamper, Katie Renz, who is currently battling inoperable gastric cancer. If you're not familiar with her, Katie’s cancer story started just before Christmas last year. This young, beautiful, healthy, vibrant mother of 3 with her infectious smile was suddenly diagnosed with an inoperable cancer, virtually overnight. A few tummy aches and then stage 4 gastric cancer. Her first post about it is here. The idea of “Swimming for Katie” came from her recent post here.

This exclusive stamp used in my sample, designed by Becky Oehlers is available as a clear stamp, as well as a digis or a dig and SVG cut file. 100% of the profits go to Katie's fund to help her and her young family. Her husband Kevin and her three young children need our help and support. In addition to the Keep Swimming Octopus, Marianne Walker and True =D Doodle Designs both also donated digis that are for sale. Direct donations are also being accepted. Information central is HERE. This is a permanent page that will stay active at i {heart} papers with current information and the full 3 day blog hop listing, as well as the donation button.

Here are all the items available for sale.

I hope you will join me in supporting Katie through a purchase or donation. If you would like to send Katie a card, her mailing address is:

Katie Renz
PO Box 5913
Bellingham, WA 98227-5913
I have to say, this image is so fun to play with! I chose to purchase the digital image. I like the idea that I can make it bigger or smaller and with my daughter being a swimmer, I can see lots of fun ways to put this to use!

My card is special because along with Katie, my very best friend in the world is in the midst of a tough battle with cancer too. She's a fighter but the fight is becoming most difficult now.

I think we all know someone affected by cancer and the phrase "keep swimming" is a great way to present a card of encouragement. You see, my best friend was also my daughter's swim coach, so she knows how hard swimming can be when you start to get tired. Hopefully, this card will remind her that it's the swimming when you really don't want to swim anymore that makes the difference in who wins.

I used Copic markers to color my image and then created dots with a colorless blender pen. To accent the dots, I used a Sakura Glitter Pen.

I hope you have enjoyed my card sample.

Other exciting news!

To help raise money for Katie, Creating for Causes (http://www.creatingforcauses.org/) has generously donated a FREE ticket (value: $249.95) to one of their upcoming 3-day Scrap & Stamp Retreats.

The winner of the free ticket will enjoy 3 days of non-stop fun and creativity with fellow scrappers, stampers and paper crafters, and can choose between the Charlotte, NC Scrap & Stamp Ritzy Retreat at The Ritz-Carlton on October 21-23 or the Orlando, FL Scrap & Stamp Retreat at the Marriott World Center on November 4-6. Both retreats promise to spoil you and provide 48-straight hours of creating, camaraderie and fun!

To learn more about the events, please visit: http://www.creatingforcauses.org/our-events/scrapbook-events/

Not only will you be raising money for Katie by making a donation, you get a chance to win a wonderful weekend getaway for yourself! And, because all of Creating for Causes' events are charity events that raise money for local charities, you'll be giving back twice!

Wow, a weekend retreat for you and two chances to help others. Does it get any better than that?

Here's how it works:

Simply make a $33 donation (or more) for Katie and indicate that you want to be entered in the Creating for Causes Retreat ticket drawing. Everyone who makes a qualifying donation will be entered into the drawing and one lucky person will be attending this 3-day retreat for FREE! That lucky person could just be you! (If you have already donated and wish to be included, just email kate(at) iheartpapers (dot) com)

DEADLINE TO ENTER FOR THIS GIVEAWAY IS FRIDAY 9PM EST, although other donations will be accepted for weeks to come.

Here is a list of the other designers participating in today's hop. I hope you will be inspired by them and moved to purchase or donate. Thanks so much for stopping by and enjoy the hop!
Gina K.


  1. Lovely card, Gina!! I have 2 family members that survived, a cousin that passed away this year and a sister-in-law's Mom who is currently battling cancer. This event is a wonderful outreach. May it be blessed.

  2. What a fun card, Gina! I have an aunt who is battling cancer for the 4th time. Unless there is a miracle, it doesn't look like she will win the battle this time.

  3. I think what you are all doing is amazing, I lost my husband to cancer, he was 40 years old, and left behind two young sons, I pray every day that some one will find the cure and save a children like mine from the grief and pain of growing up without their Dad!


  4. What a beautiful card and thank you to all of the designer lending their creativity to this project! I lost my father in 1996 to cancer. I was in my early twenties at the time and even with being an "adult" the loss of my father ripped a huge hole in my heart. I was blessed to have him there when I graduated from college and married but there were so many other milestones we missed... Today I have a dear high school classmate battling breast cancer. I pray that one day we will be able to wipe out this terrible disease1 Thank you for your support!

  5. Love your card. Perfect for this cause and for many other occasions! I battled cancer about 15 years ago. I had kidney cancer and
    had to have my kidney removed. It was a very difficult time for me and for my family, but I came through it and am still doing well. The hardest part is that my MIL was diagnosed with breast cancer about 6 months after my cancer diagnosis. So our family had two cancer battles going on at the same time. Unfortunately she lost her battle with breast cancer about 2 years later. My brother also died with cancer when he was only 28. I am the sole survivor and I'm loving life each day!

    Blessings, Pat

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  7. What a cute card Gina!! And sending up prayers today for your friend and Katie...cancer is such an evil thing!

  8. What a heart-wrenching story Katie has! Cancer has touched many people in my life...my father-in-law, my sister-in-law, my brother, numerous friends and other relatives. Some have managed to battle the disease, others have not. There are so many types of cancer out there it can be very scary! Thank you for sharing Katie's story with us. Courage and positive thinking go a long way to battling this terrible disease!
    There are cures out there! Terry Fox's cancer is now cureable thanks to donations raised through the foundation. Never give up hope!!!!!

  9. Your card is adorable Gina!! Thank you so much for participating along with us all - you're the BEST!! We'll add your friend to our prayers too! Hugs! :)

  10. Sorry, I deleted my previous post because I didn't read the article correctly :) I think this is a very noble cause that you are participating in. People need to be very aware of cancer, but my campaign is for the children - all have some area that is "special" to us. Cancer has taken my grandfather (90 yrs - colon), my mother (50 yrs - Inflammatory Breast), and my son (10 yrs - Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Last month I hosted an event on my blog to help child and their families who are battling childhood cancer and I didn't get one person to sign up to help a child and their family. :( I won't say that I wasn't saddened. I know this event will be a true success and appears -from her blog- that Katie needs our prayers right now. Thank you for taking the time to help this family through this trial they are facing.

  11. Love your card just to cute....... Yes my husband died of cancer 7 years ago, my Mother died of cancer and I also had an Uncle who died of cancer. It is a terribly disease. My prayers are with Katie.

  12. What a fantastic idea just another time to show what big hearts crafters have. I watched my mother slowly waste away with cancer way too young and my husband battled kidney cancer when our boy was only 3 years old...thank goodness he beat the odds. Seems like almost every family I know has either lost someone to cancer or battled it. It is a nasty disease wish we could find a cure.

  13. What a cheery card Gina! I love this community reach out to help Katie and my prayers are with your friend too! Cancer does not discriminate and it is a terrible disease! I also have lost an uncle to cancer many years ago -- BEFORE they had made some strides. Today, he might have made it!

  14. This is adorable! Thank you so much for helping support this cause. Please remember to tag with swimkatie when you upload to SCS. Thanks!!

  15. Thanks for letting me know about this fundraiser, I bought Marianne's image and will be sharing a card with it soon!

  16. Gina- I kove your card and I LOVE that you are so SUPPORTIVE of everyone in the industry!! You are a true gem!! Katie's family is soo very blessed to have so many helping!! :)

  17. Dearest Gina,

    Our hearts and prayers for healing and hope go out to Katie and her family. She is obviously dearly loved and needed by her family and friends.

    May the day come soon when each person will be healthy, with no more sickness or death - Isaiah 33:24, Revelation 21:4

    Wish there was a blog or thread where we can contribute hilarious events in our cardmaking adventures. I'll bet we all have something we could put on there! That would be very helpful to those suffering from a frightening and lengthy illness, even for well ones to read!!!!

    Aloha dear Gina - thanks for the beauty of your cards, and your presence in making Katie known to us :)


  18. So wonderfull of you to do this for this family, my heart goes out to them, especially the children as they will now have to grow up with out their Mom. Some times we just don't understand God's plan. Cancer is a horrible disease, I lost my Mom and Dad both to cancer, and the loss never seems to go away, the loss and the memories of their suffering will some times take me off guard, they are always in my heart, and some times that ache is so strong, it seems like yesterday that I lost them. Oh well, such is life. I hope some day they find a cure for this disease, I have lost so many family members it.
    Well, off to do the hop and make my donation.
    Thanks for the heads up Gina, hope everyone has a wonderful day.


  19. Gina, loved your card. I am a four year survivor of breast cancer. Just went this a.m. for my mammogram and next week see my oncologist and hopefully the news will still be good. My prayers are with your friends. There are so many people affected with this disease but many do now survive. May the Lord bless and keep us all.

  20. Gina, I am so glad to see your support of Katie and family. It warms my heart. I don't personally know you, but I've always had the impression that you are a very caring, positive person. I've been following Katie's blog since last winter. My heart goes out to her and her family.
    I lost my Dad to cancer in 2003. One of my aunts is a cancer survivor. But, the one that has affected me the most was the loss of our nephew to leukemia in 2010. He fought for 18 months...and fought hard. His motto was "Play Hard and Never Give Up". It's been extremely difficult to accept the loss of a loved one so young. He was just 18.
    I pray for a cure for all cancers. And I'm praying for Katie, her husband and sons.

  21. a short story?....she was my best friends daughter, 13 at age of diagnosis with Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. Exactly 3 weeks older than my older daughter. Her younger sister, also best friends with my younger daughter. I made sure that the home front was covered. Meals delivered at least once a week. Pet food purchased. little things you don't think about. when they had to leave the area for a bone marrow transplant we "fostered" their german shepard and guinea pig! We had them for almost a year. When they returned, I made sure the house was clean, and ready for all the needs of a transplant patient. When she was hospitalized, my daughter (remember, same age) would visit with her while I spent time with her mom. My daughter risked making friends with someone who could be dying. I've never been so proud of her and her courage. When she lost her battle, a small part of me was lost also.

  22. Gina, your card is so wonderful. I have only become aware of Katie's story in the last few days via Julie Ranae's blog and the outreach from the stamping community to help her in a great time of need. I feel connected to Katie and her story. Early in 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, my twin boys were 9. Helping them navigate this journey was not easy. When you hear the "c" word and you are a mother, all you can think of is your children and how they will live without you. You feeli this instantly regardless of how it all turns out. Many people do not want to know or hear the realities of your heart, and that makes your journey difficult and sometimes lonely. At the time of my diagnosis, 3 dear friends were diagnosed - one with lung, one with rectal and one with pancreatic cancer. Today, I seem to be doing fine. My three friends have all passed on. I learned so much through my journey and continue to do so. I only know Katie from what I have read in the past few days. Katie ooozes beauty and grace as she swims. My heart is joined with hers. Thank you and thank you crafting community for your part in supporting Katie. May we all learn a lot from her as we travel our own roads...

  23. My hope and prayers are to find that cure for this insidious disease. Sometimes it seems a family is targeted by cancer and there is no rhyme or reason as to why it goes that way. Our family has lost 10 members over the years and now I have a cousin who is battling breast cancer. But you can only hope that the day will come and this blight will be eradicated. So go crafters and join this worthy cause. Every penny, thought and deed will be successful with time and the wearing of Pink will be a cause of celebration and remembrance of bad days long past.

  24. Thank you Gina for bringing this to the attention of your viewers, what a worthy cause, I can't wait to start hopping and shopping. I was so touched by your story of your friend and your card is sure to inspire her! I lost my father to cancer when my kids were young and it breaks my heart that they have not had him in their lives.

  25. Gina, the card will be a lasting memory for our friend. I was told I had Uterine Cancer five yrs ago. I went in for routine Pap Smear and that led to sonograms, CT scan and D&C to be sure and then I heard, yes it is cancer. such a shock. I thank God,in June, I got my Gold Star, I am free of it now. I will keep Katie in my prayers.

  26. Thanks to faith and prayers, family and friends, I am a 20 year cancer survivor (breast) this year - diagnosed age 40 - single parent with 2 sons. Every day is a gift. Love the stamp and card.

  27. Love your card, Gina. Several family members have had cancer, but my mother was my closest relative who had it. She had breast cancer when I was 16, she was 46. She had a radical mastectomy (this was back in the 60s)which got rid of the cancer and she lived to 83, so there is hope for some people who have been diagnosed with it. I am so sorry for Katie and her family, though.

  28. What a beautiful card, Gina! I will keep your friend in my thoughts!

    This month has been so horrible when it comes to cancer. One of my past preschool kids who is only 8 just relapsed. It's really hard to watch a baby that I taught to walk take on this horrific disease.

  29. Gina, you've made a beautiful card for such a headtwarming cause. I too lost a loved one to cancer. My brother complained one day of feeling sick and six months later the lost the battle to liver cancer. My father is a survivor of kidney cancer, but his second born son did not have the same luck. Its hard, very hard to see how your parents lose a son, but they were strong for all of us. May Katie and her family find the strength to deal with this devaatating diagnosis. May your friend also find the courage to continue her battle. May we find a cure for all cancers. In the meantime, may this community continue to come together to help each other through these crisis.

  30. I lost my dearest friend of 43 years to lung cancer several years ago.. Her passing has left me with an emptyness I never thought I could have.. I think of her every day. My prayers go out to the family in theirs time of sorrow..
    Sue Surmon

  31. Beautiful and fun Gina. Thank you for doing this for Katie!

  32. Thanks for this Gina. My family had a rough couple of years. My husband had a "benign" tumor on his shoulder. A month later a letter came from Harvard saying it wasn't. Turns out it was stage 4 sarcoma. Cancer ctr said no success for it. Decided against chemo and changed diet, attitude, energy and supplements. He is healed (not cured. As long as it doesn't grow or spread he is healed:-)).

    Then found out 20 yr. old daughter had leukemia. Got her off chemo and she is healed. Dr. said she couldn't have children. We now have a beautiful 10 month old granddaughter!

    We started a site to help others with diet and resources here: http://cancersuccessforyou.com

  33. Dear Gina,

    Thank you for bringing Katie to our attention and for all that you are doing. I am one of the few VERY fortunate ones who has never lost a loved one to cancer. I thank God for His protection and provision, and I pray that He will be near to those who are going through rough times. It's never easy. Please give our love and wishes to Katie and to your dear friend!


  34. My thoughts and prayers are sent to Katie and your dear friend, Gina. Our 40 year old daghter had surgery June 10 for suspected ovarian cancer.It was appendix cancer that had spread to her female organs and small intestine. She is half-way through her 6 months of chemo. She has shown extreme courage and strengh of spirit. We pray she will soon be cancer free.It has been so hard to watch her suffer but I know God is in control and he will give us the strengh we need to fight this battle. The support and prayers of friends have helped to ease our pain. Thanks again, Gina for letting us share our stories. Angie (mtscrapgal)

  35. Gina, your card is adorable and I know that Katie will love it. This is the first that I have heard of Katie. She and your dear friend are in my prayers also.

    I had 2 aunts who had breast cancer many years ago and they both lived to be in their 90's. I had 3 aunts, 2 uncles, my youngest sister and youngest brother and 3 cousins all lost their battle with cancer. I pray that there will someday be a cure.

    Prayers and positive thinking is the best cure, as of now.


  36. Gina, your card and support of your friend is beautiful. Cancer has 'robbed' me of both my parents as well as a beloved cat. I have an aunt who is bravely fighting. One of my best friends, however, is a success story. She is cancer free! There are many success stories as there are losses so there is always hope.

  37. Hi Gina,
    I just realized my post didn't go through...

    You are such a WONDERFUL person! Thank you for giving us all an opportunity to help!

    Cancer has impacted many of my family members and friends, and my prayers will now be with Katie and her family! I also purchased the "Digi Fish" stamp....so, so CUTE!

    Thank you again, Gina....for everything you do!!!

    Barb G.

  38. Oh, the "C" word. I have had several people in my family to battle this disease, some won and some lost. From my mother to mother-in-law, aunts to uncles and cousins to friends. I have been struggling lately though, trying to accept the fact that one of my students recently passed on from Neuroblastoma. A rare form usually found in infants & toddlers, but made its debut in my student (12 years old) on Feb. 14, 2011. She fought really hard to survive. I made several visits to her at home and in the hospital, but in the end she lost her battle on Sept. 25th, 2011. We, her 6th grade teachers, held a "Zumba"thon to raise funds for her family. Other fundraisers took place throughout the community. She was one of a kind and my heart is saddened that she had to suffer through this dreadful disease. She made a huge impact on the community with her personality and wit. Her wonderful smile will stay etched into my memory for forever!

  39. I have a grandaughter who will turn 10 in less than 3 weeks and while in utero they found a mass on her back with ultrasound. A biopsy was done a few hours after she was born, & it was cancer...she had the mass removed 9 days later. They had to remove a portion of 3 ribs because the mass went in between 3 ribs. They were able to get definite clear margins on 3 sides, but weren't absolutely sure about the margin that met up with her vertebrae, because they couldn't risk getting any closer. She has never had any recourance of the cancer...Praise God! She has had a multitude of back surgeries due to severe scoliosis over the years, but she has come through the odds and she is amazing & just recently her mom had a talk with her about all the scars on her back to see how she felt about it....she said "Mommy I am in awe of my body. Who else has a body who goes through what mine does and it still works?" God is good!

  40. Heartfelt thoughts and prayer for Katie and Gina K's friend. I lost my 32 yar old son to cancer in 1999.

  41. In April 2005 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was spreading, and I wasn't given great odds. With God, the love of my husband and family and friends, and the amazing team of doctors, I am here, and in remission! I am going to buy trhis stamp, and pray for Katie, and for all cancer survivor patients, survivors, and their loved ones!

  42. cute card...love the colors and such a fab event.