Category Archives: Giving

Did you know that today is World Cancer Day? It’s a day dedicated to “debunking the myths” associated with cancer and cancer care and there are a ton of informative articles, links, and resources on the World Cancer Day website…take a moment today to take a look and to pause for a moment and reflect on the impact, direct or indirect, that cancer has had on your life.

My own life came into crashing contact with cancer when I was 22 years old. I was diagnosed with uteran cancer and suddenly had to face not only my own very real mortality, but also figure out how to navigate a system that basically said, “If you are uninsured, then we can’t help you.” I was terrified on levels that had previously been unfathomable to me and was utterly overwhelmed by how to figure out how to survive. As I’ve mentioned before, a series of events unfolded culminating in an amazing anonymous individual paying out of pocket for the care that I required then as well as every bit I’ve needed since, including a later diagnosis of ovarian cancer and all of the scans and secondary issues that follow treatment. This person saved my life. More than once. Saved me not because I was famous or smart or athletic or special in any way, but simply because I was a human life and needed help and he or she had the ability to provide it.

That is a truly magnificent thing.

A truly magnificent thing that I am more deeply grateful for on a daily basis than I will ever have the words to fully articulate. And I feel a debt in that gratitude that I will never be able to fully assuage, a debt to “pay it forward” in whatever way I can, big or small. A debt to not only share what I am with others, but also to bring a small bit of meaning to this life that someone so generously gave back to me.

Since I began this business back in 2008, I’ve donated a percentage of every session and wedding to CancerCare {if you didn’t realize that, you can read a little more about it here!}. It’s been so exciting over the years to watch the grand total of donated dollars reach from the hundreds to the thousands and awesome to see how many of you have taken it one step further and matched my donation!

Last year I decided to take Cuppa’s role in giving to a new level. I had a small dream that we could reach a few more people, touch a few more lives, by actively engaging in some tangible enterprise and thus the inaugural 2013 Team Cuppa for the Dempsey Challenge was born {read more about it here!}. Not only did we have a BLAST at the event (check out more of the photos and details here!), but our team raised more than $5000!!

That bears repeating. More than $5000!! A seriously impressive first go!!

So we’re back. We’re going to do it again and maybe even see if we can outdo last year’s success!

I’ve just created the 2014 Team Cuppa and you can visit our team page here if you’d like to join or donate!

A few things to keep in mind:

(1) You don’t have to attend the event to join the team! You can join as a “virtual participant” and support our efforts from afar!

(2) Cuppa clients: I will match you DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR in product credit for every dollar that you raise. Want a $3000 wedding album? Start hounding everyone you know to donate to this amazing cancer center that provides resources, education, and integrative medicine absolutely free to anyone affected by cancer in any way…hound them in to donating $3000 and you not only get that album, but you’ll have contributed to supporting the Center as well as brought awareness to the needs being fulfilled by it. Win-win!!

(3) Cuppa clients: in order for the above to happen, you must actually JOIN the team and raise the money. I will look at how much you actually raised and apply that credit to your account. If you’d prefer to simply donate to the team, we will DEFINITELY appreciate it, but it won’t be matched with credit. Part of what you are being rewarded for is helping spread the awareness to a larger community and helping to involve as much of that community as possible in the effort!

(4) If you have committed to another charity or cause that has meaning to you and have focused your fundraising efforts there, I am more than happy to discuss extending the product credit match to your efforts there. Reach out and let me know what you are doing!

For more information on the phenomenal Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing, visit their website here!


Thank you all so much for enabling this small dream of mine to become such a powerful reality. You are an incredible group of people. Now head on over and join the team!!!





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Back in January of this year, I resolved to make more happen with my business this year. I was tired of beginning each year with goals that centered on my personal success and was ready to be a part of something bigger and to make my business part of something more meaningful. Already donating a percentage of each booking to CancerCare, I wanted something more active, more engaged…something that would require more than money, but also time and interest and I hoped to find something that could spread the word further than my limited sphere of influence.

And thus Team Cuppa was born!

I’d heard of The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing (you can’t really spend any time in a cancer center in Maine for any reason and not have heard of it!), but I didn’t fully grasp what it was. So I scheduled a meeting with a member of the amazing staff and spent an afternoon touring the facility and talking with the incredible people who work there. I was blown away. On every level.

Not only is it a warm, welcoming, beautiful space that emanates gentle healing energy from every nook and cranny, but it is embracing in every conceivable way. The mission is to support anyone affected by cancer in any way. So patients and survivors, certainly, but also family members, friends, co-workers…anyone affected by cancer in any way. There is reiki and massage. Nutrition classes and yoga. Support groups and counselors. Resource counseling and an extensive lending library. Their program offerings are ever expanding as the Center finds new and innovative ways to extend their integrative services in order to strengthen and heal the cancer community.

And they do it all free of charge.

That is huge. Crazy huge. Out-of-this-world-huge.

I know I shared a bit of my own story with cancer, but I cannot overstate how devastating and overwhelming it is to not only be faced with a life-threatening disease, but how to pay for getting what might save your life. Not just drugs, but care. Real care. Help navigating the complicated decisions and emotions. Identifying what support services are available. Coping with the side effects of a disease that affects more than just the person diagnosed, but their entire community of friends, family, and support…all those people who are caregivers in some way, whether big or small, and side effects that range from nausea to diminished income.

When I announced that Cuppa was going to have a team take part in the Dempsey Center’s largest fundraiser of the year, The Dempsey Challenge, I had no idea if anyone would take part. I had this fear that I would be knocking on doors with a can, begging for donations as the sole member of Team Cuppa. How could I have so underestimated all of you? Not only was I not alone in this endeavor, but the level of support and enthusiasm was just incredible!

Ali & Cesar came down from Canada for the event. Diana & Luigi came up from Manhattan. Kerri & Phil got their families involved. Josee brought her entire family to be the cheering section for everyone! And donations poured in from all of you who couldn’t make it. Former clients. Parents of clients whose weddings I shot years ago. People I’ve never met. We even had a 2014 couple go through the team roster and donate to each person so that every single member of our team would make the participation minimum and be able to take part on race day, donating several hundred dollars in total even though they couldn’t personally make the event.

And with all of that effort and pouring forth of love and support, our team raised more than $5000 total.


That total comes from people choosing to give rather than go out for dinner. To give rather than buying those new shoes or that new purse. To give rather than putting it into their personal travel fund. Or retirement fund. Or wedding fund. There are a million things that we could choose to spend our hard earned dollars on every day, but you guys put $5000 of yours toward the welfare and benefit of others.

You amaze and move me more than you could ever know and I am deeply grateful for every single one of you. Thank you. Thank you.


Justin and I hosted a little bonfire & s’mores Friday evening to kick off the weekend’s events…and I had my first-ever Reese’s peanut butter cup s’mores. Game changer, that one.

Who knew that glow sticks would e such amazing entertainment?!?!

Even Talitha & Josh stopped by, having just returned from their honeymoon in Aruba!!

Saturday morning the run came bright & early, but everyone showed up smiling and ready to rock! I’m sure that it had nothing with the possibility of spotting McDreamy!

Go Team Cuppa!!

Diana even made signs!!

Kerri’s whole family joined the Team!!
Ali & Cesar came down from Ottawa for the event!!
The little girls kept us all laughing and were more than happy to make sure that we didn’t have donuts leftover to go to waste!
So. We set up our tent Friday evening and when we left it, it was alone in the field designated the “team tent” area. When we arrived Saturday morning, it turned out that the “Boot Camp Challenge” (you know, the world’s most gigantic bounce house EVER) had set up directly beside us. Hilarious.

Messages of love and support written on fabric flags were strung across the bridge before the finish.

Ali & Cesar re-enacting the bridge shot from their Ottawa engagement session…so funny!!

With that, Team Cuppa’s inaugural Dempsey Challenge is behind us!! I’m already brainstorming ways to make next year even better…as soon as 2014 team registrations open, Team Cuppa 2014 will be ready!!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!


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Hello, Lovelies!! I want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who voted on our Team Cuppa t-shirt designs! We had a huge response between the post comments, Facebook, and individuals emailing me and I really appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm and support!!

So…in the end, Design # 1 won out…by a SINGLE vote!!!! And Designs 2 & 3 actually tied!!

Clearly you guys were evenly split between them!! So I did a little more research and realized that we can do all three! Woo hoo!!

I decided to do our team shirts through GoodThreads, an amazing company who works with non-profits to create a fundraising opportunity in t-shirt design. So when a shirt is purchased, $6 of each one will go to The Dempsey Center! That means that the shirts are a tiny bit more expensive, but totally worth it!!

To order, click on the following links:

Shirt #1

Shirt #2

Shirt #3

From there, you can choose sizing and style and follow the instructions to checkout!

If you are planning to order a shirt, be sure to order within the next 7 days so that you don’t have to pay rush shipping! Can you believe that the Dempsey Challenge is only THREE weeks away?!?!?!?

Please let me know if you have any issues or questions about the shirts or the team…it’s not too late to join or donate!!

{Don’t know what this is all about? Find out more here!}

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