I want to introduce you to my friend, Laura Vanderbeek. Super cute, mother of two, scrapbook extraordinaire, editorial board member with Simple Scrapbooks and Digital Scrapbooking magazines … and a cancer survivor.
Laura was diagnosed with Stage 2B Hodgkins Lymphoma when she was 30 years old. Her son was 4 weeks old, and her daughter had just turned 4. Can you imagine the shock for her and for her friends & family? During her treatment, she struggled to scrapbook, but it wasn’t because she didn’t want to. When you are that sick, it’s just hard to do. There were weeks that she couldn’t even see well enough to read or watch tv.
Laura has been in remission for 6 months now. Check out that great hair that’s growing back (with some fresh highlights even!) As her strength returned, she began to scrapbook more and her focus really turned to family history scrapbooking. I don’t know how many of you have caught the family history scrapbooking bug yet, but Laura’s story inspires me and that’s why I wanted to share it with you today.
She’s got a system down for balancing it all. She has begun focusing on her Dad’s side of the family first. Quite often she will create a few pages with as much information as she has and then she will email them to her Dad with a list of questions. While she’s waiting for a reply, she switches her focus to scrapbooking the busy lives of her little ones. Once she receives the information back from her Dad, she completes the pages and starts the process over again.
Laura says, “As I started working on my family history pages I began to realize that it doesn’t take long before the story of one’s life can become completely lost, unless it gets written down. There is so much strength and insight we can gain from someone else’s struggles, accomplishments, their loves, and their victories. All of my life I heard stories about my Dad’s sister, Little Pat. She was beautiful and had a great sense of humor. Her junior year of high school she was Prom Queen and tied an Olympic track record … all while she struggled with terminal cancer. She died when she was 17 and so I never got to meet her, but her story encouraged me to be strong through it all. You can bet I want my children and grandchildren to know her story and what great strength and courage she had and how she inspired me. We each have our struggles, obstacles to overcome, as well as things that inspire us and help us to thrive. My greatest hope is that the stories I share through scrapbooking, whether they are mine or that of a family member, will someday help someone else.”
Here’s to Laura and so many others that we know (including some of you reading this now) who inspire us to do more with our life — such a precious, precious gift that we have. Are we doing our part to record our story, and the stories of our loved ones … before it’s too late?