Posts Tagged ‘Breast Cancer’

And Now a word FOR our PINK Party sponsors!

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Well I’m not sure “sponsors” is the right word, Maybe supporters or just friends trying to help us make a big difference. A lot of hard word goes into doing charity fundraisers. We have participated, hosted, organized and created many of them for a variety of causes over the past years. Some have been for Veterans, some for Developmentally and mentally delayed individuals and this one for Breast Cancer. One thing I have learned they would not be possible or what you could consider successful as in actually raise money if not for the generosity of people willing to help in the form of donated, time, money or “grease”. The kind of grease that gets the ball rolling and others motivated to be multipliers.

Big ones like Bank of America

Big ones like Bank of America

You have “BIG” sponsors you see like Bank of America which is a National Sponsor for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day. I use them as an example. They help bring the “Big Show” to the road. What I’m talking about for this blog post is those special folks who step forward and help us reach our goals both monetary and awareness, by helping to get the event “greased”. And Boy do we have some really cool grease.

Sawovski Crystals and jewelry are in the well stocked list.

Sawovski Crystals and jewelry are in the well stocked list.

Ok ladies I hear these are really cool?! See I’m a “typical guy”, I understand parts that make my motorcycle go faster or my Jeep climb higher. I call items in the picture “fishing lures” as I’ve noticed they have the same effect on the ladies and a really good shinny fishing lure does on a fish! But the same can be said for the guys if the jewels get the ladies noticed. All kidding aside Sawarovski jewelry is the bomb and we have some wonderful connections true to our cause that see fit we have several items with the Sawarovski name on them in our Auction.

I dream of Genie!

I dream of Genie!

Now you are talking something I understand! So if your lady is decked out in that fine Swarovski jewelry she doesn’t want to have to get off the motorcycle to open the garage door for you does she? Well heck no so all you have to do is be the high bidder and…..Problem solved! Well maybe one of them?

Pro Football Hall of Fame Passes WITH a personal guided tour PLUS some HOF-SWAG!

Pro Football Hall of Fame Passes WITH a personal guided tour PLUS some HOF-SWAG!

Among the many friends and “family” Maize Valley has our lots of local folks who work with really cool places like the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ann Wood lives just up the street and works at the Hall of Fame and put together a truly special one of a kind package. Gary and Francis Jervis have donated a complete Fine China set NEVER out of the box! I don’t have a picture of it because the box is over three feet tall and full of packing peanuts and shipping container packaging.

A Personal Trainer Makeover

A Personal Trainer Makeover

My wife Michelle (pictured on left) and I are the reason for this party, we are raising the funds for the Susan G. Komen walk but Michelle’s Mom Donna is also a Breast Cancer survivor. After her surgery and treatment, exercise was prescribed and that brought her to Joyce her personal trainer. That was over 5 years ago and Donna still works out and Joyce is here to help in a different way by donating her services as well as that of some of her colleagues and friends also. Donna was always fit, lugging milk to the calves at the dairy farm but at 75+ years young Joyce has been a great help in keeping a healthy body and mind going forward.

Oh, did I mention there were more Fishing lures! ;-)

Oh, did I mention there were more Fishing lures! 😉

Well, I wish I wrote better when it comes to English and grammar. Sorry but I crank these posts out in between managing our family farm businesses social media marketing efforts and fixing truck beds and driving tractors. (See my last two posts about this event here and here.) But the key is family, we work together here at Maize Valley. We do things like corn mazes, wagon rides, pumpking picking, wine tastings, and soon to be a brewery. But we couldn’t do it by ourselves, we need and appreciate the help of others. So on that note, Please join us for the PINK Party on May 7th if you can. Thank you our sponsors for all you do, because everyone deserves a lifetime!

A Farmer’s Promise

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

This time of year we talk a lot about our Bra-Vo Bra Decorating Contest and our PINK Party both designed to raise funds for Breast Cancer Charities. In our case we focus on the Susan G. Komen 3 day, and here is why. This is a follow up to the last blog post about what the PINK Party was about.

3 Day opening ceremonies

3 Day opening ceremonies

The Susan G. Komen Foundation has raised more money for breast cancer research than any other single charity. They have had some setbacks the past couple years I will agree, they probably have not made the best decisions in all instances, maybe they got too big, I don’t know. What I do know is I have witnessed at many levels the 3 Day 60 mile walk do so much more than raise, spend or do whatever with simply money. It is also about “The Promise”, I’ll get to that later.

Just a "Civilian Cheerleader" along the route, you never knew the stories behind "why...."

Just a "Civilian Cheerleader" along the route, you never knew the stories behind "why...."

I have seen it change lives, personally I have had it change my life such that I have been a motivated to become a “multiplier” for the cause within and separate from the SGK 3 Day. What is that worth? Again I don’t know nor does anyone else. The SGK 3 Day “rolls large” it moves people physically, mentally and spiritually. Let me say I mean no disparagement to any other event or charity in saying these comments I am simply stating what I’ve experienced and why we support the SGK 3 Day. It is a unique event when you string 3 days together over 60 miles it moves people beyond their comfort zones, it requires a big commitment in many ways not just the few days of the event. This really makes it “Special” to me.

Michelle in front of the Pink tent city her first year the walkers and crew

Michelle in front of the Pink tent city her first year the walkers and crew

It takes an army of “crew” to support these walkers, it isn’t cheap. As a farmer I know how to move large things, deal with weather and understand logistics a bit, this is a big deal to pull off. They provide medical care, they feed them well, the AWESOME porta-jons, actually pretty nice showers, and safety is quite a play to orchestrate.

Portable shower rigs, boy they feel good at the end of 20 mile walk on a 90 degree day!

Portable shower rigs, boy they feel good at the end of 20 mile walk on a 90 degree day!

I think for the outcome they do a great job. As a farmer I know when I grow a crop some weeds are going to grow too. I just have to do my best to minimize that part and drive the positive aspects to the top. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop farming because some weeds will grow if I do. I’ve got a job to do, as do the folks of all motivations that volunteer and make a career out of running charities. We are better off with their efforts than without. That is why we walk the 3 Day, also because it’s HARD!

I was a member of "Route Safety" Crew in 2011 "The Pirates"

I was a member of "Route Safety" Crew in 2011 "The Pirates"

Our motley crew on motorcycles and bicycles watched out for walkers safety in multiple ways. We were there to watch for medical conditions and get help if noted. We kept people off their phones when walking, we escorted the walkers at “tough” intersections within traffic laws, we told really bad jokes when people needed a smile. After a while only so many things rhyme with ARrrrrrgH!

Promise Me

Promise Me

Again I keep coming back to what is motivating me to write this. It’s the “Anti’s” as they are called now, those who can find fault in practically anything for whatever reason good or bad. But it is easy to throw stones at a glass house after someone built it. When “The Promise” was made we didn’t talk openly about breasts, make jokes about boobs or practically even acknowledge this “thing” existed. I promised my wife I would always be there for her in this journey, it was a small promise compared to one promise a sister made to another back in 1977.

Nancy and Susan

Nancy and Susan

In 1977, breast cancer was still shrouded in stigma and shame. Nobody talked about early detection and mammograms. Nobody could even say the words “breast” and “cancer” together in polite company, let alone on television news broadcasts. With Nancy at her side, Suzy endured the many indignities of cancer treatment, from the grim, soul-killing waiting rooms to the mistakes of well-meaning but misinformed doctors. That’s when Suzy began to ask Nancy to promise. To promise to end the silence. To promise to raise money for scientific research. To promise to one day cure breast cancer for good. Big, shoot-for-the-moon promises that Nancy never dreamed she could fulfill. But she promised because this was her beloved sister.
I promise, Suzy. . . . Even if it takes the rest of my life.

Me and my Survivor

Me and my Survivor

So this the “why” we are grunts in the fight against Breast Cancer and why we have chosen the Susan G. Komen 3 Day as our path. We ask for your support at the PINK Party or anyway possible. If you can’t help there we encourage you to look around for other opportunities that also exist with other groups that are also in the fight because everyone deserves a lifetime!

Looks like we will walking the streets and paths of Michigan in 2014!  Zero to 60 in 3 Days...We got that!

Looks like we will walking the streets and paths of Michigan in 2014! Zero to 60 in 3 Days...We got that!

“PINK Party” A night out with “The Girls”…and those who love them.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

How the “PINK Party” came to be.

It was a busy, August day, I had just gotten back from a fast trip over to Western New York State wine/grape country from some juice when my phone rang. I was tired I had left about 4:00am, by 3:00 in the afternoon the day was getting long especially in the heat. My wife Michelle had gone to the Doctor to get some test results, her voice on the phone was weak and tearful, “I’ve got cancer”. I dropped to my knees on the back dock of our winery. I had not gone with her, the general consensus was they were just calcium deposits….we were wrong. The 20 minute drive she had back from town seemed liked an eternity.

My Girls

My Girls, my wife Michelle with our daughters Cara and Breanne

Were my daughters going to lose their Mother? I didn’t know how to react really. I mean I didn’t know enough about anything to be afraid or confident, angry or stoic. My brother had lost his wife the prior year after a long battle. Was this our future? My wife’s Mother was winning her battle, was this our future? My wife’s Grandmother on her Father’s side died from it in the 1940’s. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know.

Almost five years later, she survived!

Almost five years later, she survived!

This post is not “About Us”, we survived. It is about what we…..mostly “she” did to fight back. The December after that August my wife Michelle had a double mastectomy. We were lucky no Kemo, no Radiation. The following spring then June final reconstructive surgery. In July she walked 60 miles in Cleveland in three days raising over $4,000.00. She has done that every year since in one city or another. I have helped by supporting her, being a Susan G. Komen crew member and last year for my first time I walked along side my survivor in the 100 degree heat of the Twin Cities as a walker myself. That is what the PINK Party is about and so much more.

Pink Party 2013

Pink Party 2013

One thing I learned about the Susan G. Komen walk was it was about so much more than just money. When you spend three days together with about a thousand of your closest friends on street corners, sidewalks, parking lots, parks, tents, portable showers, tents and porta jons volumes can be spoken with just eye contact. Yea, you raised a pretty good chunk of change to get there but it isn’t really about the money, it is about the journey. And the PINK Party is part of that journey for us.

Auction items

Auction items

For me the raising money sorta sucks, but it taught me a lesson. It is good to be humble and ask for help if it causes someone to think about something they would rather not think about and maybe it saves their life. My wife was lucky, early detection at least saved her from a much more gruesome path we saw others take, maybe it saved her life? So while the party is about raising money, the cliche’ of raising awareness is even more important because in this case that awareness is personal. If we touch one person that night, if one person is moved to action we truly have already taken our first steps, the following sixty miles are easy.

Pink Party ladies

Pink Party ladies

It’s harder to hate someone if you know them, it is harder to be afraid of something if you are smiling. We are serious about this fight but it doesn’t mean we don’t laugh along the way, we use it as a weapon in our arsenal. The PINK Party is about serious business, it is about doing our part to save lives but we also try and have a good laugh along the way. Laughter rejuvenates, laughter makes you stronger, laughter helps you fight.

Willie on the "hands down"

Willie on the "hands down"

We play games like “Hands up” / “Hands Down”. You pay to play but if you are the last one standing you go home with a Big Screen T.V.

Prizes and so much more!

Prizes and so much more!

The Big Screen T.V. was purchased and donated by Maize Valley staff member and good friend Scott Mann. Scott and Michelle hatched the idea for the “PINK Party” event over the previous winter. Many great people came together to make the evening greater than the sum of its parts.

Scott Mann, a Man of many talents

Scott Mann, a Man of many talents

A great number of local area businesses also stepped up to help out. Doreen Leaf Designs and Bridal Bouquet donated Tuxes for the guys to wear that evening and countless others donated door prizes, massages, and makeovers. We even had a belly dancer out demonstrate her trade and how it applied to art and fitness.

Joe, Ryan and Todd sporting Doreen Leaf Designs apparel

Joe, Ryan and Todd sporting Doreen Leaf Designs apparel

In the end they even managed to make this farmer look pretty good and that is a hard thing to do standing next to this lady, my survivor Michelle.

Me and my Survivor

Me and my Survivor

As I mentioned it took me a while to really understand the impact a night like this could have on people. Our actions that evening while focused on the obvious purpose of raising money also moved people to be multipliers and that was our real accomplishment. We raised over $7,000.00 that night all told. We thank all the participants, guests and friends who came out to make that possible. We took that money and some more and donated it to the Susan G. Komen foundation and participated in the 3 Day for the cure walk in the Twin Cities. We also mention we paid our travel expenses, hotel and meals while on the trip out of our own pocket, not as a badge of honor but just so folks know we tried to put all their donations toward the “main thing”.

At the end of Day # 2 with 40 miles behind us

At the end of Day # 2 with 40 miles behind us

Along the walk we met many friends, and heard many stories of personal loss and triumph. With your help we may again do it again in 2014, thank you for your time spent here reading this and hope to see you at the “PINK Party“!

Chelle in the middle of the pic at closing ceremonies

Chelle in the middle of the pic at closing ceremonies

Thanks again, next post I will talk a little bit more about the walk itself, what happens and why we have chosen this particular charity. Take care, BB

Breakfast with Santa at the Winery part 1

Monday, November 25th, 2013
Breakfast with Santa

Breakfast with Santa

Breakfast with Santa, every year we do an “Over the top” breakfast with Santa and gradually have gotten to be know as “Thee place to be” for this type of event. People start calling us to make pre-paid reservations in October! This event

Ho, Ho, HO!  Let it snow!

Ho, Ho, HO! Let it snow!

First of all we take pre-paid reservations only for this event. Call us up, we get your information and reserve you a place to enjoy the event. We like to make sure everyone has the time and room they need for whatever size their group is. The breakfast is done buffet style where we serve our guests as they move through the line. Nobody leaves hungry and we keep it neat and full.

Chow line!

Chow line!

The chairs that the night before had guests sitting around the winery enjoying wine and food while listening to live entertainment are now filled with families bridging the generational gaps and finding way to enjoy each others company while of course waiting to meet the “Big Guy”!

One of our Reserved seating areas

One of our Reserved seating areas

Next post we’ll take more detailed look at what else goes on with Santa.

If you would like to learn more about our special events please visit

For information about 2013 Breakfast with Santa only.

Garlic-pa-Loooza!! 2010 Maize Valley Bringin’ it!

Monday, January 17th, 2011
Vampire Free Zone!

Vampire Free Zone!

2010 saw Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery go to its very first garlic festival. The very first Cleveland Garlic Festival was held in September by the North Union Farmers’ Market and were invited!

Size Matters!

Size Matters! ?

Great food, live music, even “Miss Garlic”? Oh and garlic too.

Miss Garlic, uh she's on the right...

Miss Garlic, uh she's on the right...

Did I say there was garlic there? We loaded our truck with about 300 lbs. of garlic, shallots, Red onions and a whole host of canned garlic products such as, galic stuffed olives and hot pickled garlic.

Tastes like garlic

Tastes like garlic

Some of the Ohio Wine and More blog post from Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery focus on different things. We will put our wines up against any in the state from dry reds to sweet fruits. But we focus a great deal on the partnership with food too. Not only food you buy but what we grow too. It is important to us to be real. No we don’t do everything or raise everything we sell or produce but as much as makes sense to do we give it a shot.

Memories to last a lifetime

Memories to last a lifetime

You are what you eat it has been said. No you don’t want to be a giant clove of garlic but just think about it. Doesn’t it make sense within reason to eat more foods that are closer to what our human bodies have become used to over the generations? In general less processed, whole foods eaten in a balanced diet of vegtable and animal protein are benificial to you.

Here is our garlic patch from 2010, about 10,000 set. For 2011 it is about twice as large. We sold all of last years crop and have added more as well as some new varities too.

Enjoy!

Maize Valley is Re-Loading for 2011!

Friday, January 7th, 2011
Stomp the Grapes 2010

Stomp the Grapes 2010

Cruise In July 22nd 2010

Cruise In July 22nd 2010

Pink Poker Run 2010

Pink Poker Run 2010

Cane Burning Par-Tay

Cane Burning Par-Tay

Hartville Radishes from Maize Valley Farms

Hartville Radishes from Maize Valley Farms

2010 was a great year at Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery, thank you! We really mean that. We are a family farm business that has been making a living with the soil since the 1800’s. Throughout all those year’s my wife’s family the Vaughan’s have been leather tanners, school teachers, carpenters, and all along farmers. You see you just did what you had to do to survive. As Dorie says in finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!

We grow about 52 different crops on about 700 acres but the most important crop is fun! Fun = memories and we try and build special events that cement those memories and last a lifetime. Our event calendar is loading up for 2011. We are working on making new events and adding and improving old ones too.

Look for our Vines, Wines, and Pines, cross country race to expand to include a “Farmathlon”, yea it’s gonna be cool! We are working on the half marathon and with any luck will be able to handle the expected growth up towards 2,000 runners.

The Pink Poker Run to raise money for Susan G. Komen 3 day for the cure will be back with a “Bike Rodeo” on the back side of it and hog roast.

We are pulling the plug on the Haunted corn maze and will be planting pumpkins in that area and making the woods part of the wagon ride paths. Plus the Pony Express is going to make it’s way back into the Corn Maze design.

The cane burning Par-Tay is gonna have a bigger pile, the monthly “Vintner Dinner” series keeps selling out so look for some new ideas coming there, the cruise-ins’ are every week starting in May and well wait to ya see the giant Hill-Slide we are building…..! Whew, and that’s not all! Stay Tuned!

At Maize Valley, We Make Great Wine…FUN!

Breast Cancer, it is well, personal! Help Us Help Others!

Monday, May 24th, 2010
I'm Walking 60 miles in 3 Days to help find a cure can you help me?

I'm Walking 60 miles in 3 Days to help find a cure can you help me?

Michelle with me at Daytona Bike Week

Michelle with me at Daytona Bike Week

Why I’m Walking

I’m walking because I can. Because so many can not. Because this disease has taken so much from so many. I’m walking for my sister in law who fought to the end, for my dad who grew up without a mother , for my aunt who started her fight 30 years ago, for my mom who started her fight 2 years ago.

I’m walking for myself – to prove that the past year has been just a speed bump in the road of life. Many of you know that I was diagnosed with breast cancer August 31, 2009. Since that time I have had two surgeries, the second being a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. That means they took the old ones with the cancer and gave me new ones (although it’s been a little more involved than that).

I’m walking for my children, that they may never have to walk. That they will never have to hear the words “we got the results, it’s cancer”. That some day there will be a cure and a world without breast cancer.

I’m walking because someone, walked for me. For without the advances in early detection and treatments, my cancer might still be hidden, my story might have a very different ending.

The Susan G., Komen foundation has been involved with every major advancement in the fight against breast cancer.

Breast Cancer, Burn it to the ground “Cane” Burning Par-Tay!

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Wow Dad this pile is HUGE!

Wow Dad this pile is HUGE!

Brett Helping Dad bring in the pile!

Brett Helping Dad bring in the pile!

The Cane Burning Party will take place in our hilltop Pavilion on Saturday, May 29. Admission is $10 ($5 of which will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation) and will include hamburgers, bratwurst, potato salad, chips and s’mores around the fire. With Live entertainment for “Me and this other guy”.

My wife Michelle was diagnosed with Breast Cancer last August. She is walking in the 3 day walk. You can donate directly and learn more about her journey by visiting www.maizevalley.com and click on her picture and link.

Come on out and enjoy a good old fashioned big ole’ “Bon Faaarrr”, from Back in the Day. The canes are the wood we prune from the vineyard, not disabled persons walking aids either!! When they burn down we have more wood to add! We might even take a “moon light wagon ride” once the tunes die down, C how it goes! 🙂

Food starts about 6:00, wine sales in the pavilion too, we “Light it up” bout 7:00, probably hang out till bout 10:00-11:00 ?

Samuel Barber: Agnus Dei (Adagio for strings) #breast cancer, #farm

Friday, October 23rd, 2009
New Year's Eve 2009 at Troutman's, boy I hope 2010 is better!

New Year's Eve 2009 at Troutman's, boy I hope 2010 is better!

It’s been such a long time I think should be blogging, but time just slips away and keeps on going…..

Tons has happened here at Maize Valley since August, I am sorry to say I have lost track of time and fell down on the posts. As of late we are dealing with our sixth straight weekend of rain. Pretty much since the start of our fall harvest season and corn maze opening. Per the haunted maze we have had it open only one night out of a possible seven to date. Hopefully tomorrow night will be the second night, rain forcast for next weekend?

Most of all what rocked my world and has divided my attention was the news that my wife Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer on August 31st. Wow what a deal, dropped me to my knees. We had surgery last Monday, things went as well as could be expected, now we wait on final test results and plan future treatments. I guess it was good we were busy this fall, it helped to occupy our minds.

But we didn’t back down anywhere here on the farm. We just kept pushing like we have all our lives. Just one more challenge, with this time family first. I have learned a great deal about myself, I have learned a great deal about breast cancer and all the success stories as well. But you see a two years ago we lost my sister-in-law Mary Ellen Cole-Bakan, just over a year ago Michelle’s Mom survived. A roller coaster nobody should have to ride.

Mary Ellen helped us in the pumpkin patch from day one. She was great, anybody who would “forget” to pay as they got back on the wagon she would gracefully approach with a smile and be sure we got our money for the pumpkin. She was just a soft and bright soul and I often think of her as I see families in our pumpkin patch building their memories, as she is part of mine.

Cancer scared the hell out of me, I did not want to have memories I wanted to have my wife and business partner of almost 24 years now. You see this business with the help of her family, (mostly Chelle’s Mom and Dad) we have built together from the start at our first farm market conference back in Dayton over 15 years ago. That is where we got our first glimps of direct marketing, corn mazes, pumpkin picking and more. From there we began building a place that in turn helps build memories to last a lifetime for others. She and I are not “in love”, it is something that we do… Thanks Clint Black. Without her this place is just a body of work, hollow without her.

The surgery went well, we think and hope for now she is going to be in that close to 75% that survive today due to our early detection. Time will tell but more than time we are on this one with both feet. And the marketer in me looks to 2010 with breast cancer awarness month in October maybe we can help others by dovetailing our personal journey and our business into their lives as well.

Stay tuned, as maybe that is my purpose behind this new journey my wife, lover and best friend have embarked upon. Thanks to all the family and friends that have helped to lessen the sting with their actual help here on the farm, in the store and in the winery. Thanks to all the stories of realatives and friends that are still here today and words of encouragement of their success stories. That is what we plan of doing for others at the very least!