Vote for Irene!

You all remember Irene.

Irene is one of my dearest friends. I’ve written about how the relationship she has with her husband revolutionized my way of thinking about partnerships and romance, and together, they are two of the best parents I know. Irene is one of the best people I know, and I know a lot of good people!

A while back, she wrote an essay about how weight and weight issues affect her health and her life, and her writing put her in the top 6 out of over a thousand essays received. Now, she is a finalist in a contest to win lap-band surgery. We have the opportunity to help her, and she has asked if we could go and vote for her at the contest website.

She emailed me Monday and said,

At the beginning of the year, the local center for bariatric surgery had sent out emails for a contest. They were going to give away two lap-band surgeries, complete with lifetime follow up and everything. They wanted an essay about how obesity effects my life. So I figured, “why not? What’s the worst that can happen? It would be a good writing exercise.”

So I did it and sent it in. I didn’t think anything of it for months.

So I get a call Monday–that I was a finalist and I needed to go in Thursday for photos and a consultation.

I’ll be honest. I thought at first that they were just calling entrants to see if they could hard sell the procedure. I already knew my insurance would not cover it and [with my daughter preparing for] college that I could never afford $16k.

Lane, I’m a finalist. They chose six people out of 1100 entries. I have a one in three chance of winning this contest????

In her essay, Irene says, “There are very few aspects of my life that are not touched, in some way, by my obesity. I feel as if the fat is a wall, isolating me from the world. I want to do things, but I am either physically incapable or I am ashamed. As the pounds have piled on, my health has declined with hypertension, elevated cholesterol, sleep apnea, and joint pain. Because of my weight, I have fears of dying young and leaving my family with no support.”

“I long for the days of not being judged for my weight. I long for the days of not taking medication. I long for the days of being active. I would like to regain control of my life, and to become an enthusiastic and outgoing participant in life.”

This is from a woman who walked the 3-Day with a concussion. From a woman who works in one of the highest stress industries in the US. From a woman who is always willing to visit Sponge-o-rama with excited tourists, no matter how many times she has seen the termite riddled corpses of deep sea divers.

I want Irene to be her happiest!

Please vote for Irene, and please ask your friends to vote. Two clicks–this link, and her name. Ten seconds.

Women Worth Knowing: Where are they now? Irene, Kim, and Grace

It’s about time for us to check in on some of our early Women Worth Knowing profilees, don’t you think? Look for these to pop up from time to time.

Checking in with Irene
1. What’s new in your life since we “met” you?
Nothing much. Same husband, same kid, same job, same ennui, same boobs. Yep, much the same.

2. What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
I need to rewrite, and that means to actually sit my posterior down and WRITE, my novel. It’s too good to let it sit. Oh, and help my kid make it into an awesome college where she can blow stuff up for fun and get paid/make good grades for it.

3. What do you think makes a woman worth knowing?
I would think it’s a combination of many things: Wit, humor, intellect, humility, pride, self-awareness. We are all so much more than the sum of our parts (yes, trite and overdone, but still true) that there is no real equation or formula. It just is!

Checking in with Kim
1. What’s new in your life since we “met” you?
Nothing really, just one less kid at home. I think I already sent you the updated web url for the business last year. Other than that, I’m older and have decidely uncute hair. Deep stuff over here.

2. What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
I hope to have really gone up in my business to where it is honestly a business, not a hobby. I hope to be debt free or close to it. I hope to be a better Mom.

3. What do you think makes a woman worth knowing?
Is she a decent person? Does her family respect her? Is she true to herself? Then she is worth knowing.

Checking in with Grace
1. What’s new in your life since we “met” you?
Since I was profiled I went from being a laid off, stay at home mom by force to the ranks of the employed. Both kids are in school now so the timing was perfect for me. I am in a totally new industry which was a big adjustment because after just shy of 20 years in the t-com industry where I was a go to for knowledge, I was on the bottom rung for a couple months. It was not a position I was very comfortable with but genius that I am, I caught on quick. =) Besides–and take note, corporate America–superior customer service can not be discounted in a competitive marketplace. Since July, I have racked up over a dozen customer letters saying what a wonderful experience it was do to business with us versus our various competitors. I am also very blessed to work with a ridiculously nice group of kind, caring, but delightfully snarky people. I have found my niche!

2. What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
In the next year, I’m hoping I’ll get more of a renewed handle on working motherhood. I got rusty at the whole work 8 hours away, work another 8 hours when you get home thing, and being a few years older isn’t helping! I’m getting it all done, it’s just at the expense of me time of any kind. Much as I hate to quote a Real Housewife of New Jersey, “Happy wife, happy life” is a truism. Besides, “Staggering from one day to the next” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

3. What do you think makes a woman worth knowing?
No one formula makes up the right answer. I value different women in my life for different reasons. Some are funny, some are the still waters that run deep, some are brassy, some are bold, some are quietly brilliant and others just fabulous for any number of reasons. What they all have in common is being smart whether that means books or life experience and all bring value to my life.