Tag Archives: health

Savannah’s Smile: Light the Night Walk

26 Sep

In loving memory.

Savannah H. Munoz had the biggest and brightest smile that truly could light up the night. It breaks my heart to say that Savannah had to battle against cancer as a beautiful young child. I had the pleasure of watching this beautiful little girl grow into her giant smile and while she is not physically with us, her spirit lives within us.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s (LLSC’s) Light The Night Walk is an event that brings help, awareness and hope to people battling blood cancers. It is always comforting to know that fundraising events actually put the money to good use! The Light the Night Event proudly states on their website that funds raised offer real help that include:

  • Valuable information for blood cancer patients and families
  • Support programs for patients and their families
  • Education on the latest medical advances for healthcare professionals
  • Advocacy efforts that draw government attention to cancer-related issues
  • Grants for leading researchers across Canada who are working to cure blood cancers

Now that you have a better idea of what the LLSC aims to achieve with its fundraising, let’s get back to Savannah’s Smile.

Savannah’s mother beautifully shares her story that led her to finding the strength to put together a team to raise money for LLSC research and to talk in Savannah’s honour. She goes on to candidly share that “A couple of years ago, Savannah and I watched as Light the Night 2008 lit the night from the Sick Kids Hospital lobby. She really wanted to do the walk but because of the cold weather and recent treatment, we were not able to. As we watched the people walk by, I promised her we’d do it together the following year. In my mind I pictured us walking with white balloons (symbolizing survivors) because I always believed she’d pull through with a full recovery….

I’ve finally found the strength to form a team and do the walk holding our gold lanterns in her memory….”

Savannah’s family and friends will be walking proudly on October 2nd in honour of her lasting memory. It would mean the world to the team (and me) if you could donate towards this incredible cause. You can find Savannah’s Smile team page here: Savannah’s Smile.

All donations, no matter how “big” or “small” would be greatly appreciated by the team and those thousands of Canadians battling leukemia, lymphoma , myeloma and other blood cancers.

Passing the light on,



Merzybean Just Checked In At The Gym

14 May

Why bother checking in once I have arrived at the gym? Why bother posting pictures of my workout successes after leaving the gym?


I never used to be one of those people, and it’s a crying shame. I have been going to the gym five days a week for the last month and have “checked in” on Facebook every single time I arrive at the gym. I used to think that this was unnecessary when I would see other people’s gym check-ins appear on my Facebook Newsfeed. Boy, was I wrong! There is nothing useless about doing this. In fact, the exact opposite effect is achieved.

This idea of checking in at the gym and having people know when I was working out didn’t really mean much to me until I started to see other people do it and I began to feel motivated by them. On Instagram I started to follow people who were posting inspiring pictures of weight loss successes, their workouts, and healthy meals. A friend of mine started to share pictures of her post-workout success by taking a picture of her Polar exercise watch after each workout (workout time and calories burned were captured).

Everyday I would see these healthy lifestyle pictures and eventually I got inspired to the point at which I decided enough was enough. I was no longer going to take a backseat to this healthy lifestyle, I wanted to be the person to check into the gym everyday, to post how many miles I ran and how many calories I burned at the gym, and to be that person to inspire others.

When people say that it is obnoxious or unnecessary to share with the world every time you go to the gym, I beg to differ. The influx of text messages, Facebook messages/likes, Instagram comments/likes, Tweets and face-to-face conversations I have had with friends who feel motivated by seeing my daily check-ins are a true testament to the power of social media. Social media can directly influence and inspire people to make a change in their lives. I was inspired by others and am honoured to be able to inspire my own friends and family. The amount of positive reception that I have received has overwhelmed me. On days that I feel lazy or do not have energy to drag myself to the gym, I remember the people who have inspired me and those who I have inspired.

regret the workout you dont do

The only workouts I regret are the ones I don’t do. I’m not posting about working out on my social media to brag or show off, believe me when I say this- I am far from being able to brag! However, if my harmless check-in can keep me motivated and inspire someone else to get off the couch and go for a run, I must be doing something right!

Keep moving,


Rave Review: Hungry for Change (Documentary)

1 Jan


It’s not just what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you.”

Recently, Jeremy and I have been extremely engulfed in the world of Netflix. There are such incredible documentaries on Netflix that people do not necessarily hear about, otherwise.

Being that it is the beginning of a new year, so many people are feeling very motivated and inspired to start the year off on a healthier note. I am not excluded from this group of people looking to find healthier alternatives and yearning to become a fitter individual.

Hungry For Change is an incredible documentary that is both eye opening and has a bit of a shock value. This documentary does not sugar coat (punny) the harsh reality of the dieting world and the dangers of what Jon Gabriel, author and weight loss expert, refers to as dead food. Something that I have been admittedly addicted to is Diet Coke. I don’t think that I’m alone in my struggles with my addiction to the lethal soda. While it is marketed to be a diet friendly drink, Hungry For Change exposes that the exact opposite results are being achieved. Again, this is not news to me but sometimes we all need a reminder.

Man made foods are the root of the problem. As the documentary points out, we all know this. If we know better, shouldn’t we do better? That should be the case but it is not the reality. Processed foods are damaging to our our overall health; our hormone levels, sugar levels, and cholesterol are just a few internal victims to name.

Diets do not have longevity. Like so many others, I have been victim to many a diet in my short 24 years. At the end of the day, what we are all striving for is a healthy lifestyle with healthy results. We only have one chance at treating our body right, so we don’t we? My recent thought has been that if someone has an allergy, they don’t eat a particular food because they know it will kill them. Why then do people continue to eat processed junk food? Maybe the consequences are not as immediate as an allergy, but these foods are slowly killing us and making people very sick.

One of the most interesting points that the documentary is very adamant on, is the comparison of sugar to cocaine. Both begin from a natural, plant based entity; sugar cane and coca plants. Both are refined, white substances that chemically alter the brain and have damaging results. That was enough to shock me into wanting nothing to do with sugar. Sure, it’s a bit of an extreme comparison, but it isn’t malarky. This is the reality of what we are ingesting and putting into our body.

Watch the trailer and get lured in. Hungry for Change isn’t necessarily telling us something new but it is telling us what we need to hear to get motivated and inspired from a different perspective.

Thanks for stopping by,


Who Are We Pleasing?

4 Jun

It appears as though we are living during a time where everyone is striving for the same thing: happiness. This is likely a common goal for everyone, despite generational and cultural differences. While we are collectively and individually aiming for happiness, this begs the question of who are we actually pleasing along the way? I started wondering about this after thinking about several conversations I have had with people in my life over the years. Some might say that I am a bit of a people pleaser. While this might seem like a good thing to the people who I am pleasing, this does not always benefit my own individual needs and wants. Quite frankly, this is what inspired this particular post.

People can be considered doormats if they are too willing to please others, but on the contrary can be considered selfish if they do something for themselves. As a society, where do we differentiate between the two? It appears as though the boundaries between being selfish and being selfless are blurred and this can either create a safe haven, or a bit of turmoil in one’s life. The goal is to find a happy balance between the two, pun intended, in order to avoid becoming stressed out.

It is really important to take care of ourselves, first and foremost. This is not meant to sound selfish, it is instead supposed to champion the importance of personal well-being. If  we are not happy and satisfied with ourselves, it is not possible to be able to contribute to the happiness of those around us without a struggle. Particularly for us 20-somethings, I think that many of us are at vulnerable points of our lives and we are constantly striving to please others. We’re either trying to make someone else happy so that we can have a partner to share life and love with, or we are striving to please employers because we are on the never ending job hunt in today’s job market! No one wants to hear the sob story that times are hard, so what are we going to do about it? We can aim to achieve personal happiness in all aspects of our lives. It is important not to neglect our personal, physical, and mental well-being, so that when it comes time to please and impress others, we are fully able to do so without depleting from our own happiness.

Some things that I do to feel better and work on my well-being include reading a good book, listening to music, and going to the gym. While these things are smaller scale contributors to my personal well-being, every little bit helps! We must remember to take time to breathe and not allow the stresses around us to infiltrate our personal happiness.

What makes you happy?


Guest Blog: Raising Money. Raising Hope. Raising Changes.

25 May

It is my great pleasure to post the first guest blog here at Merzybean. My friend Michelle is partaking in a fundraising event that hits very close to home for me, The Sears Great Canadian Run. I am disappointed that I had not heard of the event until Michelle brought it to my attention, but am thrilled to include a blog post about something that pulls on my heartstrings so much. I am very impressed with the fundraising event, as Sears is working towards making a difference in the lives of children and families in need, while contributing greatly to pediatric oncology initiatives at SickKids Hospital. I spent a bit of time at SickKids with a very special little girl, and am dedicating this post in honour of sweet Savannah, an angel taken far too soon.

I extend my congratulations and best of luck to Michelle and to everyone who is participating in the Sears Great Canadian Run. Events like this must be championed and appreciated because it is so important to spread awareness and fund raise in order to make a difference. With that being said, I am pleased to introduce my friend Michelle:

The Sears Great Canadian Run 2012

Hey everyone, thanks to everyone for taking the time out to read this guest blog. First I wanted to tell you all a little about me. I am avid traveler, fierce soccer player and Harry Potter enthusiast!

The main purpose of this blog is to get a message out. This message is about a great battle that many Canadian children find themselves fighting. This battle is with Cancer.

On average, an estimated 1,310 children and youth aged 0-19 years develop cancer each year. Cancer is the most common cause of non-accidental death in Canada’s children beyond the newborn period. In the past research in the areas of children’s cancer have been neglected as it was believed that cancer in children and in adults was the same. The types of cancer diagnosed are vastly different than those found in most adults. These cancers affect the body differently and are found in different areas of the body. There is a great need for more research on the effects and causes of children’s cancers.

Since 1985 the mortality rate of children diagnosed with cancer has declined (luckily). Although this his statistic shines a ray of hope on the fight the downside is that, although they may be considered cured, the effects of cancer treatments have a long-term affect on these children. It is a never ending fight. Their fight never ends.

I will be participating in fundraising running event on September 22 to help raise funds for research and support. The Sears Great Canadian Run is now in its second year. The run is a 100km course starting in Toronto and ending in Blue Mountain.  I will be participating as part of a Welcomehome Relocations team. We will work together, running different legs of the race to complete the course. It’s about going the distance together and enjoying the journey.

The Run will support the Sears Canada Charitable foundation. Sears aims to be a significant fundraising resource in the childhood cancer area. The funds generated from the relay will be directed to The Hospital for Sick Children and national initiatives across Canada that support the research and treatment of kids cancer and help fund 16 national pediatric oncology centers.

I am actively working toward either finding more team members or donations. So far I have received $200 in donations. It’s a great start but I want to raise more. If you would like to make a donation you can visit our team page or my personal donation page. Every little bit helps toward finding a cure.

Once again I thank all of your for taking the time to read this entry. I hope that I was able to bring some awareness to the issue of kids cancer. I would love to hear your stories and experiences with kids cancer.

Finally, I want to give a big, big, big, big thanks to my dear friend Mary-Anne for posting this blog and allowing me to use her platform to get my message out. She has been a great friend of mine for many, many years and many, many years to come. Her writing style and insight has been a great inspiration to mine.