Keeping Up With The Smiths!

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See that gorgeous woman with the incredible smile? Who is she, you may ask? Besides being the only person I know who can pull of that look and make “bald” a sexy HOT fashion statement, that amazing lady is my friend, Marjeri Smith. Marjeri’s more than a pretty face…she’s a devoted wife and mother of two, a talented wedding coordinator/event planner, a lifestyle blogger, a daughter, a sister, a friend. She’s intelligent, sweet, generous, creative, optimistic and one of the kindest and most humble women I have ever met. And though she may seem sweet and gentle in that petite frame, Marjeri is one tough powerhouse. Who is she? She’s also a warrior…bravely and gracefully fighting a battle against cancer.

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Marjeri’s story in her own words:

Every four minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. I happen to be one of these people.  I am a 32 year-old, healthy, active and strong woman. I am also a devoted wife and mother to two beautiful young children. My life could not have been more perfect until May 15, 2013, when I was diagnosed with an incredibly rare and aggressive disease known as T-Cell Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALK+). Lymphoma is a cancer of the blood and my particular diagnosis has only been documented in 80 total cases in the world.  

As you can imagine, the news hit us all really hard, as I was only having symptoms for about two months before I was diagnosed. I began to have back and stomach pain around Easter and it progressed to me needing a double small bowel resection surgery on May 15th. Initially, my thoughts rushed to my children and how they could survive without a mother or if they would remember me if I was gone. Then I thought of my husband and how difficult life would be for him as a single parent.

Luckily, we were able to biopsy my small bowel quickly enough to catch my cancer early. Although this all sounds slightly depressing, my prognosis is better than I could have ever hoped for. When I finally regained control of my emotions, I started to research my diagnosis and quickly learned that my rare and aggressive disease is curable. My oncologist is confident that I will go into full remission after 6 sessions of chemotherapy. It’s an aggressive cancer, so we have to treat it with an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy drugs for 18 weeks. We are all aware that the next few months are going to be challenging but we refuse to let this new “speed bump” slow us down!

The Smiths

When I heard the news of Marjeri’s diagnosis and what she was going through, my heart sank. As a mother and wife, my thoughts went to her and her beautiful family and how difficult all of this would be for them. I know that she has a wonderful support system of her husband, Herbie, and their family members, and lots of great friends all over the world. Still, no one wants to see anyone they love facing cancer. But Marjeri is just so incredibly vibrant, positive and strong. Her determination and strength is awe-inspiring. Within a short time after she found out about her diagnosis, Marjeri was already planning how she could help others facing the same fight. Despite her own battle ahead with lymphoma, she was waging a war against cancer. She amazes me with her selflessness and fierceness!

In Marjeri’s words…

I would love for you to help me raise money for the fight against lymphoma. My preferred method would be for all of my friends and family to participate in the Light the Night Walk with me on November 8th at Petco Park, but I definitely know it is impossible for a lot of you.  Either way, please click here and help out in any way you can.  

I have been showered with so much love and support in the past couple months that it has brought me to tears on multiple occasions. Having this disease has allowed me to literally see the generosity and kindness in those I love and also those I don’t know. Sometimes it takes dramatic circumstances to bring people together, so let’s take advantage and make the best of my situation.

Immediately I thought…”how can I help, what can I do, what can I offer?” How could I show The Smith Family my love and support, that I care and am here for them? When Marjeri and Herbie created “Keeping Up With the Smiths”, a fundraising team for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk, I signed my husband and I up to do the walk and help raise money for their team. I wanted to share Marjeri’s story here on my blog to get the word out about this worthy cause and hopefully gain some support from my friends, clients and readers.

Here’s the flyer for the Light The Night Walk. MarjeriSmith_LLS_Flyer

In addition to the Light The Night Walk, there are other ways to show Marjeri support in her fight against cancer and raise funds to help The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in research and patient support services.

On Saturday, August 31st, The Smiths will have a super fun Family Movie Night fundraiser in their cul-de-sac. Admission is FREE and there will be popcorn and a bounce house for the kids!  All proceeds from concessions, food, silent auction baskets, and raffle tickets go towards Team Keeping Up With The Smiths fundraising efforts for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Movie Night Flyer_3

Another way to help is to purchase these beautiful pieces of jewelry created by Marjeri’s friends, Alana and Sharie of Love is a Devil. Here’s the link to the Marjeri set, designed and named in honor of our wonderful friend. The gorgeous lime green glass stones are the affiliated color for the LLS.

Love is A Devil

Also, I’ve been working on some sketches and will be selling notecard sets or prints based on illustrations inspired by Marjeri. The notecard sets or prints will be $10 each (for a set of five printed cards with envelopes or one 8″ X 10″ print of any of the illustrations) and 100% of the sales will go to Keeping Up With the Smiths and our fundraising efforts for the Light The Night Walk on November 8th. Love Paper Paint will cover domestic shipping, so every bit of the $10 you donate will go towards the cause. I will post the illustrations soon, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of one sketch I may use. If you’re interested in more information or would like to place an order, please email me:

Fate Love Passion

Thank you for reading about my friend Marjeri and allowing me to share her story. I hope it not only informs you, but inspires you and motivates you to live your life to the fullest…to always show kindness and generosity…to continually see the glass as half full…and strive to find ways to fill that glass to overflowing with love and grace.

Love you, Marjeri! Let’s kick cancer’s ass!!!




  1. […] growth. Each tree I paint holds a special place in my heart, but the tree I painted for my friend, Marjeri, as she bravely battled and WON her fight against cancer, is the most endearing to me. She was […]