Melancholy Mondays

This past weekend, I found out that our friends lost someone very close to them, their lifelong friend Tom. I was lucky enough to have met Tom when our family tagged along on their annual summer vacation to Block Island. For the last three decades, they reunite with their high school friends where they relax at the beach, gather around a bonfire, shoot off fireworks, shop at the farmer’s markets in town and enjoy amazing lobster and lots of drinks.

But there’s even more to this picturesque New England beach island than the quaint stores, the sunshine and the ghosts (don’t even get me started on that one) some of the most memorable times we had on Block Island were because of Tom – or shall I say Pirate Tom for those of us who were lucky enough to see him in action.

Each summer, Tom would visit with his friends on Block Island and during that weekend, would transform into his stage persona, Pirate Tom. Dozens of kids and parents would gather around Pirate Tom as he embarked on a trek across Mansion Beach that would eventually lead to finding a buried treasure. With his booming voice, kerchief on his head, scraggly beard and white flowy shirt, Tom embodied the spirit of someone who had just stepped out from another time period. The moment he began to speak, we all became part of the adventure as he made us laugh and we cheered him on as he fought off another swashbuckler who attempted to steal the treasure trove of beads that were buried somewhere along the beach.

It was so much fun to see Tom entertain those kids and the group seemed to grow year after year to a point where some kids didn’t even know Pirate Tom but knew they definitely wanted to be a part of the action. No matter your age, if you witnessed a Pirate Tom performance, you walked away with a priceless summer memory.

There are not many people in this world who can touch people’s lives at any age but Tom had that magical gift. He was a bartender, a voice over artist and actor who relished the opportunity to tell stories while making people laugh and brightening their lives.

And that, my dear readers is what life is truly about. It’s not about having a fancy title next to your name or driving an expensive car or having a spectacular home. Life is about the people who make your days fuller and richer with love, laughter and adventure. Tom was that person and while he is gone, his legend will absolutely live on for generations to come. In fact, I think we’re going to take a trip to Block Island this summer to retrace those magical steps along the beach. While we may not find that buried treasure again, what I’ve come to realize is that Pirate Tom was the treasure all along. 

Pirate Tom – Legends are never forgotten

Role Mommy Review: Weed the People

Over the years, I have been involved in a several different projects that centered around cancer. No matter the circumstances, it’s heartbreaking to see anyone face a cancer diagnosis. But when it’s your child, it’s absolutely devastating. I’ve met numerous families who have banded together to help find a cure for pediatric and breast cancer and am amazed at the immunotherapy treatment that has been funded due to donations, awareness and their tireless efforts to do whatever it takes to save a life.

Baby Sophie meets Mara Gordon, the founder of Aunt Zelda’s Oil who works with families to find cannabis oil treatment options for cancer

For cancer patients who are still fighting the disease or have been diagnosed at a late stage, the road is quite frightening – especially for families of young children. That’s why it was so enlightening for me to see the new documentary “Weed the People,” produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein which follows several families on their journey to find holistic treatments for their children that have led to their tumors shrinking or disappearing completely.

The film is definitely a tug at your heartstrings experience so make sure you have a few tissues handy when you watch as cameras follow the families in the midst of their fight against deadly cancer, their introduction to using a form of cannabis to treat their children and the incredible results that followed.

The sad part is that while cannabis oil is available in some states, there are others that make it illegal for families to have it shipped to them across state lines. The cost is also incredibly high and insurance unfortunately doesn’t cover it. So families are left to find unconventional ways to raise funds for the treatment while others sell their prized possessions or host fundraisers to support their medical expenses in the hope they can save their child’s life.

From an adorable blond haired blue eyed baby named Sophie whose tumors miraculously start shrinking after a combination of chemo and medicinal cannabis oil, to a boy named Chico who experiences an incredible turnaround, to AJ Kephart who even makes it to his high school graduation, “Weed the People,” presents a hopeful outlook for families who are determined to do whatever it takes to save their kids. While the outcomes are not all positive, what is encouraging is that there are doctors who are interested in learning more about the benefits of medicinal cannabis oil and how it could impact the patients they are treating.

I highly recommend “Weed the People” and really do hope that more pediatric oncologists incorporate medicinal cannabis into their treatment of young patients.  To find out more about the film and if it’s playing in your area, visit the Weed the People website.

Weed The People Trailer from Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein on Vimeo.