A Meal for Miracles

I’ve been wanting to do a charity event that raises money for the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Marshfield, WI since receiving a clean bill of health back in February. Hope Lodge is a program that houses cancer patients and their caregivers for free while they are undergoing treatment. I had the opportunity to stay there a few times while I was going through my treatment and it was an amazing experience.

Yes, they provide a nice room, free dinners (donated by local restaurants or community groups), a workout center and so much more. However, it wasn’t the facilities that made it a good experience. It was the people, volunteers, staff and guests alike. They were so friendly and personable. It didn’t make the chemo treatments easier, but it made them more bearable.

Hope Lodge has great facilities and fantastic staff and volunteers. They truly care about the guests that come to stay at Hope Lodge. They are a non- profit organization, meaning that they receive all of their funding through donations. This means that if they want to continue to run, they need the support of their community. If you’d like to learn more, you can read more about Hope Lodge and its mission statement here.

This is where my desire to fundraise for them derived. The staff and volunteer team can’t do what they do without help and since I experienced their generosity first hand, the absolute least I could do was get the word out and do some fundraising myself. 

I had no idea where I was going to fundraise or when, but I knew that I was going to do it. When I attended Women Who Cook at the Forage in Eau Claire, WI, I got to talking with the owner of the facilities and she offered to let me use her place on my birthday! Then, with the help of my sister and one of my best friends, A Meal for Miracles was created.

A Meal for Miracles was a fundraising event my sister (Layne), her boyfriend (Brent) and I put on in the Eau Claire area. It consisted of a four course dinner (which was DELICIOUS) with wine pairings and an evening of conversation and laughter. Layne and Brent are fantastic chefs with years of culinary experience and education under their belts. We figured, “Hey! Why not use that to our advantage!” So we spent a few months preparing, advertising and working on this project. It was exhausting but so worth it.

And people came to the event! To put forth so much work for the sake of an organization you care about and to have your friends, family and strangers alike support them? There’s no better feeling in the world. I continue to be astounded by people and their open hearts. I am hoping that one day we will be able to do an event like A Meal for Miracles again soon.

If you are able to do so, please consider donating to Hope Lodge or sharing the Hope Lodge main page with friends and family. Hope Lodge is a great facility and deserves all the love and support.



Until Next Time,

Dana Qualy

Cancer Freedom, Fundraisers and Fun!


Hi all! How’s it going? Hopefully well because I have lots to tell you so make sure you stick around until the very end. The first bit of news I have is a little old but still really amazing:


You did not misread the last sentence. That’s right, folks! Dana Qualy can no longer be pushed around by cancer and its sidekick, chemotherapy. Mind you, I still have one more cycle of chemo to go, but that’s it! Then I’m done!!

Here’s why I still have more chemo:

Way back in November at the start of this little adventure, my oncologist told me I’d be receiving 4-6 cycles of treatment. After the third cycle, I would go get a PET scan and its results would determine exactly how many cycles of ABVD chemo I’d get.

Three months go by and it is now the beginning of February. Time for the scan. I have never been so nervous for a test in my life because I knew that if I were to “fail” this test (aka large masses were still present in my chest and neck), then the treatment would only get more aggressive. It was also more likely that the cancer would come back within five years and I’d live in the never-ending cycle of treatment and hospitals.

So I do the scan on a Thursday afternoon and wait four agonizing days to hear the news. The cancer was gone. Any large growths that were there three months ago are nowhere to be seen. However, because I had started with so many large growths in my neck and chest, it was decided that I was to continue with all six cycles of chemo and no radiation to make sure the cancer would stay gone. Between you and me, I’d take an extra cycle or two of chemo over radiation any day.

As cheesy as it sounds, that PET scan was the ticket to getting my life back. Before the scan, my family and I stopped any and all long term planning. There were no summer events, no birthdays, and no future. Sure there’s stuff we wanted to do and MAYBE we’d get around to it IF I was feeling okay, but as far we could tell, chemotherapy treatments and hospitals were the main source of our future. Possibly for life. But it wasn’t.

That PET scan proved that cancer wasn’t going to be my family’s future. My family got to start planning again. I got to start planning again.

I’m going back to school.

I’m going to get a job.

I’m going to celebrate every event and holiday.

I’m going to celebrate the people I love even more.

I’m going to celebrate my birthday.

Which leads me to my second topic: birthdays. I have one coming up in May and for once, I’m very excited about it. I decided to donate my birthday to the American Cancer Society and do a fundraiser. It’s called $2100 for 21 Years. You can read more about it in the link, but basically I want there to be more birthdays in the world and I want to do my part to make it happen. And in celebration of my birthday, I want to help more people.

Over the next month or so I’ll be sharing more about the fundraiser on My Bright Corner. If you can, please consider donating or sharing this fundraiser with anyone and everyone because everyone needs more birthdays with loved ones!


Until next time,