Getting Old is a A Gift

By Molly MacDonald


Last week as I faced another birthday, another year of growing older, another year of watching the physical changes   that come with aging, changes many of us try to disguise with face lifts, and Botox and Juvederm and hair dye, I realize that for many women, some 40,000 this year who will die from breast cancer, having a birthday and getting older is a gift they wish they could stick around to receive.

And so as much as I dislike watching my face falling, my hair graying (Medium Ash Blonde is my friend), my skin thinning, I realize the alternative I could be facing, like four women I know right now in Stage IV breast cancer, fighting for their lives.

Hooked up to IV poles feeding various chemo cocktails into the ports of call in their chest wall, these women write blogs, post on Care Pages and Caring Bridge, opening their hearts, minds and spirits to their readers, often describing in detail their year of hell, wishing, hoping, thinking and praying, one year of hell will buy them another year of good health, or more.

One more birthday to celebrate, one more year to be grateful to be growing older, one more year to realize getting old is a gift.

The Pink Fund is pleased to introduce Amy Rauch Neilson, 42, a Michigan Mom of one precious five year old boy, Theodore,  wife to Donald Neilson, and a free-lance writer and editor with a book in the works and an agent, Jessica Faust of BookEnds LLC, waiting in the wings to help her get it published.

Join us as we follow Amy in her journey.  Wish and hope and think and pray with us that Amy will live to see another forty birthdays because that is her goal.  Getting old, having a birthday, is a gift she wants to stick around to receive.


The philosophy of the journalism program at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. — where I earned my B.A. — has always been hands-on. All of the program’s professors have to have some real-world field experience before they are allowed to enter the classroom.

So, not only were my professors some of the best and brightest of the Metro Detroit news media, but often, they invited guest speakers to class. Amazing, accomplished guest speakers.

One of those speakers was a business and finance reporter for The Detroit Free Press. I can’t remember her name. But I do remember being fascinated by the name of the street she lived on — Lois Lane in Southfield.

She was there that day to share her experiences. She was very self-assured, beautiful, and accomplished. Still.

Borrrring, I remember thinking to myself, a then 18-year-old college freshman who certainly knew it all. A business and finance reporter was the last thing I saw myself becoming.

But that’s exactly what happened. When I graduated from OU in 1990, the United States was involved in the first Gulf War. Our country was in recession. And jobs were scarce.

I thumbed through my network of contacts, shaking the trees, looking for a job. I found one, as Managing Editor of Better Investing, the monthly magazine of the National Association of Investors Corporation, headquartered at that time in Royal Oak, Mich.

And what I hadn’t imagined in my wildest dreams became my reality. I had become a business/personal finance writer and editor.

I dove in head first, immersing myself in everything investing. NAIC is a national, non-profit organization that teaches individuals and investment clubs how to invest for the long term. That meant there were a lot of opportunities for me to attend workshops and learn the ropes, as well as many mentors to guide me along the way.

I’ve been writing for them in one capacity or another for two decades. I’ve also written for a number of business and financial publications, including a stint writing cover stories for the weekly business magazine, Strategies, in The Detroit News, circa late 1990s.

That said, while personal finance and investing is not my passion (writing is and always will be), it certainly is something I’ve come to know a lot about, and yes, even love.

That’s where you enter the picture.

Beginning today, I will be a regular blogger for The Pink Fund. Look for me here every Monday.

My assignment is to blog about the financial toll cancer can have on the patient as well as his or her family — and to offer insights and ideas, perhaps links to organizations that can provide resources and funds to see you through.

While nothing I write should ever be construed as financial advice — I’m a writer, not a financial professional — I can certainly point you in the right direction.

Between now and next week, I’d love to hear from you. What are you and/or your family facing, financially, post-diagnosis?

As for that day in journalism class way back when, isn’t life ironic? I became a financial writer. God does indeed have a great sense of humor.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson

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