The gratitude for Niebur has poured in to her friends who are working on a video project for her and her family as she struggles through the last days of cancer.
The first completed video is below
Also, thanks to Jessica McFadden, aka, A Parent In Silver Spring, for providing the newly established address where the Niebur family has asked friends and fans to send good wishes the traditional way:
Susan and Curt Niebur
11006 Veirs Mill Rd, Ste. L-15 #112
Wheaton, MD 20902
Published January 24, 2012
Today, I’d like to talk a bit about the upside of social media. I’d like to talk about what’s happening on a number of local blogs right now, including Toddler Planet, Teach Mama, A Parent in Silver Spring and the new blog network The DC Moms
Writers of these blogs are using social media to explore the depths of inspiration and friendship.
I’ll start with Susan Niebur. Niebur lives in Silver Spring with her husband and two young boys and is a NASA consultant on planetary science. She writes the wildly popular blog Toddler Planet. On Twitter, she uses the handle @whymommy and has more than 7,300 followers.
She is also dying. She has been chronicling her battle with breast cancer on her blog and, in so doing, has gathered an international audience who appreciate her frank, honest depiction of the challenges and surreal humor of living with cancer.
Today, her friends and virtual audience are using social media to let Niebur know how grateful they are to her. They are creating, “The most incredible digital card that has ever been made to show Susan just how much she is loved.”
The project is called @Whymommy love fest. Organizers are asking people to send photos and inspirational messages to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end today.
“We want her to know that she is an incredible mother, friend, scientist, writer, blogger, daughter, sister — you name it (because she is all of that and more). We want her to feel our collective strength standing behind her (because that’s where we are!),” Amy Mascott, a close friend of Niebur’s and author of Teach Mama, wrote on her blog.
Mascott’s call has been shared by several other writers.
I talked with Mascott this morning and she told me she has already been overwhelmed with scores of responses. Some have come from as far away as Norway and others in languages she has yet to decipher. She plans to pull them together to create a video, which she will send to Niebur and her family and upload to YouTube.
“It’s her honesty and clarity. She’s helped not only people with cancer but also people who haven’t walked that route to understand what this is like,” Mascott said of her friend.
In looking to harness the gratitude so many feel toward Niebur, Mascott sad it was natural to turn to social media.
“So often there’s talk of mommy blog drama. But, I really feel like this D.C. mom group is such a strong sisterhood. I know it sounds corny, but it’s such a tight group. We really rally for each other,” Niebur said.
“I’m not doing this to be about some big social media push. It’s a way to show Susan how loved she is and how much of a difference she’s made in people’s lives.”
In recent weeks, Niebur’s condition has worsened terribly. This past Sunday, she wrote about beginning hospice care. She arrived home from the hospital “with fresh oxygen tanks, spots on my liver, fluid pushing around my lungs (likely filled with cancer, as are the tumors inside) and at least one broken vertebra that must be healed before we resume any kind of treatment.”
She went on to recount an exchange she had with her husband (whose words are in italics):
“ I am not saying goodbye to you yet. I won’t.”
“You will have to soon. Hospice comes in an hour, and since I need Palliative radiation to fix the latest spine fracture, I can’t go to treatment anymore. We need hospice, at least for a time.”
“No matter what, you deserve to feel better right now, and you deserve a chance to enjoy family and friends, and if that means we use hospice, or go to the moon, or paint you green, then we will do those things. I have dibs on the paintbrush.”
“Green’s really not my color.”
“I have not yet encountered a color you could not make yours. Purple?”
“Purple. I’ll change clothes and listen to her when she comes, but I can’t promise that I’ll be sparkly to the hospice lady.”
“I’m willing to bet the hospice lady is not expecting to be greeted with confetti and song.”
“Good point. More tomorrow, my friends. I hope.”