We recently spoke to Abby Stern, #1 on the Individual Leaderboard for Camp Casco’s fundraising campaign. She’s experienced multiple hardships in her life, but with a strong mind and positive thinking, she persevered. Read part of our conversation below to understand why we all look up to Abby and now “eat the frosting first” in life.
Scott: What City, State do you live in?
Abby: Westwood, MA
S: What do you do for a living?
A: I’m a part time sales rep, I volunteer as day camp director for Camp Casco, and a stay-at-home Mom. My husband works in Compliance at a large bank.
S: What book/movie/article/conversation has had the most profound impact on your life?
A: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. It talks about stop trying to be someone you aren't or someone you think you’re supposed to be and accept who you are. This took me a while to embrace!
S: If you were a brand, what would be your motto/mission?
A: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.
S: Completely agree with that statement. What would you say are your top three life highlights?
A: The birth of my kids, my marriage, and my art of perfecting the chocolate chip cookie.
S: Shifting to your participation in this campaign, why is giving back important to you?
A: I started to give back when I became a grown up. Whenever that was. It really hit me after the premature birth of my twin boys. One sadly passed away shortly after birth and my oldest son spent 6 months in the NICU. My husband and I became very involved with the March of Dimes at that point and spent over 6 years fundraising for them and participating in their annual march for babies. We thought it was so important to give back to an organization who literally helped save our child's life. I became passionate about getting involved in personal charities. In 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and in 2017 I had a reoccurrence. My life changed in a profound way that's hard to put down into words, but I really truly started to not care about the trivial stuff. I had been blogging for a bit regarding my oldest son and prematurity stuff, but it really took off when I was re-diagnosed with cancer and my motto became "eat the frosting first" (Which is now the title of my blog). My way of living now is to try to really live in the moment more and be present (although this is a huge work in progress as I am a planner and spontaneity is not in my vocabulary). But I learned to eat the frosting first, go on vacation, take a nap - do whatever makes you happy, because life can turn on a dime.
S: What excites you to support Camp Casco, specifically?
A: Summer camp runs through my blood. I attended day camp until the age of 9 and then went to the same overnight camp for 12 years. My youngest son now attends the same camp. I've always been passionate about camp, because it gives you a huge source of independence and teaches you things about yourself you may have not discovered. I am extremely close to people I went to camp with at age 9 so there’s something magical about a camp friendship that can’t be explained. After my reoccurrence I wanted to find a charity to give back to - it's kind of a thing you need to do when you have cancer - I've heard it from so many. Finding Camp Casco was the ideal match for me. It combined camp and helping kids with cancer. It was a no-brainer that this was a place I needed to become involved with.
S: Having had your fair share of hardships, you know how to enjoy life. What one or two things would you say gives you the most joy?
A: Seeing my kids grow up. When I catch myself yelling at them for not folding the laundry correctly, it’s like who cares? It’s so trivial. I try to be there for them at each stage they’re going through. So it comes down to not sweating the small stuff. I also really enjoy my alone time. I “cleaned house” in my life – meaning who I spend my time with and who really matters. Life can change on a dime. You have a choice to say no.
S: Do you support or volunteer your time with other non-profits? Which ones?
A: March of Dimes – this had been a big part of life before cancer. We also give back to Brigham and Young hospital. Mostly cancer charities.
S: Wow Abby, you have such a positive outlook on life and help so many people. It was really a pleasure learning more about you and what it means for you to give back to Camp Casco. We wish you and your family all the best, good health, and we’ll see you at next year’s Camp Casco Footprints challenge!
Abby is really really inspiring, and we at Charity Footprints learned so much from her "Eat the Frosting First" motto. You can donate to Camp Casco and show your support for Abby!