Can You Spare The Odd Pea For A Good Cause?

peas.jpgThe benefits of Twitter may still be subject to heated debate amongst TechCrunch commenter’s, but very few would doubt that Twitter has created new relationships and taken social networking to new (and perhaps different) levels.

A cause that’s hot on Twitter today is Frozen Pea Friday, a Breast Cancer Awareness and fundraising day in support of well regarded blogger Susan Reynolds.

Reynolds for those who don’t know her was diagnosed with breast cancer December 7. In an open, transparent and honest process she started blogging about her experience with breast cancer at Boobs on Ice. The story in Susan’s words:

When I discovered a very thick area in my breast I called the doctor. The next day I was in her office. A half hour after that I was in the diagnostic radiologist’s.

A full afternoon and multiple stab wounds later we had a variety of samples of malignant tentacles of tissue that were on their way to the lab.

I was in a little pain – it would increase as the local anesthetic wore off – but left his office with a soft cold pack in my bra.

To keep bleeding down & relieve pain I’d need to keep things cool. Traditional ice packs are hard and heavy. As much as I try to be a good sport I’m not into having a brick sitting on my chest.

Enter a bag of frozen peas.

I tucked it in my bra, took a picture, and was ready to tell the story later that night. That bag of peas added a touch of lightness to what could have been a sad and serious tale.

* A bag of peas was something everybody could relate to.
* Some people love them, some hate them, some use them for their own injuries.
* A bag of frozen peas was a vehicle for conversation and let people tease me instead of having to cry.
* It let people share instead of bemoaning.

I napped a lot during the first few days after the biopsy. The news was sudden and stunning after all and my body was being assaulted.

Mmmm peas for lunch?

When I fell asleep with peas in my cleavage I’d wake to the smell of freshly cooked peas. That made the story funnier, and more human. Of course I shared it because what is life but a series of stories.

After enough cooked peas I moved on to baggies with ice cubes or larger gel-packs which truth be told still are too big and too heavy to be comfy but help with pain.

The peas however live on in the form of stories from others about their use of pea-packs and the line-up of twitter avatars sporting peas in support of my struggle.

This makes them a comfort in more than one way

peas4b.jpgThe peas for a cause movement involves not only giving to breast cancer research, but supporting Susan through pea themed imagery. On Twitter users are encouraged to add a pea themed avatar to their profile (mine right). Facebook users are also encouraged to do the same with their avatars. There’s even a Flickr Group: upload your pea themed avatar or image and join the group here.

I’ve never met Susan in person but I’ve got to known her over the last six months via Twitter. In my interactions with her she has come across as a genuine, open and honest person, one of a limited few who loves life without hate, who is happy to participate in conversations and contribute positively and intelligently at the same time. Even if you can’t contribute to breast cancer support today, add peas to your avatar today in moral support for a lady that the world will be far worse off without. Here’s hoping that her treatment is successful and she’ll be with us for many more years to come.

Update: I didn’t realize the significance of the date until I saw a Tweet from @conniereece. Susan Reynolds goes into surgery today. Another reason to support a good cause and best wishes to Susan Reynolds on the surgery.