Steps To-Marrow Update
Jada, jeana
Dear Friends,

It has been a long time since I have posted an entry. I will be writing to update the results of the first Steps To-Marrow Walk. I would also like to invite you to follow me in the 2nd Steps To-Marrow Walk in Europe this spring. I will be walking from Kiel, Germany to Venice, Italy from May to September 2012. You can read my blog at "stepstomarrow2"
I also invite you to join the Jada Bascom Foundation facebook cause. Please share it with your facebook friends together we can save lives!

with appreciation,

Manhattan, NY, Final Walk
Jada, jeana
Dear Friends, 1/27/11
It is hard to believe that today I awoke and made preparations for the final three miles of my 4,434 journey. Kyle and his stepfather, Brian, and I took the #1 line down Broadway to 110th Street and walked east to Central Park West. There I met the folks that had gathered to join me in the final walk of the Steps To-Marrow journey across the United States. And I had the honor and privilege of meeting Torsten for the first time. I was joined by family, friends, members of the Zen Peacemakers, folks from Tricycle Magazine and the Bone Marrow Foundation and the Rugh family came from Princeton, NJ, representing to me all of the families that have helped me out along my way. It was a beautiful day for a walk after the snow storm last night. The sun was shining and the snow was hanging from the trees. I enjoyed having company on this last walk. I stopped to talk with people along the way about how to join the Be The Match Registry with a simple cheek swab. If you are reading this and have not yet joined the registry go to: and sign up today! You may be the match that can save a life.
When we arrived at the Park Central Hotel we went to the Manhattan Skyline room and there Torsten met Jada, Issa and Kyle's mother, Katrina, for the first time! It was a beautiful moment filled with joyful tears.
The President of the Jada Bascom Foundation, Ramona Lyddon presided over a short program: I spoke about the walk; Torsten spoke about being a donor; Issa represented our family in expressing our gratitude to Torsten, Annette Von Der Muehlen from DKMS the German Donor Center that enrolled Torsten spoke about their program and the importance of joining the Registry; Laura Moore from the Bone Marrow Foundation that provides financial assistance, education and social support to people undergoing bone marrow/stem cell transplants, welcomed everyone to New York City and emphasized serving families with the need for bone marrow transplants. Then KT Sullivan graced us with a beautiful song. Her sweet sounds filled our hearts and touched our souls. Finally, we had a moment of silence for Dan Nichols, Randi Metoyer, James Key, Shannon Tavarez, Roy Chelsen and all others and their families who lost their battle with cancer. The NY Daily News, Columbia University, New York University and other media outlets were present for interviews (see our media link for articles) Dkms had cheek swab kits and information available for those who wanted to join the Be The Match Registry. Just as we were finishing two of my Zen teachers Roshi Eve Marko and Roshi Bernie Glassman arrived. They drove all the way from Western Massachusetts even with the snow storm last night. We sat down and had a good visit. We were joined by Mariam from the Morning Star Zendo in Jersey City. I was felt content surrounded by my family and friends at the end of my walk.
When we were done The Richotte family, My family and Torsten all went to lunch at the Ellen's Stardust Diner. We visited and enjoyed the cabaret singers. Then it was time for goodbyes. Kyle's family was headed back to Massachusetts. I am so grateful that they were with me at the end of the walk and that they had the opportunity to meet Torsten. We feel such deep gratitude to him for his gift of life to Jada.
The day was not over yet. Torsten, Nicholas, Todd and I went to the Masjid al-Farah for Dhikrullah, The Circle of Divine Remembrance. We joined Shaykha Fariha al-Jerrahi and the dervishes of the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order in the Circle of Divine Love. Shaykha Fariha graciously invited me to share my story and tell people how they can join the Be The Match Registry. It was a day filled with love and gratitude being with Shaykha Fariha enveloped in the love of the dervish circle was the perfect way to end the day. Then we then made our way back to Riverdale for some much needed rest.
I want to express my gratitude and the gratitude of the Jada Bascom Foundation to the Park Central Hotel for graciously hosting the end of the Steps To-Marrow walk and the meeting with Torsten Huber and the Bone Marrow Foundation for their help and support in making arrangements for the end of the walk and our meeting with Torsten. The Jada Bascom Foundation and I are ever grateful and connected to them for their generous offering. And of course one more time I want to say out loud Thank You Torsten for the gift of life to our Jada.

Brooklyn, NY
Jada, jeana
Written by Mona Lyddon
Jan 26, 2011
I feel so proud of myself getting around on the subway system. When I was 13 my mom put me on a bus in L.A. north of the city to the San Fernando Valley. I was to change buses. I got on the wrong bus (too embarrassed to ask) and ended up in Santa Monica. My mom had to pick me up and drive me to the valley. To her credit my mom was sweet about my stupidity. Anyway, I think that experience with public transportation has made me gun-shy. Today I made it to Brooklyn (one bus & 2 subways, the 1 w/ a transfer to the N) for the FDNY Honor of Life celebrating eight new marrow donors from within the department. Two donors met their recipients and families with their moving stories bringing tears to many. It was a fabulous ceremony.
I was able to speak to some of the donors and the families, as well as some of the press, sharing our story and inviting them on the walk tomorrow.
It was good to be there and better yet to arrive safely back in the Bronx before the big winter storm!

Manhattan, NY
Jada, jeana
Dear Friends, 1/26/11
Today was an extraordinary day. I was reunited with my family! We thought it would be good for me to be able to see Jada and get reacquainted before the final walk tomorrow. The Park Central Hotel, where we will be holding the final event, kindly gave Issa, Kyle and Jada a complimentary room. I took the # 1 line down to Manhattan, walked to the hotel and rode the elevator up to the 23rd floor. When I arrived at their room Miss Jada was asleep. I leaned over Jada and gently whispered her name. She woke up, exclaimed "Mei Mei!" Then she wrapped her little arms around my neck and was swept up into my loving embrace. What a beautiful moment!
After visiting and playing Issa, Kyle, Jada and I walked to St. Peter's Cathedral where we were invited to attend KT Sullivan's concert. Her performance was brilliant! I was so happy to share it with my little Jada. She was very good...listening and singing quietly along with KT. KT was very gracious and introduced me and the Steps To-Marrow project to the audience. When the concert ended one of the ushers handed out Jada Bascom Foundation cards with instructions on how to join the Be The Match Registry while Jada played the piano with the very talented pianist, Jon Weber.
All day long we were following the progress of the flights of my son, Nicholas, my friend, Todd Robertson, and my sister, Melinda. Many flights were canceled because of the snow storm. Nicholas and Todd were able to get through but Melinda's flight was canceled. I was sorry that she was not able to be with us but so happy that Nicholas and Todd were able to land! My friend Paco Lugovina picked them both up and drove them back to Riverdale. Nicholas is staying with us at Xiomara's and my friend Todd will be staying with Sheila Hixon.
After dinner at Fluffy's Bakery and Deli we went for a walk to Times Square. Kyle's mother, Katrina and his two sisters, Krista and Brittney joined us. I am so glad that they are here for the reunion with Torsten tomorrow! We walked and window shopped as the snow drifted around us. Toward the end of the evening Kyle bought hot chocolate for all at McDonalds. While we were there we met a homeless man who was really taken with Miss Jada. He didn't know that she is in remission from leukemia, we hadn't told him her story. But he was convinced that she will have a very special and blessed journey in this life and wanted us to know. He offered her a blessing for a happy successful life.
I spent the night in Manhattan with Issa, Kyle and Jada rather than going back to Riverdale because there was concern about whether or not the subways would be running in the morning with the heavy snow fall. I wanted to be sure I'd be at 110th Street and Central Park West at 10:30 in the morning to begin my final 3 mile walk and be part of Jada's first meeting with Torsten!

Manhattan and Riverdale, NY
Jada, jeana
Mona's Blog
Hello all! 1/25/11
I am in NYC! I can hardly believe it! I am sooooo proud of Jeana and her accomplishment, walking across the USA is a remarkable feat! I am touched by all of the stories of all the people Jeana has met across our beautiful country! I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the American people, and I am grateful for Jeana's safety and well-being these past 15 months. Now we are here in NYC, finalizing all the prep work for the grand event on Thursday, the 27th.
It will be an awesome day! We will meet @ 110th St. & Central Park West and walk the final 3 miles with Jeana. We have a short program planned to honor Jeana and will have the opportunity to see Jada meet her donor, Torsten (who arrived today safely from Germany!) We have added a surprise guest singer to the program, K. T. Sullivan. We are so excited to have her support and participation! I hope many will take the time to join us!
Today Jeana and I rode the bus and then the subway to downtown Manhattan to the National Art Club. We had a fine luncheon and Jeana was introduced to the members. We were invited to the National Art Club by KT Sullivan and her husband, Steve Downey.
Tomorrow Jeana will spend the day with Jada and her family. I will attend the Brooklyn Fire Department's ceremony honoring the New York Fire Fighters who were marrow donors in 2010. The Fire Fighters from all over the country who helped Jeana are my heroes!
We are staying with a friend of my daughter's (Rachael), named Xiomara, in the Bronx. She is a delightful woman and we are enjoying her family. Her mother, Soledad, is visiting from Honduras. Soledad is a wonderful cook, especially the homemade tortillas-YUM! How grateful we are for Xiomara's hospitality!
Last Sunday we attended an LDS spanish congregation's services, the Kingsbridge Ward 1. They were enthusiastic about Jeana's story and will hold a marrow donor drive soon!
What an incredible week this has been and will be! As President of the Jada Bascom Foundation, I want to thank everyone for their support. I believe in the mission of the JBF, to educate and recruit marrow donors. Our work will continue. The success of The Steps To-Marrow Project encourages us to plan and develop further projects and strategies to fulfill our mission! May I say with all the energy I have-hurray Jeana!

Riverdale, NY (Monday)
Jada, jeana
Dear Friends, 1/24/11
Mona and I stayed inside today at Xiomara's home. It was very cold outside! We contacted news stations, made arrangements for the meeting between Jada and Torsten, etc. We were very busy. We did go out for two short walks into Riverdale which felt good to me. I still love my walking. I just have three miles left to walk. What will it be like when I don't have all of those miles to walk everyday? I know I will miss it.

Riverdale, NY (Sunday)
Jada, jeana
Dear Friends, 1/23/11
Mona and I went to the LDS Kingsbridge Ward #1 with Xiomara this morning. It was a wonderful experience to be part of the hispanic ward. Even though I do not speak Spanish I could feel the gentle spirit emanating and enveloping the congregation. La Sociedad de Socorro (The relief society) responded very positively to my message. They are planning a bone marrow donor drive.
After church Xiomara's mother, Soledad, made a delicious meal of homemade tortillas, spicy chicken and rice. It was yummy.
Soledad's children and grandchildren stopped in all afternoon to welcome her and to have some of Madrecita's home cooking.

Riverdale, NY (Sunday)
Jada, jeana
Dear Friends, 1/23/11
Went to the LDS Kingsbridge Ward #1 with Xiomara this morning. It was a wonderful experience to be part of the hispanic ward. La Sociedad de Socorro(The relief society) responded very positively to my message. They are planning a bone marrow donor drive.
After church Xiomara's mother, Soledad, made a delicious meal homemade of tortillas, spicy chicken and rice. It was yummy.
Soledad's children and grandchildren stopped in all afternoon to welcome her and to have some of Madrecita's home cooking.

NYC! First Night with Xiomara
Jada, jeana
Dear Friends 1/22/11
Following my retreat yesterday I had the honor and pleasure of spending the night at Sheila Hixon's home. Sheila and her late husband, Lex, have been very important people in my life for a long time. I was so tired Sheila fed me. We visited and then I went up to bed early. I slept for 12 hours!
This morning after breakfast Sheila took me back to my route under the George Washington Bridge and I finished my walk through Manhattan to 110th Street and Central Park West. I am now ready for my final walk on Jan 27th. Torsten and others will join me in the walk to the Park Central Hotel. There Torsten will meet our Jada for the first time.
Xiomara, my niece Rachael's friend, will be my host the rest of my stay in NYC. Together we picked up my sister Mona at La Guardia Airport. Mona and I had not seen each other since I walked through Phoenix, AZ 10 months ago. As you can imagine it was a very happy reunion. After supper Mona and I went off to bed
And Xiomara returned to La Guardia for a happy reunion of her own with her Mother arriving from Honduras!

Yonkers, NY
Jada, jeana
Dear Friends, 1/21/11 -
I was blessed to have arrived early enough to do a personal retreat at the Hudson River Peacemaker Center, Greyston Chapel. When Noemi dropped me off yesterday she left water and food. I prepared the space and myself for the retreat. I have wanted to do a retreat honoring Roshi Sandra Jishu Holmes, the co-founder of the Zen Peacemaker Order, for many years. I was happy that the opportunity presented itself! I only met Jishu once and that was just in passing at Maezumi Roshi's funeral. I wanted to take the time to get to know her through her own words, in her journals.

Roshi Eve Marko gave a talk about Jishu, honored one, on the occasion of the 8th year of her passing. Here are some excerpts from that talk so you can get to know her too...Sandra Jishu Angyo Holmes, the Co-Founder of the Zen Peacemaker Order, Jishu was her Buddhist name. Angyo, which means peacemaker, was a name which members of the Zen Peacemaker Order received when they were installed in the Order.
She was born in California in 1941. She came out East, went to Columbia University and became a biochemist. She did early research in the AIDS disease that was only then being identified and diagnosed... around 1981, she left her work and came to live at the Zen Community of New York in Riverdale. In addition to a regular schedule of meditation, study and retreats, the Community had already begun a business, a bakery, and its next steps were in the direction of social action. That is where I met her 5 years later when I, too, came to ZCNY.
I remember her as slim, very pale, pretty, dark haired, and overworked. She was highly intelligent and deeply committed to the practice. She ordained as a priest and in 1986, when we started our first social action ministry, the Greyston Family Inn, she was named its director. The mission of the Greyston Family Inn, GFI, was to build apartments for homeless families, mostly single mothers with children. We lived in the city of Yonkers in Westchester County, which at that time had the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the country. We had almost no money and no professionals in the field. The Yonkers community did not welcome us right away and we were building everything from scratch. It took us 4 years just to get the first housing project of 18 apartments purchased, renovated, and open to families.
...I remember coming to work one Saturday morning. We'd begun to hire local people in the organization, some of whom never had office jobs and needed training in office skills and equipment. I had trained a receptionist and asked her to make many copies of a newsletter to send out. The following morning I came in to discover that it was a mess. The pages were in the wrong order and they were upside down. I was tired, frustrated and angry. Jishu, who was then my supervisor, was the only one there. I walked over to her and said, "Look at this job. I don't know what do anymore. How are we supposed to get anything done with so little help?" She thought a minute, then said quietly, "It helps to know why you're here. You see all these things?" She motioned to the financial reports, construction drawings, and the many files on her desk. "I could do this with one hand tied behind my back. It's important work, but that's not the reason I'm here. The reason I'm here is to be with people."
I have here quotes from her journals which were made public after she died: "My basic form of spirituality is faith in the unknown. I believe that everything that comes into my life is for me to work with spiritually. Zazen is my ideal practice although I have to struggle with myself every day to do it. My spirituality is an inheritance from my father. He has been a seeker all of his life but could never find peace. He could never see that he is everything that happens to him. His whole world seems to be a struggle against the enemy, both internal and external. I find that my own struggles are an integral part of my spiritual path and that my awakening is very, very gradual."
... We can talk about realization, enlightenment, and dharma transmission, but those are just ideas. What is Zen? Life as it is. And as she wrote, "life as it is leaves me with me just as I am"
...I believe that in the end she learned to accept herself in the way many of us learn to accept ourselves even in the pits of our days, when we really hit bottom. It's at those times that we look at ourselves and say: "With all my faults, with all my failures, with all my doubts, I am a vessel of the dharma. And as such, I can serve. I will continue to have my doubts and misgivings, and I can serve."
And she served. She built apartment buildings and day care centers. When we got involved in AIDS work she did the initial research to get us a Certificate of Need from the government. That AIDS center is today a national model in this country for effective, compassionate work with people with AIDS. She began to teach and ultimately co-founded the Zen Peacemaker Order. And she did all that with doubts and struggle. And the struggle was transparent to all. When you lead a public life you don't have the luxury of retreating to a private space and having your struggle all to yourself. It's right out there the depression, the doubts, the misgivings visible to the entire world. And she kept on going. She practiced a lot, she realized a lot, and some of the doubts remained, for that was part of who she was.
While working with a prison inmate, she wrote: "Just as the Buddhist who said to the hot dog vendor, Make me one with everything, the good news is that you are one with everything. Just as you can't fall outside of God's loving embrace, you can't fall outside the Kingdom of God, which truly is within you. Whether you are in a state of bliss or in the profoundest hell, you are not anathema. All your paths are superintended, you have always been on the Path. You can't fall off it. Everything is conspiring to lead you home to experience your true nature. Everything you are doing now, including all the mess-ups and screw-ups and mistakes are exactly the right thing for you to learn what you need to know to move along your path. All the causes and conditions of your unique life have brought you to this moment. And given your particular set of causes and conditions you have always done your best."
She died 8 years ago, just a few days short of her 57th birthday. Had she lived she'd be approaching her 65th birthday now. Towards the end of her days she wrote: "I want results instead of process. What a trap. As I create and listen, I will be led. As I create and listen, I will be led. As I create and listen, I will be led. The process takes care of itself. Just listen. As I create and listen, I will be led."
It's so simple. It's life as it is, and if it's life as it is then it must be me as I am. I don't have to add anything extra; I don't have to worry too much, I don't have to analyze or plan or think, though all these things have their place. As I create and listen, I will be led. I just have to listen. Just listen.

I was able to conceive of and carry out the Steps To-Marrow project, walking with not-knowing and relying on the generosity of others because of my work and study with the Peacemaker Community. I wanted to share and honor these roots with all of you. I am grateful for Jishu's legacy, as co-founder of the Zen Peacemaker Order and to the Teachers and Founders of the Peacemaker Community; an international, interfaith network, stressing the integration of spiritual practice and social action through Three Tenets:
Not-knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe;
Bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world; and
Loving action for ourselves and the world.
I extend deep gratitude Roshi Holmes, Roshi Bernie Glassman, Roshi Eve Marko, Roshi Grover Gauntt and all of the other founding teachers.


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