Announcing Our 2014 Local Cause: Recovery On Water!

by Melisa on January 6, 2014

All of the director/producer teams in all of the LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER cities (thirty-two this year!) have their own unique decision-making processes when it comes to selecting their charity partners. For Tracey and me here in Chicago, the final decision comes straight from our hearts. As we do our research and go through our vetting process of lots of worthy local organizations that could use our help, we try to connect to them personally.

This year, we took lots of notes on lots of local organizations and still found ourselves being repeatedly led back to the one we talked about first, Recovery On Water (ROW), a support service and exercise program for women who are currently in treatment or have been through treatment for breast cancer.


In the end, the universe seemed to be giving us some pretty heavy signs that we were meant to work with this organization.

Inaugural LTYM Chicago cast member Katy Jacob—who read a beautifully written and heartbreaking birthday letter to her daughter in the 2012 show, expressing her desire to be there to see her grow up but not being certain of it because of her breast cancer diagnosisfound out in July 2013 that her Triple Negative Breast Cancer had returned. The news shocked everybody except for Katy, who is well known for being a realist. (Her honesty and forthright nature are just two of the things we all love about her.) It has been wonderful to see the 2012 and 2013 Chicago casts “circle the wagons” to give various forms of support to Katy, her awesome husband Gabe, daughter Lenny, and son Augie. Katy has one more chemo treatment in this round (yay!) and we are all eager to see her finish and get back to some sense of “normalcy” in her life, and I know she probably hates that I just typed that.

So, why ROW specifically? Katy has been a member of ROW since her first diagnosis and has always spoken highly of the organization and its mission. We decided to listen to the universe as it kept bringing us back to give ROW another look, and we couldn’t be happier to work with them this year—and donate a minimum of ten percent of our show’s gross ticket sales—in honor of our Katy.

From their website:
Recovery on Water began as a collaboration between Sue Ann Glaser, an Evanston breast cancer survivor, and Jenn Gibbons, a rowing coach at Ignatius Chicago Crew (ICC). Jenn enlisted ICC student volunteers to attend practices to help lift boats and assist while receiving community service hours for their time at practice. She began hosting weekly practices in the winter months of 2007, and the first group of women began practicing on the water in the spring of 2008.

Our program is rooted in research that exercise can reduce cancer recurrence by 50%.

ROW practices four days a week, 12 months a year, instructing survivors in their 30′s through their 60′s. There are no fitness requirements for joining our program and members are not expected to know how to row when they join. ROW is funded by our board, member dues, events, grants and individual donations and gifts so that all survivors are able to join our team.

We are proud to be the leading resource for Chicago’s survivors as they get fit, fight back, and have fun.

Here’s what they do:

Please go “like” ROW on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and consider attending the third annual LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER show in Chicago on Sunday, May 4 at 2:00 to be a part of it all.


(By the way, we will begin to accept written submissions next Monday, January 13th. Essays should be your own work, focused on an aspect of motherhood, and have a length of about 5 minutes when read aloud. Information on how to submit your stories will be posted in this space!)

Katy Jacob January 6, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Aw thanks babe. Now you can take your normal and… XOXO

Melisa January 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm

You love me.

Ann January 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm

This is amazing all around. We are with you, Katy!!

Jenn January 7, 2014 at 2:58 pm

We love Katy AND LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER. Thank you for choosing ROW….we are beyond honored and excited to partner. Thank you for giving more survivors the opportunity to get fit, fight back, and have fun with ROW!! GO ROW!! GO KATY! GO LTYM!

Jenn Gibbons, ED of ROW

Melisa January 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm


Thank YOU! We are sooooo excited to work with you and ROW this year. Woo hooooo!

Tracey & Melisa

Tracey January 9, 2014 at 10:05 am

We’re so excited to be working with ROW, Jenn!

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