A Toast – To Barbara

A Card For Barbara

A Card For Barbara

When I joined twitter in March 2008, I never thought I’d write a blog. When I started blogging in May 2008, I never thought I’d live video stream wine tastings for hundreds of people to join and share my passion. When I started Live video streaming tastings in September 2008, I never thought I’d be on television one or two times a month in 100 markets nation wide. And when I filmed my first television segment in May 2009, I never though I’d have a fan, especially one like Barbara Northrup.

I will never forget the day Michele Northrup sent the tweet that her mom saw me on Daytime, and said she was my biggest fan. I nearly cried, thinking that someone not only saw me on television, but would consider themselves a fan. I love what I get to do on TV, whether on Daytime, on CBS12, or any of the other stations I’ve appeared on in the past year. I want to help everyone feel more comfortable about selecting wines, and it’s just plain fun. When I later learned that Barbara, Michele’s mom, was dealing with Cancer – her being a fan became even more special.

Cancer sucks, and I know all too many people who are dealing with it. Some are survivors multiple times, like Alicia, others are battling it their first time and are going to beat it! My little niece, who’s four, has Leukemia, and it reminds me all the time that, well, Cancer sucks. However, this post is about Barbara. See, the other day Michele sent me a tweet saying thoughts and prayers were needed for my biggest fan in Tampa, and my heart about stopped.

Barbara is fighting hard, but the chemo is wearing her down. She’s feeling a little out of sorts, not herself. My mind raced for what to do, and the quickest thing that came to mind was sending her a card. So, Michele gave me her address, and I sent her a card letting her know I’m thinking about her. I signed it Matthew Horbund, Wine Guy from Daytime. I don’t really refer to myself as that, but I hope it helps Barbara feel a little better. I dropped it in the mail this morning, and I hope she gets to read it tomorrow. I won’t be in Tampa until June or July, but I plan on seeing Barbara then, and giving her a huge hug. I can’t wait to meet my biggest fan.

What does this post have to do with wine? Everything. If it wasn’t for wine, I wouldn’t have met some of the most amazing people in this world. I wouldn’t have been given the chance to be on television, and I wouldn’t be sitting here, crying, thinking about my biggest fan, Barbara. Tonight I’ll open a bottle or three of wine, as my sister is visiting us from DC. And each cork that pops, I’ll be thinking about you, Barbara! I’m your biggest fan!

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43 thoughts on “A Toast – To Barbara

  1. you are so right–cancer absolutely sucks.

    Tonight I will raise my glass (of chocolate milk, lol!) in honor of Barbara!
    I’m glad i got the chance to “meet” you online. :)
    Have a great weekend with your sister!

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Real Pecan ✔ and Terry SImpson, Bottle Juice. Bottle Juice said: Top Wine Article: A Toast – To Barbara: http://bit.ly/aeCS6e [...]

  3. Beautiful post, Matt! Now we can all pray for Barbara, too. Godspeed to her in her recovery!

  4. Thank you Lisa. I've been fortunate to meet, in person and virtually, a lot of great people via twitter! You are one of them, as is Michele. And though I haven't met Barbara, yet, I feel lucky to be connected to her.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. I will definitely have a great weekend with my sister!
    Cheers,
    Matt

  5. Thanks Kevin. I appreciate you stopping by and reading about Barbara.

  6. Thank you Emma. I appreciate you stopping by and reading. It's sometimes hard to have positive thoughts and prayers for someone that you don't “know” – but hopefully the spiritual will transcend the physical friendship, and Barbara will get a lot of great thoughts and prayers.
    Thanks again,
    Matt

  7. Never underestimate the power of community when you truly care. From wine to cancer, and everything in between, people and relationships are what matter most in life.

    nice post Matt….

    Sum
    @summerjoy

  8. Thanks for that post Matt. It is kind of weird and kind of great that you can have thoughts and prayers for someone you “don't know.” But Barbara has mine.

    I am lucky. There is no cancer in my family. But I still donate and wear my Livestrong bracelet every day. Even after it has gone “out of style.” As always, be well. ~Mike

  9. Thanks Sum! You are spot on in your comment. People and relationships are what matter most in every aspect of our lives. The power of community, physical and virtual, is strong. I appreciate my friends and my community.
    Thanks!!
    Matt

  10. That is what community is all about, Matt. And it's not so much about the wine, but about what it does as a social object to bring people and hearts together. I'm very proud of you and how far you've come with your passion since I've known you on Twitter. And here's to Barbara recovering from this terrible ordeal. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Thanks Mike, you're a good friend, and a good man. I appreciate your thoughts, comments and support. I agree, it's a little weird, but great, that we can have thoughts and prayers for someone we don't know. I think that's the power of community Summer was talking about.

    Sadly, as the post mentions, Cancer has hit my family in a variety of ways. My grandfather passed from it years ago, along with my niece's Leukemia. There's no cure right now, but there's hope.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  12. Thank you Maria, for your support, and kind words and comments. It's been a wonderful journey, all because of the friendships, relationships and community that has grown out of social media. My heart may hurt for Barbara, but it's lifted by my good friends, and family, who help us all get through each day.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  13. Mathew, real men eat quiche and “realer” men cry and the “realest” men talk about breast cancer. Your post gave me goosebumps. Barbara will cherish the card from her idol and you WILL get to hug her this summer. Keep up the GR8 work you do ! I am blessed to have met a man of your caliber.

  14. Matt – you tweeted that writing this post made you cry. Matt, READING this post made ME cry. It's amazing the connections we can make online, and how they can bring up all the emotions that come with them, just like they do in “real” life. You almost cried when you realized you were having a real impact on somebody doing what you love – tears of joy, there – and now tears of sadness for what she's going through. This post alone, because of the emotions you're showing and the way you're showing them, will cause other people now to be even more connected to you.

    It's weird because sometimes when I'm trying to coax someone into dipping into social networking, they'll ask me why someone would be interested in “what they're having for breakfast” – the famous Twitter cliche. But that's the funny thing. Once you've made a connection, people ARE interested. Then, when grand things happen or tragic things happen, the online connections can provide quite a bit of support and encouragement or prayer. It's the awesome human touch – however it can be delivered and felt.

    We all make an impact in the world in some way – a “dent in the universe” as my friend @johnnybond86 said to me one time. You're obviously making yours, and I'm sure Barbara is glad to have found you.

  15. Matt – you tweeted that writing this post made you cry. Matt, READING this post made ME cry. It's amazing the connections we can make online, and how they can bring up all the emotions that come with them, just like they do in “real” life. You almost cried when you realized you were having a real impact on somebody doing what you love – tears of joy, there – and now tears of sadness for what she's going through. This post alone, because of the emotions you're showing and the way you're showing them, will cause other people now to be even more connected to you.

    It's weird because sometimes when I'm trying to coax someone into dipping into social networking, they'll ask me why someone would be interested in “what they're having for breakfast” – the famous Twitter cliche. But that's the funny thing. Once you've made a connection, people ARE interested. Then, when grand things happen or tragic things happen, the online connections can provide quite a bit of support and encouragement or prayer. It's the awesome human touch – however it can be delivered and felt.

    We all make an impact in the world in some way – a “dent in the universe” as my friend @johnnybond86 said to me one time. You're obviously making yours, and I'm sure Barbara is glad to have found you.

  16. Thank you very much Patrick for your heartfelt comment. I am sorry it made you cry, but I'm glad. I wrote it with a lot of love and emotion – and am glad it was read the same way.

    I have indeed made some very real, very powerful connections from Social Media. I've shared in joy, from new friends becoming a couple and having a baby, and I've shared in pain, such as Barbara's illness. I've learned more people have cancer than I've wanted to think about. A lot of my twitter friends, such as @GeoKaren, @PreppyDude, @Stales, @hjshorter .. omg the list goes on .. have battled or are currently battling the disease. And sometimes, I think the connections, the community, the closeness, helps them heal and move on.

    I'm hopeful that the dent in the universe I make is looked at with a smile and a little positive thought.

    Thanks Patrick!
    Matt

  17. Matt,

    What a great story, and what a wonderful way to show us the power of our connections. I have been so pleased to see your passion for wine translating into new & old media success story. Count me among your fans.

    This survivor is sending positive thoughts to Barbara for good health.

    Heather

  18. Debbie Frangipane says:

    I would like to share in toasting Barbara and all of my other friends fighting the fight. I have had 3 girlfriends within last 4 months have double mastectomies, have lost 2 dear loved ones to the disease as well in as many months. My thoughts and prayers to you all including Barbara and also dear friend of ours @SashaKane and their families.

  19. Christine, thank you SO much for visiting, and commenting. I appreciate it. I have been blessed meeting friends of your caliber as well. It's been an amazing experience. Thank you for your support and encouragement!
    Cheers,
    Matt

  20. Thank you Heather! You are a great friend, and a tremendous inspiration. We met back in early 2009 on Twitter with my asking you about Tapas recipes, and the friendship has grown exponentially. Thank you for everything you've supported me in. I'm one of YOUR fans.
    Cheers,
    Matt

  21. Thank you Debbie – I can not believe how many good friends are fighting with this insidious disease. I know they're all strong, and will kick it big time. Then, we'll all get together, at your house, to celebrate! We'll toast, to friends, old and new, here and gone, and give strength and hope to all of them, and their families.

    Thanks
    Matt

  22. I'll raise a glass to you and to Barbara….

    Matt – I've watched your story evolve over the past two years, and I'm proud to say I knew you way back in '08!

    Barbara — keep going! you can do it. Chemo wears you down, I know. Keep your head held high!
    Hugs to you!

  23. I still refuse to eat quiche. Hey, a guy can only go SO far. : )

  24. You know, I'm a big fan of cards and hugs, and their healing properties. Too many times people say, “oh, I should send a card, make a phone call, send an email,” *insert some other way of connecting* and they never make the time to do it.

    *hug* You are one of the good guys, and I'm sure the card and this blog post will be most appreciated.

  25. Thank you mmwine….you are truly an amazing soul. Words cannot express what I am feeling right now. Thank you. I cannot wait to see her face when she opens the card.

  26. HAHA! I am a big fan of quiche. There's not much I dont like to eat, though ;)

  27. Thank you Ann! Big *Stuffin Hugs* to you too!! Y'know, maybe I channeled you when I sent the card. I Just knew i had to do something that let her know someone was thinking about her!

  28. Michele- You are so welcome. I think you, and your mom, are fantastic people and great friends. I can't wait to meet her!! And I hope the card makes her smile and grin ear to ear!
    Love ya!
    Matt

  29. Thank you Alicia – you have been a huge inspiration – and friend – to me over the past two years. If I've evolved, it's because friends like you kept me moving forward. Hugs to you!

  30. Very touching Matt. Yes Cancer sucks not only for those who lose the battle but for those who beat it yet every year when it's time for the checkup “Is it back? Did I really beat it?”. Love and support creates miracles and I know what Michele is going thru (keep smiling Michele she will beat it). You are Barbara's Big Teddy Bear Matt and no dought your card and words will bring joy to her.
    Cheers
    Dan

  31. Thank you for your kind words and support Dan! I appreciate them, as I am sure Michele and Barbara do too! To think, it all stemmed from a toast with wine. Now, I'm someone's Big Teddy bear :)

  32. Matt – cancer does suck. But how wonderful that connections have beget connections have beget connections and you are able to end comfort and wishes Barbara's way. As a friend and daughter of survivors, I can tell you, that's the best gift anyone can give – the gift of self.

  33. Thank you Liz! I appreciate you taking the time to comment (Twice – since DIsqus ate your first one!!) I am grateful for all of the connections we've made via social media. If I can make one person happy and feel good about their journey and fight, then I've accomplished a lot.

  34. That's what life is all about in a nutshell … Helping others … Stop and lend a hand or do something small that is huge to someone else!

    Such a great story and thanks for sharing.

  35. I agree that life is about connecting and helping others. I'm quite grateful for both social media and my work in wine for giving me these opportunities.

  36. Matt– I'm Barbara's youngest daughter, Melanie Alvarez, and I want to thank you for taking the time to brighten my mother's day. Also, thanks for drawing up so much positive energy in her direction. She is not used to having to ask for us to do things for, feeling weak, and not being the stronger what ails her. She has made me incredibly strong through this and I can only hope that her strength overcomes this diasterous disease that has already taken so much from her. She always jokes that she wishes she could just have a glass of wine to get her through it, so she will be pleased to her that you are toasting in her honor. THANKS.

  37. carolynjung says:

    It's amazing how food and wine bring people together — perfect strangers from all walks of life who are just so kind, generous and caring. Wishing your biggest fan a speedy recovery.

  38. This brought tears to my eyes Matt. I am sending prayers Barbara's way. We're pulling for you Barbara.

  39. Thanks Lisa! I appreciate your very kind words. And I know Barbara and her family do, too!

  40. Thanks Carolyn! I agree that food and wine is a huge “connector” of great people. I'm lucky to have connected with some amazing people because of it!
    Cheers!

  41. Thanks Lisa! I appreciate your very kind words. And I know Barbara and her family do, too!

  42. Thanks Carolyn! I agree that food and wine is a huge “connector” of great people. I'm lucky to have connected with some amazing people because of it!
    Cheers!

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