Recently, I was talking with Carol…some of you may know her as cedwards55 on RMS. Carol told me about a unique fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness that was about to take place in her area.
This event had special significance for Carol and she explained, “October is Breast Cancer awareness month. Fourteen years ago (in October) I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My two sons were 3 and 7 at the time. I was determined to be here to watch them grow up. I decided I would do whatever it took to fight the cancer. I still had so many things that I wanted to teach them; and I wanted to laugh with them, cry with them, pray with them. I wanted to grow them up into the amazing young adults that they are today.
“It was a tough year but obviously I’m still here 14 years later….. I’m a Survivor. Cancer was the worst, best thing that ever happened to me. It taught me things that nothing else could have. It let me know what is really important in life. The important things aren’t really things. They are people, and relationships and kindness, finding joy in the simple things. ( Okay, this is sounding like a Hallmark card. ) One of the important things that I found was my Faith. That is what has gotten me through some really tough times in the last 14 years. I won’t go into those… that’s not a blog…. that’s an Oprah Show!
“Recently, I was asked to participate in a Fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. You see, Susan Komen was a native Illinois girl. She lived about 70 miles up the road from me. She lost her life to breast cancer at the age of 33. Her sister promised her that she wouldn’t stop fighting the battle. She established the Foundation knowing that one person CAN make a difference. You can learn more about the amazing person that Susan Komen was at: http://cms.komen.org/komen/AboutUs/SusanGKomensStory/index.htm
“Okay, back to the fundraiser. My favorite little dress boutique decided to launch a fundraiser called “Beautiful Bras”. I was asked to decorate a bra (along with 49 other people) that would be displayed in the store during the month of October. Shoppers can vote for their favorite entry by donating money. Each vote is a dollar and all proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society.
“I was really honored when I was asked to design a bra but I wanted it to be done in a way that meant something to me. When I had my mastectomy, I had reconstruction at the same time. The reconstruction I opted for was called a Stomach Tram Flap. The procedure involved using my own stomach tissue, muscles, vascular, etc and using all of that to build a new breast. So essentially, I got a tummy tuck, and my insurance paid for it. (Where was the down side to this breast cancer stuff?)
“On one of my visits to the plastic surgeon’s office, I inquired about the cost of this procedure. (I had great insurance and never did see a bill.) When I was told what it cost, I said Holy Cow! It should have headlights and an engine. Thus, I decided to do what else? A car. Here are a few pictures of my “bra”.
I thought it soooo fitting that the word/brand ‘Champion’ was prominently displayed on the front and sides of Carol’s car!
Carol’s “bra” even has lights! Bet you’ve never seen headlights like this on a car!
The bra below was done by a friend of Carol’s who had breast cancer two years ago. Carol said, “Paula decoupaged some of the cards that were sent to her during her recovery period onto her entry. I love the way it turned out and the way the words on the cards help create the straps.”
Carol continued with her descriptions of some of the bras created for the fundraiser, “The cow print bra is entitled “Got Cure”? How creative was that?
This bra is designed to be a shoulder bag or purse and was created by a gynecologist in Carol’s area….very clever!
Carol told me, “This one was done by MY gynecologist. She actually insisted that I get another mammogram because she felt something in my breast she didn’t like. The first mamm didn’t expose the cluster. So, not only did she deliver both of my children, she also saved my life. Five years after I had cancer, she discovered that she had it in both breasts. So you see, no one is exempt! She stood by me and I stood by her. She’s a very special lady and is also cancer free.
Carol said, “You can see that everyone really had a great time with this project. Nearly everyone who was asked to participate has been effected by breast cancer in some way. Either they are survivors or have a family member who has had breast cancer. The Kick off cocktail party was truly a celebration of life.”
Carol continued, “I think what I really would like to emphasize is that as women, we are responsible for our own health care. Please, please, please get your mammograms, do self examinations and don’t wait if you see any changes in your body. We know ourselves better than anyone else. A mammogram saved my life. And I’m so glad that it did! Who would want to leave these cuties?” Who, indeed?! Look what handsome young men Carol’s sons have grown to be (Mark on the left, John, right) with such a strong, courageous Mother there to guide them, these many years. Carol, thanks so much for sharing your brave and triumphant battle over breast cancer…you are truly an inspiration and a ‘champion’ to all who know you! So ladies, go schedule those mammograms…if not for you, do it for those you love. Carol did and it saved her life!