hereforthegirls | 2014 July
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, July 27, 2014 | More Post by

There were no support groups for young breast cancer survivors when Janell Nickols was diagnosed more than two decades ago. Now the 61-year-old James City County resident uses her experiences to show young survivors that a full life after diagnosis is possible. “I want to get the word out to other women that we can survive,” she said.20140214_191600

Janell encourages women to listen to their intuition and to pay attention to their bodies. Twenty-five years ago she was living in New York and happened to watch a biography about Minnie Riperton (best known for singing the 70s song “Lovin’ You”) who passed away at the age of 31 from breast cancer. After seeing that show Janell began to think that she didn’t feel quite right. She had no major symptoms but was later diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The cancer was detected because I listened to myself, my husband listened to me, and my doctor listened to me,” Janell said.

Janell is not normally a fan of having her picture taken because she always seems to blink just when the camera flashes. Other than that, though, she loved the photo shoot from start to finish. “I loved all the attention!” she exclaimed. “I am an extrovert and I loved getting all dressed up for the photos.”

Janell teaches fifth grade at Stonehouse Elementary School. She and her husband James have two children, Jennifer and Joel.

, July 18, 2014 | More Post by

Julia Jewel Martin attended the Beyond Boobs! Gala in 2013 and was inspired by the unveiling of the next year’s calendar. Tears came to her eyes as she looked around the room at all of the women whose lives had been affected by breast cancer. At that moment she decided to be a calendar model so she could help other women by sharing her story.julia

Julia is not shy about confessing her love for the camera. “The photographer and everyone at the shoot made me feel good,” she said. “I loved the dress I wore; it made me feel like a goddess. I felt pretty even with the scars from my breast reconstruction surgery.”

Julia loves and lives every moment of her life. She works at Our Lady of Hope as a recreation therapist, planning fun activities for the residents. She makes sure to schedule fun for her personal life, too.

“I am a shopaholic,” she said, laughing. “I love to buy new clothes. I used to ride a motorcycle and I want to get back to that now that the weather is warmer and my surgeries are done. I bought a guitar and recently paid for four lessons. My goal is to learn how to play over the next three weeks.”

Julia, 29, originally hails from Connecticut. She moved to Virginia in 2003 to attend Virginia Commonwealth University. She and her husband Eric live in Richmond with their three children.

“June 26th was the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis,” Julia said. “That was a big milestone for me. I made it one year and I plan for many more years to come.”

, July 11, 2014 | More Post by

Who are the 2015 BB! Calendar Models?  On September 20, our  Calendar To Live By 2015 will be revealed featuring our lovely breast cancer survivors and their stories that are sure to inspire you.  Join us in the next 11 weeks for “Calendar Girls 2015” BLOG Series to take a peek into the lives of these ladies and unite with us in anticipation of this year’s Pink Carpet Gala and the big ‘reveal’!

Amy Banks celebrates every year post diagnosis, but 2015 is going to be a particularly sweet year for the 39-year-old Norfolk resident – it will mark five years since she was diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer.

When Amy joined Beyond Boobs! and found out about the yearly calendar project she knew 1234762_10202096101433372_1577343133_nright away she wanted to be a model for 2015 to celebrate her important milestone and share her strength with other women facing a similar diagnosis.

“Everything I read said that the life expectancy was five years out,” Amy said. “I want to show other women that the statistics don’t mean you can’t live longer than that.”

Normally Amy is the one behind the camera so it was a little strange for her to have the lens trained on her. She quickly overcame any nervousness she may have felt. “I am definitely not shy when it comes to getting out there for the cause,” she said with a laugh.

Amy’s 16-year-old son John and her niece went with her to the photo shoot. “It was so cool to have them there with me,” she said. “My son was a vital part of my recovery and was there for me through the entire process. I also wanted to show my niece that there is support out there for women’s breast health.”

Amy is enthusiastic about the calendar and hopes every woman will have one hanging on her wall. “These calendars raise awareness about women’s health,” she said. “They tell the stories of breast cancer survivors and give women the tips and information they need to take care of their bodies.”