hereforthegirls | 2016 June
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, June 30, 2016 | More Post by

We can’t believe it has been ten years since the very first Beyond Boobs! calendar model was chosen for our annual A Calendar to Live By! Our calendar is also a health guide in disguise and offers a year of hope and inspiration, along with reminders to put your health first. We are beyond grateful to our generous sponsors, as well as the 100-plus calendar models who have graciously represented BB! and their fellow Boobers! over the years.

During the next several weeks on the blog you will meet the Boobers! who were chosen as calendar models for A Calendar to Live By 2017. You are also hereby invited to join us at the Pink Carpet Gala on Saturday, September 17, as we unveil this year’s calendar. See you there!

leanneLeanne Krause was diagnosed with breast cancer twice, once in 1998 and again in 2004. A friend connected her with Beyond Boobs!, and now Leanne is proud to represent the group as a model for A Calendar to Live By 2017. She wants to serve as a guide and show other women that living life with an exclamation point post-diagnosis is possible.

Leanne is an administrative secretary for the Newport News Public School Division and is mom to two adult sons. Here she talks about her favorite day, the one thing guaranteed to make her smile, and what it means to be a calendar model.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? Why?

Right here, as everyone I love (except my brother) is here and everything I need is here (though I love to travel).

What was your first summer job as a teen?

Cashier at Captain D’s.

Describe your perfect day from beginning to end.

My entire family all together in a waterfront house with no time frame to follow or structure of any kind. Waking up when I want, doing what I want, and having everyone getting along together.

What is guaranteed to always make you smile?

A giggling baby.

What does being selected as a calendar model mean to you?

A chance to share my story with those currently in the fight. Letting them know that they too can have a future and will make it through this current nightmare.

What was the most impactful moment of your calendar model photo shoot?

I can say the shoot evolved into something I had not planned on. In my mind was that I was 55, had survived cancer twice, and am now an empty nester with no one at home to answer to. I think I am very lucky to be given a chance to share my story with other survivors as they go through their journey. I feel they can see me so very far out from my fight and they too will see 12 years, 15 years or 30 years out. As they experience the chemo and radiation, I want to instill hope that they will make it through and enjoy tomorrow, just as I have.

, June 29, 2016 | More Post by

Beyond Boobs! is one big happy family, but it is also a business. In addition to a host of amazing volunteers, BB! has been blessed with a group of talented, hardworking staff members who are truly the backbone of the organization. Because of their love and dedication, we are able to continue our mission of providing encouragement and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Staff members work behind the scenes to make sure all of our events run smoothly, and they take care of the millions of not-so-sexy, but just as valuable, details of running a business. Most important, they are there for our Boobers!, helping them live life with an exclamation point!

We share so much of our lives with our staff. Spending time with these amazing women and getting to know them and their families is a joy. And now it is our great privilege to introduce them to you. In the coming weeks, the blog will feature profiles of our staff members – the women behind the boobs.

lisa marshallIn January of 2014, Lisa Marshall began a new chapter in her life. Recently divorced, she had retired from her 30-year teaching career and her daughter Eme was away at college. She was also celebrating 10 years as a breast cancer survivor. It must have been fate, then, that led her to BB!’s booth at the MyTime Women’s Show in Hampton, Virginia.

“I was drawn to their booth,” Lisa said. “It just radiated energy.”

That day Lisa met Vicki Vawter, BB!’s Events and Community Relations Manager, as well as Gale Bryant, a BB! volunteer. The three hit it off right away, and by the time Lisa returned home she had received an e-mail from Gale about volunteer opportunities. Lisa became a “Tuesday Tag Team” (T3) volunteer and is now a Full-Support Volunteer for Events and Corporate Liaison.

As a volunteer, Lisa jumps in to help with any number of events BB! hosts or attends each year. In fact, one year after she met Vicki and Gale, she was manning the booth at the MyTime Women’s Show. Lisa spends a great deal of her time preparing for the “Breast” Ball Golf tournament, as well as the Pink Carpet Gala. She has also traveled with BB! cofounders René Bowditch and Mary Beth Gibson to out-of-state conferences related to breast cancer.

“The spirit of Beyond Boobs! fills my heart,” Lisa said. “The unconditional love they have for survivors is tremendous. If I can help with events that raise money to support this group, then I want to do that.”

Lisa lives in Newport News with her daughter, Eme, and a miniature dachshund named Pretzel. Lisa enjoys crafting and cooking, especially Cajun food that reminds her of her Louisiana heritage. She also loves to travel.

“I never seem to run out of things to do,” Lisa said. “I live life with an exclamation point, and I want to help others do the same.”

, June 28, 2016 | More Post by

The Women Behind the Boobs – Meet Gin Marks

Beyond Boobs! is one big happy family, but it is also a business. In addition to a host of amazing volunteers, BB! has been blessed with a group of talented, hardworking staff members who are truly the backbone of the organization. Because of their love and dedication, we are able to continue our mission of providing encouragement and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Staff members work behind the scenes to make sure all of our events run smoothly, and they take care of the millions of not-so-sexy, but just as valuable, details of running a business. Most important, they are there for our Boobers!, helping them live life with an exclamation point!

We share so much of our lives with our staff. Spending time with these amazing women and getting to know them and their families is a joy. And now it is our great privilege to introduce them to you. In the coming weeks, the blog will feature profiles of our staff members – the women behind the boobs.

Gin marksGin Marks went from Beyond Boobs! calendar model to full-support volunteer in just a few short years. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, Gin was in her oncologist’s office when she caught a glimpse of a BB! rack card. The words “Not Your Typical Support Group” caught her eye.

“I had been to support groups with my brother for lymphoma and my mom for diabetes, and they were depressing and boring,” Gin said. “Beyond Boobs! just looked like fun.”

Dinner with BB! cofounder Mary Beth Gibson led to modeling for A Calendar to Live By 2009. She wore her sash with pride to represent BB!, and in 2010, when she retired early from NASA, she signed on to be an office volunteer.

As an auxiliary staff member for operations and management, Gin draws on her project management background to assist BB! with strategic planning, grant writing, policy development, event planning, and more. Outside the office she assists with event setup, conducting safety walk-throughs, or registering guests at a BB! signature event.

“I am an introvert, so my behind-the-scenes work with Beyond Boobs! fits me perfectly,” Gin said. “The women I work with are incredible, and we work well together as a team.”

Gin lives in Hampton with her husband Rick. The couple has been married for 37 years and have two adult children, Maurie and Sean. They are also doting grandparents to three grandchildren, Liam (1), Mikko (4), and Halvor (1).

, June 26, 2016 | More Post by

Beyond Boobs! is one big happy family, but it is also a business. In addition to a host of amazing volunteers, BB! has been blessed with a group of talented, hardworking staff members who are truly the backbone of the organization. Because of their love and dedication, we are able to continue our mission of providing encouragement and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Staff members work behind the scenes to make sure all of our events run smoothly, and they take care of the millions of not-so-sexy, but just as valuable, details of running a business. Most important, they are there for our Boobers!, helping them live life with an exclamation point!

We share so much of our lives with our staff. Spending time with these amazing women and getting to know them and their families is a joy. And now it is our great privilege to introduce them to you. In the coming weeks, the blog will feature profiles of our staff members – the women behind the boobs.

celia styerA neighbor first told Celia Styer about Beyond Boobs! several years ago, but at the time Celia was still raising her two sons, Ryan and Mitchell. Later she cared for her mom, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and provided a home for her niece. However, after her mom passed away and her niece moved out, Celia found herself with time on her hands. She knew just where to turn.

Celia began volunteering with BB! in 2010. Two years later she joined the group as a staff member. Initially she worked on administrative tasks, but gradually she drifted over to the events side of things, which is where she spends her days now as the Marketing and Events Coordinator.

“I began helping with the silent auction at the fashion show on the Southside first,” Celia explained. “The first year I worked on getting items for the auction, and then the next year I was running it myself. After that I started doing registration.”

Celia considers herself a low-key, behind-the-scenes kind of gal, so the BB! dialect took some getting used to. “I consider myself very proper in public, so at first I was embarrassed by all of the terminology,” Celia said. “Words like Boobs, Boobers!, and Boostiers. But now I use those words all the time and don’t even think twice about them.”

Celia and Vicki Vawter work as a team on BB! signature events. “Vicki is the big-picture person,” Celia said. “I keep the trains running, so to speak, with spreadsheets and details.”

In the fall Celia spends a lot of her time organizing the Mustang Raffle that leads up to the Starlets of Dance competition.

Starlets also happens to be Celia’s favorite BB! event. It was one of the first she ever attended and she loves seeing the transformation of the Starlets over the eight weeks of practice before they take the stage to perform and compete.

“I work closely with those women and I see them from the start,” Celia said. “They are so nervous, but after weeks of lessons they accomplish a huge thing in front of so many people. There is nothing like the smiles on their faces when they finish.”

Celia enjoys working with BB!, but it is the Boobers! who keep her going. “Talking with the women at the first Boober! retreat I attended hooked me,” Celia said. “The experiences those women had with breast cancer were so different from what my mom went through. It is important to be able to help someone talk and heal.”

The BB! staff members also hold a very special spot in Celia’s heart. “I love my team,” Celia said. “These are the hardest working people I have ever known. They are phenomenal.”

Celia and her husband Don have been married for 29 years. In addition to their two adult sons, they are the proud pet parents of Tank, a golden retriever; Fox, a Pomeranian; and Ohana, a Quaker parrot who likes to bark, make zipper sounds, and cluck like a chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

, June 24, 2016 | More Post by

Beyond Boobs! is one big happy family, but it is also a business. In addition to a host of amazing volunteers, BB! has been blessed with a group of talented, hardworking staff members who are truly the backbone of the organization. Because of their love and dedication, we are able to continue our mission of providing encouragement and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Staff members work behind the scenes to make sure all of our events run smoothly, and they take care of the millions of not-so-sexy, but just as valuable, details of running a business. Most important, they are there for our Boobers!, helping them live life with an exclamation point!

We share so much of our lives with our staff. Spending time with these amazing women and getting to know them and their families is a joy. And now it is our great privilege to introduce them to you. In the coming weeks, the blog will feature profiles of our staff members – the women behind the boobs.

jenn haynesJenn Haynes, owner of A-One Mobile Bookkeeping, handles all of the finances for Beyond Boobs!, from tallying donations to paying bills. BB! has been one of Jenn’s clients since December 2013. She spends about 10 hours every week at BB! headquarters and shares an office with Managing Director Chris Schwab.

Jenn is also a proud supporter of the group. She is a B Cup Sponsor for A Calendar to Live By 2017, and in the past has purchased tickets for the BB! Mustang raffle, as well as the annual Pink Carpet Gala.

“I love the people at Beyond Boobs!,” Jenn said. “They do very important work and offer an invaluable service to the community.

In addition to running A-One Mobile Bookkeeping, Jenn is co-owner of Work Nimbly, a co-working space in Williamsburg. Jenn and Paul, her husband of nine years, live in Williamsburg. They are the proud parents of two fur babies – Maybell, an eight-year-old goldendoodle, and Pixie, a border collie/corgi mix.

, June 22, 2016 | More Post by

Beyond Boobs! is one big happy family, but it is also a business. In addition to a host of amazing volunteers, BB! has been blessed with a group of talented, hardworking staff members who are truly the backbone of the organization. Because of their love and dedication, we are able to continue our mission of providing encouragement and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Staff members work behind the scenes to make sure all of our events run smoothly, and they take care of the millions of not-so-sexy, but just as valuable, details of running a business. Most important, they are there for our Boobers!, helping them live life with an exclamation point!

We share so much of our lives with our staff. Spending time with these amazing women and getting to know them and their families is a joy. And now it is our great privilege to introduce them to you. In the coming weeks, the blog will feature profiles of our staff members – the women behind the boobs.

victoria rileyVictoria Riley joined Beyond Boobs! as Business Development and Operations Manager in February of 2016, but her involvement with the group goes back several years. Her mom, Chris Schwab, is BB!’s Managing Director, and when Chris became active with BB!, she brought her daughter along with her to events. Victoria took part in the BB! fashion shows on the Southside, and also went to the Pink Carpet Gala and the “Breast” Ball Golf Tournament.

Victoria studied art history in college, but she is equally at home with technology. Currently she is working to build BB!’s infrastructure, including the implementation of Salesforce, a cloud computing platform.

“It is an exciting time to join the organization,” Victoria said. “We are experiencing a new wave of growth that will bring on new technology and infrastructure developments, which is something I am passionate about.”

Victoria and her husband Jamin were married last fall. The newlyweds, along with their rescue dog, Finnigan, live in Fairfax and are in the process of relocating to Williamsburg. Victoria and Jamin love playing golf and tennis together. They also spend as much time as they can hiking and camping, especially in their favorite spot, the Shenandoah Valley.

, June 19, 2016 | More Post by

Beyond Boobs! is one big happy family, but it is also a business. In addition to a host of amazing volunteers, BB! has been blessed with a group of talented, hardworking staff members who are truly the backbone of the organization. Because of their love and dedication, we are able to continue our mission of providing encouragement and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Staff members work behind the scenes to make sure all of our events run smoothly, and they take care of the millions of not-so-sexy, but just as valuable, details of running a business. Most important, they are there for our Boobers!, helping them live life with an exclamation point!

We share so much of our lives with our staff. Spending time with these amazing women and getting to know them and their families is a joy. And now it is our great privilege to introduce them to you. In the coming weeks, the blog will feature profiles of our staff members – the women behind the boobs.

Vicki Vawter and her husband, Lenny.

Vicki Vawter and her husband, Lenny.

Vicki Vawter, Events and Community Relations Manager for Beyond Boobs!, discovered the group back in 2007. One of her friends, a breast cancer survivor, showed her a copy of BB’s annual A Calendar to Live By. Vicki was intrigued by the calendar, which does double duty as a health and wellness guide.

Back then, Vicki walked to raise funds for a national breast cancer foundation, and she was also putting together a golf tournament to raise money for that group. After seeing the calendar, Vicki invited BB! to be part of the tournament. By the time the third year rolled around, the fundraiser was all about BB!

In 2010, Vicki and Beyond Boobs! cofounder Mary Beth Gibson were sitting in the bleachers, watching their kids play baseball, when Mary Beth turned to Vicki and said, “You’re already ‘working’ for us. Let’s make it official.”

“It was the perfect time in my life for me to take on full-time work,” Vicki explained. “Why wouldn’t I help if I could?”

Vicki was one of the first full-time BB! staff members, second only to Managing Director Chris Schwab. “It is amazing to have been there from the beginning and to know you are helping to build something,” Vicki said.

In addition to organizing the “Breast” Ball Golf Tournament every year, Vicki works with the BB! team to put together all of the group’s signature events, including the Pink Carpet Gala, Run for the Hills, Mr. Breast Fest, and Starlets of Dance. She also communicates with everyone who raises funds for BB! and makes sure they have the promotional materials and information they need.

“Every day after work I know I have made a difference,” Vicki said. “I can see the difference in people’s lives when they connect with others at events, choose a healthier lifestyle, or get a mammogram. You can’t do that at just any job.”

The golf tournament, which celebrated its ninth year in April, is still Vicki’s favorite BB! event. This year, 343 golfers participated in the tournament. The parking lot was a sea of golf carts bearing familiar faces, as well as golfers new to the event. Vicki and her husband high-fived each golfer as they passed on their way to the course. Over the past nine years, the tournament has raised nearly $200,000 for BB!

This summer Vicki and Lenny will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. The couple lives in Williamsburg with their two children, 17-year-old Karsen and 14-year-old Ryan.

, June 15, 2016 | More Post by

Beyond Boobs! is one big happy family, but it is also a business. In addition to a host of amazing volunteers, BB! has been blessed with a group of talented, hardworking staff members who are truly the backbone of the organization. Because of their love and dedication, we are able to continue our mission of providing encouragement and support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Staff members work behind the scenes to make sure all of our events run smoothly, and they take care of the millions of not-so-sexy, but just as valuable, details of running a business. Most important, they are there for our Boobers!, helping them live life with an exclamation point!

We share so much of our lives with our staff. Spending time with these amazing women and getting to know them and their families is a joy. And now it is our great privilege to introduce them to you. In the coming weeks, the blog will feature profiles of our staff members – the women behind the boobs.

Here's Desiree Parker manning a Pink-Link booth at a recent conference.

Here’s Desiree Parker manning a Pink-Link booth at a recent conference.

Desiree Parker was a roving reporter for Williamsburg Yorktown Daily, an online news site, when she met Beyond Boobs! Cofounders Mary Beth Gibson and René Bowditch in 2008.

“They were so kind, loving, and open,” said Desiree. “I covered the group as part of my nonprofit beat for WY Daily and felt such a connection with them.”

Desiree also has a personal connection to the BB! mission. Her mom was diagnosed with two unrelated cancers – lung and breast. She passed away in 1997 from complications related to lung cancer, at the very beginning of Desiree’s freshman year at the College of William & Mary. Because of that, the work BB! does to support young women diagnosed with breast cancer and their families is especially close to Desiree’s heart.

When Desiree decided to take some time off from work in 2014, it felt only natural to volunteer with BB!, so she offered to write press releases for the organization. In June of 2015 she became a contract employee. “I got sucked in,” she said with a laugh.

In addition to writing press releases for BB!, Desiree also helps the group with their social media presence. She is on the ground floor of Pink Link, a social media site for breast cancer survivors that is part of the BB! family. “I handle administrative duties for Pink Link and I have also been working to get the new site up and running,” she explained.

Desiree loves the teamwork that comes with being a BB! staff member. “We are a small group and I feel like we all have lots of ownership in the organization,” she said “It’s not just Mary Beth’s baby, it’s everyone’s baby.

“Covering Beyond Boobs! as a reporter made me want to work with them,” she continued. “Working with a nonprofit is a good career path for your heart and your soul. I am exactly where I want to be and I am so happy this worked out.”

Desiree and her husband Gary have been married for 13 years and have a 12-year-old son, Alex. The family lives in Williamsburg. When Desiree isn’t working or watching her son play soccer, she enjoys writing fiction, doing yoga, and meditating.