, May 23, 2017 | More Post by

Welcome to our “Pink Link Stories” blog series! These stories are from women who are a part of (or support) our virtual Pink Link community for breast cancer survivors (pinklink.org). Each quarter, we offer a new writing prompt — this quarter, we asked women to share a story about helping another woman with breast cancer. We will publish a few of those entries* here (lightly edited for length and typos), and we’ll also be randomly selecting one entrant each quarter to receive a $50 gift card! If you want to keep up with future writing prompts, sign up for our newsletter here. (* Due to the number of entries, we cannot guarantee all entries will be posted on our blog and we reserve the right to post based on our discretion.) 

In June of 2015,  I was diagnosed with stage 2a, triple negative breast cancer. While fighting this battle, I met a young lady who was battling not only breast cancer, but also Stage 4 lung cancer. Before I got to know her, I observed her daily activities through her posts on Facebook and thought to myself, how in the world does she do it? She instantly became my SHE-RO. After treatment she would hit the gym or the track to work out. Meanwhile, I was too sick to do anything.

As the days went by, I began to see less of her but thought of her always. Then one day we ran into each other. We hugged and exchanged information. Late at night we would have our chats about the journey and committed to supporting one another no matter what. I eventually finished my chemo treatments and moved on to surgery and later radiation, while she was still undergoing chemo treatments. During this time, we didn’t talk as often because radiation took a toll on me. When I was finally done with all of my treatments in March of 2016, it was time to heal.  Many did not understand this process, but I knew one person understood. We started back calling and texting each other as the days went by and then suddenly, I didn’t hear from her. No returned calls or inbox messages. I grew a bit concerned but I didn’t have anyone to connect with to check on her. Then one day, I saw a post on her page from her son. He was scared and needed help. I sent him a message and told him to call me. Earlier that evening while having dinner with her son, she had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. After hearing this, I threw my clothes on and drove to meet him.

From that point on, I stayed with her. Her son didn’t know what to do and although she had a few friends by her side, no one really understood what was happening. They kept her in the hospital for a couple of weeks and then eventually released her… the cancer had spread to her brain rapidly and there was nothing else they could do. The last two weeks of her life, while trying to heal myself from the pain and stiffness that chemo left me with, I made sure to keep my word to her by helping her fight. Each day when she would wake up, her mother and I would pray over her and I would make her a breakfast juice or smoothie. Afterwards, we would get dressed and I would wheel her outside to get some sunlight for a few minutes and then bring her back in so that she could rest. Her mother eventually made her way down and was so grateful for my help. We agreed that I would stay and continue to help because it was needed as her health was declining quickly. It was challenging, but I remembered my promise to her.  I didn’t give up on her, even up until she took her last breath.

Since then, I have committed my life to helping others that have been impacted by can’t-cer; to be a light of HOPE, when at times it seems like there is none. I started a Facebook group just for women in my local area to help support one another.  From time to time we meet up to rally around each other because we have a special bond.

-Tiah

, May 15, 2017 | More Post by

Dave is a husband to one H4TG staff member, father to another. Here’s why he is “Here for the Girls”:

Beyond Boobs! has recently evolved into Here for the Girls in what has been an amazing transformation from a grassroots organization in Williamsburg started by two visionary survivors into a powerful voice for women’s health with a rapidly expanding national presence.

My personal attachment to this worthwhile cause has primarily been through the eyes of my wife Chris, who is the Managing Director at Here for the Girls. From the moment she first started volunteering for this grassroots cause to when she took over a leadership role in the organization, I have witnessed first-hand the impact it has had on her overall perspective towards life.

Coming from a tunnel vision approach to life as a private grade school principal, which is what is needed to get that job done in that work environment, she has been able to completely expand her horizons in her role with Here for the Girls. This personal and professional growth has been benefited Chris and myself as well as our life together.

I am extremely proud to be part of an organization that knows how to live its vision and mission statement every single day of the year.

, May 04, 2017 | More Post by

Welcome to the first in our series called Co-Founders’ Corner! These are posts by either of our two Here for the Girls Co-Founders, Rene Bowditch or Mary Beth Gibson. Enjoy these (sometimes funny, sometimes serious, always interesting) reflections on life!

Poor Monday. It has a real image problem. Most everybody loves Saturday. It’s the creamy filling in the Oreo cookie that is the weekend – sandwiched right in between the chocolate-ly goodness of Friday, the official launch of the weekend, and Sunday, the traditional day of rest and renewal. Thursday is pretty popular too as the prelude to the weekend. Wednesday’s claim to fame is as Hump Day gains it points and even the nondescript Tuesday has status as being the day after Monday, when one can breathe easy again. Poor maligned Monday.

Let me give you a few examples of just how bad it is. When I googled sayings for Monday, here are some of the ones I found:

If Monday had a face, I would punch it.

Go home Monday. No one likes you.

If each day is a gift, I would like to know where to return Mondays.

There should be a holiday for all the brave people who show up to work on Mondays.

Monday. How do I block you in real life?

Keep calm and pretend it’s not Monday.

Shortest horror story in history. Tomorrow is Monday.

Dear Monday. I think you should take a vacation. Seriously, no one will miss you.

I also unexpectedly discovered an interesting correlation between Mondays and coffee.

Too much Monday. Not enough coffee.

May your coffee be strong and your Monday be short.

Coffee. Because Monday happens every week.

Monday. I don’t think there will be enough coffee or enough middle fingers for today.

Apparently, if you don’t show up to Monday armed with massive quantities of coffee, you are doomed.

So who is responsible for this sad state of affairs? Well if we are going to assign blame, I guess we have to go back about 4,000 years. It was the Babylonians. They are the ones who decided to divide the 29 day lunar cycle into smaller periods of time and picked seven because it had mystical significance. And then beyond the Babylonians, we can attribute it to whoever decided in more modern times that Monday would be the official start of the work week and school week.

Because when you come right down to it, I believe the reason most people who resent Monday feel that way because it means they have to go back to either work or school. So the problem isn’t really Monday!! The problem isn’t even our attitude about Monday. The problem is we may not be content with what we have to do on Mondays – whatever our responsibilities are – and Monday is a reminder that we have to start it all over again until our next break from it. So here’s the solution. It is simple but may not easy.

We have two options:

We can change our responsibilities, or we can change our attitude.

I used to be one of the Monday moaners. And then I faced a serious health crisis that compelled me to reevaluate my life, my priorities, my values and also how I was spending my time versus how I wanted to be spending my time. That seismic shift resulted in a new attitude about many things including Mondays. Ultimately, here is what I believe is the most significant fact about Mondays:  They represent 1/7 of your life. So do you really want to spend your time dreading, complaining about, and wishing away 1/7 of your life? I know I don’t. So I embrace Monday as I do every other day of the week – with gratitude and the knowledge that I own it, and I am going to make it what I want it to be. Mondays are a gift I have no desire to return.

So I suggest we reconsider Mondays, and to help us, here are a few of the very few positive sayings I found in my Google search about Mondays.

Monday. A fresh start. Embrace it.

Monday, Funday. Live, Laugh, Love.

Monday is a new start of your life, new beginning, new perspective. Make today count.

Monday, just another day to be amazing.

Do what you love, and you will never dread Monday.

And of course, we can’t forget the coffee. It’s Monday. Grab some coffee and be awesome.

And if you are still not convinced, I’ll share this little-known fact with you: Monday is the only day of the week that is an anagram of a single word. And that word? It’s dynamo. So I leave you with this thought. When Monday rolls around again, and if you are lucky, it will continue to do so over and over and over again, just use it as a reminder that Monday is a special day for you to shine as the dynamo you are! And the coffee? It’s optional.

Mary Beth Gibson