hereforthegirls | Here for the Girls Blog
breast cancer, breast cancer support, breast cancer stories, inspiration
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For the girls

For the girls

The Official Blog of Here for the girls

, March 31, 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 their breast cancer story. 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.) 

I was diagnosed on December 11, 2009, with triple negative breast cancer. My mom always taught us to be strong, positive, to fight and to never give up hope. I stayed strong and positive from the beginning. I went to Boston where I stayed at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge while having treatment and many surgeries. I was my own caregiver, which I do not recommend to anyone.

I am actually writing a book about my cancer journey, with me being my own caregiver. I had bilateral mastectomies and many months of chemo. I was so ill from the chemo that I was hospitalized all the time. One time my doctors thought I had a heart attack from the chemo. I also had bilateral DIEP Flap reconstruction. I was very lucky that I did not have to have radiation.
I have the best team and because of them I am here.

For me it is all about giving back and paying it forward. I volunteer five days a week in a cancer hospital as a hospital volunteer and I am also an American Cancer Society volunteer. I also host Look Good Feel Better, a wonderful program from the American Cancer Society. I really like Pink Link and all that it offers.

-Barbra T.

, March 24, 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 their breast cancer story. 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.) 

2005 was a great year. I was finishing up paramedic school, my fiancé was finishing up nursing school, we were about to get married and buy our first house. 2006 brought more fun and adventure for two outdoorsy newlyweds. We had it all planned out. We’d enjoy each other’s company for a while before we started our family and we’d save up as much as we could to prepare for our future, a future that was looking very bright. 2007 brought some struggles but we made it through the year with perseverance standing by each other’s side. 2008 is when I found myself without a job, which altered my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. But it wasn’t the end of the world, yet. We decided this would be the opportunity we wanted to start our family since we agreed one of us would stay home with the kids anyway. So in 2009 along came son #1. Unfortunately, that was also the year we lost our first house. With only one of us working, it became a challenge to live the lifestyle we had become accustomed to. 2010 brought pregnancy #2 which led to son #2’s arrival in 2011. His appearance in the world would be the only bright part of 2011 though.

October 6, 2011, just 5 months after giving birth to our second son, I was diagnosed with stage 2B triple negative breast cancer. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. My first thought was of the family I had just started with my husband, then my second was how they would go on without me. To me The C Word was a death sentence. But with the support of our family and friends we were getting things taken care of, especially the boys. Thanksgiving was uneventful, until a few days later. That’s when I became a widow/single-mom/breast cancer patient. I found my husband face down in the bathroom not responsive, not breathing, with no pulse. As a paramedic I knew it was too late to try resuscitation. He was gone.

The depression I had suffered with for so many years had finally come to the darkest point. I had no idea what I was going to do or where I was going to go. This was my rock bottom. I had to give up the life I had built, uproot my kids and myself and move two hours away so that I had the support I needed to get through the next few months of my life, because it was going to be a battle to make it through. I was determined to not allow my life to end. I made a decision to not only survive, but to thrive. I had no clue where to start, but I knew I had to start over.

For the next couple of years I focused on my health and physical healing. I had four months of chemo, a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, and seven weeks of radiation. Due to tissue damage from radiation I had to remove the expanders that were placed during my mastectomy and allow my body to heal. Six months later I opted for the Latissimus Flap reconstruction.

Once my physical body was back in order I began to look into my mental health. I don’t remember being offered counseling or therapy services when I was diagnosed, then again, I just may not have heard it through the fear of dying. I began seeing a therapist for the depression and anxiety. We worked through so much I finally started to feel like I was going to be ok. It got to a point though where ok just wasn’t enough. I wanted to live, fully and wholeheartedly. I began reading more and more and was eventually led to looking into life coaching. So many people had told me “you should be a life coach”. I had no clue what they were talking about, and I started listening to the little whispers I was hearing. Those whispers led me to Debbie Ford’s book Dark Side of the Light Chasers. That book reached in and pulled my heart from my chest. I researched Debbie and her ideas about the Shadow. Eventually I signed up to take her Breakthrough Shadow Coaching program. That opened me up to the possibility of creating the life I wanted, even after breast cancer.

While in my coaches’ training I met an amazing woman who worked at The Chopra Center. She taught classes on emotions, mindfulness, meditation and awareness. Going deeper with her has allowed me to deal with and release the emotions that I believe caused my cancer in the first place. Even though I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer I can confidently say that it won’t come back. Learning how emotional dis-ease causes physical dis-ease has been the key to me standing at the top of the hill screaming that cancer can be beat. I am now in training to learn the emotional release techniques she has taught me so that I may help others release their baggage so they are free to create the lives they want to be living.

My life today is very different than it was 5 ½ years ago. I thought breast cancer was a death sentence. It actually turned out to be the greatest gift I have ever been blessed with.

Michele writes her own blog — check it out at michelemadrigal.com!

, March 17, 2017 | More Post by

Ola Onawole is our Not-Your-Typical Support Systems Program Manager. She shares why she’s “Here for the Girls”:

I grew up in a house full of girls. My mother, Wanda, was my favorite girl. She was everyone’s favorite. She would smile so widely and brightly. She would dance in a way that welcomed joy into the room. She would cook in a way that pushed both hunger and sadness out the door. She would pick up folks from off of tough city corners and down-on-their luck avenues. The girl was friendly; the girl was kind; the girl was popular for being the fresh comfort our whole community needed.

She taught us about something I like to call exaltation or celebration.It wasn’t something she said out loud. She taught us in the ways that she danced and in the ways that she laughed. She taught us in the ways that she cooked and befriended people.

We learned that this girl made it her daily goal to provide us (insert her children, her friends, her community) with:

    • 1. a feeling or state of extreme happiness.

By:

    • 2. the action of elevating someone in rank, power, or character

Not to mention:

      • the action of praising someone or something highly

So even when she was awaiting breast surgery in the hospital bed, she encouraged her 5 year old daughter to have a balloon party.

She was the ultimate party host in the way she invited guests to live life to their fullest potential and feel elevated every moment they spent in her presence.

So even when we lost her physical life to the cancer, there was this huge party of a funeral. The church was filled and People lined up outside. Everyone whispered about their friend Wanda who lifted them up higher than they could ever imagine. She was the girl of our dreams.

Wanda taught me the art of celebrating people. When I started working for  Here for the Girls, I knew I’d found a new group of party girls. Girls who wanted to dance in the wake of their pain. Girls who needed a band leader. Girls who needed lifting up, encouragement, and downright positive praise.

This is certainly the place for it. In the faces of the staff and volunteers, I see reflections of Wanda. Staff and volunteer girls who are supporting the valuable mission of this organization with power and passion. In the faces of the young women diagnosed with breast cancer, I see reflections of Wanda. The girls who are celebrating life and smiling in the midst of illness.

Wanda is right here when I’m with the girls, and I’m here for her. I’m here for the girls.

, March 09, 2017 | More Post by

Vicki Vawter is our Events and Community Relations Manager. She shares why she’s “Here for the Girls”:

Why am I here? I am here for the girls because I love finding ways for ordinary connections can turn into extraordinary ones.

I love when a business owner says ‘Yes! I want to help your efforts’, I love finding new ways they can help us and also recognize them for their generosity.

I love recruiting volunteers to help us in the office and at various events. It’s awesome to see how much the community wants to join us in our efforts and help us to pull off big events as well as small ones. Whether its handing out water to runners at our annual 5K/10K or addressing thank you notes, our volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization.

I love when a single encounter or introduction turns into that person becoming a life-long friend to us. Maybe that friend ends up organizing their own fundraiser one day, or tells their best friend about us when they are diagnosed and don’t know where to turn. Or maybe they become a board member, or decide to sponsor a signature event.

I love coordinating new ways for our women to connect with each other. Perhaps at a fundraiser, wellness expo, speaking engagement, or event they meet someone new who has been down the same road as they have. Often times women find that they meet by ‘accident’ and then become best friends.

I love when a survivor goes to social media and says to her sisters on a private page, “I just can’t post this to everyone, but I knew you all would understand….” She tells of her fears, of her scars, or her loneliness. And within minutes, women she may have never met are offering their encouragement, their virtual hugs, and their cheers of

“You’ve got this!”
“We’re here for you!”
“You’re beautiful.”

I love that because of us, miracles can happen. Smiles can happen. Hope happens.
I am here for the girls.

, February 20, 2017 | More Post by

My name is Robin and I am a Board Member and also a volunteer for Here For the Girls. I am not a Boober!; never had breast cancer; have no immediate or even distant relatives who have had breast cancer. I have, however, watched several co-workers and the wife of a good friend die from this horrific disease. My husband Steve is also a very active volunteer and supporter of Here For the Girls. He sports a pink ribbon tattoo and is thrilled to answer when someone asks why. The assumption is always he has lost a mother/wife/sister/daughter to breast cancer. Nope to all. In addition, we have pulled in our daughter Kari and son-in-law John as volunteers for H4TG!

Our relationship with Beyond Boobs! began five years ago. As the charity of choice for Steve’s motorcycle club, we sometimes spent 12 hours a day on the weekends raising money at every fair and festival during the spring and summer. Nothing better than a bunch of bikers sporting pink tutu’s and boas, asking folks to support an organization called Beyond Boobs! Some of the ensuing conversations were priceless!! The money raised by the motorcycle club funded a Beyond Boobs! Retreat for the Boobers. I was honored to be asked to be a “kitchen fairy” at one of these retreats (and continue to do so) and I can honestly say it changed my life.

During that first retreat, I watched the ladies attend seminars on topics such as healthy eating, painting, aroma therapy, exercise, team building on the beach, etc. Some of these warriors were going through chemo, which had left them bald and ill; some were 2 years out; some 10 years out. They laughed, cried, sang, hugged, yelled, – and jumped in the cold Atlantic Ocean, after dark, holding onto each other – 30 strong! I will never, ever forget the joy and laughter on their faces as they ran back into the house; wet, cold; but fully and totally alive. It was during this retreat that it dawned on me that these were young women in the prime of their lives, hit with devastating news, yet living and loving like all of us should be doing. Feeling sorry for themselves – uh, no way! Too much living left to do to be bogged down in pity!!

The goodness, kindness, and fierce support Here For the Girls has for the Boobers! is unparalleled in any other organization with which I have worked. The Boobers! themselves build each other up by offering love, friendship, unwavering support, laughter and sometime tears. For those of us who are fortunate enough to volunteer for this great organization, we get to meet and get to know the actual ladies – not some line item on a set of financials.  For all of these reasons, and many more, I love this organization and all it does for the ladies.

The assumption for many is that you volunteer or invest in an organization because you have been personally impacted by the “cause.” I am here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. You invest because of the mission, the impact, the good, the hope, the difference it makes in the lives of those in need. That is why I totally support Here For the Girls… because they truly are “Here For the Girls…”

So remember, every day is a celebration… sometimes you enjoy it by yourself; or enrich your soul when you share it with others.

, February 13, 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 their breast cancer story. We will publish the 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 submit your story right now, just send it (along with a photo, if you’d like) to desiree.parker@hereforthegirls.org. If you want to keep up with future writing prompts, sign up for our newsletter here.

While breast cancer survivors’ stories may sound the same, they are as different as hair, hands, and foreheads! They are all unique and special. Each story is told from the standpoint of a medical course, yet the bravest course of treatment is the psychological one taken by survivors. They did not anticipate the anxiety or depressive symptoms that would unfold as chemotherapy, radiation, and mastectomy or lumpectomy lurked.

I am a survivor of breast cancer, her2+, some inflammatory, stage 3C. I am not alone and I am not unintelligent. I am not sedentary nor am I brave! Without the medical community, I would probably no longer have the life I live today.

Without movement, exercise, and a nutrition focus, I would be far less energetic five years in NED (No Evidence of Disease), in my late fifties! The integrative efforts through the Cancer Institute here in Virginia and the tenderness of their care in those early developmental stages of life in cancer treatment were sound. I researched and knew this journey was going to take some time. I chose, and shared my choices, and they were always well received.

I fought with family and a dear friend, Amber J., with whom I shared weekly conversations regarding anything. She was my confidante and I was her joy! Married with a stepson, we shared our faith and our joys in a heavenly savior who was available to us during these seasons of tremendous loss. I had lost a friend with whom I had been in a loving relationship, his death a suicide. Her losses were family, her mother, a fifth grade teacher in Los Angeles. Together we shared our foibles in the transition from West coast to East.

My cancer has not returned! I don’t know why.

Do you know why your cancer has not returned? Immune support through relationships is as important to personal diet as exercise, nutrition, spiritual connections, and laughter, yes just plain fun! Joie de Vivre!

A support group called Beyond Boobs! (a support service of Here for the Girls) is a place inspiring to me. I worked as a volunteer with them for a year and a half in an alter ego personality, still my own, dressing up and dressing down to spread the message of hope in an educational forum. They like me! And I love them!

On I went from my developmental years as a thriving cancer adolescent to my young adult years (remember I am late fifties), and now into yoga! I love yoga! I wore this body into submission through yoga teacher training and the aches and pains of now stretching to a point where I felt I ought to stretch even more.

Gratitude, giving, and remembering those who have helped, supported, nourished, and prayed for me and my household.

As I move into survivorship as a clinician, I have more to learn and more to give in this fight for health, beauty, and yes, wealth. We all need to support ourselves through many avenues of thought and action. Survivorship is a process. Be kind to yourself! It takes time to relearn those moments we call Life. We may indeed use that anxiety or even depression for a greater good or purpose. It seems to require our thoughtful time.

-Joanne H.

, February 07, 2017 | More Post by

Welcome to our first “Pink Link Stories” blog post! 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 their breast cancer story. We will publish the 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 submit your story right now, just send it (along with a photo, if you’d like) to desiree.parker@hereforthegirls.org. If you want to keep up with future writing prompts, sign up for our newsletter here.

LaShaun says…

My story started in April 2015. I went in to have my annual mammogram. While we were waiting for the results, they called me back into the office and said that they needed to take some more pictures. So. I didn’t think anything of it, until they called me back into a private room with my husband. The pathologist said, “I’m not going to beat around the bush, I’m going to be honest with you. It looks like cancer.” At that time, my heart fell and all I could think was, “I don’t want to die!” The pathologist then says that we need to do a biopsy right then and there. So, while I was waiting for the biopsy to begin, all I could think was that I didn’t want to die. I remember the pathologist saying that they were going to put 8 markers in my breast. I could feel every needle prick and at each prick, I cried. On top of that, I was counting each one and there were 10 pricks, not 8.

As I was driving home, all I could think of was, how am I going to tell the rest of my family? When I got home, my 19-year-old daughter was home and she could see that something was wrong. I told her I was scared and I was not sure how to tell my parents that I might have breast cancer. Well, I didn’t have much time to think about it, because my daughter called my dad. As soon as he asked me what was wrong, I started crying and told him that it looks like I have breast cancer. He was very calm and just said, “let’s wait and see what the results of the biopsy are.”

We had to wait over the weekend and that weekend seemed to last forever. On Monday, I was at work and I got a phone call from my family doctor. She said wasn’t sure if she wanted to tell me the news face-to-face or leave a message or tell me over the phone. She decided to tell me that she was sorry, but I did have breast cancer. At this time, I was freaking out and crying.  I finally asked her if my husband and I could come in and ask her some questions. She agreed to meet with us that day after work.

I called my husband and let him know the outcome of the biopsy results. After talking to him, I told my boss what was going on and that I needed to go home for the rest of the day. While I was at home, I called my brother, who doesn’t live that far from me. I had my husband meet me at the doctor’s office so we could talk to her about my options and what our next steps were going to be. We had plenty of questions for her. She was unable to answer them all, but we understood we had options. We were told to call the Longmont hospital and set up an appointment to see an oncologist. Just as I was about to call and set up a meeting, my brother called me and asked me to not do anything until after he came over and talked to me. I agreed… he told me that a friend of ours was diagnosed with breast cancer and that I should call her oncologist in Fort Collins at the Harmony Cancer Center. She gave him all the information that I needed to reach out to her. I called the hospital in Fort Collins and said that I needed to set an appointment with this specific oncologist. the receptionist told me that before I could see her, I needed to have my biopsy results and any other information sent to her office. So, it took me 2 days to get the discs and information sent to Fort Collins. Once the office had my results, I was asked to come to Fort Collins that next week.

When my husband and I met with the oncologist, we had an array of questions we wanted answered. The first question we had was, “should we get a second opinion.” The doctor told us this: she is on the board of directors and my case was seen by her and 6 other doctors, so my case is getting 6 opinions. Once they agreed on what was seen, they came up with a game plan, all before I came into the office that day. As I was trying to write the answers to my questions, my oncologist took my notebook and wrote them down for me, so I would be able to focus on her answers. the main reason we stayed with her and that office was because she knew everything about my case and she didn’t have to keep looking at her notes. We felt as if she really cared about us and the best way to help me with the breast cancer.

During that meeting, she explained to me that I had Stage 3 breast cancer. Her game plan for me was to go through 20 weeks of chemotherapy, surgery, and then 6 weeks of radiation. Before we could start chemotherapy, I would need to take a pre-chemo class and have a power port inserted into my chest. Well, I had never had a surgery in my entire life. I had the surgery for my port at the end of April 2015. I started chemotherapy, the day after Mother’s Day in May 2015. My husband took me to my first couple of treatments. We had a schedule and a plan to have some of closest friends and family take me to my treatments, since I was not able to drive there and back. For the first 8 weeks, I was going to Fort Collins, twice a week, every other week. I was told that I would be tired for about 2 days and then recover over the weekend. I was able to work at least 3 days a week during the first 6 weeks. At exactly 2 weeks of my treatment, I noticed that I was losing my hair. I was so devastated, I called my sister, who was going to take some pictures of me before I lost my hair. I called her and asked her to cover that night and take those pictures, because I needed to take out my extensions. She came over, took some pictures and we make arrangements to have my hair cut really short.  I remember taking out my extensions and washing my hair that night. I kid you not, when I was done washing my hair, I looked like Fire Marshall Bill from In Living Color…..haha!

When my first 8 weeks were done, I was able to change my appointment day to Thursday, so I could take Thursdays and Fridays off to recover. At this time, I was able to work, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week. My job was open to it and they have been very supportive of my treatment schedules. I finished my chemotherapy in Sept 2015… and on October 27th, 2015, I had a double mastectomy, because I did not want to deal with the cancer spreading if I only had one removed. I also had 13 lymph nodes removed on the left side. The only time off of work was the 6 weeks to recover from the surgery.

After I was healed and able to lift my arms above my head, I was able to meet with the radiation oncologist. I had a game plan there too. I was to start radiation in January and it was to be, everyday for 6 weeks. the side effect was tiredness.  I made the best of my time and I was working out as much I could. In February, I ended my radiation therapy. the day after I completed my radiation, I did the Fight for Air Climb, in Denver, to help fight lung cancer. I was able to climb all 56 flight of stairs in a little more than an hour. I was so proud of myself. Since I have completed chemo and radiation therapy, I think I have had about 4 more surgeries and I still have another one scheduled in the near future to have my implants put in. I have been working out 6 days a week, and I start a workout clinical trial soon, twice a week for 6 weeks.

Thank you for listening to my story.

LaShaun D

, November 16, 2016 | More Post by

Body artist Wendy Harris is on a mission to make bald beautiful. For the past harris-henna-2several years she has volunteered her time and talents with Beyond Boobs! to design henna crowns for women battling breast cancer. The henna crown designs are painted directly onto the scalp using an all-natural henna paste that Wendy mixes from scratch. The henna is temporary and lasts anywhere from one to three weeks.

Wendy met the women of Beyond Boobs! at Art Inspired, an art and wellness studio in Newport News, Virginia. “At that time, I didn’t know a lot about breast cancer,” Wendy said. “I had no idea how many people around me were dealing with the disease.”

Over the past several years, Wendy has painted hundreds of henna crowns on Boobers! She volunteers at the annual Pink Carpet Gala, and is also part of the retreat for survivors in Sandbridge in Virginia Beach. The henna booth is always one of the most popular attractions at the Gala, and Wendy loves being part of the retreat.

harris-henna“Volunteering with Beyond Boobs! has opened my eyes to breast cancer,” Wendy said. “The women have educated me about the importance of self-exams, and I have learned so much from sitting in on sessions during the retreats.”

Women can choose any design they wish for their henna crowns, from messages of hope and inspiration to images and memorials. “Henna crowns give women an extra boost of confidence,” Wendy said. “For that moment, they can be happy and not think about other stuff, like treatment and medical bills. I love giving them that moment of joy and hearing all the oohs and ahs when they see their crown.”

, November 10, 2016 | More Post by

After weeks of training with professional instructors, seven survivors will grace the stage at this year’s Starlets of Dance, to take place on November 13 at 2:30 p.m. at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach. Stay tuned to the blog over the next few weeks to learn more about these incredible women who are poised to dance their way into Beyond Boobs! history.

We would love to have you join us as this inspiring celebration of life and dance. Click HERE to purchase your ticket today.

Melanie Georges has always loved to dance. She danced with her father, who headshot-for-melanie-georgesalso was a dance teacher, and as a teen she performed with a dance group at her Greek Orthodox Church. This year her passion for dance will light up the stage at Starlets of Dance.

Melanie was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004, and then in April of 2014 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She found out about Beyond Boobs! through her oncologist, and shortly thereafter attended her first Not Your Typical Support System meeting.

She is undergoing her third round of chemo, and she has had to adapt her training schedule for Starlets around her energy levels during treatment. “I’ve gotten it down to a science,” said Melanie. “Since I receive a steroid with my chemo treatment every Monday and that gives me lots of energy, I make time to practice Monday evenings.”

Lauren Kelly, Director of Music in Motion Dance Academy, is Melanie’s instructor. “Melanie and I come together for a little over an hour each week and jump right into moving and grooving,” Lauren said. “It’s the best part of my whole week. Sometimes it’s serious, but most of the time it’s just plain fun. Melanie reminds me of what it’s like to open up your heart and your time to a new friend, and all the amazing things that come out of support for our fellow ladies.”

Melanie is pleased to have been selected as a performer. She is also a little nervous about the big night. “First and foremost, I want to do a good job,” she said. “I want to entertain people and make my family proud.” She and Lauren will perform a number from the musical Chicago, and Melanie wants to send a message to herself and the world. “I feel like cancer has taken away my femininity,” she said. “I am struggling with my attractiveness, which is why I want to be sexy and sassy on that stage.”

Click here to see a video about what participating in Starlets of Dance has meant to Melanie.

, November 09, 2016 | More Post by

After weeks of training with professional instructors, seven survivors will grace the stage at this year’s Starlets of Dance, to take place on November 13 at 2:30 p.m. at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach. Stay tuned to the blog over the next few weeks to learn more about these incredible women who are poised to dance their way into Beyond Boobs! history.

We would love to have you join us as this inspiring celebration of life and dance. Click HERE to purchase your ticket today.

Deirdre Matthews danced in a recital when she was in kindergarten, and she deirdre-matthews-head-shotcan still remember the pink dress with white polka dots she wore that day. She lived vicariously through her two daughters when they took dance classes growing up, and now it’s her turn to hit the stage again during Starlets of Dance.

“I have always liked to dance,” Deirdre said. “It’s going to be so fun to up on the large stage at the Sandler Center.”

Deirdre has chosen a disco song to dance to and has been busy putting together the perfect outfit, including a pair of bell bottoms. She has been training with dance instructor Regina Kalbacher and feels like she has her routine down.

Regina has been having a blast working with Deirdre. “Little did I know how much the women from Beyond Boobs! would inspire me,” Regina said. “Their stories really touch my heart. Because of this and many other reasons, I have taken part in Starlets of Dance for the last four years. Working with survivors is a way for me to share my passion and joy for dance with survivors who could use dance in their lives.

“Dance has helped me personally get through some really tough times, and I’m honored to work with Deidre this year,” Regina continued “Her energy and excitement for the Hustle is a joy to watch. I’m so proud to see her improve each week and I look forward to her performance for all to see.”

Deirdre wants her dance to encourage all survivors to follow their dreams. “I hope my performance inspires someone to let loose and have fun,” she said. “Don’t let your diagnosis keep you down.”

Click here to see a video about what participating in Starlets of Dance has meant to Dierdre.