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For the girls

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, August 17, 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!

By: Jamie McAllister

When Alveta S. Henderson stopped nursing her youngest son in 2010, she discovered a lump the size of an egg inalveta her breast during a self-exam. She was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time in May of 2014. Shortly after she moved to Williamsburg, she met Beyond Boobs! co-founders Mary Beth Gibson and René Bowditch. They saw Alveta was wearing a lymphedema sleeve so they told her about BB!’s Not Your Typical Support groups and encouraged her to become a Boober!

Being chosen as a model for A Calendar to Live By 2017 has given Alveta another outlet to share her message and her journey of survival. She works as a physician assistant at Sentara Healthcare and is the mother of three: Devereaux Nash (21), Raven Nash (19), and DeCarlo “Jaden” Crowell (6). Here she describes her perfect day, her perfect place to settle down, and why BB! is such a perfect fit for her.

What was your favorite toy as a child?

My Cabbage Patch doll.

What is guaranteed to always make you smile?

Seeing my children smile or hearing them laugh.

Describe your perfect day from beginning to end.

Going to the beach at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, near Charleston, and sitting on the beach watching waves. Occasionally taking a swim. Going shopping for spices on the downtown market and then driving back out to Kiawah down Bohicket Road, only to return to the beach for the evening to watch the waves some more. I love the history of the area. It makes me feel like I am returning to the ocean to receive my ancestors on the shore. I know it sounds weird, but I feel like I’m letting them know that a better day came for them even though they didn’t get to see it.

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

Somewhere tropical close to the mountains and the sea, maybe Saint Lucia or Mexico. I love the mountains because I grew up in the mountains of Virginia, but I love the water. I could even do a mountain lake like Smith Mountain Lake here in Virginia.

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

Being selected as a calendar model means I get another outlet or platform to tell my story and to encourage someone who is going through a similar situation. Everything I’ve gone through is so that someone else can benefit from the experience. There is a wealth of knowledge I can share, right down to how African American women respond to chemotherapy. The side effects of skin changes are profound. Things doctors don’t always remember to tell you that a patient who is going through it can expound upon are priceless.

, August 11, 2016 | More Post by

Angela Duke was the November model for A Calendar to Live By 2011. We caught up with her to see what gems of angela dukeretrospective wisdom she might share for our Throwback Thursday former calendar model series! Here’s what she had to say:

  1. What was the one experience or lesson that has stuck with you most from your year as a model in A Calendar to Live By?

Slow down – Live in the day that God woke you up to.

  1. What did that calendar photo say about who you were then? How are you similar or different now?

I was the “Multitasker.” Now I am different… I prioritize.

  1. Give us a sense about any big changes that have happened in your life since the public first got to know you as a calendar model.

It gave me more freedom – a rite of passage if you will – to express and share my journey with breast cancer survivors and others.

  1. If you could share one piece of advice now to a young woman who has just joined BB!, what would it be, based on your perspective now?

To be more intentional about living life to its fullest.  Welcome and receive the strength that will be gained by being connected to BB!

Cover of the 2011 calendar that featured Angela.

Cover of the 2011 calendar.

, August 10, 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!

By: Jamie McAllister

Heather Sweitzer of Virginia Beach was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 after she discovered a lump in herheather breast during a self-exam. She found out about Beyond Boobs! and attended one of their events, Beyond the Paddle. There she met Boober! Charlene Cattoi, whose spirit and energy drew her to the group. As a calendar model, Heather wants to continue the message of empowerment that comes from living life with an exclamation point.

Heather is the owner of Regal Renovations, a Virginia Class A contractor. She and her husband Glen have been married for 13 years and have four children: Jaeden (12), Tyler (10), Preston (6), and Silas (4). Here she talks about the importance of family and what it means to be able to share her message of hope with the world.

What was your first summer job as a teen?

Babysitting.

What is guaranteed to always make you smile?

I love being around my friends.

If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be? Why?

Daphne from Scooby Doo. She’s always witty, clever, and stylish.

What is the most daring thing you have ever done?

Hmmm . . . It’s a toss-up between getting married young or having four kids before the age of 30. Both have been beautifully challenging and rewarding.

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

Being a calendar model means I’m helping to reach young women who think, or have been told, that they’re too young to have cancer. Also, I hope to be able to empower those same women by showing them that there is so much blessing beyond diagnosis. It’s an opportunity to live a much fuller life and prioritize what’s really important.

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

My photo shoot was so much fun. It just reiterated the fact that cancer could never steal my joy. My life is completely saturated every single day with the people and things that mean the most to me – the very things that give me fullness of life!

, August 04, 2016 | More Post by

Charlene Cattoi was the February model for A Calendar to Live By 2010. We caught up with her to see what gems charleneof retrospective wisdom she might share for our Throwback Thursday former calendar model series! Here’s what she had to say:

  1. What was the one experience or lesson that has stuck with you most from your year as a model in A Calendar to Live By?

That I am beautiful and worthy.

  1. What did that calendar photo say about who you were then? How are you similar or different now?

It said I have a heart. Today my heart is tougher & more wonderful!

  1. Give us a sense about any big changes that have happened in your life since the public first got to know you as a calendar model.

My life has done a total turn around – change is scary but I wouldn’t change a thing.

  1. If you could share one piece of advice now to a young woman who has just joined BB!, what would it be, based on your perspective now?

You are beautiful-never doubt it. Love the New You! You are worth it!

Charlene and BB!'s Events and Community Relations Manager Vicki Vawter at Breast Fest.

Charlene and BB!’s Events and Community Relations Manager Vicki Vawter at Breast Fest.

, August 03, 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!

By: Jamie McAllister

When Stacy Crossett felt a knot above her right breast, she visited her doctor right away. After an unclearstacy mammogram, an ultrasound and biopsy confirmed she had breast cancer. That was four years ago, and she credits the BB! sisterhood with helping her through the rough patches, as well as celebrating her victories. As a calendar model, Stacy wants to offer other women the same love and support she has known as a Boober!

Stacy works at Sentara as a lab assistant and is the mother of four: Jared Greene (24), Jordyn Greene (21), Jillana Greene (20), and Noah Crossett (4 ½). She and her husband Nathan have been married for 16 years. Here Stacy talks about the important role BB! plays in her life and her experiences during her photo shoot.

How did you find out about Beyond Boobs!?

My nurse handed me a Beyond Boobs! rack card when I went for a consultation with my surgeon. When she handed it to me I thought I didn’t need a support group, but she insisted I take the card, so I did. It wasn’t long after she gave me the card that I decided to make the call to BB! and spoke with Charlene Cattoi, who encouraged me to come to a meeting that month.

I was a little apprehensive at first, but all that went away quickly. Being welcomed with open arms really touched my heart. The ladies were amazing and their inspiration and courage amazed me. Everything I had been feeling, they understood. I even got a show-and-tell for those kinds of questions, too. The Boobers! became my lifeline on my journey. Just when I felt I couldn’t keep my head above water, I would go to the monthly meeting and feel energized all over again. I really don’t know how my journey would have turned out without them by my side.

What five items would you put in a time capsule to open 10 years from now?

  1. iPhone
  2. Essential oils
  3. LuLaRoe leggings
  4. A Snickers bar
  5. Wine

If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and what would you do together?

Gustav Klimt. I’d love for him to do a portrait of me to portray who I am now after cancer.

Name three things on your bucket list.

  1. Go to Aruba, my dream island.
  2. Go to Italy and Greece, my dream countries.
  3. Own a log cabin home on the west coast in the mountains, with a stream and horses.

What is guaranteed to always make you smile? 

Being able to be with my family.

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

This is by far an honor to be chosen as a model for BB! For me, it would be to show women to not be afraid. Keep your head up and beat the odds, no matter what is handed to you. Just because it says something in black and white doesn’t mean it’s permanent. Hopefully my story can help someone else who is starting their journey and let them know that they have GOT THIS!

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

Being able to share a portion of the shoot with my youngest son. Noah is our miracle baby. My tubes were tied for 16 years when my husband decided he wanted to have one of his own. My husband had recently returned from Afghanistan, and after being over there had decided there had to be more to life then what we had been living. We had my tubes untied and became pregnant the first try. Ten months after Noah was born, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now after having chemo my ovaries have shut down for good. So for me to be able to have him be a part of this shoot meant so much. Life is definitely a precious gift.

, July 27, 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!

By: Jamie McAllister

Adriana Westbrook discovered a lump in her breast purely by accident while taking a shower in 2013. After she wasadriana diagnosed, her mother purchased A Calendar to Live By and Adriana was introduced to Beyond Boobs!, a group of women she credits with saving her life. Now, as a calendar model herself, Adriana hopes to inspire other women and their families.

Adriana works as a legal team lead for Sentara Healthcare. She lives in Virginia Beach and is the mother of two daughters, Alyssa (15) and Joel (8). The family also includes a Bichon Frisé named Princess Mya. Here she shares the top three items on her bucket list, as well as her explosive experiences during her photo shoot.

Name three things on your bucket list:

1.) Buy a motorcycle and ride across the country.

2.) Travel to Ireland.

3.) Meet my great-grandchildren.

What is guaranteed to always make you smile?

My daughters.

What was your first summer job as a teen?

Waitress at a pizza place.

What was your favorite childhood toy?

The outdoors.

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

That I get to give back to the ladies who saved my life.

What was the most impactful moment of your photo shoot?

The entire shoot was very impactful. My photographer had fireworks of ideas shooting from his head and he took my mental image and made it reality.

, July 20, 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!

By: Jamie McAllister

Patti CoffieWhen Patti Coffie was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2014, she knew just what to do. She immediately contacted three friends who were survivors and learned that all of them were members of Beyond Boobs! Her friends encouraged her to join BB!, and now Patti has the love and support of an entire network of “sisters.”

Patti lives in Currituck, North Carolina, and is a middle school gifted coordinator for Currituck County Schools. She and her husband Greg tied the knot in May of 2016 after five years of dating. She has three children: Krysta (24), Kayla (21), and Colin (15). Patti is beyond excited to be representing BB! in A Calendar to Live By 2017. Here she shares her plans for a perfect day, as well as what it means for her to serve as a calendar model.

Describe your perfect day from beginning to end.

My perfect day would be to wake up to all three children being home, then just have a fun family day. Eat out, go bowling, go to Topgolf, go see a movie, or go to the beach or a festival. Just a fun-filled family day!!

What is the most daring thing you have ever done?

I am not a very daring person. My most daring experience would probably be swimming with stingrays in the Bahamas. I was very hesitant to do it, but ended up loving it and actually did it again the following year!

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

If I could live anywhere, it would be in close proximity to all my children. I want to be a part of their lives as they marry and start their own families.

What is guaranteed to always make you smile?

My amazing husband Greg is guaranteed to make me smile. We have been through so much together, yet he can always bring a smile to my face with his thoughtful ways.

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

Being selected as a calendar model is a tremendous honor and has given me the chance to be a voice for Beyond Boobs! It has allowed me to speak with a lot of women about breast cancer and hopefully make a difference in someone’s life.

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

The whole photo shoot was extremely emotional for me. It was the week after my wedding and emotions were running high. I was amazed at the effort and professionalism that went into the shoot and I can’t wait to see the end results. And posing for hours is not as easy as it looks!

, July 13, 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!

A quiet conversation with God led April Salvant to get a mammogram after experiencing breast pain. On July 20, april salvant2015, her life changed forever when she was diagnosed with cancer. A world traveler, April was about to face a new journey, but she would never walk the path alone. Beth Oliver, a breast cancer survivor and Boober!, encouraged April to attend a Beyond Boobs! Not Your Typical Support Group. As a calendar model, April wants to bring hope and inspiration to those facing the fear and uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis.

April and her husband Scott have been married for 22 years. The couple lives in Mechanicsville, VA, with their five children: Jadon (19), Jeff (16), Caroline (16), David (14), and McKenna (14). In anticipation of the big reveal for A Calendar to Live By 2017 at the Pink Carpet Gala in September, April opens up about time capsules and cartoons, as well as her experiences at her photo shoot.

What five items would you put in a time capsule to open 10 years from now?

  1. Haitian coffee
  2. My husband’s craft beer
  3. A letter to myself
  4. Canvas and paint
  5. Picture of my kids

If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be? Why?

Mrs. Incredible. She fights for her family with fierceness. And she is super stretchy.

What is the most daring thing you have ever done?

 Lived in other countries.

What is guaranteed to always make you smile?

Babies.

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

Honored to be selected. I hope that my story can inspire others and bring healing to broken hearts.

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

During the interview, an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for my husband came over me and I started crying. I didn’t want to mess up my makeup, but the tears had to come. He really has been the very best through this ordeal. I am so very thankful.

, July 11, 2016 | More Post by

Scott Mielock first danced onto the Beyond Boobs! stage three years ago. He and his wife, Melinda, a professional dance instructor, are part of Starlets of Dance, BB!’s annual fundraiser that celebrates survival through movement and music. Scott has served as the event’s emcee, and also performs with Melinda during the program. The couple thrives on BB!’s energy and enthusiasm, and they love sharing their passion for dance with the organization.

Scott Mielock, Mr. Breast Fest 2016, and runner-up Robert Glover pose with BB! Co-Founder Mary Beth Gibson.

Scott Mielock, Mr. Breast Fest 2016, and runner-up Robert Glover pose with BB! Co-Founder Mary Beth Gibson.

In addition to his dancing shoes, Scott now has a new accessory for his wardrobe – a crown. Last month he earned the title of Mr. Breast Fest, and he is eager to begin his reign, which was a year in the making.

“Some of the Boobers! I met at last year’s Starlets of Dance event told me I should compete to be Mr. Breast Fest,” Scott explained. “I said I would, and when the deadline for applications rolled around, those Boobers! didn’t forget! I was flooded with texts and messages,” he added, laughing.

For a year, Scott thought about the strategy he would use during the Mr. Breast Fest competition. A Navy man for more than two decades, Scott is no stranger to tactics and lots of planning. “I wanted to maintain a fun, carefree, crazy mentality, but also be serious about raising money for the group,” he said.

Seeking to bring new ideas and a burst of energy to the event, Scott treated the competition like a presidential race. He promoted his involvement on his Facebook page, asked for likes from his followers, and sent out tweets. “I wanted to make it a very active process,” he said. “I wanted to get the message out and engage people online to get donations.”

Because of his background as an actor and dancer, Scott thought he would have the competition in the bag. He got a little nervous, though, when he saw the other contenders in person at the Eagle’s Nest in Chesapeake, where the event was held on June 11.

“I was sizing up the other guys and realized I had my work cut out for me,” he said. “I had no idea what would happen, but I had fun with each part of the contest because I knew the money I raised was going to a great cause.”

Decked out in a decorated bra that fit his curves just right, Scott spent the afternoon dancing for dollars, holding on for dear life atop the mechanical bull, answering on-the-spot questions, and munching his way to greatness by being the first to eat a doughnut suspended from a string.

The doughnut-eating contest during the Mr. Breast Fest contest was a tough challenge.

The doughnut-eating portion of the Mr. Breast Fest contest was a tough challenge.

“Eating a doughnut from a string is a lot harder than people might think,” Scott said. He mashed his doughnut against the head of Robert, another contender for the crown who was voted runner-up. “I was basically eating the doughnut off of Robert’s head,” Scott explained. “I even left a streak of white powder on the side of his head. How can you not be entertained by that?”

When Scott’s name was called as the winner, he accepted his crown with a mixture of relief and excitement. “I love what BB! stands for, and I love that they are working to support women diagnosed with breast cancer,” he said.

Robert Glover, a personal trainer at Brix Fitness, has many friends in the Hampton Roads fitness circuit, including Joshua Banks, Mr. Breast Fest 2015. When Joshua told Robert about the Mr. Breast Fest competition, he was all in.

“The competition was literally an answer to my prayers,” Robert said. “I had been asking God for a way to lend my energy to an important cause, so finding Beyond Boobs! was like a divine connection.”

Robert had never worn women’s lingerie before, but luckily he had a client at his fitness studio who offered to help him out by putting together something for him to wear. He admits he spent a few extra minutes in the restroom before the event, adjusting the sparkly, hot-pink garment, but he wore it well and was voted runner-up.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I had no real strategy,” Robert said. “I wanted to smile, talk to people, and try to pry some dollars out of their pockets for the cause.”

Robert enjoyed meeting and talking with people as he worked to earn votes at the event. He especially loved interacting with the Boobers! “I really liked seeing the looks on their faces as all of us guys made fools of ourselves,” he said.

Robert looks forward to taking part in BB! events in the year ahead, and wants to be involved with the group as much as he can. “I am in the fitness industry, and a big part of my calling is to educate people about the advantages of living a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “I want to use my talents and experiences to educate and inspire others.”

, July 11, 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!

After feeling a lump during a self-exam, Deirdra (Dee) Sanchez made an appointment with her doctor, who dee sanchezrecommended a mammogram and ultrasound. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in late December of 2013.

When Dee’s oncologist gave her a copy of A Calendar to Live By 2014, she had no idea she would one day be gracing its pages as a calendar model. Dee has drawn strength and support from her Boober! sisters and is honored to spread the group’s message of compassion and love.

Dee works as a warranty manager for Chesapeake Homes. She and her husband Tom have been married for 26 years. The couple lives in Virginia Beach and has four children: Danielle (24), Jessica (22), Jacquelyn (20), and Thomas Junior (17). The Sanchez family also includes two dogs, Max and Mandy, both Jack Russell terrier-beagle mixes.

Here Dee shares the two most daring moments of her life, as well as what she would do if she met singing legend Pat Benatar.

What is the most daring thing you have ever done?

I have two things, since I can’t decide which is the most daring. The first is singing the national anthem at Harbor Park for a Tides game. The second is zip-lining at the Virginia Adventure Park.

If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and what would you do together?

Well, after thinking about it, I really wouldn’t necessarily need to go back in history. My ideal person to meet would be Pat Benatar, due to the fact she set the stage for all female rock/pop stars. What would we do? But of course, we would perform together across the country in every state.

What was your first summer job as a teen?

A nanny for two kids.

What is guaranteed to always make you smile?

My husband always makes me smile. If he is not around, then listening to music will always make me smile.

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

Being selected as a calendar model is a great privilege and honor. It means I have an avenue to help give back to Beyond Boobs! and share with many other women that have (or have not) been diagnosed and share with them about Beyond Boobs! and how they can help their loved ones as they go through their journey.

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

The most impactful moment had to be the whole experience. I smiled and laughed during the whole shoot and I felt beautiful inside and out because the crew was wonderful in making me feel so comfortable, even if I did make one of them cry. That just showed me that Beyond Boobs! truly does care and wants us to feel special.