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
Mary Joe Wilfong had just been through a divorce in 2013 and didn’t have health insurance when she discovered a lump in her breast during a self-exam. Three months later she finally got a mammogram done through a grant program called Every Woman’s Life. A week later, doctors confirmed it was cancer. Fate – and three of her friends – led her to Beyond Boobs! “Two days before my double mastectomy, I was dragged to a Not Your Typical Support group meeting,” she said. “It was the best thing that ever happened to me in a bad situation.”
Mary Joe lives in the Ghent area of Norfolk and works as an administrative assistant at Stratford University’s Virginia Beach campus. She is mom to three children – Kaitlin Walbrook (24), Kiara Walbrook (22), and Charles Walbrook (20). She also has three special pets in her life. Zelda Mae Velvet is a long-haired black cat with big gold eyes, and Mary Joe credits her with saving her sanity during her battle with breast cancer. Kali Nuggett is a two-year-old Chihuahua who thinks she’s a cat, and Prince Jelly (PJ) is a blue-eyed razorback pit bull who behaves more like a lapdog than a guard dog.
After applying three times to be a BB! calendar model, Mary Joe proved that the third time is indeed a charm when she was selected for A Calendar to Live By 2017. Here she details her perfect day from beginning to end, the things in life that always make her smile, and what being a calendar model means to her.
What was your favorite childhood toy?
I don’t remember toys. I am sure I had lots and lots. I had three younger brothers and a sister, so I guess they were my toys most of the time. I do remember a book in my hand at all times.
Describe your perfect day from beginning to end.
I want to combine several perfect days into one. I’d like to say I want to sleep in, but then I would miss a good portion of a decent brunch with an endless mimosa bar in the company of my children and friends. Or the early morning dawn and creating some bread dough to proof.
I’d want to cook all day, making my favorite meals and breads and loving a good beer or fizzy prosecco. And my friends and family throughout the day would enjoy a never-ending Thanksgiving. I’d love to also just curl up in cool shade and read a good book, too, and play with the dogs at the park, and hear kids splashing in the water close by.
I’d want to travel somewhere quaint and spend the day with my special love, and hold hands and kiss often, and laugh over silliness. Not care about cancer, jobs, stress, or diets. I’d love to see a baseball, football, or hockey game and yell at the referees and umpires over a bad call.
Afterwards get a great dinner, or pull out the bread dough I’m rising and bake it off, and eat it warm with butter. I want to tuck my babies in their beds and read them a bedtime story. I want to curl up with my special love and smile over our fun day, and watch the sunset.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose? Why?
Since I have adult children, making choices of where to live is difficult, as they are scattering around the world. Being in Virginia for 20 years makes it challenging to leave.
I’d love to be in Maine. I was there often visiting for two years before marriage to my then-boyfriend, and so thoroughly enjoyed the way of life.
But honestly, lately it’s been going home to New Jersey to be with my mother. I love New Jersey, my home state. Mostly it’s the peacefulness of the house and the almost three acres of land. It’s my brothers down the road. I guess home is wherever the family is.
What is guaranteed to always make you smile?
My kids, whether they are here with me or not. I think of them and just smile, even on bad days.
My daughter Kaitlin’s laugh and her sneeze. My gosh, it can raise the dead.
My daughter Kiara’s smile and humor. She is our problem solver.
My son Charles’s crazy hair, and how he still sleeps the same as when he was a baby.
What does being selected as a calendar model mean to you?
This is my third try at being a calendar girl. Crazy how with such low self-esteem that I would want to be one so bad. Being a calendar girl means a lot. It means sharing my story, my road, my battle. Showing the real me and not some smiling bobblehead that most days I think I am.
What was the most impactful moment of your calendar model photo shoot?
The most impactful part of my shoot was all the people who were part of the shoot. I was treated like a hot, sexy lady. I was respected for my knowledge of the subject being shot. I just had so much fun, even though the nerves were high and my self-esteem is so low. That afternoon made me feel so, so special.