, July 01, 2020 | More Post by

43, diagnosed at 38,

No family history, no known genetic mutation

Through a breast self-exam, Jennifer detected a lump in her breast that turned out to be stage 3A breast cancer. She received chemo, a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, and radiation. Her diagnosis occurred just as Jennifer was going through a difficult separation from her husband. While undergoing treatment, she continued working as a corrections case manager to provide for her two daughters. With no other family around, her daughters were her primary source of support, and knowing they were scared, Jennifer tried to keep life as normal as possible. She found H4TG after treatment. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, but right away the ladies welcomed me with open arms and hearts.” Jennifer says she has always been an “in the background” type of person, but she doesn’t want to be that any longer. “I want to be an example for my two daughters, that if they set their mind to something, they can do it. I want them to be proud that I’m their mom.” Jennifer admires that same ideal that emerged in the 1920s saying, “Women received their voices, and their opinions and thoughts meant something.” Jennifer also wishes to show other women that they are stronger than they think.

, June 03, 2020 | More Post by

50, diagnosed at 47

No family history, No known genetic mutation

Lisa never thought she’d get breast cancer, never did self-exams, and never had a mammogram. Luckily, a wellness incentive at work compelled her to get a mammogram on a mobile imaging bus. Even the callback for another test didn’t register on her radar, and she declined the second imaging appointment until they showed her the first image. Upon seeing the spot, she touched her breast and could feel a lump. When the doctor’s office suggested she bring someone to her appointment, she knew it didn’t bode well. Her sister was with her when Lisa heard the news that she had stage 2, HER2+ breast cancer and would be getting a lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation. A school bus driver and newly single mom to two children, she moved into her own place for the first time a month after the diagnosis. Since then, she’s been doing all kinds of things that she wouldn’t have done before. “I want to enjoy life and have no regrets. Since I met my Boober! girlfriends, I see I’m not the only one!” Lisa wants to show that the breast cancer survivors of H4TG are women of strength and courage, much like the women of the 1920s.

, May 01, 2020 | More Post by

Age: 54, diagnosed at 48, No family history, No known genetic mutation

Joyce, a dental team coordinator, postponed getting a mammogram for four years as she didn’t have health insurance. When she finally got one, it led to a stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis. She had a lumpectomy and radiation but opted against chemotherapy. Joyce describes herself as a lifetime caregiver. From before the age of 20, she had custody of a niece and nephew and was a foster parent to two other kids. Later, she helped raise two stepchildren and a great-niece. She also took care of various family members. “I never took the time to worry about myself,” she says. “I never asked for help because I felt like I had to be the strong one that everyone else could lean on.” Even when she was diagnosed, she didn’t think she needed help. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer later that she finally reached out to H4TG. “I receive unlimited support from the group, and they give me an uplifting part of myself I wouldn’t have realized on my own.” The rebellious, fun-loving attitudes of women in the 1920s appeal to Joyce’s own sense of independence and her desire to live every day fully and with as much fun as possible.

, April 06, 2020 | More Post by

April, age 41, diagnosed at 37, No family history, No known genetic mutation.

April felt a lump on her breast but blew it off. Because the lump was still there six months later, she mentioned it at an unrelated medical appointment. Tests were immediately ordered, and despite assurances it was probably nothing, it was something – stage 2 breast cancer. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and chemotherapy. On active duty with the Air Force, she was assigned a nurse case manager (Shawnna, Ms. February 2020), who was an immense help. When a year later Shawnna told April that she had breast cancer and would be going to the next H4TG support gathering too, April was floored! After leaving the military and moving to North Carolina, April was selected as a calendar model and was thrilled to see that her former nurse would be along for the adventure. April’s breast cancer journey has been difficult, but “each day I’m reminded how lucky I am to be given another day to reflect on it all.” April’s parents taught her to be a strong, independent woman who made her own way in the world. “My education and career paths helped make me the person I am today, and without the progressive ideals of the 1920s, I wouldn’t have had those opportunities.”

, March 06, 2020 | More Post by

48, diagnosed at 46

No family history, No known genetic mutation

Joyce noticed a divot in her right breast and mentioned it at her annual exam. After receiving a stern lecture from her gynecologist about keeping up with her annual mammograms, Joyce promised to get one. Within a week of the mammogram, and with her husband (who had rushed home from a work trip) by her side, Joyce received a diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer. During treatment that included chemo, a lumpectomy, and radiation, Joyce continued her full-time work in communications while being mom to her active 11-year-old son. “I am a professional communicator, but it was hard for me to tell people about the diagnosis,” she says. A dear friend encouraged her to share her story, and this helped her get the love and support she needed from “Team Joyce,” her tribe of friends and family. She’d like to use her skills as a communicator to give hope and inspiration to other women facing breast cancer – some of which she found for herself in the calendar theme. “As a cancer survivor-in-progress, I find the stories of how women in the 1920s had the fortitude and willpower to make it through a war, overcome adversity, and create a new way for themselves to be so inspiring.”

, February 05, 2020 | More Post by

Shawnna 41, diagnosed at 39

No family history, PALB2 genetic mutation

Shawnna, mother of three and military wife, felt a lump one day when crossing her arms and quickly sought testing that revealed stage 3B triple negative breast cancer. As a nurse, she’d worked with many breast cancer patients, including Ms. April 2020, but she never expected the tables to turn. “I thought I knew what it was like until I was diagnosed and had to have a bilateral mastectomy, chemo, and radiation,” Shawnna said. Joining H4TG was a natural step. Having introduced many of her patients to them, she understood how crucial H4TG could be during and after breast cancer treatment. Now she has experienced and continues to benefit from the special loving support H4TG offers. As the nurse who became the patient, Shawnna has this unique perspective to share. The 1920s represent to Shawnna the dawn of the new woman and changing attitudes towards their roles and abilities and epitomizes a favorite quote, “Rise up.” Since her diagnosis, Shawnna feels she is a new woman, too, saying, “I am more comfortable with myself than ever before. I realized my worth, my strength, and what I have to offer this world.” This focus on personal well-being is one message she’d like to share with other survivors.

, January 08, 2020 | More Post by

Age 39, diagnosed at 37

No family history, no known genetic mutation

After a routine mammogram screening due to having dense breasts, Hope, who works as a counselor, was called back in for a 3D mammogram and ultrasound that led to a biopsy and then a stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis. Shocked to hear the diagnosis, she recalls returning to her car right after the appointment holding a binder full of information from the nurse and asking herself, did they just say I have cancer? She was scheduled to receive her Ph. D in Organizational Leadership after her lumpectomy and just as she was heading into four rounds of chemo. Determined twalk across the stage for her graduation, she pushed back the chemo until after receiving her diploma. Radiation treatment followed chemo. Hope’s name reflects her attitude in life. During treatment, Hope always kept a smile on her face and in her heart, and it was important to her that her friends and family shared her positive energy. When thinking about the 1920s, Hope says she appreciates history for its lessons. “My hope is that history won’t repeat itself with the negatives but rather that we learn from them, grow, and have the tools needed to do and be better.” Now, Hope is using her history of breast cancer to help others. 

, December 06, 2019 | More Post by

Debra, 33, diagnosed at 29

No family history, no known genetic mutation 

Debra, a newlywed and mother to a young stepson, accidentally found a lump while resting in bed. Because of Debra’s age, her ob/gyn wasn’t concerned but ordered a mammogram, “just in case.” In this case, it was Stage 4 breast cancer, having already spread to other organs. She immediately underwent chemotherapy infusions, two lumpectomies, and radiation. She remains in active treatment to delay the spread and states her current occupation is “trying to stay alive.” Debra says while cancer has stolen so much from her, such as the ability to bear children and peace of mind, she has found some positives, including the H4TG sisterhood. She has learned to put her dreams first, knowing she might not have a long life to achieve them. A passionate dressage rider, Debra describes her horse Jacob as “my heart and soul.” So just as the princess in the Goose Girl is ultimately saved by her talking horse, Debra feels Jacob is her lifesaver. “He never has anything to say, he’s just always a shoulder to cry on, a big clown to lick me when I’m feeling down.” Her dream is to achieve the riding level necessary for her and Jacob to win a U.S. Dressage Federation silver medal.

, November 08, 2019 | More Post by

Jenyse, 48, diagnosed at 43
No family history
No known genetic mutation
Jenyse is grateful to her husband for first discovering the lump in her breast that led to her Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis and for then being by her side for every appointment, treatment, and “breakdown” that followed. She opted for a single mastectomy with reconstruction and chemotherapy. A successful realtor, Jenyse says her family is her greatest accomplishment and the diagnosis that strengthened her marriage also brought her family closer together. Her three now-adult sons even shaved their heads in solidarity with their Mom. Having lost her mother-in-law to cancer just months before her own diagnosis, Jenyse remembers this advice from their last conversation: “Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Live each day to the fullest,” which Jenyse now does, joined by family as often as possible. As the Snow Queen, Jenyse makes a beautiful and fierce villain but ultimately relates to the tale’s message of individual strength and the power of love. About the heroine, one character says, “I can give her no greater power than she has already. Don’t you see how strong that is?” When tested, Jenyse indeed discovered the strength she always possessed that was made stronger by the love of family.

, October 14, 2019 | More Post by
47, diagnosed at 44 
1st degree family history 
No known genetic mutation 
Samantha (aka Sammi Jo), a finance project manager, had reported feeling a lump in her right breast for nearly a year and finally insisted her doctor order a mammogram. Just four months after her wedding, she was diagnosed with stage 0, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. Eight days prior to surgery, her husband found information about a study of a new type of tissue expander that allows patients to expand them at home. Determined to have them, she persevered and achieved the nearly impossible – becoming the first USA patient outside the study to get them, paving the way for others. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Sammi Jo is a fierce advocate for herself and others, like her character, Little Red Riding Hood. “Throw me to the wolves, and I will return leading the pack,” describes her well. Blending compassion with determination, Sammi Jo is committed to helping others who travel her path and says, “The fear is real, but soon I hope you will be where I am now – a little battered and bruised, but wiser, braver, and with a quiet inner strength that will remind you every day of what you have achieved.”