We are always amazed at the generosity of our community, supporters, volunteers, and donors, and for that, we thank you! Although breast cancer may change the course of our lives,it can never change,except to intensify, the gratitude in our hearts to be alive. In that spirit of gratitude, we want each one of you to know how grateful we are for you and how you care for us!
Having been in business for over 20 years now, I get requests all the time to help various businesses grow and succeed. Right now, we get about 200 requests a year for help. We typically can narrow the list down to 20 pretty easily, but ultimately, we only have time to support two opportunities per year.
The reason that we have chosen Beyond Boobs! for the last 3 years is because cancer affects all of us in one way or another, even if you don’t have an immediate family member battling the disease. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2010, and her life is now defined by events before that date and since. A cancer diagnosis changes your life forever and the lives of those around you who love you.
Beyond Boobs! has made it their mission to help young women through this process. Breast cancer is striking woman as young as in their 20s and 30s, and late diagnoses are getting more prevalent all the time. Beyond Boobs! is unique in that it doesn’t focus on raising money to find a cure, it is there for women everyday who are on the front lines of the disease and are just trying to survive one more day. When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, there is so much to learn and do, and it helps to have the women of Beyond Boobs! who have ‘been there and done that’ to help navigate the difficult decisions that are ahead of these young women, decisions that will shape the rest of their lives.
On behalf of myself and my company, G3 Systems, Inc., I am proud to support Beyond Boobs!
Gordon G. Miller III, CEO
G3 Systems, Inc.
Hello Friends of Beyond Boobs!
My name is Jess Kelly, and I am lucky enough to be Beyond Boobs!’s intern for the year! I’m a Social Work major at Christopher Newport University and will be graduating this spring. I have no idea what’s next after graduation but plan on working with non-profits in some way. (Beyond Boobs! will always be my favorite though.) I’m from Maryland but have lived all over the place being a military brat. I play lacrosse at CNU and love my team with all my heart. I am an avid dog lover and have two back home that I miss every day.
I spent last weekend with nearly 60 Boobers! at their annual retreat! It was an amazing experience and really helped me get a sense of what this organization is all about! The sisterhood that has been created is something to be grateful for which leads me to this month’s theme of giving thanks.
Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite occasions to celebrate with loved ones. Now almost completely eclipsed by Christmas due mostly to the introduction of Black Friday, Thanksgiving, the holiday meant to celebrate gratitude, has been overshadowed by something completely opposite – greed. So I challenge you all to reflect on the past year and make a list of maybe three things you are grateful for. Here are mine:
So I encourage all of you to create a list of your own. Share this with your family and friends! Bring the values of Thanksgiving back and celebrate life! Trust me, as someone who has worked retail since high school, the Black Friday “deals” you think you are scoring are not worth missing time with your loved ones.
Take the challenge! Leave a comment expressing your gratitude.]]>
Beyond Boobs! exists to help the wives, mothers, and daughters who have breast cancer now. That’s why we preceded Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a post called, “3 Things Young Women Need to Know About Breast Cancer.” That’s why our Good Health Fairy asked you to get Beyond Breast Cancer Awareness to Breast Health Action. And that’s why when October ends, Beyond Boobs! carries on.
The Pink Ribbon and Pinkwashing
October, known for foliage, football, and “fiends,” now has become synonymous with the pink ribbon. While the pink ribbon campaign has been effective in focusing public attention on the serious topic of breast cancer, it has also spawned a pink industry profiting from the use of the ribbon with promises to benefit various breast cancer charities or often just the vague “breast cancer research.”
The widespread placement of ribbons on products ranging from chia pet kits, dog costumes (really!), to rubber duckies has, in some cases, made people immune to the original, well-intentioned objective of the campaign. Even more serious is the emergence of the “pinkwasher.” This is a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease. To learn more about pinkwashing, click here: Think Before You Pink.
Take Breast Health Action NOW!
At Beyond Boobs!, we have been promoting breast health ACTION from our very beginnings, six years ago. Recognizing that “breast cancer awareness” was very passive (who isn’t aware of breast cancer?), we were one of the first organizations to focus on breast health and changing behaviors, and other organizations have followed our lead. And unlike many other non-profits, we aren’t focused on a future cure, we are helping women with breast cancer NOW.
As we work with young women diagnosed with breast cancer, we are helping to restore them to health – mind, body, and spirit – educating them about reducing their risk of recurrence, and encouraging healthy habits. We also educate all women about managing their own risk of breast cancer, advocating for their health, and urging a lifestyle of wellness.
So as you wade through the sea of pink ribbons this fall, we hope you will pause and do the following:
October is over, but we’ll continue to spread the word…we hope you’ll join us.
Warm hugs, Mary Beth]]>
When a person gets a diagnosis of a medical condition that is quite possibly life threatening, that person doesn’t often find the silver lining immediately. I know this because I have been there – with breast cancer.
It’s odd because I couldn’t tell you what I had for lunch or dinner 3 days ago – but I can tell you, in great detail, about the phone call I received in which my surgeon told me I had breast cancer. I can tell you what time it was. What day it was and what day of the week. Where I was leaving when I got in my car. Where I pulled my car over for her to deliver the news. The exact order of the phone calls I made immediately after. Who’s house I drove to – to fall completely apart and cry and ask questions of people who love me, but who had no answers for me.
In that same odd vein, I cannot tell you, with many specifics, about my first meeting with my Oncologist. Those were possibly some of the most important minutes of my adult life and they are fuzzy. But I do remember numbers like 50% chance or recurrence with only chemo; 28% chance of recurrence with chemo and bi-lateral mastectomy; 14% chance with chemo, bi-lateral mastectomy, and radiation. I remember those percentages because my Oncologist wrote them on the dry erase board for me. I calculated them up forward and reverse. I made my decision – “All of the above, Doc. Please save my life and let me watch my little girl grow up”.
The reason I am writing these things on this blog is to make a point about Beyond Boobs! My hunch is that if you asked the breast cancer survivors you know about when they got the news – I bet most of them will be able to tell you a great deal about that event. And I bet a lot of those same survivors might be sketchy on the details of their first Oncologist visit, and they probably had someone else there to hear and ask questions for them in case they got overwhelmed.
A lot of people in our lives have sympathy for us if we are diagnosed with any life threatening illness. They care about us and they understand our suffering and they want to stop it and fix it. Beyond Boobs! Is a support group designed for pre-menopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer. So, when you go to a Beyond Boobs! meeting you are met with empathy. The “boobers” at these meetings have mutually experienced breast cancer and the emotions, the physical challenges and changes, and the thoughts and questions that come with it. CLIFF NOTES: THEY GET IT!!!!
I tried one support group prior to my first chemo infusion and, although the group members were kind and supportive and helpful, I didn’t feel better when I left the meeting. . . . I felt worse. I decided to write off support groups altogether. Then a friend referred me to another friend who was in Beyond Boobs! I went to my first support group meeting with BB! in December of 2010. This time it spoke to me, in fact it had “Shawn Huddy” written all over it . . . in at least seven different languages!! I was hooked.
What happens when Beyond Boobs! Hooks you???
Well, that silver lining I mentioned in the very beginning of this blog . . . it comes at you from all directions. That empathy and bond and desire to help happens and all of the “boobers” take you under their wing and make sure you know about the light on the other side. Their love is so apparent in each event, committee meeting, support group meeting, impromptu lunch or drink after work. BB! has become an extension of my family and social circle. We know each other’s kids, significant others, parents, friends, etc.
It’s a crappy club to be part of because of the whole “cancer” thing, but I have met some of the most amazing, diverse, strong, supportive, intelligent, knowledge seeking, loving, funny, spunky, spirited, and fun people of my life thru Beyond Boobs! They are a living, breathing, encompassing, evolving silver lining. How could you NOT get hooked on Beyond Boobs!We give lots of hugs. We hand each other tissues for lots of tears. We share lots of laughs. We love and extend our hands and hearts to each other.
Then before you know it – we are all advocates and lobbyists and voices to be heard. We create a work force at fund raisers. We call on our connections for hook ups and donations. We share potential life saving information with one another and thru social networks. We post encouraging messages on Facebook and within the BB! pages. We apply to be dancers, fashion models, calendar girls.
Yep, I got to be in the 2014 Beyond Boobs! Calendar for Life (and breast health manual). I’m Miss December. It’s not the picture I initially thought was fitting of me – because even though I like to talk like I’m sassy and tough, I’m really just a kitten. In the picture I am punching glass and the glass is cracking and about to shatter all around me. My image has gotten a lot of attention for being powerful and empowering. So, I am starting to really like my picture and to identify with my inner bad-ass.
Being chosen to represent Beyond Boobs! In the 2014 calendar was a huge honor and I am so proud and pleased to be part of it. When I went thru the physical changes of losing my breasts and hair there was nothing powerful about me. I was completely self conscious. I felt unattractive, fearful, unworthy, and unwilling to stand up for myself. Beyond Boobs! helped to give me back my mojo, my worth, my ability to question things about my world that were unacceptable to me and to feel confident enough to change them. It’s been a beautiful lesson for my daughter, as well. Her mama ain’t raising no wallflower, here.
I’m still a work in progress and still need to make improvements in my life but I am finding the inner strength to accomplish the tasks at hand. I may not be a total bad-ass, but I did get to play one in the Beyond Boobs! Calendar for Life 2014!
A Calendar to Live By 2014: See the Video!
A Calendar to Live By 2014: Order Now!]]>
Using the photographic technique of double exposure, photographer Brian Freer highlights the struggle while paying tribute to the strength of young women with breast cancer. Each woman’s unique perspective shines through at first glance, but as you study the photographs, you can’t help but feel a deeper connection.
Watch the “making of” A Calendar to Live By video and you’ll see what we mean. This is not only a labor of love; it’s a work of art.
Snuggled in the center of the calendar is a “Guide to Caring for Yourself,” which is our way of getting beyond breast cancer awareness and into breast health action. It’s packed with information all young women need to know. You’ll find our tips for healthy living, early detection and screening for breast cancer, and information for the newly diagnosed and for those who love them.
Oh, and it’s a calendar, too. Order your 2014 Calendar to Live By today – and order a few extras to share with your friends!
Did you watch the video? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.]]>
So, get to really KNOW your breasts:
So find an “accountability friend” to help you make all this a priority (you’ll be helping her too) and go out to lunch or shopping (my favorite!) to reward yourselves for Taking Charge of your breast health!
With healthy wishes this and every month,
Breast cancer is an older woman’s disease, right? WRONG! Breast cancer can strike anyone, male or female, young or old, family history of breast cancer or not. It’s definitely less common in younger women, but about five percent of new breast cancer diagnoses involve women under age 40.
We’re not telling you this to scare you. We’re telling you because we want to empower you to take charge of your breast health!
What we know now from experience, we want you to know ahead of time. Please take it to heart. It could save your life.
You’ve got a lot of people counting on you and so much yet to experience. We are living proof that breast cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence; it may even result in a new appreciation and enthusiasm for life.
For more information on managing breast cancer risk, read our: Things We Wish We Had Known. And if you’re confused about whether or not you should have a mammogram, you’re not alone. Beyond Boobs! weighed on the latest research: Younger Women Need Mammograms, says new study.
Our Boobers (people who have or have had breast cancer) and Boostiers (volunteers and supporters) are always up to something. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll keep you up-to-date on what they – and we – are up to.
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, what do you know now that you wish you’d known before? Leave a comment and let us know.
Hope – Inspiration – Power – That’s what we’re all about and that’s what we want to share with you. At Beyond Boobs!, we break through breast cancer awareness into breast cancer ACTION, so we offer practical information you can use in your daily life.
Through our new Beyond Boobs! blog, H.I.P. Chick Chat, we’ll provide important educational material about breast cancer, share a few laughs, and encourage good conversation. We don’t want to talk at you; we want to talk with you.
The Beyond Boobs! mission is to heal and save lives by supporting young women diagnosed with breast cancer while providing breast health education for all. Using healing humor and our own quirky style, we live life with an exclamation point (!) instead of a period (.), and want to share that philosophy with you.
We’ll give you the heads up on big events like the Pink Carpet Gala and Run For the Hills. We’ll fill you in on our latest adventures, like when our boobers go for a spin on a motorcycle or jump out of an airplane just because they can. Now that’s worth sharing.
We’ll be showcasing inspiring guest posts from breast cancer survivors (our precious boobers), and those who love them (our generous boostiers). We want to hear from writers, health advocates, medical professionals, and anyone who has something to share.
Got a question about breast cancer or a suggestion for a post? Contact us! We’ll put it on our “to do” list.
Thanks for stopping by our H.I.P. Chick Chat. Bookmark us, come back often for our latest updates, and help spread the word. While you’re at it, connect with us on our social media outposts: Facebook/Beyond Boobs | Twitter/BeyondBoobs | Twitter/GoodHealthFairy | LinkedIn/Beyond Boobs