When I started making bows, I knew I wanted it to be more than just a trendy accessory. I wanted to make a difference- to give back. So I started to explore what that would mean for me. I won't lie, this has been a painstaking process. One that I never knew would take this much responsibility, thought and time. October 1st, I immediately jumped on the idea of having a Breast Cancer Awareness bow. After all, the month of October is full of events and fundraisers dedicated to this cause. As a woman, and a mother, I thought this would be something I can relate to. And then it sunk in... I experienced this insane procrastination that ultimately was fed by guilt. It stirred these questions in me:
"Who was I to represent this affliction? I don't have a history in my family of breast cancer. I don't have a best friend who was affected. Why do I want to raise money for something that I've never actually felt?"
And then the materials came to make the bows. Again, I put it off, thinking I'd get to it tomorrow. Tomorrow became the next day, and then the next. I thought maybe if I got some perspective... if I could see it from someone who has experienced it first-hand, maybe then I would feel like this was something I could help conquer. After talking with a friend, she suggested another friend of hers that is passionate for raising awareness. And so, I set out to talk to a complete stranger about her story.
Her story. Her most vulnerable, excruciating, trying story. After she sent her response to me, I immediately deflected. This is her story, not mine. And the questioning began again. Five days, until l could finally grasp the means to respond. I had no idea that this vast empathy would consume me. That a stranger, over social media, could impact the way I viewed so many things. The fear, the courage, the tears. I could never relate to what she felt, but rather I could understand that she did feel. And with her permission, this is Tiffany's story.
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer on September 15, 2016. I was 26 years old, ten weeks into my first pregnancy. My baby and I went through surgery together and chemo followed. He was born February 28th, 4 weeks premature and delivered by c-section. I was given a short break from chemo to heal from the c-section and then continued for the next 4 months. Another 2 surgeries, and countless injections later, I am able to say that there is no evidence of disease in my body. Notice I didn’t say cured. Notice I didn’t say cancer free. These aren’t words we hear in the breast cancer community. The truth is, the disease is ugly. It’s not all pink and hope. It’s fear of not seeing our babies graduate. Or go to kindergarten. Breast cancer took my breast of course but it also took my naivety. It took my pregnancy and my postpartum bonding time. It took my money. And for a while, it took my mind. I think I’m coming to the other side of the darkness. I’m beginning to see the light thanks to the Lord who sustains us through it all. But the threat will always be there. Moms every day are taken from their babies because their disease progressed to stage 4 (metastatic) which is deadly. Knowing that I had a disease that can potentially kill is not an easy thing to live with. But God, in his mercy, gives me the ability to put one foot in front of the other, to see every day as a new opportunity to serve, and love, and give, and make memories. Cancer can’t take that from me!"
After a long time researching and thinking it through, I'd like to raise awareness and funding to support METAvivor. 100% of our Pink Ribbon sales will go directly to METAvivor as they continue to fund research to stop breast cancer from taking lives. Thank you for any contribution you are able to make. And a special thank you to Tiffany for being so vulnerable and willing to share such an intense part of your life.
Click here to see our Pink Ribbon bows and support this cause.