Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Inspiration

I have been incredibly lucky in my life-I have a fantastic family, D is probably the best bf ever (in my opinion, anyways!), Gracie as my ever present helper, and my team won the Super Bowel last year.

There is an old cliche that says when you marry someone, you marry their entire family. The same is true for dating, D’s family has become a part of my family. So when we learned that his aunt, JoAnn, had breast cancer in the spring of 2011, it scared me.

JoAnn is part of the branch of the family that lives in Maine, dubbed the “Maine Cousins” by D (He’s very creative like that!). She has four great kids, a smile that lights up a room and an infectious laugh! While I do not know the full, inside story and I do not wish to post all of her personals here, I would like to share her journey from my point of view.

In the spring of 2011, JoAnn was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her youngest daughter, B, was planning a wedding for the following spring and JoAnn insisted the plans continue as the doctors stated she would be well by Christmas. Her older sister had fought and defeated the same disease in the 1990s, so everyone had hope. It was a long, hard road ahead of her that she may not have completed on her own.

JoAnn and all her kids visited us in Brooklyn last February. (I say ‘kids’ but some of the cousins are older than me! Think somewhere between 22-32.) She was sporting a pixie cut-due to chemo treatments-that looked adorable on her. At dinner, we got to talking about the last year, and she told me how instrumental her children were, each with a role they played. One was the goofy kid, who’d always make her smile. One always had the hopeful outlook. One was the ‘shoulder,’ who’d always listen to her problems. And of course, one was the task sergeant who made JoAnn go to her treatments when she REALLY did not want to. Beyond that was the mother’s motivation-she wanted to watch her kids continue to grow and have kids of their own-and B’s wedding was right around the corner!

JoAnn’s doctors were right-she was in remission by Christmas! She got to dance at B’s wedding, with all of her kids. She told me through tears how she takes these little moments, when everyone is together and happy, and stores them in her heart. When times get tough or she does not feel good, she pulls them out and they make her happy. (She’s going to have many more happy moments in 2013-B is expecting a baby, the first grandbaby for JoAnn and her husband!)

Unfortunately, right before B’s wedding, we learned that JoAnn’s younger sister now must face breast cancer herself. We are all praying for this lovely woman, and sending her all the love and support we can-hopefully, she will have the same courage, tenacity and luck her elder sisters had.

JoAnn’s struggle and bright spirit were the inspiration for my first two Breast Cancer

Awareness pins, and continue to be the inspiration for the entire line and launch. What I really learned from her was how important supporters are in a struggle for life and death. Sometimes, when someone we love is in such a scary situation, we tend to pull away from them for whatever reason: we don’t want to see a parent helpless and sick, we don’t want to get hurt too badly if they die, we just don’t know what to say, what have you. Yes, JoAnn could have given up because it was hard, but her family would not let her. Yes, she could have succumbed, but look at what (and who) she would have missed!

As a sort of tribute to JoAnn’s kids, the Maine Cousins, today’s pins are ‘little helper’ pins, who are there to give just another small push of support! They are full of love and hope, and will be there every step of the way!
Who is your inspiration to keep fighting? Or who will you not let give up?

Please remember that I am more than willing to create special orders, so your fighter can have the perfect little helper with them always! You can email me at Marelladesigns@gmail.com

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