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Day Twenty Seven…#31daysoflove

27 Oct

For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several breast cancer survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

June Steelman – a woman I have known for many many years – way before breast cancer. She was diagnosed a year or two after I was and she was so strong through her chemo and surgeries. I remember talking to her and being really worried about her hair falling out and she just tossed any of those worries aside and said that didn’t bother her at all. Phew, was I in awe of THAT! She walked with us last year but this year decided to take a beach trip instead. I don’t blame her a bit for that. She is such a strong and positive woman and I am so proud of her.

Kathy Hayes – I met Kathy last year at a fundraiser and she had just had some type of breast cancer surgery…and there she was moving about like nobody’s business. When she got ready to leave she admitted she was tired and told me about the recent surgery and I thought “what? I would be home in bed!”….Kathy has taken time out of her busy life to encourage me in things that I do for other breast cancer survivors and encourages me to keep going and keep fighting for others. She is such a delightful woman – I wished we lived closer to each other so we could have dinner once in a while. She is a treasure.

Tricia Curtis – I met Tricia a few years ago at the young survivor group and she has always been so sweet to me. I didn’t know her during her breast cancer battle, but it’s nice to see that she has put breast cancer in her rearview mirror and she is busy with her family. She is positive and encouraging to many women that come through the young survivor group and we all know how I love women who help others along. I remember a funny moment with Tricia at lunch one day – she mentioned how odd it was that she knew all about me (because she reads my blog) and that I hardly knew her at all. She asked if that was weird for me. I laughed and said I hadn’t really ever thought of that. But it is kind of funky…I know enough about her to say that she is totally precious and one strong woman.

Me – having awesome survivor friends? YUP – I am the luckiest girl ever!

Day 27

Day Twenty Six…#31daysoflove

26 Oct

For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several breast cancer survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

Reba Whaley is on my heart today. She is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor that has been having terrific results from continued treatments and for this I am very thankful. Reba is a happy and strong woman who is very active in the breast cancer community. I was extremely fortunate to be able to call Reba one day and have her fill a last minute cancellation spot at Wind River. This was an awesome gift that I was able to pass along to her at just the right moment she needed it. Reba is awesome and she always makes me smile! The shirt I am wearing in today’s picture is Reba’s breast cancer awareness shirt – check out the back – isn’t it awesome?

Anne Marie Moore – I met Anne Marie a few years ago and she is another survivor who is very involved in the breast cancer arena in Charlotte. She has been very involved in the big PINK fire truck calendar and is also on the board at Carolina Breast Friends. She helps lots of woman and is always busy doing something pink.

Myra Howell – I just love this girl. We met through the Reach program when she was first diagnosed with tnbc…then they found out she didn’t have triple neg she actually had HER2 positive breast cancer, but we stayed in touch and have been friends. I don’t see her as often as I would like – but she is precious to me anyway. I would probably go and visit her more but she has a big huge mean dog that bites. His name is Mr. Sparkles and I think that’s why he is mean…who wouldn’t be pissed off with a name like that! Myra is a very happy and positive girlfriend and I love it when I get to see her.

Day 26 1026-2

More and more and more women I get to love! Thirty one days worth…but I think I have more women than days!


Philips Lighting & Laura Renegar?

25 Oct

I got an email several weeks ago from an employee at Philips Lighting asking me if I would be willing to do an interview on what it meant to me, as a survivor, for all of the cities going pink. She first contacted me last year when she found my blog to talk to me about turning different cities pink for breast cancer awareness and the Philips initiative. I was surprised to hear from her again this year but she said that since I was such an advocate for breast cancer she wanted to interview me for their article on Philips Lighting/Philips Color Kinetics website. Once again, I am so humbled by the experiences I have and what I am encouraged to share, all for breast cancer awareness.

Is your city pink for October? I hope cities turn pink for the entire month of October and it warms the hearts of breast cancer survivors everywhere. If it makes women remember to get a mammogram, and it makes a son, husband, or brother turn and ask the important women in their life if they are getting clinical breast exams, doing self exams, and getting annual mammograms, if it changes the outcome of one woman’s life in each city – then it’s worth it! This is NOT the pink rah-rah club my friends…I know some people are sick of pink – I know some people are sick of breast cancer – I know some people are tired of hearing about it…and I understand. And I get it. But if all of this pink continues to raise awareness – then it’s worth it – whether you are sick of it or not. Do you know I recently heard of a 16-year-old girl having a lump that her doctor told her Mom to “ignore it – it’s nothing” …for months. Now that girl is fighting breast cancer and had a mastectomy. 16 years old and dealing with a mastectomy? She hasn’t even had time to adjust to having breasts, never mind losing one of them. So, is there enough pink yet? I don’t think so. It’s not enough until women do not listen to anyone who tells them to ignore a lump – theirs or anyone else’s. Breast cancer can, and does, have devastating results – so please….get your tests done, remind the important people in your life to get their tests, be your own advocate, be their advocate, and if you are tired of the pink – so be it. But maybe, just maybe, the ribbon in the window of Dunkin Donuts might help the busy single Mom remember to pick up the phone and schedule her mammogram while she is waiting for her punkin spice latte. It could happen, and if it does, just once, and saves a life, then it is all worth it.

Check out my interview below with Phillips – and if you know or love a breast cancer fighter or survivor, and you see a pink ribbon, pink building, pink banner or bow, text her a picture of it and just let her know you are thinking about her and love her. It’s free, it just takes a moment, and the smile you bring to someone’s day is priceless.

Day Twenty Five….#31daysoflove

25 Oct

For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several breast cancer survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

Tamara Norman – I met Tamara a few years ago when she walked on our team and was still in treatment for breast cancer. She and I met each other at survivor events and we were always happy to see each other and she always had the biggest and brightest smile. But the breast cancer world in Charlotte is small and I got to know Tamara much better when she fell in love with Michelle. They were at Wind River on the same weekend retreat and after that Tamara and I began a stronger friendship. She is just precious and I promise you – she is always smiling. Michelle just adored her after she met her at Wind River and it was really neat to see their friendship get stronger over the past few months. Tamara is now finishing up training to be a Reach to Recovery volunteer…and she is going to bless the lives of many women!

Sara Jo Funkhouser – is now a married woman! I met Sara when I was first diagnosed because we are business associates, but when I was going through chemo I opened my door one day and there was Sara with a huge pot of homemade healthy soup and a big smile on her face. She visited and we have been friends ever since. Sara is a total health food nut and I am a junk food junkie and Sara is always waiting for me to convert…not sure that will happen, but where there’s hope….

Claire Thwaites – what a special girl Claire is! I met her through work – she is one of our bankers and one day I got an email from another mutual banker friend who said “I think Claire has the same type of breast cancer you had – can you call her” and I did. She came to a tnbc group meeting – but I have a feeling she has put breast cancer in her rear view mirror and she is moving on. I remember talking to her early on in her diagnosis and thinking of how precious she is and how thankful I was to be talking to such a strong and faithful woman. Claire is a positive and happy girl and is just great to be around. It was funny at her first tnbc meeting she knew women there that she didn’t know she knew…once again, Charlotte is a mid size city with a small town feel. It was amazing to see her talking to people she had “known” for years – right there in our meeting. So…I am ready for lunch again Claire – and soon!

Day 25

I keep telling everyone I am the luckiest girl in the world with all of these wonderful survivor friends – and maybe now people will believe me!


Day Twenty Four….#31daysoflove

24 Oct

24For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. Today is the best selfie I could pull off because Kevin is traveling. I will also be tagging several breast cancer survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

Cheryl Lecroy – she is ALWAYS smiling – and I mean always. I met Cheryl through Wind River Cancer Retreats and she knows everything about healthy eating – and I mean everything! The poor woman wants to have an intervention on my life and my eating habits, but I think she knows it’s just too late. She wants to make healthy shakes, I ask her for Twizzler shakes, she wants to juice all healthy foods, and I want her to make Twinkie juice…I have to admit though, she has opened my eyes to the fact that the juices she makes really do taste terrific and they are so healthy – now if she just lived with me….

Virginia Knight – I met Virginia two days after my bilateral mastectomy, in the hospital – when I was very sick. She is a Reach to Recovery volunteer and she came in to give me info about the American Cancer Society and she was a happy, healthy, smiling survivor. She gave me more than info about ACS – she gave me hope. When I began coordinating the Reach program I got to know Virginia and she is just a precious lady. She has been part of Reach for many years and I am very thankful for her!

Joy McGlohon – I met Joy years before either one of us was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then I was diagnosed and she prayed for me …not too long after I was diagnosed, Joy was diagnosed. Our circle of friends was shocked, of course, but we were in the hospital, on the same day, at the same time, having two different types of surgery…she was beginning her fight with breast cancer – and I was finishing mine. She is an extremely faithful woman and she seems to have put breast cancer behind her and is moving forward and loving life. I admire her!


How many more survivors can I post about each day? Wait and see…

Celebration of Life…

23 Oct

It is still beyond my mental grasp to imagine my life without Michelle in it. I keep wondering how she is or wondering why I haven’t heard from her, and then I remember. Her Celebration of Life Service yesterday was awesome. The church was packed and there were many people from all walks and timeframes of Michelle’s life there. I met her friends from other towns, from elementary school, from college; from her whole life before cancer. It’s funny when you meet someone who has or has had cancer and you just get to know them from that point forward. Then you see pictures of them pre-cancer, sometimes they are thinner, sometimes heavier, different hair, different body shape, sometimes they look like different people than the one “you know”.

I sat and watched the video that the girls made of Michelle for the service and I watched her life unfold in front of me….pre-Laura & Michelle. It’s was amazing because a big part of our friendship focused on cancer – either hers or someone else’s…I guess because she never stepped out of the breast cancer arena. She was fighting breast cancer from the moment I met her in September 2012 until the day I said my goodbye…the day before stepped into heaven.

Her ceremony was awesome. It truly speaks volumes about someone, the people who come, the words that are said, the scriptures that were chosen, and the tears that were shed. My friend Ev told me tonight that being at her service yesterday made her realize that she missed out on not knowing Michelle better. She knew her – but not a lot, and now it’s too late. We are all so busy working and running 100 mph – are we spending time with friends? Real time, getting to know them and finding out who they are and what they believe? I am trying to do this more and more all of the time – and I love that part of my life, but are you trying to do that also? Or are you busy working – always working?

I am sad that I cannot see Michelle anymore – I am sad because I cannot call her and joke with her and goof off…but I am so very thankful and so grateful for the time we had together. She always made fun of what I was doing in the breast cancer community and poked fun at me for whatever notoriety I was getting – but it was all in fun. That girl cried at every speech she heard me give, she always encouraged me to keep going, and she always told me she was proud of me – no matter how hard she was laughing. Me n Michelle

We had many many good times together as well as some hard times – but that’s what made us “US”..the good, the bad, the happy, the sad…I wanted all of that with Michelle. When her breast cancer spread and I knew, deep in my heart, we had a problem, but it didn’t make me want to put space between us. I was in it for the long haul with her because that’s who we were. One weekend she and I took a break from each other and the cancer news. It was when her cancer went into her brain and I was leaving that evening to help my daughter decorate her nursery. Michelle told me to go to Anderson, to not think about the scans we saw earlier that day, to not call or text her for the whole weekend…to just go be with my daughter in peace. That’s what Michelle wanted and that’s what I did. I will never forget that cancer free weekend – it was a gift. That’s the type of girl Michelle was…and I really really miss her. I wish she could meet my new granddaughter. I wanted more time. But I am truly grateful for the lessons she taught me and the strength she had while fighting this battle. She never gave up – not for a moment – and that was her gift to all of us.

Day Twenty Three….#31daysoflove

22 Oct

For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several breast cancer survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

Heidi Ohl – she is a new friend and one I have not been able to spend very much time with – but what I know of her, is just precious. She is part of our tnbc group and is in the middle of treatment and having migraine headaches. Terrible migraines. She is such a great girl and I look forward to getting to know her even better once these migraines get under control.

Phyllis Rea – she worked at a company that did work with my husband’s company and we were going through treatment around the same time. We texted and emailed often tracking each other’s progress and then we were so lucky to make the time to have dinner. We got along so great and had such a wonderful time together…and then life interrupted and I haven’t seen her since. Phyllis doesn’t attend breast cancer events (not the ones I am at anyway) and she seems to have moved forward and put breast cancer in her rear view mirror – and for that I say “good for you girl!”…there are some days I wish I had done that, but way more many days that I know I am exactly where I need to be.

Ginny Higgins – I met Ginny through a mutual friend and we emailed and talked on the phone – but have never met because Ginny lives in NY. Ginny is a very precious breast cancer survivor that was going through breast cancer right after I went through it and she has been strong and positive and sweet and thoughtful. We don’t speak or email much anymore because I think she has also put breast cancer in her rear view mirror and moved on with her life – and I love this! I miss talking to her though (hint hint Ginny)….

Day 23

See, I have the coolest survivor friends all over the place!


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