Yes…that’s right. You read my title correctly. My friend Terri and I are providing 200 mammograms for women in Jamaica. Women, who would, under normal circumstances, probably not get a mammogram, possibly ever. So stay with me and keep reading…..
How is that for a catchy opener? I blogged once about this – but this blog is going to be the catch up blog. You all can read these posts while we begin our adventure and blog our way through it.
My survivor friend Terri asked me many months ago if I could do anything Big Big Big in the breast cancer arena – what it would be. My immediate thought was to help women in Jamaica…but how? Terri and I talked about it over lunch and came up with a goal…and she wrote her story. I remember sitting at lunch that day and thinking how big that goal was and how far-fetched the dream was. I also remember my second thought “are you crazy, how can you make that happen? Who do you think you are?” What I was forgetting is that it isn’t about who I think I am – it’s about who I know my God is.
Terri’s company RSM was giving away bucket list dreams to 9 of their employees to “Pursue Your Passion.” Over 300 submissions were received and I never thought we would win – but we did! Terri’s amazing story landed us front and center to be one of the 9 winning “Pursue Your Passion” recipients and the whirlwind began. RSM is giving us $10,000 and our plans are unfolding beautifully. We have partnered with the Jamaican Cancer Society and a radiologist in Ocho Rios to provide 200 mammograms to women who would quite possibly never be able to have one. We are budgeting money to set aside for some of our 200 women to receive ultrasounds and we have partnered with the CMO at St Ann’s Hospital to move any of our 200 women that need biopsies on the fast track to getting one. And if that isn’t cool enough – we are also trying to coordinate a thank you lunch to the Survivor Club in Ocho Rios for survivor women who support breast cancer patients just like we do here in Charlotte with the Reach to Recovery Team for the American Cancer Society.
I am so very very thankful for this opportunity to help women who are not as fortunate as we are here in the states. Anyone who knows me knows that my heart lives in Jamaica half the time and I cannot wait to go back each year on vacation. I have fallen in love with that country and the humble and thankful people who I have met there.
What can you do to help us? I am glad you asked! We need prayers….right now our prayers are for our 200 women. I am praying every single day for these 200 women, for the radiologist who is partnering with us, and for the Jamaican Cancer Society staff that are working diligently with us. We all know that out of these 200 women, some of them will need ultra sounds, some will need biopsies, and some will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s the reality we are facing and this trip will be amazing, and the people we meet will be amazing, it will be humbling, it will be heart-filling, it will be sad, it will be hard, it will be gut wrenching. Just like the breast cancer community can be here in Charlotte – it will be the same, but a little harder in Jamaica. I am asking for your prayers for our 200 women, I am asking that any and all cancer found is found in early stages for these women and that the follow-up care happens quickly and effectively.
I will be blogging our way through Jamaica and I will be posting pictures on instagram under the PrimaxPinkWarriors and on twitter @laurarenegarPPW. We have some surprises in store for our followers – so please stay tuned.
We leave for Jamaica on June 18 – early Saturday morning and return back to Charlotte on Sunday June 26. We are hoping and praying for a photographer in Jamaica that would donate a few hours on several different days to document what we are doing. An intern possibly, a photography student, some wedding photographers willing to donate a few hours here and there to help us with this need. If anyone has any contacts or info on this, please contact me.
I am so excited that this trip is becoming a reality and I cannot be more thankful to Terri for her submission and her giving heart, RSM for their Pursue Your Passion 90th celebration gift, and for the initial heart plant that was put into me last year when Kevin and I were in Jamaica. I had a medical issue with my breast reconstruction and it made me ask questions to the women there, it opened my eyes to what we have here in the States that Jamaica doesn’t have, it made my heart yearn to do something to help. I wish this could be an every year event somehow. I wish I could help people in Jamaica on a regular basis – not a one-time thing. But 200 women is A LOT of women and I am so very very thankful that God has used my breast cancer diagnosis in a way we could have never imagined….Terri’s too! I consider myself one of the luckiest girls in town….as I have said a million times. Who gets to have someone (like Terri) help fulfill a dream and a purpose like this? Who gets to have a breast cancer diagnosis and turn it into helping this many women at one time? Terri and I do – that’s who! The amazing part for me is that I feel, once again, this is just the beginning of my story. I always tell people “this” is the biggest I can do or “this” is the most important thing from my breast cancer diagnosis. My breast cancer story has GOT to be coming to an end and I can go back and live like a regular person, working, spending time with my family, and not talking about cancer….each year I say this – and each year God steps in and says “you aren’t done yet”….
With that being said, please pray for our 200 women, for our own safety and success with this mission, for help with the photography side to help document this trip, and for our partners in Jamaica. We are so thankful to be able to do this trip. Stay tuned friends!