Face of Hope, September 2013 – Jody (Ottumwa, IA)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

I was connected through Hope for Two, Lara was my mentor. I was diagnosed when I was 34 Weeks Pregnant with my second son. Which was similar to Lara’s situation as well.

2. How did receiving the scarf and story impact your healing journey?

The story made me feel more confident with starting a new chapter in my life. The scarf was part of a way to make me feel more comfortable with my new image.

3. What are the things that provided hope and strength to you throughout your battle?

Having my two sons (Grant and Micah), my husband (Russ), Lots of family and Lots of friends here to remind me that I have a lot to keep on going with my daily life. Reading stories of other mom’s that have experienced getting diagnosed with breast cancer while being pregnant. Then delivery a healthy baby and caring for him while getting chemo treatment and soon double mastectomy. Knowing that it is possible to balance being a mom of two and wife during all of this.

4. Where are you currently in your life after cancer?  Tell us about your hobbies, interests, family and what is going on these days.

I currently have one more chemo treatment (which is August 28, 2013) and then at the end of September I will be getting a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. I am a stay at home mom so I spend lots of time with my two sons. We have a lot of family time at home, since I have to be careful with all the germs right now. Occasionally we go boating or to a friends house to have a play date with the other stay at home moms. We like to have family/friends over to cook great meals and entertain. We have family and friends stop over with lots of support.

5. What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?

That by receiving a scarf means so much. It gives you more confidence about your image and lets you know that you are not alone in this journey.

6. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?

Make sure and take the time to send one to that special person. It is so uplifting to know that someone is taking the time to do something for you. So please send one!

7. What is something that you would like to do that you haven’t done yet? (ie. Bucket List)

Go on many more vacations with my family.  Would love to go on an Alaskan cruise with my husband.

8. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?

Remember to:
Kiss your babies often
Tell the ones you love that you love them
Be thankful for the support from family and friends
Know the life is too short for nonsense
Be honest
And pray often…

9. If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?

Courageous and Focused

10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer.

Take it day by day. Be positive and always remember to be thankful for all the support you received. For me that was a big relief knowing that so many people care even if they were not actually here to help out physically, but thinking of me and my family.

Face of Hope, August 2013 – Teresa (New Albany, IN)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

I had seen the brochure initially at Jewish Northeast, where I was taking chemotherapy and then had a very coincidental meeting with Lara. She was working with friends (on Hope Scarves) at Starbucks and her friends knew my friend. Lara recognized the bald head and pale skin of a chemo patient (me!) and initiated a conversation. We chatted and she took my contact information. The scarf arrived two days later.

2. How did receiving the scarf and story impact your healing journey?

It’s amazing how many people have dealt with cancer and chemo but when it’s YOU, it feels like a very lonely disease and you’re so lost and disoriented. Everyone comes to it in their own time but eventually, you want to connect with kindred souls and know that there’s an end to the confusion and fear. When you receive that scarf and read the story of the woman who donated it, you know that she sent it because she didn’t need it anymore. You aren’t always going to be where you are.

3. What are the things that provided hope and strength to you throughout your battle?

I connected with survivors on Breast Cancer websites and tried to provide encouragement to others that were starting a bit behind me. For example, if someone was afraid of the side effects of chemotherapy, I would share my experience and that it wasn’t so bad other than the fatigue. We have a history of cancer in our family (not breast but other types) and I doubt if I’m the last one to ever have to deal with it although I certainly hope so! I tried to look at my handling of this health crisis through the eyes of my other family members. I took a deep breath and prayed, not for healing, but for a certain grace and dignity as I journey through it. I want to be a good example.

4. Where are you currently in your life after cancer? Tell us about your hobbies, interests, family and what is going on these days.

I returned to work in April after finishing chemo and am only now getting back to my pre-cancer life. The fatigue is gone— just in time to have my permanent implant surgery this week. But I’m planning on a quick recovery and then I’m on the hunt for a house to buy. I’ve lived in Louisville for 5 years—I guess its time to recognize that I’m staying here. And I’m glad about that; it’s a strange thing to say but I’ve made many good friends that connected with me through my having cancer.

5. What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?

I wish they knew that it has very little to do with just getting a scarf. Anyone can buy themselves a scarf. It’s about connecting with that kindred spirit who just wants to extend some comfort and hope at the time that you most need and appreciate it.

6. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?

You should make plans to do it and I would suggest that you do it as soon as you know that chemotherapy is part of their treatment. Losing hair happens VERY quickly and having THAT scarf on hand and reading the story as you are mourning the loss of your hair is truly comforting. She’s been there and moved on and so will I.

7. What is something that you would like to do that you haven’t done yet? (ie. Bucket List)

I’ve never been to Europe and I’m going! My dream trip is Italy. I plan to get there within the next five years.

8. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?

This is just a pit stop. I don’t live here and don’t ever have to visit again.

9. If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?

Oh wow! That’s a good question……

10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer.

To let someone help you in whatever way they can is a gift—both for you and for them. So many of my friends and family would have done anything for me within their power and to say “No, I’m okay without you” is never true. I had no idea of the level of caring and concern, not just from people I already knew but from people that just knew about me! Casual connections at work became real connections when they heard what was going on with me and I’ll carry these friendships and relationships through with me for the rest of my life.

Face of Hope, July 2013 – Maria (Crestview Hills, KY)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

I became connected with Hope scarves, when I met Lara MacGregor at a Breast Cancer Survivor luncheon.

2. How did receiving the scarf and story impact your healing journey?

Lara was telling me all about the support you feel when wearing a hope scarf! I couldn’t wait to receive mine in the mail. When I opened the envelope I was so excited to find and read the other women’s journey stories. I also received a little note from a little boy, telling me I can beat cancer!!! I love my scarves, I love to wear them to treatment and feel all the love from women who been down my road before!!!

3. What are the things that provided hope and strength to you throughout your battle?

First and foremost, God, knowing he’s standing at the finish line waiting for me, and cheering me on through every step!!! I have an amazing support group of survivors around me….I have been very brave through out my chemo process and this whole journey. I have remained completely positive, and decided not to let breast cancer get me down, instead I like to make other cancer patients, family and friends understand you don’t have to be afraid of cancer!

4. Where are you currently in your cancer journey?

I have 1 chemo treatment left, then I’m scheduled for a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction on July 17th. I will have surgery again in 12-16 weeks to complete the reconstruction process!! I love to drag race my Camaro, and shoot my gun!!! My family is amazing through my journey, I have an incredible husband and daughter who is 9… I am trying to live my life as normal as I can, but nervous about all the germs!!!

5. What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?

I wish everyone who is battling hair loss due to chemo, could feel the love you feel when you wear a scarf worn by another woman, especially after you read their story, of their journey! The women who founded Hope scarves are truly amazing. I feel so blessed to have met them!!!

6. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?

I would definitely tell them to send one, receiving such a cute package in the mail, will cheer her up for sure!!! The scarf will give them hope and make her feel so special….

7. What is something that you would like to do that you haven’t done yet?

I would love to jump out of an airplane, I would also love to spend about ten days In Bora Bora with my husband!!!!

8. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?

God is always there for me!!!!!

9. If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?

Strong and outgoing!!!!

10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer.

I have learned that small things don’ t matter, your friends don’t mind if your house is a mess when they visit… Let other people do things for you. If you just trust God you will be very strong and at peace through the whole journey!!!

Face of Hope, June 2013 – Jana (Floyds Knobs, IN)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

I met Hope Scarves founder, Lara MacGregor, through the Norton’s Young Survivors Support group.

2. What are the things that provided hope and strength to you throughout your battle?

On countless occasions, I have been overwhelmed in a positive way by the thoughtful generosity and love of my friends and family. I have been lucky to receive countless care packages, phone calls, and cards. I never realized how much cards and a thoughtful message can mean to someone until I had this experience. I also live in the supportive Louisville, Kentucky community so I have access to support groups, educational seminars, and fun activities for those living with cancer. This experience has also made me realize that some people do not have the support network that I enjoy. It has been such a tough road that I want to help and support others who need it. I try to do things for others that have helped me along the way.

3. Where are you currently in your cancer journey? Tell us about your hobbies, interests, family and what is going on these days.

I have been in treatment for over 2 years and unfortunately, I continue to be in active treatment. I continue my work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I love to travel and when I have finished a major treatment segment, I reward myself with a cruise. My most recent trips were to Bermuda and Hawaii. I like to do yoga and paint. I am also working with a group of survivors to form a local Dragon Boat Racing team called Derby City Dragons. This has been a wonderful experience combing exercising and connecting to other survivors.

4. What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?

Hope Scarves provides a unique way to give back and connect with others through the story of the scarf.

5. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?

Hope Scarves is a way to show someone you are thinking about them and that you care. It’s a way to try and provide hope and strength at a time when it is most needed.

6. What is something that you would like to do that you haven’t done yet? (ie. Bucket List)

I would like to go to Australia and snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef. I would also like to travel to Anchorage, Alaska and Denali National Park.

7. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?

2 come to mind:
“Carpe Diem”…Seize the Day
And…
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

8. If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?

Amazing , Genuine

9. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer.

I have been through SO much…I never realized the depth of my strength. This experience has also made me a more compassionate person because I better understand other’s challenges and hurts. Now, I never pass up an opportunity to have fun. I try to make the most of everyday and appreciate the beauty in each moment.

Face of Hope, May 2013 – Amy (Goshen, KY)

How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

I met Lara at a Young Survivors support group in Louisville. She told me about her organization and sent me a scarf a week later. My scarf was worn by Lara and two other women during their treatment. I instantly felt a connection with Lara and Hope Scarves and tell people about it every chance I get. I can’t say enough about this amazing organization.

How did receiving the scarf and story impact your healing journey?

I was honored to receive one of Lara’s scarves and I loved reading the stories from all three women who wore it before me. It provided an extra “boost” of support that my other scarves did not. Their stories helped remind me that I can beat this.

What are the things that provided hope and strength to you throughout your battle?

My two young boys, my husband and my family and friends. They have believed in my strength and grace from the beginning and that belief keeps me going, even in my toughest moments. I need to beat this for them. Also my strong connections with the Survivors I’ve met along this journey. Hearing everyone’s unique yet similar stories helps
remind me that I am going to be ok. Finally, my faith in God to heal me and help me find the strength and courage I need to keep moving forward step by step.

Where are you currently in your life after cancer? Tell us about your hobbies, interests, family
and what is going on these days.

I am still on my journey. I start radiation and a new chemo drug next week. By the end of this year I hope to be finished with chemo and have my final surgery. I’m looking forward to getting to the next chapter…and having a big celebration!

What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?

I love to spread the word about Lara’s mission and how much of an impact the scarves make for the women who receive them. Losing our hair is one of the most difficult steps of the cancer journey for women, but having a pretty scarf to wear helps with the transition. I had a wig but rarely wore it. I discovered I was much more comfortable
wearing a scarf.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?

Please do! It will make ALL the difference to that person, and will continue to help women for years to come.

What is something that you would like to do that you haven’t done yet? (ie. Bucket List)

I’ve been big on the “bucket list” lately! My top two right now are an African Safari and a tour of Italy. I just did one of them – attend a NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four game!

What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?

Right now my favorite saying is “Strength is the only option”. I also love Joshua 1:9, “Be Strong and Courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. My husband had that painted on my bedroom wall so I read it constantly during chemo.

If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?

Compassionate, Determined

Please share something you learned having gone through cancer.

The importance of truly living life to the fullest and finding joy. Try to enjoy each day
and don’t sweat the small things.