Face of Hope, April 2015 – Becky (Tierra Verde, FL)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

My sister, Chris, brought me the information when she came to stay with me for my first chemo treatment. Chris has endometrial cancer…need I say more.

2. If you received a scarf and story please share how this impacted your healing journey. If you shared a scarf with a loved one please share this experience and what it meant to you.

I received a scarf and was so touched by her story. I wore it all the time! After my hair started to grow back I wanted to show it off and sent back the scarf along with one of my own. I truly hope that the woman that receives it gets the same warmth that I got from my donor.

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

Without question it was the support from my family and friends. It was overwhelming and will stay with me forever.

4. Where are you currently on your cancer journey? Tell us how you are living life over cancer.

I have Herceptin every three weeks until October. I take Arimidex for five years. My lastest reconstructive surgery was one month ago. I will most likely have one more in the near future. I try not to think about the “what ifs” or “did I do the right thing”. I can’t wait to get back to work!!.

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

I wish people knew how such a simple thing like getting a scarf in the mail can make you feel. I received the scarf after my second treatment and was so sick. It truly brought me hope.

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

Do it!!!!

7. What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?

I want to volunteer to help people going through chemo. To talk to them, listen to them, hold their hand; tell them that I really do understand how they feel and that the terrible side effects will go away.

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

PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. (unknown)

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

Tough, loving

10. Please share something you have learned facing cancer.

I lost my husband to cancer five years ago, my sister is now in her third battle. What I learned is that I never really knew how they felt. No one can truly understand how someone feels. Because of this, I have learned to listen.

Face of Hope, March 2015 – Mary Eleanor (Louisville, KY)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

I actually first heard of Hope Scarves at the onset, when Lara MacGregor gave a talk regarding her newly founded organization at the kick-off dinner for the Race for the Cure, several years ago at the Jeffersonville waterfront. At that time I donated a scarf. Recently, I was able to actually meet Lara at The Village Anchor, and that meeting brought me full circle to her mission of bringing Hope to those facing cancer.

2. If you received a scarf and story please share how this impacted your healing journey. If you shared a scarf with a loved one please share this experience and what it meant to you.

After meeting Lara, and sharing our stories briefly, it meant the world to me that she herself sent ME a scarf! A gift of Hope! That week, I learned of a friend from kindergarten through high school, that was just diagnosed. Of course, I wanted to pass on that Hope, & so I sent her a scarf. They give a feeling of joy,and comfort upon receiving them! They convey “I am here for you, I am thinking of you!”.

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

I really believe I have a lot of inner strength. I was diagnosed 10 years ago with stage IV breast cancer, and there was NO WAY that I was going to give up! My family, and goals for the future, provided the WANT to keep going each and every day.

4. Where are you currently on your cancer journey? Tell us how you are living life over cancer.

I am currently ten and a half years from initial diagnosis. My journey has most recently become more difficult, as my doctor tries to find a treatment that will stop the progression of disease. I have gone through 4 treatments that have not worked, and currently am receiving a fifth, a new chemotherapy, with hope that this one is working.

I am thankful for each & every day, and try my best to enjoy what that day brings, whether it be time with my daughters or granddaughters, lunch with a friend or my mother, or peaceful time at home with my husband. Living MUST outshine the cancer diagnosis!

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

Hope Scarves is a mission of bringing Hope to ALL types of cancer patients. As the mission has grown, I believe anyone experiencing cancer, has most certainly heard of Hope Scarves. Amazingly, Hope Scarves has reached patients young & old, from the United States & beyond! Continue to pass the HOPE!

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

If you have a friend or family member diagnosed with cancer, by all means, send a gift of HOPE…a Hope Scarf!

7. What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?

I have been very fortunate to realize some of my initial goals….seeing a second daughter get married, having grandchildren. I don’t have a “bucket list”! I just keep planning events “down the road” with my family, and plan on being here to enjoy them all. After all, I am not in control, so I just continue living!

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

I would have to say my pink blanket I received at diagnosis, says it all: “Joyful in Hope, Patient in Affliction, Faithful in Prayer” (Romans 12:12)

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

If my friends or family had to describe me in two words, gosh (laugh), I’m not sure……
My daughters may say “best Mom”. We are very close! My friends may say I’m the ringleader YOURURL.com. Seems I’m the one that organizes activities etc. My Mom, who is 91, says I’m the glue that holds the family together!

10. Please share something you learned facing cancer.

I am still going through cancer, and always will be. As a good friend says, it’s like a bad part time job. Cancer takes a lot of time, but one has to strive to NOT let it become life’s focal point. There is too much joy in each day, to let cancer take over.

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Face of Hope, February 2015 – Suzanne (Louisville, KY)

1 cymbalta generic. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

My friend Mo, who’s friend Erica works at Hope Scarves, sent one to me just prior to my staring chemo.

2a. If you received a scarf and story please share how this impacted your healing journey.

I recently returned the Hope Scarf Mo sent me, sending it full circle. This was my power scarf. I wore it any time I needed to draw on the collective strength and courage of the women who wore it before me. I wore it in a TV news interview, to a meeting with my Congressman, and to chemo. I loved being able to send its history on to the next recipient. It feels like I’m part of something larger than myself.

2b. If you shared a scarf with a loved one please share this experience and what it meant to you.

One of my best friends from high school was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months after me. We were like sisters back then and now we are sisters in this. Sending her a Hope Scarf symbolically marked the re-establishment of our close bond.

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

When diagnosed in January of 2014 I was in the middle of a grassroots campaign here in Kentucky to help people with epilepsy and other conditions access a form of therapeutic hemp oil. It was a challenging campaign since the public and state legislature didn’t know much about the issue at the time. I didn’t know if I could continue that with the challenges of chemotherapy, continuing to work at my job and caring for my son with severe autism and epilepsy. But then I saw Lara McGregor of Hope Scarves and Jill Connely of Jill’s Wish, two young Louisville women with breast cancer living their missions and I realized I could, too. Our law was passed in March. I am grateful to them for living so openly. They made me feel more confident and less alone. As a result, I have chosen to be open about my cancer experience as well.

4. Where are you currently on your cancer journey? Tell us how you are living life over cancer.

I finished major chemo in June 2014 and have Herceptin through March 2015. Once our law passed in Kentucky it was clear that more work needed to be done at the national level. I joined forces with parents of epileptic children in other states to advocate nationally for this treatment. My chemo chair has been my command center where I’ve helped run those efforts. I can have everything I need right there: laptop, phone….and OMG free time to get it all done!

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

I want them to know Hope Scarves exists, that sending a scarf to a woman with a chemo-treatable cancer is a tangible way of lending support that she’ll always remember.

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

Do it. It will mean so much to her. We tend to be so afraid prior to beginning chemo because we don’t know what to expect. Hearing from someone on the other side of that journey is such a comfort.

7. What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?

We just put some communication apps on our son’s Ipad. He is twelve but his verbal ability is that of a two and a half year old, though his reading ability is beyond that. I will help him learn to communicate his more complex thoughts in writing, to the best of his ability.

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

“When you feel you cannot go on you must, not for what you will get but for who you will become.” – Bob Proctor. This quote has been on my refrigerator since I was diagnosed.

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

Passionate and caring, I’m told.

10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer – either as a survivor or as having a loved one with cancer.

I have never been comfortable asking for help. During cancer treatment I had to depend on others. I am very moved by those who stepped up to help. My husband who took care of everything. My brother-in-law, Stephen, who helped our son maintain a normal schedule when my husband had to work or take me to treatment. My mother, who lives far away, made a special trip to see me and cleaned my entire house. My family and friends, near and far, who gave me encouragement when I needed it. Since I work with children I had to miss six weeks of work so that they would not get me sick. A breast cancer charity helped me compensate for my lost income. I have learned to ask for and accept help.

Face of Hope, January 2015 – Jessica (New York, NY)

1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?

I have a community page on Facebook called “Team Jessica Wilt” and saw a Hope Scarves “Faces of Hope” Facebook post featuring a young dancer named Maggie that caught my attention. I’m a dancer too, fighting bone cancer, and was really inspired by Maggie’s story.

2. If you received a scarf and story please share how this impacted your healing journey.

After learning about Hope Scarves, I requested a scarf of my own. A few weeks later, I received this beautifully wrapped package. Inside was a lovely patterned scarf with colors of blue and purple – my favorite! The included note said a dancer in California had survived breast cancer wearing this scarf during her treatment. It warmed my heart to receive a scarf worn by a fellow dancer and cancer survivor!

I feel beautiful when I wear my Hope Scarf and receive so many compliments. I’m not only honoring the dancer who wore it before me, but it’s a daily reminder she won her fight with cancer and I am winning mine. I look forward to that moment when I’m able to pass this scarf onto another who needs it more than me.

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

When I first heard the “C” word I decided I had two choices: I could be angry and depressed feeling sorry for myself, or I could fight cancer’s butt with positive energy and a giant smile. Outside of my own personal strength and determination, I have been blessed to have an amazing community of support that surrounds me every day with relentless love, kindness and prayers.

I am also fortunate to have an awesome medical team at The Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital who are not only saving my life, but are treating me with great care and compassion every step of the way.

4. Where are you currently on your cancer journey? Tell us how you are living life over cancer.

I was living in New York City and had been misdiagnosed for over a month with acute sciatica. After reaching a point where I was in severe pain and could no longer walk, my parents in Ohio flew me home in July where a tumor on my right femur was quickly discovered. I was formally diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, and immediately began aggressive chemotherapy. I have a few more chemo treatments left (out of a total of fourteen), then will begin six weeks of radiation in February 2015.

Right now, cancer is my life. But I remind myself I’m getting stronger every day. This experience is just a bump in the road that will soon pass. I can’t give up the fight even on days when I feel miserable, or cancer will win. My family and friends keep my spirits lifted and I try to stay focused on visualizing that moment when I’m back in NYC cancer-free. I’m so lucky there’s light at the end of my cancer story – I have so much more life I want to live!

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

There are many brave souls out there today fighting cancer, each with a powerful story to tell. For me, wearing my Hope Scarf is a symbol of strength and beauty. I wish every cancer survivor had the same opportunity I’ve been enjoying and will continue to spread the word about Hope Scarves to others.

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

The physical, emotional and spiritual rollercoaster ride that ensues after a cancer diagnosis can be a scary, confusing place. Wearing my Hope Scarf feels like a security blanket of love and warmth. Why not provide someone going through a really challenging cancer experience with a Hope Scarf that makes them feel safe and beautiful too?

7. What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?

My cancer experience has awakened me to a world of possibilities. Before cancer, I had been thinking about writing a memoir of short stories. Cancer has given me the courage to finally “just do it” among other things I’ve been putting off out of fear. Also, early on with my diagnosis I was told I would never dance again. Now that I’m getting better and my prognosis has improved, I’m looking forward to that moment when I can put my tap shoes back on and dance with my friends.

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

“Being true to who we are means carrying our spirit like a candle in the center of our darkness.” – Mark Nepo.

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

I’m not one who feels comfortable speaking for others, but I hear “relentless” and “strong” a lot.

10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer – either as a survivor or as having a loved one with cancer.

My cancer diagnosis has provided many awakenings about life and perspective. I realize now, nothing matters more than living in the moment. Do the things you love. Don’t waste time and say no to the things you don’t love. Surround yourself with people who love you and give that love back in return. You never know who you might be inspiring. Oh, and smile a lot ☺.

(Profile picture credit goes to photographer Umar Abbasi)

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Face of Hope, December 2014 – Hope Scarves Staff and Volunteers (Louisville, KY)

In the spirit of the holidays, the Hope Scarves staff decided to share what brings them hope and joy throughout the year. We’d like to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday and new year.

“I find hope in trail running, going on adventures with my three boys, laughter and science.” – Lara MacGregor, Founder

“I find joy in watching my young boys play and laugh, traveling and experiencing new adventures, and helping others. I find hope in the miracle of modern medicine and learning to live and enjoy each moment to the fullest.” – Amy Keller, Director

“People who stand up against injustice and violence, who are brave and full of peace in the face of despair or violence, these champions give me hope. I also find hope and joy in the beauty found in nature, in laughing with friends and family, and in simple moments that allow me to take a deep breath and feel connected.” – Erica Bricking, Program Coordinator

“Malala Yousafzai. People who “pay it forward” and expect nothing in return. Watching my children smiling, laughing and playing, as well as watching them sleep. Spending time with my family helps me focus on what is really important in my life and how very lucky I am.” – Katie Windham, Office Coordinator

“My family and friends, Watching my sons play soccer, a warm fire on a cold night.” – Lauren Stanbery, Friends of Hope Scarves Coordinator