Face of Hope, March 2014 – Lara (Louisville, KY)
1. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?
I am the founder of Hope Scarves. This idea grew from my personal experience when a friend of a friend sent me a box of scarves and a note of encouragement when I was facing breast cancer 6 years ago. Hope Scarves was my way of turning a scary time in my life into something positive to help others.
2. If you donated a scarf please share what this experience meant to you or if you received a scarf and story please share how this impacted your healing journey?
Receiving those scarves from Kelley meant so much to me. Just knowing another young woman like me had faced this disease and made it through gave me hope I could do it to. When I started giving my scarves away I was equally touched. It meant so much to me to pass along the strength and courage I gained on my journey to someone else just starting out. Now, when we send out over 20 scarves a week- I am just in awe of the power of encouragement and hope being shared between women. I love what Hope Scarves has become and that it brings Hope to so many women when they are scared.
3. What are the things that provided hope and strength to you throughout your battle?
I am motivated by other women in my situation – hearing stories of determination and seeing them face this disease helps me believe I can as well. I have an amazing doctor who helps me believe in myself and gives me lots of room to be hopeful even when things were dire. I also have an amazing support network of friends and family that picks up all the pieces I can’t carry anymore. I am spending a lot of time looking at the mind, body, spirit connection and nurturing each piece. I realize that cancer takes a toll on all three
4. Where are you currently on your cancer journey? Tell us how you are living life over cancer.
I was diagnosed with stage iv metastatic disease on jan.9th first diagnosis of stage II breast cancer in 2007. It has been quite a blow to my “hope” to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. I really thought I had beaten it after everything we went through 7 years ago. This diagnosis has been a lot harder to comprehend and accept but I am doing the same things I did 7 years ago- finding women living with this same diagnosis, surrounding myself with good doctors and leaving room for hope. Having an advanced stage diagnosis brings so much unknown. I think that has been the hardest part. Not knowing how long I have to live, not knowing if this disease will progress quickly or hold stable, not knowing how my body will react to treatments… but, I am trying really hard to live life over cancer and take it one day at a time. Just soaking up the love and laughter I am a part of today.
5. What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?
I hope people will recognize Hope Scarves as a resource for cancer fighters and also for cancer survivors. As our requests for scarves increase we really need more survivors to share stories and encouragement!
6. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?
Do it! No matter where they are in their journey – they deserve a little hope. If even for a moment – hope is an amazing gift.
7. What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?
I would love to have the opportunity to share Hope Scarves at the national level – like on Good Morning America or The Today Show. Most of all, I just want to live life as fully and love as deeply as possible for as long as I can.
8. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?
“In the end, only three things will matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” Gandhi
9. If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?
Joyful & positive
10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer – either as a survivor or as having a loved one with cancer.
I have learned that my hope isn’t all nestled in survival anymore. Obviously I love to hear about women living with metastatic breast cancer for years and years. I would love to live with this disease for a very long time. But, my bigger hope is to live as fully as I can each day. To nurture my mind, body and spirit – to put as much of myself into our children so they know I am always with them and to figure out how to live life over cancer and be happy in the time I have.