How our founder started her Cancer Care Packages:
When were you diagnosed and at what age?
I was diagnosed in 2016, two weeks after my 35th birthday.
What type of cancer?
Triple Negative Stage 2 Breast Cancer. I later found out that I was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene mutation.
Who or what has been your biggest motivator?
My children. They were 3 and 6 when I was diagnosed. The first thing I said to the doctor after being diagnosed was “Will I live to see my children grow up?” I had to fight for them. I could not fathom the idea of them growing up or getting married without their mother. Life had to stay as normal as possible for them.
What advice would you give people who are early stages of their diagnosis?
Breathe. You are in for a hell of a ride, but take a breath, and keep fighting one day at a time. Also, keep celebrating. It was such a dark time for our family, and we made sure to celebrate everything. We had an end of chemo party. We took a small vacation when the doctor allowed it.
How has cancer changed you?
There is not a day that goes by where I do not think about cancer. Every ache and every pain carries a fear of my cancer coming back and metastasizing. At the same time however, I try to do more things that make ME happy.
What does recovery look like for you?
I don't truly think you can ever recover from such a thing. Ideally recovery is filled with laughter, getting into shape, being the best "me" possible. Right now, recovery is making steps to create a new version of myself; getting healthier day by day, and spreading awareness. I suppose starting Joyful Packages is a big part of my recovery as I am able to step back from focusing on my own past and move forward with helping others the best to my ability.
A portion of our proceeds this month will be donated to the cancer charity of your choice. Which one would you like to donate to?
The oncology department at the Jewish General Hospital.