2014 Pink Power Mom Stories
Mountainside, NJ - USA
Children: Daniela, Gabriela
When Dora was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she immediately thought of her two young daughters and how the diagnosis would impact their lives. Not only was her life forever changed, but she feared for what this meant for the lives of her children. Dora quickly found her inner strength, and with the support of her family, friends and a team of world class doctors, she was able to navigate her breast cancer journey while also blazing a path for other Latina women. Throughout her fight, Dora’s eyes were opened to the unfortunate reality of how difficult it is for Latinos in particular to navigate the health care system during times of stress. Through this realization, and with the hope of making a difference, Dora founded Curémonos (Healing Together) to provide education, advocacy and support to medically underserved Latina women. Dora is recognized as a trailblazer within the Latino community, and has spoken on Capitol Hill, been interviewed on the NBC TODAY show, featured on Family Circle, and has become a powerful voice for all women with breast cancer.
Naples, FL - USA
Carolyn and her husband struggled as they tried to start a family, so it came as a complete shock during a standard exam prompted by fertility issues when the doctors found a tumor. Persevering, she successfully and gracefully completed her cancer treatments and achieved her next goal – giving birth to her and her husband’s only child, Natalie. Carolyn’s ambition and courage that came from her fight led to the creation of Skate For Hope, a charity that has raised over $543,000 for breast cancer research, health education and support services for children and young adults whose moms are fighting breast cancer. Skate For Hope hosts one of the Nation's largest annual figure skating productions featuring professional, Olympic and amateur figure skaters from across the globe. Since 2009, she has been nominated for PPM by Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medalists for her efforts. Bongirnos’ Skate for Hope will expand for the first time to Southwest Florida in May or June of 2015.
Belle Vernon, PA - USA
Children: Shannon, Lilly, Grace, Stephen
Kate’s story of perseverance started with the heartbreaking loss of her first daughter, only three days after her birth. This unimaginable life event prompted her to start a non-profit to help provide support to grieving parents that had also lost a child. Following that heartache, Kate welcomed the birth of beautiful twin girls, and a year later, a baby boy joined their family. However, her story took another unfortunate turn in 2013 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and given a 30% chance of survival. In her true fashion of perseverance in the face of adversity, Kate has poured her energy into living her life to the fullest, and has been completing her “Mommy Bucket List.” We look forward to helping her cross off “Going to the Georgia Aquarium” when she is in Atlanta in February to be honored as a Pink Power Mom. Her blog, The Chronicles of Cancer, is read and respected in the worldwide cancer community, and through her efforts, she has been able to raise awareness and funds for the recipient of her donation, Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation.
Indianapolis, Indiana - USA
Children: Jacob, Leo
Meghan was a busy working mother with two young sons when she received her breast cancer diagnosis, but those closest to her attest that it never impacted her upbeat and joyful personality. Meghan stayed motivated by the life she had defined for herself and used that to maintain her focus throughout her breast cancer journey. While undergoing treatment, Meghan turned to Indiana Women in Need (I.W.I.N) Foundation for support through wellness and yoga sessions. She was so moved by her interaction with I.W.I.N. that she wanted to ensure that it was an organization that other women navigating their own breast cancer journey could utilize as well. Meghan first joined the board of directors as a volunteer, and now holds a leadership position in the growing non-profit that is now supporting women state-wide. Meghan and I.W.I.N, the recipient of her donation, is committed to offering personalized services to help relieve the emotional, financial, and physical burdens of breast cancer treatment, and help make the lives of courageous women fighting this disease just a little bit easier.
Orangeburg, SC - USA
Children: Keyonna, Karmen
Just three days before receiving her own diagnosis, Candance lost her mother to breast cancer – and that’s when she became devoted to ending this disease in her family tree so her daughters would never have to experience it. After completing her treatment, Candance dedicated her philanthropic efforts to Relay for Life (ACS) cancer research. As a mother first and foremost, Candance is devoted to living for her children while supporting the important research needed to find a cure and end this disease for the next generation.
Toronto, ON - CANADA
Children: Shawna, Benjamin, Bill, Jesse
Audrey was running a successful nanny business in the greater Toronto area when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Much like she ran her business, she faced her challenges and jumped into action. Soon after, as she sat in her chair during each long chemotherapy treatment, she noticed many young moms bringing their infants and toddlers with them for chemotherapy and other medical treatments. Again, she jumped into action and used her entrepreneurial skills to create a non-profit organization that would provide mothers with safe, certified in-home day care at no charge—so that they could know their children were receiving quality care in their own home, allowing them to focus on their own healing. That was the start of the Nanny Angel Network, which has flourished with an army of volunteers. Since 2008, they have provided families the peace of mind to know their children are in good hands during their difficult journey. Audrey’s efforts continue to receive international recognition, and most recently she was selected as a finalist for the CNN Hero of 2014.
Milford, CT - USA
Caryn was proud of surviving breast cancer at the age of 31, but did not want that difficult time in her life to define her future. She happily jumped back into the busy corporate race and hoped that cancer would remain a part of her past. However, shortly after her 40th birthday, breast cancer reared its ugly head once again, this time with a stage four re-diagnosis. While Caryn had always strived to live a balanced life focused on health and wellness, her re-diagnosis firmly planted her on this path and compelled her to help others on their journey as well. With the support of her husband and young son, Caryn launched her own online health and wellness platform, Pretty Wellness. She uses her popular website to serve friends, family, and the greater community by educating readers on everything from environmental toxins to organic skin care products for cancer patients. Caryn has also dedicated her time to volunteer and fundraise for various cancer charities, including the recipient of her donation, The V Foundation for Cancer Research, an organization she credits as among the first to help her during her own journey.
Bancroft, ON - CANADA
Children: Mars, Odin, Ares
Leaf’s fight against cancer started when her son was diagnosed with leukemia. As she and her husband, along with her two other children, fought this battle with her son, Leaf never once focused on herself or thought she’d embark on yet another cancer battle at the same time. She didn’t spend much time worrying about herself, so when her breast cancer was discovered, she had a fist-sized lump that needed immediate attention. Thus, Leaf and her son continued on an altered journey together—as uniquely bonded warriors. Though they sat in different chairs in different cancer centers fighting different forms of cancer, they were connected in a way no one could imagine. In an effort to support each other, Leaf and her son chatted via computer during treatments and would offer one another encouragement while both connected to IV poles. Now, her son is in recovery and because of her unique story, Leaf is a public source of inspiration and champions ReThink Breast Cancer.