no surprise: my favorite color is red. but today, i’m passionately proclaiming my love of PINK and proudly announcing the arrival of fitbook PINK! as you know, october is national breast cancer awareness month and to do our little part, fitlosophy is launching fitbook PINK with $4 from the sale of each going to breast cancer research and awareness. this really was a passion project for us at fitlosophy – a very personal one. 4 stories and 4 very different, inspiring women…read on.
an inspiration for fitbook PINK was a very near and dear experience to us at fitlosophy. it was so hard to watch team member and friend lani lose her mother to breast cancer in 2008. diagnosed at the age of 52, donna lee zuidervaart was (in her daughter’s words) “courageous.” trying to reiterate lani’s sentiment of her mother is quite honestly hard with tears in my eyes and no one puts it more beautifully than her:
“something that inspired me about my mom’s battle with breast cancer is that she was always courageous. she rarely complained about any pain she was in and i’m sure it was a lot. she did all she could to stay around for her family as long as possible. an example was when i told her i was pregnant with my second son. previously, she had decided to end any further chemo treatments, but when she found out i was pregnant she started chemo again and did radiation so she could be around to meet him and hold him. my mom’s courage and gusto during her battle with cancer is something i apply to many aspects of my life. i try not to complain and work hard and do my best at any task or challenge i come across. my mom always made me feel like i could do anything. my mom had a gift of seeing good in unexpected places and encouraging talents in unlikely people. this paints a good picture of my mom.”
it’s difficult to stand by someone’s side and watch them lose someone they love so much, and at the same time have to stay strong as a mom to her own 2 little ones. but lani, like her mom, is a fighter – which is why it was probably one of my most memorable fitlosophy moments presenting lani with a sample of pink binding and telling her about our plans to launch fitbook PINK and dedicate proceeds in her mother’s name to breast cancer research. with tears of joy, lani chose the avon breast cancer crusade as the foundation of her choice where we will donate $2 from the sale of each fitbook PINK. i for one will attest to the fact that donna’s legacy lives on through lani – a genuine person who brings joy to this world and definitely to my life as part of this dynamic duo since day one at fitlosophy! (love you girl!)
PINK TIP: having one first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman’s risk – even more reason to get regular check-ups! (cancer.org)
this one hits close to home for me, for obvious reasons. my grandma was 71 when she felt a “fluttering pain” and just had a feeling that she needed to see a doctor. sure enough: breast cancer. shame on her, she had skipped her mammograms for five years (of course i lectured her on this), but fortunately that must have been a little angel poking her in the you-know-what because fortunately they caught the cancer very early on. fortunately for me and my family, with my grandma getting breast cancer later in life, it’s less likely (but not improbable) that it is hereditary. even more of a blessing than that, this battle with breast cancer had a happy ending. 3 surgeries later and 32 rounds of radiation later with (thankfully) no need for chemo, this italian grandma faced breast cancer just as she approaches a ball of fresh pasta dough just asking to be rolled into noodles: with strength, patience, and of course a little spunk!
PINK TIP: the american cancer society recommends getting a mammogram done every year after age 40 (grandma!), despite recent controversy on the issue.
another close friend of ours at fitlosophy, miss shay sorrells (from the biggest loser), very recently just lost a very dear friend of hers to breast cancer: renata easley. words can’t explain how hard it is to hear someone tell you they lost a good friend – especially when that someone is only 30 years old, and her friend: just 29. if you know anything about shay’s amazing journey, you may know that she spent much of her childhood in the foster care system, which is where she met renata when they were both in middle school. they became and remained close friends throughout high school and stayed connected over the years as life took them their separate ways. diagnosed at the young age of only 20 years old, shay said that renata always lived life to the fullest each and every day. while it’s always hard to lose someone you love, shay can attest to the pain of losing someone so young – someone who had just started her journey here in this life. being the faithful person she is, shay finds peace in knowing that renata is no longer in pain up in heaven. to show our support for shay, a portion of our proceeds will be donated in renata’s name. do us a favor: keep renata’s two young daughters akiah & jelani in your prayers. feel it in your heart to do more? call their church at 707.995.1319 for more info on how you can help fund a trust set up in her daughter’s names.
PINK TIP: while white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than are african-american women, african-american women are more likely to die of this cancer. (cancer.org) this means that especially women under 40 should perform regular self-exams which are the source of detection for nearly 70% of breast cancer cases. early detection is key!
a very dear friend of mine, marcia donziger, was only 27 years old when she was diagnosed with with ovarian cancer. quite possibly the happiest and most positive person i know, marcia not only survived her bout with cancer, but went on to found mylifeline.org in 2007. through this non-profit, marcia and her team provide free, personal websites to cancer patients as a way to stay connected to loved ones and caregivers through the treatment process. the mission of mylifeline is to ”empower patients to build an online support community of family and friends to foster connection, inspiration, and healing.” some of my favorite features of mylifeline sites: laughing medicine, which provides a joke of the day and lists of funny movies and books to make you chuckle; the helping calendar, which allows family members and caregivers to coordinate helping with treatment schedules and appointments; and the journaling section which is a private, password protected area of the site for the patient to simply journal thoughts through the treatment process. with the largest portion of their members being breast cancer patients, mylifeline has a direct impact on the day-to-day lives of women faced with this disease. in true “marcia style”, with a big smile, this little lady is leaving a BIG footprint on our world. fitlosophy is proud to donate $2 from the sale of each fitbook PINK to mylifeline.org!
PINK TIP: know someone that is facing cancer? share mylifeline.org with them so they can set up a free site – check out this demo and check out all the fun features!
thanks to each of you for sharing your stories…each one of you exemplifies strength and serves as a source of inspiration for more people than you will ever know.
i have the honor of working with a team of energetic, inspiring women each and every day doing something that i believe truly is making this world healthier. special thanks to our small but mighty team for taking an idea and making it a reality so quickly – a reality that will change lives. check out the press on fitbook PINK – but only after you make your way on over to getfitbook.com to get a copy (or 2) of this limited-edition fitbook that is small in size (and the exact same on the inside as the original fitbook) – but has a BIG heart. not to mention: pretty darn cute. [perfect for gifts - start your holiday shopping now...it's october!]
so join me, my team, and these fabulous foundations we’ve teamed up with as we kick off breast cancer awareness month!
with all my heart,