In 2005, my mom, Shirley, was diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer. Mom’s diagnosis itself was not a terrible shock to our family because we had been through this fight before with our 93 year-old grandmother. The shock was how far the cancer had progressed and the fact that the prognosis was so bleak. Her cancer was too far along to operate and no chance for a lumpectomy, no chance of a mastectomy—straight to chemotherapy with the only hope, NOT being to cure the cancer, but to simply slow it down and give her time to finish living. Mom was given 2 weeks to live but never looked at her cancer as a burden; instead it was a blessing, often telling us what a gift it was. She truly believed that angels live among us and during her cancer treatments believed that she met many angels in the form of doctors, nurses, patients, and survivors. When I think about the pain, treatments, medical procedures, and doctor visits that mom not only endured, but emerged from with a smile on her face, I realize that our everyday struggles pale in comparison. Mom taught us a lot about toughness, choosing joy in the midst of pain, and the strength and the grandiosity of spirit that can be held within a beaten up, cancer stricken and tired body. When my mom lost her battle to breast cancer in 2006, I wanted to pay tribute to her tenacity and love for life, and do my part to eradicate breast cancer. Thus, Shirley’s Angels was born with the aim to share a little bit of mom’s love with those being treated for breast cancer.
In March of 2011, I received more devastating news; my sister, Stacey, became the 3rd generation in my family to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, her cancer was found early and after several surgeries, she remains cancer free. With that diagnosis, it became clear that there was a need for Shirley’s Angels to reach more broadly so more individuals could be helped. (Visit Angels North for more information.)
So the story is simple. Shirley’s Angels is about carrying on mom’s legacy and being that “angel” to all those that need to see hope and feel comfort in the midst of pain and struggle.
Shirley’s Angels is a 501c3 non-profit organization that was created to help those diagnosed with breast cancer by promoting breast cancer research and outreach, including providing education and breast cancer support to those who desperately need it.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, please contact Shirley’s Angels by clicking here . We want to support you through your journey through treatment and cheer you along the path to survivor-hood.