It’s October, a month that use to mean a change of seasons. Bringing out the jeans, sweaters and boots; it’s my favorite time of year. As I’ve gotten older it signifies something different. Instead of the colors of changing leaves we are surrounded by a sea of PINK. For October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Everyone knows someone that has been touched by Breast Cancer. Mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, breast cancer knows no age. My own mother had a scare 10 years ago, at age 44, which resulted in a lumpectomy. Thankfully they only found, and removed, pre-cancerous cells and she didn’t require chemo or radiation. She had to have mammograms every six months for a few years and is now back to once a year. She just received an all clear this month… after a bit of a scare. She is diligent about her checkups because she knows she is at an increased risk, which in turn makes me aware of my increased risk.
But what about women under the age of 40, without a family history of breast cancer? According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 13,110 cases of breast cancer will be in women under age 40 each year. And there is no effective breast cancer screening for women under 40!!! Young women have to be diligent with their own self breast exams each month and pay attention to any noticeable changes.
Scrolling IG (my obsession) one evening, I came across a really cute hands-free wristlet… which I immediately liked and commented on. That started a conversation with @hkellydesigns, aka Heidi, she was an open book! Heidi is a breast cancer survivor and her story really struck me. Which is why I asked her to share her inspiring story here.
How were you diagnosed?
I actually saw a dent. I originally thought it was a bruise and when it did not go away I started to suspect something was wrong. It took me a couple of months to build up the courage to go to the doctor and when I did she sent me straight to get a mammogram and ultra sound that day. That day we found out it was a tumor and then about a week later we found out that it was positive for breast cancer from the biopsy. I was 38 years old and no history in the family!
You were diagnosed with cancer, and decided to start a business?
HKelly designs was born from me having breast cancer. When I was feeling good enough I would sew and people were always complimenting me on my bags. One day my husband said why don’t we make this a business and have a go at it and so here we are. I have been through 2 rounds of breast cancer, 4 chemo rounds and over a month of radiation and I’m still standing, still making purses and really just loving life!
How is your health now?
I am doing well now. I actually had it come back a second time on the scar and since we did not do chemo and radiation the first time, we did do it the second time. The first time I only did a double mastectomy and meds.
I love your attitude and I’m so glad you are doing well! Now for the fun stuff… tell everyone about that adorable wristlet that caught my eye.
This wristlet is the perfect accessory for hands free fun! You never have to put it down, it’s basically a bracelet with room for your phone, lip gloss, keys and of course your cash, credit card and license. Take pics with your phone… it’s there on your wrist, dance the night away… it’s there on your wrist, party it up at a concert… it’s there on your wrist!!! For you travelers, your passport will fit right in there!
There are currently 3 styles in the Black Label, black, brown and gray. The really fun part about the bag is the surprise interior fabric, no two are the same! I have been considering adding a completely customizable one for those who want something crazy original, that will include a consultation via phone or email and an upcharge.
I’d love to offer your readers $10 off on the wristlet. Use coupon code KAS10, it’s good until Novmeber 21st.
We also have a Breast Cancer Awareness Shop on the site, a portion of the sale of every Gemma bag to a Breast Cancer Charity: Young Survival Coalition. This group works wonders for women who are diagnosed under the age of 40.
Where can people find you?