Archive for October, 2011

Pink Ribbon Story. Me? Really?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011


In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I am both celebrating my first year of cancer free health and taking the opportunity to remind you to get your mammogram.

A portion of the following was printed recently in Stationery Trends, Summer 2011 Issue.

I added the pink ribbon in support of breast cancer awareness years ago when a best friend from high school started her own battle at the young age of 37. I felt it was the best way for me to help, given the position I had within my company, to make a difference in awareness and at the same time contribute financially to the cause. Never did I think that the cause I encouraged others to support would turn and bear its ugly head towards me.

“These cards are in honor of my dear friend Jeanne,” it shows in all our stationery albums, “A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Jeannebean Dream Team to continue research, education, and support to those fighting breast cancer.”

Over the years I’ve watched orders come through from women who band together to meet before races, or to give information for a speaker on the disease, still others are simply a name on a piece of stationery including the pink ribbon. My favorite order came about a year ago. It was for stationery with a woman’s name at the top and then at the bottom it said “Get a mammogram, it saved my life.”

I’ve always been a good patient, going for yearly mammograms, taking good care of my health and well being. Sure, I overwork, overstress, and over do like many women who run their own businesses. It’s just the way I am. So imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer the spring of 2010.

I have come forward with my diagnosis for two reasons.note_pinkribbon_text

First, I want to remind you that it can happen to any woman. One out of eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. It’s not in my family. I was only 43 when diagnosed. I worked out every single day and ate organic meat, fruit, and vegetables. I went for yearly mammograms. Over 95 percent of my customers are women and it is you who I want to remind to go, get a mammogram.

I’m lucky. Even at stage 2, mine was caught early enough that with multiple surgeries and my body make up, I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation. I might not have been this lucky because I threw away my mammogram Rx. I was going on spring break, I was busy, and I always had to go back a second time and I just didn’t have time for it. I don’t know what made me pull the yellow Rx out of the trash can and go. Probably my type A personality knocking, but I went. I now know that if I had not gone, the cancer that was too deep in my body to feel, would be taking over my body. The mammogram showed a small tumor; surgery discovered a tumor twice that size. Catching my cancer before it entered my lymph nodes means that I have a much different treatment plan than I might have, had I let it go.

The second reason I am sharing such a personal aspect of my life is that I want to remind us that as business owners, we can make a difference. We can contribute to causes that are important to us through our work and I encourage you to do so.

Most importantly, if I can convince one person to go get a mammogram, coming forth with my own diagnosis has been worth it.

Please share this information with friends and family and remind them to get tested.

-Gay Grossman, Owner of Letters from Lilly lives in La Jolla, CA with her husband and 14 year old daughter, Lilly. She is now fully recovered from multiple surgeries for breast cancer.