Breast cancer has always hounded my family. On my mom’s side there are 6 or more cousins and aunts that have been hit with breast cancer. My grandma (mom’s mom) died of cancer that likely started as breast cancer but wasn’t caught until it had spread throughout her body. My mom has been faithful to get annual mammograms from the age of 35 on, and had several biopsies over the years that came back benign. This year my mom got a terrible case of bronchitis, something she’s always struggled with when living in a cold climate, but this year it hit her HARD. She was so sick she could barely lift her head off the pillow and it persisted for two months. At one point her doctor thought she had blood clots in her lungs and sent her to the hospital for a CT scan, which didn’t show blood clots but did show swollen lymph nodes under her right arm. Because she’d been so sick, the doctor said it was possible they were swollen due to all the infection. Over the next month she had her annual mammogram (came back clear), two ultrasounds under the arm (lymph node swelling increased) and finally a biopsy was done and mom went into that follow-up appointment thinking either she had lymphoma or nothing. Instead they found out it was breast cancer, despite the clear mammogram done on one of the brand new 3D machines. A very aggressive stage 3 breast cancer that was no longer present in the breast, only in the lymph nodes under her right arm.
We had already decided to move to Las Vegas and my parents were considering making the move when they got this news. They decided to go ahead with it, hoping the climate, medical care and proximity to family would help in this hard situation. I am SO thankful we all made the move. I don’t know what I would have done being far away while my mom goes through this. She did one chemo treatment before the move, the remaining 5 after, and is set for her double mastectomy on October 17th. Radiation after that. She is opting not to go through reconstruction and I am so proud of her and excited to help her find clothing that works with her new flat and fabulous figure!
Mom and I went to genetic counseling and found out that mom is not a mutant (ha!) which is such good news for myself, my daughter, and my nieces. We also found out I should start getting screened around age 35 and go every 6 months. MRI, then 6 months later a mammogram and ultrasound. Back and forth.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I wanted to do something special so I picked out some beautiful pink pieces in Noonday’s collection, plus some necklaces from the Storyline collection, and when I sell of any of these items this month I will make a donation to METAvivor. I asked my mom to suggest an organization to donate to and she chose this one. I’m sure you’ve heard of organizations who spend a lot on marketing, but METAvivor dedicates 100% of donations to research grants that show distinct promise in making a difference for the stage 4 breast cancer community. I’m so thankful that my mom is not stage 4, but I absolutely want to help fund research for those who are.
As always, every Noonday purchase is creating and sustaining jobs for Artisans around the world. These Artisans live in extremely vulnerable communities where work is scarce or non-existent. Many of the Artisans are considered unemployable in their culture. Unemployable because they’re a woman, because they’re old, because they have young children at home to care for. The Artisan businesses that Noonday works with are incredible. They create opportunities for women to have safe, dignified work. The Ugandan paper beads are rolled by stay-at-home mamas who without this opportunity wouldn’t be able to contribute financially to their family. The fabulous pom-poms from Peru are made by aging artisans who can no longer do the intricate embroidery because of poor eyesight and arthritis. The stories go on and on.
Here are the beautiful pieces!
The Songbird Scarf ($48) is made in Agra, India. The business owner, Anurag is committed to bringing empowerment to Artisans by providing them with sustainable work, fair wages and profit sharing. Promoting local cultural wealth and identity and recognizing the talents of local Artisans is at the heart of what Anurag and his partners do.
I LOVE the Feathered Fringe Earrings ($36) and wear them regularly! They are also made in India and have the perfect gold, blush and grey combo. 3-day hair? No problem, add dry shampoo and statement earrings and no one will even notice.
The Courage Necklace ($68) is not pink, but knowing the courage that those battling breast cancer have, I had to include it. It is part of the Storyline collection which is an incredible new partnership Noonday has with Starfish Project, an organization in Asia that helps women in the sex trade escape that life, and then through their Holistic Care Programs they provide vocational training, healthcare, shelter, counseling, and education grants for the women and their children.
Brand new this fall, the Plum Rope Necklace ($48) was an instant favorite for me. I love the colors, I love that you can loop it twice, three times, or four times. Anything made in Uganda out of paper beads is special to me, from my connection to Uganda to knowing that the paper beads are rolled by stay-at-home mamas like myself.
You may have seen me wearing the Belief Necklace ($48) a lot lately! I didn’t get it right away because I didn’t love cross jewelry, but then it was the top seller this fall, and I kept seeing it look so cute on everyone! Now it’s a favorite. Also part of the Storyline collection, made by previously exploited women in Asia.
The Sofiya Wrap Bracelet ($34) is the prettiest pink wrap bracelet and is named after an artisan! Sofiya struggled against the gender inequality that plagues India, found work at an Artisan business that Noonday works with, and has been able to support her family through her father’s illness and death, make improvements to their home, help two nieces through school and even bought herself a motorbike – a rare symbol of independence among Indian women. Read her whole story here. P.S. I have worn this as a headband too!
I love the statement that the Pirouette Earrings ($38) make all while being super lightweight! They are made in Haiti out of the same leather that is used to make ballet slippers. Haitians have faced enormous economic challenges, but the long tradition of craftsmanship in the country is helping create a better future. One Artisan, Renal, used his earnings to fix up an old truck, which he uses to escort the neighborhood children to school.
The sweet little Dancing Charm Bracelet ($16) in blush is the perfect addition to an arm party, the perfect gift to let your friend know you’re thinking of her, and even a great gift for a younger girl or teenager. Indian women often have far fewer opportunities than men, and this artisan business partner focuses on employing women, offering them the opportunity to care for their families and experience personal flourishing.
I hope you join me this month in supporting Noonday and research for stage 4 breast cancer. For each piece purchased I will donate $3-12 (depending on the cost of the piece) to METAvivor.