I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer at the age of 26. At the time I didn’t know that young women could get breast cancer. I thought that it was an old woman disease. I felt alone, so I searched the web and found another young lady who also had breast cancer. She turned out to be my savior and foundation.
I wasn’t aware of any groups that catered to the needs of young women and I often thought of creating one. I felt that young women my age were being ignored until a couple years later; I met two women who invited me into a group that focused on young women with my disease. While being involved with that group, I began mentoring other young women, telling them my story in the community and volunteering full time. I felt like the young women could easily relate to me because I looked like them; I wasn’t the older lady portrayed in most commercials and on the billboards.
My experiences with that group afforded me with the opportunity to meet many inspiring young women. Some of their stories touched me in a way that I will never forget. The most heartfelt testimonies came from the stage IV breast cancer patients, and I formed a special bond with them. I have walked a few of them from the beginning to the end of their journeys. They have shared their fears, concerns and wishes with me. Each of these relationships has granted me with more strength, power, and an increased purpose…and thus Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes was birthed!
*In August 2014, at age 36, almost 10 years to the exact day, my breast cancer returned in my left breast 🙁 I found the lump myself, again. I didn’t have to undergo chemo this time, but I did undergo radiation again. I thought this time would be easier, because I knew what to expect. Boy was I wrong. This time was a lot harder! I had my left breast removed again, before starting radiation. I’m tired. I’m fatigued. I’ve gained a ton of weight. I’m in full blown menopause thanks to my oophorectomy, so needless to say, I’m hot too! Next up, plastic surgery, I’ve decided to have my right breast removed too. I will be completely flat chested, no reconstruction.
I am thankful to everyone who helped me make it through, especially Team SSPW! Taking care of SSPW has definitely been the distraction I needed during this tough time. I never stopped granting wishes.