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Hear the Brave Stories Behind our Breast Cancer Awareness Collection

10/22/2020 BY UrbanStems

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in her lifetime -- that’s our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, coworkers, and friends.

We’re a proud partner of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Each year we donate a portion of our proceeds from the Breast Cancer Awareness Collection to help raise awareness and aid their dedicated fight in breast cancer research and prevention. Each bouquet and plant in our collection is named after courageous women who has been affected by this disease. These women bravely shared their stories of strength with us, in hopes to empower others to make breast health a priority. We admire them, and we thank them for being advocates for action.




Our CEO’s wife, Jennifer, was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer two years ago and celebrated her last round of treatment in 2019.

1. How old were you when you were diagnosed with breast cancer?

I'd just turn 36.

2. Tell us more about your story and your journey with breast cancer.

I had noticed something in my left breast that I now know is referred to as dimpling and is a classic indication of a mass. At a routine check up, a doctor dismissed it and told me not to worry about it. Then, over the course of a whirlwind 4 days, I felt a lump and went back to see another doctor, had my 1st ever mammogram and ultrasound, same day biopsy and received a diagnosis of breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and the results confirmed that there was cancer in a lymph node, making it stage 2 and indicated chemotherapy and radiation treatment. As a young, otherwise healthy patient, it was advised that I be as aggressive as possible and I underwent 16 rounds of chemo, 30 rounds of radiation, in addition to ongoing infusions and receiving other medications.

3. What were your feelings when first diagnosed?

My 1st thought was my children, who were almost 4 and 1.5 at the time. Not knowing what to expect from treatment, I feared that this would be really hard as a mom of 2 young kids. Our son was about to start pre-k at a new school where we didn't know anyone, and I didn't want him to be the poor kid whose mom had breast cancer. Our daughter was too young to have any sense of what was going on, but I worried that I wouldn't be able to take care of her during my treatment as I normally would.

4. Is there anyone or anything you attribute to helping you during your time with breast cancer?

My family and friends were beyond instrumental in getting through my treatment. We rallied from the word GO and pushed full steam ahead. My mom created a visiting schedule for people to sign up to keep me company during chemo, my husband picked up any slack at home without missing a beat, and my friends were an ever present constant. I relied on them without having to ask, which I think for a lot of women and moms is hard because we often try to maintain this "Superwoman" image. I was incredibly lucky to have so many people close at hand to help in whatever way I needed. COVID has made an impact on how loved ones can literally show up for patients during all kinds of treatment. A strong support system is so integral and I can't imagine going through this now.

5. What advice would you give to others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?

I would advise any woman going through treatment to find ways to ask for help. Speak up and don't be worried it will look like weakness. Be your own advocate - you know your body and it's important to recognize how you are feeling physically and emotionally and make it known when something doesn't feel right. Practically, I did this by keeping a journal (not a touchy-feely kind, lol) so that I was acutely aware of any symptoms and questions that I had on a daily basis. This allowed me to also exert some sense of control on my situation and keep all the information that was being thrown at me in order. I also had a few people when I was diagnosed offer to put me in touch with other young women they knew who had been through this, and I picked one and spoke with her before starting treatment. Having a "guide" and someone who can relate to the specifics and "get it" was helpful. I have since been and continue to be that person for a number of other women diagnosed.



In 2018, Panagiota was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma, an aggressive form of breast cancer.

1. How old were you when you were diagnosed with breast cancer?

29 years old.

2. Tell us more about your story and your journey with breast cancer.

In March of 2018, two months before my wedding, at the age of 29, I was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma, an aggressive form of breast cancer. I had been so preoccupied with eating my greens and working out every day to prep for my big day that I nearly missed the gynecologist appointment that saved my life. Because I did not have children yet, I was strongly encouraged to freeze eggs through IVF. Following this process, I pushed through 12 tough rounds of chemo, had surgery and then did 20 rounds of radiation. I’ve always loved running and I tried running during chemo but that became very difficult and so I resorted to going for long walks until that became too challenging as well. During a particularly rough round of chemo, I said to my younger sister, “when this is all over, I want to do something crazy like run the NYC Marathon and raise a ton of money for MSK” (the hospital I received my treatment). I had run plenty of half marathons but never a full one and while it was always on my bucket list, I never imagined actually doing it. This bucket list idea turned into a realistic dream carried me through my next 4 months of treatment and surgery. On October 30th, 2018, I rang the bell at radiation, signaling I was finally finished. Over the next year, I trained and ran the NYC marathon, started my dream job at NYU, and rescheduled and went on my honeymoon with my husband to Dubai, South Africa and the Seychelles.

3. What were your feelings when first diagnosed?

I was definitely scared and a bit angry but I tried my hardest throughout to stay positive and push through. Whenever I had to tell a family member or friend of my diagnosis, I always followed it up with: “but I’ll be fine, I have too much to do to let this ruin my plans.” That level of positivity definitely became challenging when I could no longer recognize myself when I looked in the mirror or felt awful but luckily, I have an amazing support system who were able to stay positive for me whenever things got dark.

4. Is there anyone or anything you attribute to helping you during your time with breast cancer?

My family (two sisters, 1 month old niece at the time, parents, aunts), my amazing husband and my friends all really carried me through. They constantly checked in and sent me food or would come over and watch hours of television with me. My friends had set up events each month so that I always had something to look forward to (like a private yoga class and bringing over puppies from a shelter).

The other thing that got me through was my dream of being able to run the marathon. Nearly 1 year to the day that I finished treatment, my younger sister, Sophia, and I ran for Fred’s Team and raised over $14,000. Despite our vast differences in speed (Soph is much faster than me), Sophia ran all 26 miles by my side hyping me up the whole time.

5. What advice would you give to others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?

Don’t settle and always go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, get a second and third and fourth opinion.



Julie was diagnosed with Stage One breast cancer in 2019. After a difficult year, she is now using her voice to educate and empower women to put their health first.

1. How old were you when you were diagnosed with breast cancer?

44 years old.

2. Tell us more about your story and your journey with breast cancer.

It was in October of 2019, that I casually dismissed a newly noticed change in one of my breasts as it had only been five months since my last “normal” mammogram. However, being that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I was frequently hearing and seeing messages of the importance of breast health and screenings. It truly was these repeated reminders that motivated me to get my concern evaluated. I’m so thankful that I did because my breast cancer was diagnosed as Stage One.

3. What were your feelings when first diagnosed?

Stage One cancer is not easy. As a woman, a wife and a mother, hearing the words “you have breast cancer” overwhelmed me.

4. Is there anyone or anything you attribute to helping you during your time with breast cancer?

After a difficult year and the help of some treasured family and friends, I can now proudly say that my overwhelming fear has evolved into hope and recovery. Looking back, had it not been for all the Breast Cancer Awareness messages last October convincing me to get checked out, I’m not sure I would be where I am today.

5. What advice would you give to others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?

I want to empower all women to make breast health a priority in their lives, get screened and pay attention to any changes. For all those women diagnosed with breast cancer I want to share this quote in which I find great comfort: “Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” - Mary Anne Radmacher

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