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“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” –Bill Cosby
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Woman Fakes Breast Cancer To Get Bigger Breasts

posted by:
ErikaM

During a veteran’s pride parade in 2013, a cancer survivor noticed how Belva Jo Williams was able to hoist a banner so high up in the air after supposedly having both of her breasts removed because of breast cancer.

628x471Can you see anyone raising a banner in this rally?

 You might be wondering why such a simple act – being able to raise a banner – lead to a legal inquiry.  In 2012, Williams has asked a U.S. Veterans Group for help saying that she had breast cancer and that OHIP did not cover her mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. She also told them that she was a decorated veteran of the United States and Canadian Militaries. The group was able to raise $5,000 for Williams by soliciting money from their members and supporters.

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When the survivor saw how effortlessly Williams was able to raise a banner, her gut instinct and experience kicked in. A woman who has undergone a double mastectomy will have difficulty performing the act because of the surgery. In fact, she shouldn’t have been able to do it at all.

Further investigation revealed that three troubling facts:  Williams did not have breast cancer, she was never a member of the military and that she used the money not to get reconstructive surgery, but to augment her breasts. She was sentenced to 4 months last August for fraud and breaching a court order.

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But it didn’t stop there. In order to prove her innocence, Williams produced two forged documents including a receipt from the clinic where she supposedly got her breasts reconstructed. Belva Jo Williams is now awaiting her sentence for this new allegation early December.

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A Survivor’s Plea To Spend More Time With Her Newborn Baby

posted by:
ErikaM

When Michelle Buchholtz learned that she had Stage 4 Breast Cancer in 2012, the next step was quite obvious – a double mastectomy and the removal of 18 affected lymph nodes. In an unexpected turn of events, Michelle and her fiancé Alex Ansalone discovered that they were expecting their first child during the surgery. However, because of the Michelle’s extensive treatments, they were forced to terminate the pregnancy.

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Later that year, the couple was pregnant again, but the baby had congenital abnormalities and wasn’t able to get to term. At this point, any couple would have been discouraged, but Alex and Michelle decided to take matters into their own hands. They decided to try for a third time once Michelle was declared cancer free, which happened February this year.

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At 17 weeks pregnant, Michelle began to experience back pain that couldn’t be linked to her pregnancy. Several tests were done and they revealed the couple’s worst fears – the cancer had come back with a vengeance. It has spread to Michelle’s spine, pelvis, hip and thigh. The doctors told them it was impossible to be cured at this point, but the couple was determined to deliver their baby this time around. Michelle delivered Precious Ava at 29 weeks, because she might not survive her mother’s cancer ridden body. It was both a heart breaking and inspirational moment when mother and daughter met for the first time.

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“It was difficult to be totally happy initially.I was looking at her thinking ‘Oh My God, I’m not going to be here’, but when they put her on my chest a couple of days later everything sank away.”

Michelle’s fiancé and family continue to gather funds to be able to afford life extending therapies for the new mom. Although the cancer is incurable, they want to give Michelle as much time as possible with her daughter.

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Photos Taken from Yahoo! News Australia

			   	 	
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Young Boy Delivers On His Promise To Help Breast Cancer Survivors

posted by:
ErikaM

Unlike other 12 year olds who get the things they want in an instant, Nasai Oliver’s parents gave him something better – an opportunity to learn how to make money and buy the things he wants.

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Instead of buying him a pair of Air Jordans, his mother helped him set up his own lemonade stand in one of Delaware’s toughest neighborhoods. The locals flocked to Nasai’s lemonade stand, thankful for the positivity he brings to the corner that was known for violent crimes.

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Oliver started selling their family’s secret lemonade recipe for $3 a cup on the corner of Jessup Street and Vandever Avenue. Nasai learned many valuable lessons manning his stand, including how to communicate with and market his lemonade to passers-by. In just a few weeks, Nasai was able to earn the $175 he needed for the sneakers. Inspired by his success, Nasai decided to keep selling the drink and he was able to buy his back to school wardrobe and a plus a few more sneakers!

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For breast cancer awareness month, Oliver promised to donate twenty five cents from each pink lemonade cup sold to his local breast cancer charity. This cause has as a special place in the Oliver’s hearts as a great grandmother suffered and died from the disease. This week, he made good on that promise when he handed $45 to the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.

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Nasai is an inspiration for the young and old alike. He was taught the dignity of earning an honest living and the importance of giving to charity at an early age.

We wish Nasai the best of luck in his future endeavors!

Photos from The Delaware Online
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5 Things I Learned From My Stage IV Breast Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

One would think that someone with Stage IV cancer should be receiving advice instead of giving it, but 34 year old Stephanie Seban has a lot of amazing things to share to both survivors and their well-wishers. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Stephanie narrated a few realizations she had had since her 2012 diagnosis:

  1. You are never too young to become aware of your breasts. Stephanie couldn’t believe it when she was diagnosed at 31 years old. She was at the peak of her career and was not ready to make life and death decisions. Because of this, Stephanie wants every man and woman to know that it is never too early to become aware of your breasts. Knowing the shape, size and behavior of your tatas can make it easier for you to determine changes that may be caused by cancer. o-WOMAN-TALKING-TO-DOCTOR-facebook
  2. People with cancer also need time to themselves in order to digest everything that is going on with their lives. Well wishers should also consider that they may not like to talk about the diagnosis and should learn to respect their decisions. woman-meditating-beach
  3. For survivors, Stephanie advises self-reflection and a positive outlook in life. Even at Stage IV, she knows that the body responds to the survivor’s mindset – a negative attitude will get you nowhere.4108
  4. Never let your fear be greater than your faith. There is no question about it – cancer will test your very being. Whatever religion or sect you believe in, it is important to find something to anchor yourself to this world. Stephanie’s renewed faith made her discover strength she didn’t know she had.  faith-is-seeing-light-with-your-heart-when-all-your-eyes-see-is-darkness-faith-quote
  5. Appreciate all the good things – no matter how small. Stephanie’s diagnosis led her to clearly see the good things she has been bestowed with – supportive family and friends, access to health care and an amazing support group. Appreciating the little things also helped her live her life to the fullest. 02ae61d312d5cfeac1fb17607c8816d4
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Woman Fakes Breast Cancer Diagnosis To Fund Cross Country Trip

posted by:
ErikaM

“I’m down to possibly just weeks … my children and parents are in their own worlds and I’m left with the burden of dying by myself,

This is what Cristina Lagman wrote on her Facebook page which prompted family and friends to believe that she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. They immediately went to Lagman’s aid by hosting fundraisers in her name and raise money to help her through the final days of her life. In a cruel twist of fate, the well wishers found out the cruel truth – Lagman faked everything to fund a cross country trip she has been planning for months.

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Lagman told everyone that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer early in 2014. She kept everyone updated about her battle on her Facebook page, relaying the hardships she was going through because of treatment. Friends thought that she just didn’t want people to see her in her “current” state – bald and emaciated because of the drugs – that’s why she posted pictures of other women undergoing chemo instead of her own. To make things even more believable, Lagman posted pictures of herself with a shaved head for months.

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This elaborate ruse came to an end this October, when police found her alive and well instead of hanging on death’s door. Several supporters have reported her to the local authorities after seeing her out and about, despite the image she is portraying on her social networking pages. Lagman has collected over $3,000 in donations.

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Despite the glaring evidence, Lagman continues to stand by her story saying that she was miraculously cured her of the disease. Her arraignment is scheduled on December 2nd.

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What You Need To Know About Breast Density and Mammograms

posted by:
ErikaM

Mindy Chychlyk underwent her usual annual mammogram and received the standard ‘all clear’ letter in the mail. When she felt a lump on her breast a month after, she was flabbergasted. She couldn’t believe a lump could develop in less than 4 weeks. After further testing, her worst fears were confirmed – she had breast cancer.

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It turned out that an important piece of information has been missing from her mammograms. Although the letter said she had the ‘all clear’ it failed to report that she had dense breasts. Later on, Mindy got hold of the full report of her mammogram where the radiologist stated her dense breasts “could obscure detection of small masses”. Had this information been included in the report, Mindy felt that she could’ve caught the lump earlier by asking for more tests.

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About 40 percent of women have what is known as ‘dense breast tissue’.  It describes a situation wherein there is a higher percentage of connective and breast tissue than fatty tissue in the breast. Dense breasts appear hazier on a mammogram which makes it more difficult to see small lumps.

In the state of Illinois, mammogram results don’t have to disclose whether or not a woman has dense breast tissue. Advocates are currently working to change turn this around by appealing to doctors, clinics and hospitals in the state to start taking a more proactive approach to discussing breast density with their patients. They are also pushing for a more personalized discussion of mammogram results – being send a letter in the mail will not be give a woman the information she needs to make the right decisions about her breast health.

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Talk to your doctor about breast density today!

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Pregnant with Breast Cancer: A Choice Between Two Lives

posted by:
ErikaM

Athena Kruger’s doctors were quite certain that the breast pain she was experiencing was due to her pregnancy. At 32 years old, Athena was just starting a new phase in her life having just married her great love and brought her first home. This is why she and her husband were elated when doctors told them that they were pregnant. It seemed that everything was going according to plan.

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Although multiple doctors told her that the pain was due to swelling milk ducts, Athena’s instincts were telling her otherwise. Apart from the pain, there was one particular lump that looked very suspicious. After additional tests were done, Athena’s worst fears were confirmed. She had cancer.

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According to the American Cancer Society, gestational breast cancer is found in 1 in every 3,000 pregnant women. Breast Cancer is the most common kind of cancer during and post pregnancy. Doctors are attributing the sudden rise in gestational breast cancer cases to the increase of women choosing to get pregnant later in their lives.

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“Let’s be honest, pregnancy and cancer don’t mix,” said Krueger. “You have high estrogen spikes which fuels the cancer while you are pregnant. I think the cancer was just having a heyday in my body while I was pregnant and it got super charged and a little drug resistant.”

Under strict medical supervision, Krueger started her chemotherapy sessions at 15 weeks and delivered her baby Amari at 32 weeks. While the couple is thankful that their daughter survived the chemo unscathed, Athena’s ordeal was far from over.  Her cancer has progressed to Stage 4 and has become resistant to conventional therapy.

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During this trying time in their lives, Athena and Ben are looking at each day with their daughter as a miracle. They focus beautiful things life has to offer and continue their fight against breast cancer.

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Disney Princesses Show Off Their Mastectomy Scars

posted by:
ErikaM

Every little girl dreams to be a Disney princess when she grows up. Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White are the epitome of beauty, femininity and kindness. They stood up to the villains and lived happily ever after with their one true love.

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But what if they had Breast Cancer?

This may seem a little too farfetched as cancer doesn’t necessarily come with the ‘Happy Ever After’ package.  Italian artist and Fashion Designer aleXsandro Palombo aims to change this negative connotation by drawing Disney Princesses topless while showing off their mastectomy scars. In support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Palombo wants to show little girls that it is possible to live a good life after having one or both breasts removed.

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“The acceptance of your own body mutilated by a mastectomy is one of the devastating moments that is part of the disease, you must be very strong to be able to react psychologically and accept the new appearance of your own body … My message is one of hope and courage” Palombo said in an interview with The Daily Mail Online.

The pictures showcased classic and modern Disney princesses as well as pop culture favorites such as Wilma Flintstone and Betty Boop. While many thought this was a particularly bold move, we here at BCFG applaud the artist for coming up with such a strong message to give to young people about beauty. Millions of girls witness their sisters, mothers and role models loose breasts to cancer. They are real life heroes and inspirations for these girls and there is absolutely no reason to stop admiring these women just because they had a mastectomy.

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While most of the media is busy with convincing young girls that being perfect is the only way to go, it is refreshing to witness others who are trying their hardest to change the status quo.

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How Yoga Helps Breast Cancer Survivors At The Cellular Level

posted by:
ErikaM

Telomeres are not the subject of everyday conversation. However, these proteins found at the end of chromosomes may hold the key to aging and disease survival. Essentially, long telomeres are associated with good health and well-being.

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Breast cancer survivors who engaged in meditation and are members of support groups have long been known to live longer, happier lives. A few years ago, there was no scientific explanation as to why these activities are beneficial for breast cancer survivors… until now.

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In a recent study done by The University of Calgary and the Alberta Health Services, a direct relationship between yoga/support group involvement and telomeres have been established. The population involved 88 breast cancer survivors who have completed treatment for at least three months. All the ladies are in their mid-50s and have reported significant levels of emotional stress in the past few months.

Participants were divided into two groups: Mindfulness Recovery Group and the Supportive Expressive Group. The first group attended 90 minute sessions for 8 weeks learning meditation and Hatha yoga. They were also asked to practice for 45 minutes at home every day.

The second group met for 90 minutes weekly for 12 weeks. During the sessions, they were encouraged their hopes, fears and concerns about the road ahead. Telomere lengths were measured before and after the sessions.

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Upon examination, telomere length remained the same for women who were part of the intervention while the telomeres of the women from the comparison group shortened. This is the first piece of scientific evidence that proves yoga and support groups can help improve the quality of life for survivors.

Whether you are a survivor or a healthy person, this maintaining telomere length is a good reason to start exercising. Now how about we get up and go?

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An Insanely Easy and Awesome Way To Help A Neighbor With Cancer

posted by:
ErikaM

A few posts ago, we’ve suggested ways on how you can help your neighbors who are battling cancer. One of our suggestions is to offer to clean their houses regularly while they are in treatment for them to be able to recuperate and put all their energies into getting better.

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Cleaning For A Reason is a non-profit organization that has taken this idea to a whole new level. They partner with various maid services across the United States and Canada and offer 1 free house cleaning for 4 consecutive months for women with cancer. The Maid Service has agreed to clean 2 households at a time as part of their community service.

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Take note, this service is not only available for breast cancer patients – but to any woman diagnosed with ANY kind of cancer. The patient herself or a concerned party can sign up on their website and apply for the service by providing basic information about yourself (such as where you live) and a doctor’s note confirming that the patient is indeed in treatment. CFAR will then try and find a Maid Service that caters your area.

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The charity’s founder Debbie Sardone owns her own cleaning service. In an interview with People Magazine, Sardone revealed how she was inspired to start the organization. A woman called her to ask for her company’s rates. After hearing the price, the woman simply said, “Oh, I can’t afford that… I’m undergoing cancer treatment…” It was then that Debbie realized how she can use her business to help these women fight for their lives.

Thanks to her efforts, more than 1,100 Maid Services in North America have taken on the challenge today.

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