On October 3, 2019, the 11th Annual Drink Pink for a cause will take place at The Lounsbury House in Ridgefield. This event supports Ann’s Place while putting a spotlight on local breast cancer survivors.
The photo you see here is one of Kristen Jensen’s “Courageous Faces”. This and many other photos of cancer survivors, and those in the midst of treatment will blanket the walls of the Lounsbury House telling a story of life, struggle, friendship, and hope.
Here, we couple the many Courageous Faces with their unique stories. We thank each and every one of these ladies for sharing their journey with us.
Visit Crowdrise HERE to support the 2019 Drink Pink Courageous Faces.
Meet Drink Pink model and Courageous Face, Samantha Eagle
When and how did you first learn you had breast cancer?
I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) in March 2016. After being told by my GP “not to worry” about the pea-sized lump I found in my right breast, I did just that. However, that lump became more and more painful and grew to the size of a large grape in just three months. I became increasingly worried! I sought out a second opinion and was scheduled immediately for a mammogram and the evidence was clear as day, I had cancer. The mammogram I had the previous year revealed nothing--this was a fast-growing and aggressive cancer. The usual procedures ensued and ultimately my biopsy informed them that I had a fairly rare form of Breast Cancer--TNBC; a cancer that is difficult to treat and to survive.
Who did you turn to for support and how was that person or organization supportive?
I was awestruck at the support network that stepped up to help me get through my treatment. So many friends and family were there for me--plus acquaintances and even strangers! My cousin works in the healthcare industry and helped guide me to find the right doctor and treatment for this type of cancer. I will be forever grateful to him. My husband was my rock-- it’s not an easy thing to watch your loved one go through this and he kept me grounded through it all. My doctors and nurses at the Greenwich Blenheim Cancer Center were fantastic. Also, close friends set up a meal train for the worst days of my chemo and I was truly astounded that so many people joined this group to help not just me, but my family as well. And of course there was Ann’s Place--my Oncologist suggested I go look around. How lucky I was to have access to such a beautiful facility just up the road with so much to offer! I could go for everything from free counseling and group support to private Reiki sessions and meditation classes.
Tell me about something someone said or did that helped you through your most difficult days
I’m not sure there is anyone person or thing that I could pick out of the generous and thoughtful support I received. The best advice I got came just after I was diagnosed when I confided with one of my kid’s coaches and he told me that he is a fellow survivor as well. He advised me not to hide my diagnosis, as he had done, and to accept help. He said, “Don’t try to get through it alone--people want to help you”. He was so right--it would have been so difficult to get through this alone--both mentally and physically.
I received so many kind notes and calls that made me smile and kept me positive through the hardest days. One friend gave me a cute little hand knit bunny infused with lavender to help me relax. Another gave me a silver bracelet stamped with an inspirational quote. I received healing crystals, flowers, a cooler filled with special treats. As I mentioned before, I was stunned by the amount of caring and support that came from so many people around me.
Lastly, I would often think about what I had learned from yoga; “everything is temporary”. Knowing this, and realizing if I could stay positive through the hardest moments, I knew I could get through my treatment and beat this disease. I often used yoga meditation and breathing techniques during those many sleepless nights and uncomfortable days.
Tell me about your photoshoot with Kristen and beauty day at Adam Broderick
In 2018, a friend of mine told me about Kristen Jensen’s Photo exhibit and suggested that I be a model for the “Drink Pink” event. Honestly, the thought made me uncomfortable, as I was still recovering from five months of chemo and several surgeries. I just didn’t feel myself; my hair was still growing back and I was trying to get back into the shape I had been before cancer. I think I was still trying to digest everything that I had just been through.
Fortunately, my friend Alex Fischetti invited me to attend the Drink Pink event that year and I got to see just how amazing it is. So many brave women sharing and supporting each other and celebrating life! The following year, he gave my name to Kristen and I was thrilled to have been asked again. This time I was ready - ready to show others that we can beat this disease and come out the other side stronger and better than before! It was my turn to support people with the care and assistance they need to get through all stages of cancer! I am so humbled and grateful to be included in this group of amazing survivors.
It was a treat to get all done up for the photoshoot! I felt so spoiled having my hair and a make-over done at Adam Broderick. They worked their magic and I was refreshed and eager (albeit a bit nervous) for my first photoshoot. Kristen Jensen and her mom made me feel so comfortable and took me through the process with ease and professionalism. By the end of the day, I felt like a Supermodel must feel. When I received the proofs the following week I was both impressed and amazed--her photos are beautiful.
What message do you have for others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?
The human body is amazing--it can withstand, fight and heal from incredible amounts of trauma. We live in a time where science and medicine are so advanced that you can win this fight. Stay positive, try to laugh every day and be brave. Know that this is a time to be strong and don’t give up-- it is just a moment of discomfort to get through in the grand scheme of life. You can do this!
Support the 2019 Drink Pink models and Ann’s Place by making a donation HERE.