October 18, 2018

CAS 18

Before we get to today's challenge, I wanted to take a moment to say farewell to one of our creative Encouragement Squad members.  Susan White has been a part of our challenge team since the very beginning.  She was a part of the Calling All Sistahs blog hop before that.  We will miss her, but wish her well in all of her future creative endeavors.  Susan, we hope you will play along with us again once life settles down for you and your family.
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Everyone could use a little encouragement from time to time.  
There are a bazillion reasons someone might need a pick me up from going through an illness, relationship woes, working through a big life decision or just feeling a little lonely or unappreciated #teenagerswilldothattoyou
Wouldn't it be nice to have a stash of cards you could send to a friend or loved one who could use a bright spot in their day?  Our challenge is here to help you with that.  
On the 18th of each month we will start a new challenge with a new inspiration photo.

The rules are simple:
1. Using any products from your stash, make an *encouragement card* inspired by the photo or colors or both. It's totally your choice!
2. Link up here by 12am EST on the 13th
3. Share with your friends and followers so we can get the word out about our challenge.
*so, just what exactly do we mean by an encouragement card??
Anything that would brighten someone's day from I'm thinking of you, to sending you hugs to consolation and everything in between!*

One person will win a $25 gift code to use on anything in the CAS-ual Fridays Stamps store.  
All products are welcome! Seriously, use anything you have in your stash, but if you use CAS-ual Fridays stamps or dies on your card, Michele will DOUBLE your prize!!!


October 17, 2018

Calling All Sistahs October Reminder


3 years ago today, I became cancer free. Tomorrow, the 18th, I'll get my 3 year mammogram.
Pins and needles? Ya, a little bit...ok, a lot a bit. Hoping to get the all clear.

October is breast cancer awareness month. I've seen a lot of chatter in social media this month, and some of it is negative: strongly disliking the color pink, feeling angry that blogs are turning pink, hating having to go through all that cancer brought, negativity about non profit cancer organizations, etc. etc. etc.
That's all well and good and everyone is entitled to their feelings, BUT!
As strongly as anyone feels about all things pink and breast cancer awareness, it's that awareness that saves lives.You have to know what the risks are, what the strategies are, what the treatments are, what choices you have.
Your very first choice is this...are you or aren't you going to do the bare minimum to take care of yourself?
Get your mammogram! Do your self checks! 
Would you rather find something and have the chance to fight it and win?
Or would you rather stick your head in the sand and not do anything, and have no choices when they really count?
I support NBCF.org because they work to provide support to women who need it. 50% of the sales from my Calling All Sistahs Collection is donated to this organization. The money they receive helps to provide mammograms to women who can't afford it. They have a host of information on their site to help you understand the importance of early detection and the steps you can take. 
All the research and strides that have been made in the treatment of breast cancer is a waste if you won't start from the beginning. 
Get your mammogram!
*dropping the mic*











Come back tomorrow to join us for a new Encouragement Challenge!

October 15, 2018

CAS17 Winners

It's time to announce our newest batch of winners for the Calling All Sistahs Encouragement Challenge.  aka CAS17

Drumroll please.....

The winner of a $25 gift certificate to CAS-ual Fridays Stamps is: 

RITA



Email Michele at info@cas-ualfridaysstamps.com to get your gift code to the CAS-ual Fridays store!
Don't forget to pick up your winners badge!!!


Runner up is:

MUGDHA



Don't forget to pick up  your runner up badge!!!

September 18, 2018

CAS 17

Everyone could use a little encouragement from time to time.  
There are a bazillion reasons someone might need a pick me up from going through an illness, relationship woes, working through a big life decision or just feeling a little lonely or unappreciated #teenagerswilldothattoyou
Wouldn't it be nice to have a stash of cards you could send to a friend or loved one who could use a bright spot in their day?  Our challenge is here to help you with that.  
On the 18th of each month we will start a new challenge with a new inspiration photo.

The rules are simple:
1. Using any products from your stash, make an *encouragement card* inspired by the photo or colors or both. It's totally your choice!
2. Link up here by 12am EST on the 13th
3. Share with your friends and followers so we can get the word out about our challenge.
*so, just what exactly do we mean by an encouragement card??
Anything that would brighten someone's day from I'm thinking of you, to sending you hugs to consolation and everything in between!*

One person will win a $25 gift code to use on anything in the CAS-ual Fridays Stamps store.  
All products are welcome! Seriously, use anything you have in your stash, but if you use CAS-ual Fridays stamps or dies on your card, Michele will DOUBLE your prize!!!

Are you ready to see where this month's inspiration will take you?


Check out how the Encouragement Squad was inspired by this month's challenge!

Peaceful Garden

Full On Floral



Truth Blooms Fri-Dies





September 17, 2018

Calling All Sistahs September Reminder


Statistics tell us 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.   They also tell us early detection is key to long-term survival.  That is why the Encouragement Squad is here.  We remind you every month to do your breast self-checks and schedule your mammogram if it is time.  We don't want you to be one of the statistics, but if you are we want you to catch it early and beat it!

Today our Encouragement Squad leader, Heather North, is here to share why she got involved with Calling All Sistahs and the encouragement challenge.  She isn't (yet) one of the statistics, but has loved many who are.  Read her story, see the reminder cards from our talented team, and then check yourself!

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It's Heather here today and it's my priviledge to share with you why I joined the encouragament squad.

My story of "why" I joined the encouragement squad started long before I ever met Michele Gross and even before she started the Calling All Sistahs movement.  It began the day my mom dropped me off at grandma's before work.  I was sick that morning, so mom took me over early, before grandma was even dressed.  She was in her nightgown and one of her breast was missing.  Grandma explained that she hadn't put her prosthesis on yet.  She also told me she had her breast removed because she had cancer.

Fast forward to my engagement.  Shortly after I announced I was going to get married my aunt announced she had breast cancer.  She fought hard and wore a wig to my wedding.  While she was off work having treatments she helped put together some of my decorations for my wedding because she wanted to be involved.  She helped decorate the church with a scarf around her head.  She fought and she won, until cancer came back in another area of her body and it won this time.  I lost her in Jan 2008.

Last year my other aunt on my dad's side passed away from cancer that had metastasized.   She had survived breast cancer, cervical cancer and in the end died of lung cancer that had spread.  Cancer is such an ugly way to die.

I've had several friends who fought breast cancer.  I even had a male friend find a lump in his breast tissue and found out that men unfortunately can get breast cancer too.  Though it is rare.    Those who caught it early and continued to get checked had a much higher survival rate.  One friend lived 8 years with advanced cancer, but lost her fight a year ago last summer. 

At least one of my cousins has fought breast cancer and 2 have tested positive for the BRCA gene.  THAT is why I joined Calling All Sistahs.  For my cousins and I it is more a matter of "when" than "if" we will have breast cancer in our lifetimes.  Talking about breast cancer and self-exams was EXTREMELY embarrassing to me, but it has been worth overcoming that embarrassment to possibly SAVE their (and my) lives!

I met Michele shortly after she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was shocked at how little I knew about breast cancer treatments and procedures, especially considering how many women in my family had battled it.  We NEVER talked about it in my family, other than to say someone had it.  She talked about the Buddy Check on her local news station and I agreed with her that we all needed to have that monthly reminder.  When she asked me to be a part of the Calling All Sistahs team, I immediately jumped on board.  It has become easier to share about as I have heard YOUR stories of finding cancer early, of surviving and even of your hopes, doubts and fears.

Bringing encouragement to others is just part of who I am.  I am lucky enough to have friends let me know all that time that I encourage them.  So, when Michele added the monthly encouragement challenge I knew it would be a good fit for me.  I just need to SEND more of these cards I am making each month.

When Michele started the Calling All Sistahs blog hop, and asked if I would be the coordinator, I was honored to be a part!  When she decided to start a blog dedicated to the Calling All Sistahs mission and add in an Encouragement Challenge so more people could join I was thrilled.  When she asked me to continue to be the Encouragement Squad leader, I was tickled pink to work with our incredibly talented team.  I've also joined in a local grassroots campaign to help raise funds for breast cancer awareness, treatment and research.  You can read more about that in my blog post today.  My hope and prayer is that we can find a cure so that nobody needs to battle this awful disease again.  Until we do, your sistahs have got your back and we bring you encouragement and reminders every month.  You are not alone in this lonely battle.

-Heather North 









Come back tomorrow to join us for a new Encouragement Challenge!

September 15, 2018

CAS16 Winners

It's time to announce our newest batch of winners for the Calling All Sistahs Encouragement Challenge.  aka CAS16  This month we had over 40 entries which made it extremely difficult for the Encouragement Squad to choose!  Cancer has touched us all and I appreciate the colorful ways you chose to spread hope.  Now for our winners.

Drumroll please.....

The winner of a $25 gift certificate to CAS-ual Fridays Stamps is:

RAGA




Email Michele at info@cas-ualfridaysstamps.com to get your gift code to the CAS-ual Fridays store!
Don't forget to pick up your winners badge!!!





Runner up is:

ISHANI




Don't forget to pick up  your runner up badge!!!

August 18, 2018

CAS 16

Everyone could use a little encouragement from time to time.  
There are a bazillion reasons someone might need a pick me up from going through an illness, relationship woes, working through a big life decision or just feeling a little lonely or unappreciated #teenagerswilldothattoyou
Wouldn't it be nice to have a stash of cards you could send to a friend or loved one who could use a bright spot in their day?  Our challenge is here to help you with that.  
On the 18th of each month we will start a new challenge with a new inspiration photo.

The rules are simple:
1. Using any products from your stash, make an *encouragement card* inspired by the photo or colors or both. It's totally your choice!
2. Link up here by 12am EST on the 13th
3. Share with your friends and followers so we can get the word out about our challenge.
*so, just what exactly do we mean by an encouragement card??
Anything that would brighten someone's day from I'm thinking of you, to sending you hugs to consolation and everything in between!*

One person will win a $25 gift code to use on anything in the CAS-ual Fridays Stamps store.  
All products are welcome! Seriously, use anything you have in your stash, but if you use CAS-ual Fridays stamps or dies on your card, Michele will DOUBLE your prize!!!


August 17, 2018

Calling All Sistahs August Reminder


3 years ago today I discovered a lump that turned out to be malignant in my left breast while doing a routine self exam. I had suddenly become 1 in 8. I wish they would post another number for survivorship. My gut tells me the number is way better than 1 in 8 and I'd really like to be part of that statistic instead!
This blog, and the Calling All Sistahs line of stamps and dies, designed to be able to donate 50% of its profits, was born while I was dealing with the decision making process of my diagnosis. 
It can be daunting but if you catch it early, I promise you that you'll want this task because choices go away with each stage.
Because of this, I have been so blessed with the friendship and support of a few truly amazing women who join me each month to help spread the word about awareness and the importance of early detection. 
They are my Sistahs. And they are your Sistahs too! 
I am not the only one with a story to tell. I simply started this platform.
I've invited our sistahs to tell their stories too hoping it will resonate with you. 
Are you doing your monthly self exams? 
Are you up to date on your mammogram? 
Have you taken time to take care of you and book a doctor's appointment?
Did you even know you need to do these things??
You matter! I can't stress that enough. 
Please read this story...she's here to tell it because she caught it early too!!

"For the better part of 2013 I spent my time between home and driving two hours to be with my mother at least once a week as she was under the care of Hospice. Many trips back and forth, back and forth. 



On October 16th while in the shower, I found a hard lump on my right breast. Did I immediately call the doctor…. no. I waited a couple of days because basically I didn’t want to deal with it. I had more important things to take care of…like my mom. 



A couple of days later I see my doctor. She did an ultrasound in the office and said it looked like nothing. Whew…what a relief! However, just to make sure, she wrote an order for a more thorough ultrasound. This is where the fun begins getting the insurance to approve this test and that test. What a nightmare! There is no sense of urgency with insurance companies. 


The extensive ultrasound was finally performed, and you guessed it, they found something unusual. Next, they wanted a biopsy…of course more waiting around because of the insurance. Into week three now I finally get the biopsy where I was in one of the fanciest Breast Cancer centers in Tampa Bay. They give you plush robes and slippers…I mean really, what could be so bad?!? While I am laying on this table with soft lighting above and a nurse holding my hand, the doctor performs the procedure. I walked out of there scared to death and now more waiting. 

Remember my mother? I am running to these appointments between making trips to see her. I was a wreck. We are now into the third week of November and mom is comatose and not expected to live through the weekend. Then while making dinner for my parents I get the dreaded phone call from my doctor…yes her personally, not a nurse, so of course you know it’s bad news. She wants to see me the following day to make some decisions. I drive two hours to see her, make the decision to do a bilateral mastectomy (because I am not going through this again), then call my dad who puts me on the speaker phone so the whole family can hear what I have to say. 

I am now a statistic. I am 1 in 8. 

One in eight women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The next morning, I put on my big girl panties and drove back to be with my mom and hold her hand as she passed away that night. I felt CHEATED! I may have been 53 when this happened to me, but I wanted my mama to see me through this. 

The rest of my story is like many other women who have walked this walk. Surgery, then meeting with Oncologists until you find one you absolutely love because let’s face it…this is the person that is going to get all that cancer out of your body and you will be like best friends for the next few years. The initial treatment of chemo lasts about four months, but because I was HER2 positive that meant I received yet another treatment that lasted 12 months. Then a maintenance drug. At my four year check-up, we discussed all the great percentages of women living longer who take the maintenance drug beyond the fifth year, so we have decided to continue with that treatment. 

I chose not to do reconstruction…Flat is fabulous and that’s my new normal. My curly hair came in straight (what the hell?), but that’s my new normal. I still have chemo brain after four years, but that’s my new normal. I am just thankful that I am here today, loving my family, watching my grandsons play soccer and living my life knowing that each day is a blessing. 

I am a survivor because my mother taught me how to check my sistahs in the shower. I caught it early. She saved my life."  
-Penny Ward








Come back tomorrow to join us for a new Encouragement Challenge!