nominated by Pink Ribbon Girls
By: Amy Huwell
For many women, the mid-twenties are a transformative and pivotal time in life — we are establishing ourselves in adult roles, are perhaps newly married, starting a family, or launching a career. We foresee futures through rose-colored glasses and tend to overlook the reality that bad things can — and do — happen to good people. In short, we may feel adult, but in actuality are child-like in our naiveté.
At 27, Andrea Bashor was living her dream. Mother to a sweet toddler girl, the only design she had on her immediate future was to expand her family. Her outlook on life was shaped by her personality — go-getting, positive, and buoyant — so when she discovered a lump in her breast, cancer wasn’t even on her radar. “I was just learning to be an adult and a parent [when I found the lump]. The surgeon removed what was supposed to be nothing, but I woke up to being told I have cancer.”
Andrea had Stage Two Triple Negative Breast Cancer, but she did not let this diagnosis overwhelm her spirit. “I thought, ‘Yay! At least I am negative for something’!” However, she soon came to find out that she had underestimated the severity of this type of cancer; either the chemo works or nothing works.
The medical team devised a treatment plan to heal her body, but there was little focus on mental and emotional health. Resources and support were scant. “There are not as many tools in your toolbox at 27 as there are at 38… And there are psychological factors [such as fertility issues] that come with having cancer at that age. How do you cope when no one your age understands what you are going through?”
One answer is Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG). Founded by Tracie Metzger, also a young mother at the time of her diagnosis, PRG is a nonprofit organization that provides support to those with breast and other women’s reproductive cancers.
After beating her cancer, Andrea had 2 more children, became a nurse practitioner, and is both a PRG volunteer and member of the Board. In short, she fulfilled the dreams that the disease attempted to derail. She claims the support she received from other women can never be repaid, but Tracie sees things differently. “Andrea has been a beacon of hope to hundreds of survivors and has always been the first to call someone newly diagnosed. I am proud to call her my friend and thank God for bringing her into my life years ago! PRG would not be where it is today without her involvement and dedication.”
Just as the organization has grown, so has Andrea evolved thanks to her experiences. “Cancer steered my life faster and with more purpose. As I see it, my role is to stay true to the core values and beliefs of PRG — being there for other women.”
It takes a compassionate soul to aid others, an open soul to recognize that my plan is not necessarily the plan, a deep soul to fathom that good can come from bad, and a determined person to make the good happen. Andrea Bashor is this soul, and there is no greater gift she can give to other women than herself.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
“Equal access to services and equal pay for women worldwide.”
What is the most important piece of advice you would share with a young woman growing up today?
What women influenced you the most either past or present?
“My grandmas, my mom.”
What’s your favorite quote?
“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ~ Pema Chodron
Help women here by helping women there
We will donate 15% of every purchase to a local non-profit like Pink Ribbon Girls
Also published on Medium.