Motivating Stories from Local Women
Every woman has a story to tell, and no two stories are alike. Meet the women who have persevered through challenges and tribulations and come out the other side stronger than ever. These unique individuals have seen their fair share of adversity but continue to inspire those around them with the lessons they have learned and their love of life. Read on for four truly motivating stories by the women who experienced them firsthand.
Photography by Emily Long / Photos taken on location at The Westin Chattanooga
I have spent 20 years of my career raising funds for CHI Memorial. I frequently talk with patients about their experiences and work with physicians regarding funding needs to better care for patients. One of the high points of these years has been the work I’ve been a part of to create the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center.
Never could I have imagined that I would be the one to hear: “You have breast cancer.” But I did get that call on February 19, 2019. Our family was immediately thrown into a whirlwind of medical appointments, tests, and a steep learning curve on the world of oncology – and I thought I knew this stuff! Chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries followed. At the end of January 2020, I was able to stand on the stage at the Pink! Gala and announce I was cancer-free. What a feeling!
Through that difficult year, our family was overwhelmed by the love and support we received from friends near and far, including acquaintances and some people we didn’t even know. We had meals delivered, thoughtful gifts, flowers, cards, texts, calls, and lots of prayers. Despite all of the bad that goes along with having cancer, we tried to find the good at every turn and focus on being positive.
I now stand on the other side with a completely different appreciation for this community, which gives so generously to make places like the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center possible. I can truly understand what our patients are experiencing – I got to sit side by side in chemo, saw others going through the same thing in the lobby for radiation every day, and make new friends as we talked about handling side effects and tips for how to tie your head scarf.
I hope I am now a more compassionate person and able to much more quickly and comfortably reach out when I hear of a friend going through a health crisis. I am thankful for the friend who told me to look for the blessings – they were there all along! HS