Honoring Pink Warrior Angels

July 21, 2017

Honoring Pink Warrior Angels

Today we are sharing the story of Pink Warrior Angels, and the amazing women behind the nonprofit, Julie Moser + Jen Reynolds.

 

This incredible foundation (and its inspiring leaders) recently agreed to not only be our nonprofit partner, but to give away AnaOno bras to those in need. 

Founded by Jen Reynolds and Julie Moser, after their own experiences with feeling alone during treatments for breast cancer, these two powerhouses give so much of their own time to make certain no one ever has to go through what they did. 

Below both talk about Pink Warrior Angels + share with us a little bit about themselves:

ORGANIZATION NAME: Pink Warrior Angels

MISSION STATEMENT: To provide an angel of support to those newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

WEB ADDRESS: pinkwarriorangels.org

CONTACT INFO: Jen: jen@pinkwarriorangels.org830-708-7898

Julie: julie@pinkwarriorangels.org706-267-9260

IF THERE WERE A BOOK, SERIES OR MOVIE ABOUT YOUR CANCER STORY, WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED?

Jen: LIVE Beyond Your Fears

Julie: Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer

WHY DID YOU START PINK WARRIOR ANGELS?

Jen: I never wanted anyone to have to go through their diagnosis the way I went through mine. I think the scariest feeling in the world is the feeling of being alone and when you are diagnosed with cancer, you immediately feel that way. Family and friends are a great support, but they haven't walked in your shoes and experienced the true fears, the sadness, and the loss that comes along with your diagnosis. We lose a bit of ourselves, but that doesn't mean we can't come out better than ever before. There is something to be said in having that one person, or an entire group of women, there to support you through your battle. To see women who have come out of their battle alive, with hair, with breasts and living their lives to their full capacity, gives our warriors a sense of hope. It is proof that they can and will survive this and with a shoulder to lean on the whole way through. We are filling a void that was present in our own battles, and we are so grateful to be able to provide both emotional and financial support to those who need it most.

Julie: [When I was diagnosed] I found myself not really wanting to connect with anyone. I felt this was something I needed to do on my own. However, I couldn't do it alone. When I reached out to my “friends,” they were nowhere to be found. The ones I would count on were gone and those I wouldn't have called are the ones that showed up. That still wasn't enough. I still felt alone. I learned what a hashtag was and found Jen through hair growth. We went to a summit together and saw so many young survivors. There had to be a way to help others know they were not alone.

TELL US THE STORY ABOUT THE FIRST PERSON YOU HELPED:

Jen: Personally, the first person I helped was a young girl by the name of Jessica.  I was at my follow-up appointment, and I mentioned to my oncologist that I felt there needed to be younger women walking around in the chemo room, and how alone I felt because everyone was older than me. I asked [my oncologist] if I could come and do this and she said she actually had a young woman there at her first chemo that day. I didn't know what it would feel like to walk in the chemo room again. To my surprise it was healing and mainly because Jessica was so positive and her family filled with so much light.  We built a special bond during her treatments as I would come and sit with [her and her family] as much as I could. While I thought I was helping her - I am not sure she understands how much she actually helped me face a huge fear of mine. She remained so full of faith and so positive about her cancer - it was the exact opposite of how I tackled my journey. It was inspiring to watch her go through it with such an amazing attitude. Though we don't speak as much anymore...we have a bond that will forever be untangled.

Julie: The first person I helped was Crystal Guillory. Crystal was also too proud to ask for help. She pushed through many bad days while fighting for her life. She was one who I would just sit with on her other couch and watch her sleep. We were not alone. Crystal was also my first warrior to earn her angels wings way too early. All her husband could say the day she took her last breath was how he couldn't afford to get her from Texas to Louisiana to be buried by her mother. I told him we would take care of it. We didn't have much money, but we started a fundraising campaign and the support was overwhelming. Crystal was laid to rest next to her mother.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PINK WARRIOR ANGELS STORY?

Jen: Too many, but one stands out. Being a smaller organization we have the ability to make quick decisions based on unique requests and circumstances. I received a call one night from a fellow survivor and friend. All she really wanted to do was tell me how pissed she was that our friend who had mets to her brain couldn't get her routine MRI. [My friend] had no expectations outside of [our conversation]. The facility had changed their protocol and required payment to be made up front. There was no question in my mind that we would help immediately. The next day, we wrote a check to her for, I believe, $1,000, and two days later she was able to have her MRI done.

This story stands out to me because I can imagine how hopeless she may have felt in that moment. And while we obviously can't take away her cancer, we were able to give her a little hope and take away a burden for her. It was a quick decision that both Julie and myself had no hesitations towards.

This story embodies everything PWA stands for.  She knew, in that moment, she wasn't alone. I am honored, humbled and grateful to those that support us because without them, we would not be able to do this. I feel so blessed that I get to witness the pure goodness of the human spirit through their kindness to our organization. And because of them, we are able to help women in unique situations such as this one.

Julie: My favorite PWA story is when Jen came to Copperas Cove to attend our one year anniversary and ribbon cutting. She was taken back by the support of our small community. The genuine joy on her face was priceless.

GIVE US THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOUR PINK WARRIOR ANGELS PARTNER:

Jen: [Julie] Ambitious, Unselfish, Genuine

Julie: [Jen] Fun, Pink Flamingos, Determined

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PERSONALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT OUTSIDE OF PINK WARRIOR ANGELS?

Jen: It's interesting, I don't really remember much about who I was before cancer. When I was thinking about the answer to this question, I started thinking - well I used to be passionate about photography. I used to be passionate about singing - and while I still love those things. I find more joy elsewhere. Aside from anything cancer related - and sharing my unfiltered story with others - I am passionate about traveling. I used to be so afraid to fly, and I knew that I was probably going to miss out on so much that this world has to offer. At one point in my life, I was okay with that. I realized after cancer that, if something were to happen to me tomorrow and I had to look back and realize everything I missed out on, I would probably feel a ton of regret and disappointment. Each and every time I get on an airplane - though still nervous - I am excited for the new adventure that awaits, the unknown and for the health that I have in that moment to be able to do so. Traveling, laughing and just living life to the absolute fullest is what I feel most passionate about. My passion is my never-ending bucket list. I'd like to say I'll try anything once, but that might get me in trouble.

Julie: I am most passionate about caring for others and giving them as much help as I can and explain why; that it's ok to have bad days.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO DE-STRESS, DECOMPRESS AND RELAX?

Jen: So many answers here. To cure my anxiety, I go to the gym and get a good workout in. It reminds me of my health and strength and typically takes away any fears I may have had in that moment. It redirects my way of thinking. To decompress, I need to see moving water whether it be the lake, the ocean, a river, and I'll just watch it and listen to meditation music. Sometimes, I just love to listen to the sound of it. I love a good sunset too, so on my worst of days, I'll find a good spot, soak it all in - and probably cry it out.

Julie: My dogs are a big part of my family, and when I need to decompress I sit with them. They usually are already by my side helping me get through my bad day before I even know I need them.

WHAT IS YOUR BODY POSITIVITY MANTRA:

Jen: You are a sexy beast!  - Totally kidding!  

I am strong, I am beautiful, I am enough. And my scars tell a story of complete strength and healing.

Julie: Live, Laugh, Love

TELL US ABOUT YOUR 'ANGEL PERSONA;' WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO HELP SOMEONE, OR TIPS FOR WHAT SOMEONE ELSE CAN DO WHEN SOMEONE THEY CARE ABOUT IS GOING THROUGH TREATMENT: 

Jen: I think it's so important to just do your best to simply “listen." Everyone walks a different journey and the perfect thing to say when someone is going through hell is usually impossible. I believe its important to just let them know you are there for them and then truly BE THERE for them. Text them, let them know you are thinking about them, send them a funny card, a joke or a memory you have with them. Don't abandon them because you are scared to lose them. Too many of us lose friends during cancer, and it puts a huge sense of guilt on us. I loved that my friends and family sent me gifts before each chemo treatment. It gave me something to look forward to and something to smile about. For me, that was huge. Most importantly, please don't ever stop checking in or being there for them. Just because we get a call that says “You’re in remission” does not mean we don't live with those fears and anxieties. We have no choice but to fight and continue on living our lives as best we can post cancer. Remember, we have faced our mortality; its not easy to move on from that and we all come out a different person than ever before. The best thing you can do is give us patience and love. Support us through the bad days and smile and laugh with us on our best of days. Just pick up the phone and let us cry.  

Julie: Just treat them like they are a “normal” person. Many do not want to be labeled as “sick." Don't ask if they need help, just help them. It's appreciated more than you know.

HOW BEST CAN SOMEONE HELP PINK WARRIOR ANGELS SUCCEED IN ITS MISSION?

Jen: We are always in need of sponsorships and monetary donations as we provide ongoing financial support to our warriors.The money we raise goes directly to those in need. We have various events throughout the year for our supporters to attend or volunteer. The easiest way to help? Share our mission! If you know someone recently diagnosed, or someone who is years past [diagnosis], let them know we are here. The more people who believe in our mission and share that mission, the more people we can support, and that's really what it all boils down to.  

Julie: Share. Share. Share.

 

WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE OR ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Pink Warrior Angels:

Facebook + Instagram - @PinkWarriorAngels

Jen: To watch my personal journey after cancer and how I choose to laugh and live life beyond my fears, follow me on Instagram @jendoll5

Julie: My personal FB is an open book. It is full of doggie pics, Disney and positive and empowering quotes. You can also find me on Snapchat (@angels_warrior) and Instagram (@julizemail)

If you would like to know more about AnaOno's partnership with Pink Warrior Angels, click here.





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