This post has certainly been a long time coming. After we found out about winner Susan Rahn's request for a generous gesture, we had to get the whole story and share hers with the Sisterhood and the world.
Earlier this month Hurray Kimmay announced the winner of our $500 AnaOno gift card raffle after the social media contest ran throughout the month of July. We were blown away by the amount of support and entries, but we weren't prepared for what would happen next.
When Dana reached out to Susan to congratulate her and offer personal shopping assistance, Susan asked if instead of a $500 gift card, could she get a $250 gift card and donate a $250 gift card as an auction item for The Cancer Couch's Pink Game instead.
Susan has been living with metastatic breast cancer since 2013 and has been an open and vocal advocate for more stage IV research. It only made sense for her to want to help fundraise for The Cancer Couch.
"I chose The Cancer Couch because this foundation specifically funds two medical scientists - Dr Nikhil Wagle, MD, of the Dana Farber Institute and Sarat Chandarlapaty, M.D., Ph.D. of Memorial Sloan Kettering - who conduct the most important and cutting-edge research for metastatic breast cancer," says Susan. "This research also includes immunotherapy which I believe is going to be critical in paving the way as we get closer to a cure."
Susan admittedly says she entered the Hurray Vacay Giveaway because she is a competitive person and she wanted to win, but in reality, she had been a fan of AnaOno the moment she got her first bra, the MAKEMERRY Collection by AnaOno Pocketed Plunge Bra, in June.
"When I received the bras, I ran right into my bedroom to try one on," says Susan. "Less than 20 minutes later, I had to send an email back."
I'm literally in tears at how happy I am! This is the first bra I've put on since radiation to my ribs in 2014/2015 that comes down low enough on my torso that it doesn't hit that spot that's now filled with scar tissue and a hard painful lump. I have been unable to wear a bra since last year when it became just too painful.
Thank you, thank you so much!!! You have no idea how much of a difference this has already made. Even the packaging is awesome! I'm going to keep my bras in the boxes when I'm not wearing them or when I'm traveling!!
It's women like Susan that keep us going and working hard to expand our collections, offer different silhouettes and increase our size ranges. Diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer after getting a clear 3D mammogram just nine months prior, Susan's had a partial mastectomy, a lumpectomy, chemo, radiation and a host of other therapies. However, that doesn't mean she shouldn't be able to wear something beautiful, and comfortable that also fits her body.
"The main reason the Pocketed Plunge Bra is one of my favorites is because it is the only bra on the planet, in the universe that does not hit that ninth rib," Susan says. "Every other bra would hit that spot, for six-seven months I couldn't wear anything. I spent $500 on bras I can't wear."
The gift card has her looking forward to matching lingerie sets and 'grown-up stuff,' and being able to get something she loves without dipping into her tight budget.
Her generosity has truly been her way of paying forward not only as a gift for another woman, but also for much-needed fundraising dollars for a foundation fighting for the lives of women like herself.
Susan continues to encourage and inspire those around her through her Instagram account (you can follow her by clicking on the photos above) and Stick it 2 Stage 4 Facebook page.
"Be your own advocate," says Susan, also an Aid-In-Dying supporter. "Cancer gave me the freedom to not care about what I say anymore. I basically say what's on my mind, and that's it. You have to put yourself first."
The Cancer Couch Pink Game and auction is this Sat., Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, NY, with the National Women's Soccer League Western New York Flash hosting the Houston Dash in its first game back since Olympic play. You can learn more about the event below or by visiting the Western New York Flash website here.