A Deeper Look into Feel For Your Life and NBCF

When I was going through my second round of chemotherapy, I knew I couldn’t hide my diagnosis much longer because I was starting to lose my hair. It’s not like I could hide under a rock, so I decided to come out and start sharing my story over social media. 

The most popular question I got all the time was, “How did you find the lump?”

My reply was, “I did a self-breast exam in the shower. You know how to do them, right?”

The answer was almost always no. On occasion, a friend would reply with, “Uh, sorta.” But never did I hear a definitive yes. 

That’s when I decided to come up with Feel For Your Life. As I was taking a shower one night, watching my hair fall down the drain, I prayed about it and asked God to use me through my breast cancer journey. The name “Feel For Your Life” came to mind. The website was available for purchase, and all of the social handles were available, and that’s how I knew it was meant to be.

The next thing I did was start Googling resources for how to do a self-breast exam. Since I’m not a doctor or any sort of medical expert, I had to make sure I was using a credible source for distributing material on how to do self-breast exams. 

I initially checked with two large non-profits known for their work in breast cancer awareness, and as I searched through their websites, I didn’t see anything about how to do self-exams. I reached out directly to one organization, and they told me that they don’t support material encouraging women to do self-breast exams because it didn’t lead to decreased mortality rates. 

Something about that didn’t seem right to me, so I chose to move on and find a different source. Johns Hopkins actually says that 40 percent of breast cancers diagnosed come from women who find a lump. 

And that’s when I came upon The National Breast Cancer Foundation. They proudly provided materials for self-breast exams, and I knew immediately that this was an organization that I wanted to support. I followed all of their social channels, looked at their community outreach programs, and saw the heart of their mission, and I guess you could say I basically fell in love. 

The one thing that struck me the most was their mission statement, their commitment to helping women now. That means all women, right now. Whether you’re doing self-breast exams, are providing care to a loved one with cancer, or are diagnosed with breast cancer, the National Breast Cancer Foundation is an organization that stands behind you. 

As I began to learn more about the NBCF, I was drawn to the efforts behind their Hope Kits — the tangible sources of hope that lift the spirits of breast cancer patients in active treatment. Each box is filled with heart-felt thoughtfulness and brings joy and warmth. I started to see how Hope Kits were making a difference when my friends in breast cancer groups on Facebook started posting photos of them and talking about how good it made them feel to receive one. 

As I continued to spread the word about doing self-breast exams, I started coordinating with local gyms and fitness centers in my community. I asked if they would put up signs in locker rooms that showed women how to do self-breast exams, and many agreed to do it! I printed the materials from the NBCF, framed them, and posted them in locker rooms in my area, and as I talked about my efforts on social media, Caitlin Holston reached out to me. We met for the first time a couple of years ago, and the rest is pretty much history! I love coming in to put together Hope Kits, and I love spreading the word about their mission and values. 

Within the next few weeks (I don’t have an exact date set yet, but it will be very soon), I will be launching the Feel For Your Life app. It’s the first of its kind that will show women how to do their self-breast exams, track their progress, set reminders for doing exams, and connect with others who are committed to breast health advocacy. There is no other app like it that exists, and I will be the first breast cancer patient to develop anything like it. The app will feature self-exam instructions from the NBCF and will include a button that will let users donate to the organization. I am SO EXCITED! :D